This Labor Day, we're heading out to the symphony pops concert in the park - our annual attempt to expose the kids to culture. The tykes love the excursion because it's informal - and always includes a picnic.
For parents, it's a chance to do something with children that's a bit more sophisticated than usual.After being dazzled by the exquisite photographs in the new book "Wraps: Easy Recipes for Handheld Meals" (Chronicle Books, $14.95), we started experimenting. Wraps are easy to make, transport and eat.
Wraps are simply sandwiches whose fillings are tucked inside a flour tortilla. They're a craze in California, and lucky for us, the fad is finding its way even to ordinary supermarkets. You can buy the flour tortillas plain or flavored with various combinations of sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and vegetables.
The only thing you need to know to make a wrap is that it's the fat in the tortilla that makes it pliable enough to bend around the ingredients. So don't substitute fat-free flour tortillas. More specifically, the fat needs to be warm. A quick zap in the microwave does the trick.
As for fillings, anything goes. Take a lovely, light green spinach tortilla flecked with garlic, fill it with plain-old deli ingredients - or even leftover, sliced grilled chicken - and somehow the result doesn't end up ordinary at all.
Whether you're headed to the park or out to the back deck, wraps make a flexible, stylish meal.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 flavored 10-inch flour tortillas (wraps)
1/2 California avocado, optional
1 medium tomato
1/4 pound smoked deli turkey
4 slices (about 3 ounces) provolone cheese
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
In a small dish, stir together the mustard, mayonnaise and garlic powder. If using the avocado, cut it in half and twist to remove the seed. Reserve one half for another use. Cut the remaining half in half. Peel the skin away from the flesh. Cut each piece into 4 slices and set aside. Slice the unpeeled tomato and set aside.
Microwave the first tortilla for 30 seconds, uncovered, on High. Spread half the mustard mixture over the entire tortilla surface. In the center of the tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch edge, place 2 slices of cheese and half each of the turkey, avocado (if using), tomato, carrots and sprouts. Fold in the sides and roll it up burrito-style.
Repeat the process to make the second sandwich.
Cut the sandwiches in half and wrap each half in foil. Serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 2.
Cook's note: We love the taste avocado adds to this sandwich, but be aware that it will also add 8 grams of unsaturated fat per serving.
- Approximate Values Per Serving: 397 calories (39 percent from fat), 18 g fat (8 g saturated), 30 mg cholesterol, 28 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 1,283 mg sodium.