Broccoli-Cheese Turnovers

I know there is this stereotype that kids growing up in New York are stressed-out, overscheduled, and forced to grow up too fast. My children, however, have no structured activities outside of school (a statement which, I realize, is almost nonsensical — “They only spend 6 hours each day in a structured environment.” Well, la-di-dah).  They’ve asked me to get them into piano, Brownies, gymnastics, swimming, and science classes (?), and I’ve resisted because if I cannot handle the scheduling, I just don’t see how they are going to handle it.

The one exception is Bharat Natyam class. We started last year, just to see how it would go, and that once-a-week class in classical Indian dance became something they looked forward to all week. The youngest kids in the class, Kishmish and Pista learned all the hand gestures and foot work along with the other kids, and though the 4:30 class felt late in the afternoon, it was doable.

But this year?  The class time was moved to 5:30 on Fridays!  Friday afternoons!  Can you imagine a time in the week where you are more tired, unfocused, and spent than on Friday afternoon?  I almost pulled them out of the class, thinking there was no way my children were going to be able to keep it together and behave in a way that wouldn’t make me ashamed from 5:30 to 6:30 on a Friday evening.

Sure enough, during their first two classes, Kishmish and Pista were dragging. I mean, they were caught a few times laying on the floor, and the teacher was like, “They seem really tired!”  Hmmm….

So now we have a new Friday tradition, called “tea-time.”  It’s like this: I make some strong tea, with cardamom, milk, sugar, sometimes ginger. . . and I let my children drink it.  Sometimes they finish a whole cup of tea.  Yes, I know this is not a super thing to do, but it’s been lovely. We come from our respective work on a Friday afternoon — afternoons that have been dark and gray the last few weeks — and enjoy some tea and snacks together. We go to dance class full of energy, tea, and snacks. What could be better?  As the girls’ teacher sighed the first time we enjoyed tea before dance class,  “Well,um, they were certainly more energetic….”  That’s right.

Last time they had dance class, I was rushing home from work to meet them for tea.I had failed to pack enough lunch and was working in one of those “food desert” neighborhoods (well, perhaps not such a desert, since I discovered the existence of Clinton Hill Pickles on my way to the train and spent $12 on pints of sour pickles, half-sour pickles, and spicy sour pickles..), and was plotting the afternoon snack during my whole train ride home. Do you do this?  Take a mental inventory of the contents of the fridge and plan out the perfect dinner/tea?  Usually my daydreams in this vein end badly when I get home to discover a key ingredient is missing — no garlic?!?; I swore there was bread left!! — or no other members of the family support my daydreamed meal. But this time around. . . I came home to an empty house, followed the steps below, and greeted two 1st graders with a hot and yummy snack (which only one of them ate, sigh).

We had the turnovers with spicy tea and sour/spicy pickles; they had a great dance class!

Broccoli-Cheese Turnovers

Makes 4 turnovers — enough for 4 people to have tea!

  • Pizza dough – enough for a 12″ pizza
  • flour and/or corn meal for dusting/rolling the dough
  • a small dish of water for sealing the turnovers
  • about 1 cup broccoli florets (I used 12 broccoli florets from the fridge that had been trimmed and blanched previously. This recipe works better if the broccoli is cooked ahead of time.)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used Daiya cheddar, and it was perfect here.)

A note on the dough:  I use the pizza dough recipe from 101 cookbooks. For this batch, I had substituted whole wheat flour for half of the flour. This was dough I had made about 2 weeks earlier, then stored in the freezer, then moved back to the fridge in small bags. The small bags make it possible for the dough to thaw really fast, and the long resting period lets the yeast do its work in a really nice way.  I think you could also use frozen dough from a grocery store with good results. I like Trader Joe’s’s (not sure about that possessive there) and Fresh Direct’s dough.

Dus a baking sheet with corn meal. Preheat your oven to 450.

Divide the dough into four balls of equal size.  Or, um, approximately equal size.

For each turnover, roll the ball into a circle. I find it easier to roll out the dough if the board is dusted with flour, not corn meal.

Put a little broccoli and cheese in each dough circle. Then seal the turnover by crimping.  This  calzone how-to provides a really nice visual description of how to crimp the edge. [But that amount of filling? I guess that’s why I don’t think of my recipe as a calzone recipe: I could never get away with giving the girls that much filling. They prefer a much larger crust:filling ratio in any stuffed food, as a rule.]

Place the turnovers on a pan dusted with cornmeal, and then bake for 10-15 minutes.

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