I should have posted this yesterday but I was just feeling uninspired to write anything. This is also my first bake without Pochi, our very loyal and loving dog. He was our only dog when I started baking. I am still saddened as I type this but at least we are moving on.
Exactly 2 weeks ago, he was gone; Saturday noon, he just did not eat his lunch and we noticed his nose was dry so we took him to the vet immediately. Upon arrival at the vet's office, he does not even like to walk, I had to lift/carry him inside but part of it is because it's not dad (his true pack leader) that accompanied him to the vet. He was diagnosed with a cold/respiratory infection so he received 2 shots, one to fight infection and another to boost his appetite. We even bought him his medicines, some energy drink, prescription diet dog food (canned liver) and regular dog food. I had to lift him again to the vehicle before leaving the clinic. I remembered to lighten my mood, I practiced my "French lessons" and I suddenly understood the use of lequel and all of its forms; so I will always remember that that day on our way home with Pochi, I finally understood all of the French relative pronouns! :) As soon as we arrived home, my dad played with him, groomed him and did all of their usual bonding activities; he was FINE. My dad then fed him some regular dog food to see if he will eat it and he finished it all! Even without the canned liver! Then he also finished his energy drink, he was energetic and wagging his tail all the time. He had gastrointestinal problems before and he does not have any appetite for days so we are slightly relieved and confident that he will recover.
That night, he was let into the house (they have their own house outside to keep their fur from accumulating in the house because we may be allergic) and he slept by my dad's side while he watched TV. At 9:00 PM he lay down his old resting place in the kitchen on his cushion. We are not worrying as much as earlier because he showed signs of recovery. Until at 11:25 while watching TV, we heard cry like barks so my dad rushed to the kitchen thinking that our cat might be provoking him then my dad shouted "His is going!", my mom and I rushed to the kitchen and called his name, he is stretched out there already urinated involuntarily, breathing with difficulty, and his tongue dark and bluish gray; and one last breath and he's gone. It's like he just called us one last time to bid his last farewell. :( My mom cried a lot at that very moment; at 11:30 our friend, guard and companion was gone which is really unexpected because he is really well fed and nourished that he didn't even loss any muscle mass (he is 17 kg) and he is very active and barks, plays and runs really well; he didn't even become lethargic or whatsoever, he just didn't eat his lunch that day; he haven't even taken a single pill from his medicines that is due for the next day and that makes it all the more saddening and crippling. We hardly slept that night, I slept at 2:55 AM and woke up just before 6:00 AM. We buried him that morning near our date tree.
It still sad but not that sad anymore partly because we still have our 2 dogs (both Labradors), our longing and love for Pochi, we channeled in them. Of course, the yard is quieter than ever for we lost the baritone in the barking trio!
Pochi is the one on the left, Bimbo is the black lab and Fedra is the yellow lab.
As I said, we miss everything about him; his barks, his banging on the door, the wagging of his tail, the way he lies down to get his belly rubbed, and his pure display of love. What we miss most is how accurate his barks are, with a clear distinction between people and other dogs/ animals. He never misses when someone enters and he never barks when there is nothing to bark at! Fedra is in the backyard leaving Bimbo the sole watch dog in the front yard; he is very playful and sometimes a little lazy to bark. Pochi is the most serious one only displaying playfulness when dad is around and although he is neutered, he is the most aggressive one! He has also the most number of tricks. Fedra is playful too but knows when to take matters seriously, just like me that's why she is my dog. They're are all very intelligent, affectionate and loving.
Do you know Cooking with Dog? It is a Japanese food channel that I follow. Recently I also learnt that Francis, the show's cute poodle host was gone too. It made me sadder too because I followed their channel over the years and I feel that I lost another dog who gives me joy.
I'm sorry if the first few paragraphs are about our dog. I just want to feel a little lighter because we miss him and I know we have some dog lovers here too. During my university days, when I was kneading my dough for my first loaf of bread, he was in the kitchen witnessing my first venture into baking. Until my graduation, it was him who greets me in the kitchen when I proceed to knead some dough before going to school. I'm just glad that I have a few pictures and videos of him as a remembrance, that's more than enough.
He really loves getting up on windows to get a good vantage point for manning the yard.
Back to the calzones (I'm actually hesistating to call these "Calzones" because they look far from the real thing); it is the same dough as my yard sourdough, my best and favorite bread. AP flour autolysed in the fridge for 20 hours, the combined with a 12 hour old levain fed with bread flour and salt, gently mixed until incorporated, allowed to rest for an hour then given 3 stretch and folds one hour a part with a total bulk ferment at room temperature of 4 hours. It was then divided into 6 pieces, shaped into rounds and allowed to rest in the fridge for 12 hours.
I meant these calzones more as an hors d'oeuvre (I still don't know how to pronounce this despite studying some French! :P) than a main dish so they are smaller and I drew the flavor combination from a classic starter, baked brie! I'm always amazed by the leaking cheese with nuts and/or fruit preserves whether it is encased in puff pastry or not.
I used this fruit preserves made by dad. I don't know its name in English but it is sweet and tangy, perfect with some cheese! This is something that you can't buy, you have to make it yourself or have someone give one they made themselves to you. I chopped them up and mixed it with the syrup. I used some sharp cheddar for the cheese component because I really love how the salty, sweet and tangy play together but you could certainly use other cheeses like an Edam, a brie, cream cheese, a goat or even a blue!.
I pat the dough flat using just my hands, the dough was very extensible. On half of it, I spread a teaspoon of the preserves and one slice of cheese. I only use a little amount of cheese because the cheddar I used was particularly salty. I got overly excited about this folding and crimping thing of the calzones that I forgot to take a picture of the assembly before folding the calzones.
Then they went straight to the clay pot without any proofing at all; same set-up baked on a banana leaf over heated pebbles in a clay pot over a wood fire. Again I didn't take any pictures because I was attending to some errands at the time. They were baked on a open fire for 5 minutes then flipped and baked for another 5 minutes; 10 minutes total baking time.
The charm of these calzones is all about their rustic look. I didn't go for a darker bake, just a few browned and charred spots is fine. I could fry this but the taste of the dough, the preserves and the cheese will shine more if there is no oil masking them. Here are some close-ups:
The crust is crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside with a sweet wheaty flavor and a slight tang. The cheese is nicely melted and just the right amount for the saltiness to complement the sweetness and tang of the fruit preserves. The dough and the fillings complement each other well. A very nice way to start a meal.
I was really overwhelmed by the response to this humble little challenge of mine. It is one of the rare times where I feel valued by other people. I could cry again while typing or saying this but you don't know how much it means to me! A big, warm, and sincere THANK YOU to all of those who participated in the no oven bread bake challenge!
MARAMING SALAMAT SA INYONG LAHAT!!! Napasaya ninyo talaga ako!!!
Happy No Oven baking!