Autumn certainly can have a mind of its own. If it wasn't for the calendar saying so and the colored leaves that I hear skittering down the road through the opened window, I'd almost be inclined to guess that it was still summer, what with all the warm temperatures we've had. There's been a nippy night here and there, for sure, but I still haven't removed all the shorts and t-shirts from our drawers for the winter, and I'm pretty sure that I caught sight of my sweaters lying there the other day, folded and waiting, impatiently drumming their fingers on the shelf.
But, one thing? Two, actually, is that there are still fresh herbs right outside my back door and fresh garden tomatoes ripening in my giant crystal vase! This is what a warm fall does for you. It gives you one more chance to make roulades - Ham & Swiss Roulades, to be exact, with herbed cream cheese and fresh garden tomatoes - before it's too late.
Who can complain about that?
I certainly can't, and unlike this autumn, I'm not going to dilly-dally about it, either.
Ham & Swiss Roulades
There's the best of little bakeries in Homer, Alaska called Two Sisters, and I ate something along these lines while sitting there on a stool, pulled up to their counter, about 15 years ago. I do believe you'll want to try them, too.
1 recipe of fresh pizza dough (excluding the herbs)
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 clove garlic, pasted*
2-3 tablespoons assorted fresh herbs, minced (I used thyme, chives, and a little basil)
1 lb. ham, sliced thin
1 lb. Swiss cheese, sliced thin or shredded
2-3 fresh tomatoes, seeded** and thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Make the pizza dough. While it is rising in the bowl, prepare the toppings; mix minced herbs and garlic paste* with softened cream cheese until combined, slice Swiss and ham, seed** and slice tomatoes.
On a lightly floured board, roll pizza dough out to a scant 1/2 inch thick. Spread all of the cream cheese mixture evenly onto the pizza dough. Next, layer ham, Swiss, and tomatoes over the cream cheese, and sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper. Then, starting on the side closest to you, roll up the dough, as you would for a jelly roll or cinnamon rolls. With a sharp knife, slice through the roll, making each roulade about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place cut-side-down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with a cloth and set in a warm place to rise until doubled.
Bake in a hot oven for about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven, brush roulade tops lightly with butter, and serve hot. Or, slide parchment paper, with roulades, onto a rack to cool, then package in air-tight containers and place in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
*To make garlic paste, first peel and mince one clove of garlic. Then, sprinkle a pinch of salt over the minced garlic on your cutting board. With the tines of a fork, mash the garlic and salt together (the salt acting like an abrasive) until you have a garlic paste.
**To seed fresh tomatoes, core them, then slice off their 'shoulders', exposing the seed cavities inside. Turn the tomato upside down over a bowl or sink, and squeeze the sides of the tomato, gently working the seeds out.