Fall is getting closer. When my alarm goes off in the morning the bedroom's still a bit dark, and we're turning on the lights in the family room earlier in the evening. However, Summer's decided it's not quite ready to leave the area yet. The forecast for the rest of the week is hot (pushing 100 degrees) and humid. Tony and I decided if the tropical weather was going to linger, we'd pretend it was still the middle of the season. We're taking advantage of the last extended admission day of the year at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The kitchen was last-day-before-payday empty, but I managed to put together a picnic to take with us. The planned homemade pizza morphed into calzones (which are easier to transport). I started the dough in the bread machine, then went on a search to see what I could put in them. I found one leftover chorizo sausage in the freezer, which I thawed, skinned, and crumbled in a bowl. I chopped green and red peppers from the garden, then added them to the sausage along with a can of mushrooms and a can of tomato sauce from the pantry. To make the assembly easy, I even mixed in the shredded mozzarella.
When the dough was done I divided it into four pieces (two for tonight, and two for leftovers tomorrow), and rolled each one out into a circle about six inches in diameter. Each circle got a quarter of the filling, then I folded them in half and crimped the edges so the filling wouldn't ooze out during baking. The calzones went on a baking sheet, and in a preheated oven for 15 minutes until the top was golden.
Main dish taken care of. For a side dish, I found some asparagus in the refrigerator that was a bit past its prime. I removed the offending parts, then cut the stalks into bite sized pieces and blanched them. After they cooled off in ice water, I portioned them into two plastic containers, adding today's small handful of ripe cherry tomatoes, and a squirt of balsamic vinaigrette. The containers still looked a little empty, so I chopped a stalk of celery, blanched it, and put half in each container. I put the lids on tightly, shook everything together, and left it to marinate till dinner time.
There was already some Diet Pepsi in the refrigerator, so I didn't have to worry about chilling drinks. For dessert, I found one sleeve of graham crackers in the back of the pantry, and filled sandwich bags with red grapes. Cool food went in a cooler with some ice packs. Paper products and warm food went in a bag, and we were ready to go!