That’s a Wrap

Posted

Practicing the culinary arts in Alpharetta

STORY & PHOTOS BY 

KATIE VanBRACKLE

katie@northsidewoman.com

Cooking is an art requiring patience and practice. Like any creative endeavor, it often helps to take a class or two to learn new techniques, try new materials and meet others who share your passion.

Mother and daughter duo Hellen Brown and Delynn James of Johns Creek recently attended a Thursday night “That’s a Wrap!” class at the Publix Aprons Cooking School in Alpharetta, where they joined four other women in making a variety of flavorful wrap sandwiches.

“My daughter is actually the better cook,” admitted Brown. “I’m just along for the fun.”

Three resident chefs lead 30 or so cooking classes each month at the Publix at Alpharetta Commons, 4305 State Bridge Road, teaching students proper techniques, sharing a wide variety of recipes and hosting special guest appearances by local and national celebrity chefs and cookbook authors such as Paula Deen, Kevin Gillespie and Iron Chef Michael Symon.

Students can choose hands-on classes where they do the cooking themselves, or demonstration classes where participants relax, sip wine and simply observe while the chef does the work and answers questions. Course offerings are listed online at www.publix.com/aprons/schools/Alpharetta/Calendar.do.

For Natalia Davis of Cumming, a bonus of the “That’s a Wrap!” class was the opportunity to try out new cookware and kitchen gizmos in the well-stocked Publix kitchen.

“With food preparation, the right tool can make all the difference,” she said.

Frequent cooking class attendee Sandra Miller of Marietta brought along her sister Linda Worley and sister-in-law Alice Miller, both visiting from Arkansas.

Chef Michael Maliska wasted no time in putting the ladies to work chopping veggies, toasting pine nuts, grilling chicken, making hummus and assembling wraps.

Maliska believes cooking is a bridge that can bring people together, and sure enough, by the end of his two-hour class, the six women were laughing and joking together like old friends.

As the students tasted the fruits of their labor, James proclaimed the grilled mahi-mahi lettuce wrap with roasted corn salsa and cilantro lime vinaigrette “fantastic” while Brown applauded the “great taste” of the grilled veggie and mozzarella wrap. Sandra Miller couldn’t decide which she liked best, so she took home extras of everything.

Maliska enjoys serving wraps as a popular, tasty and convenient choice for spring picnics and summer poolside dining.

“Any time you can walk around and eat and still have a spare hand free, it’s a good thing,” he said.

 

1. Grilled Vegetable and Mozzarella Wrap with pesto

Serves 4

  • 2 yellow squash, sliced ½-inch thick, lengthwise
  • 2 zucchini, sliced ½-inch thick, lengthwise
  • 1 eggplant, sliced ½-inch thick, lengthwise
  • ½ cup pesto, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and julienned
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella
  • Pesto, recipe follows

Preheat grill on high. In a large bowl, toss first three ingredients with ½ cup pesto, salt and pepper. Place vegetables on grill and cook two minutes on each side.

Remove from grill. Spread remaining pesto on tortillas. Place one slice of each vegetable onto the middle of the tortilla. Next add 1 ounce red pepper and top with two slices mozzarella. Wrap tortilla tightly. Place wraps on grill for 30 seconds on each side, remove from grill and serve.

Pesto:

  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 cups basil leaves, stems removed
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 cup olive oil

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts and toast until golden brown. Keep pan moving to ensure even cooking.

Place garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add basil and pulse until minced. Add Parmigiano and oil. Pulse until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

2. Grilled Mahi-Mahi Lettuce Wrap with roasted corn salsa and cilantro lime vinaigrette

Serves 6

  • 6 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4-8 ounces canola oil
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 pound mahi-mahi, sliced into 1.5-inch thick slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 Bibb lettuce leaves
  • 2 cups roasted corn and black bean salsa, recipe follows

Preheat grill on high. Place zest, sugar and vinegar into a small saucepot. Place over high heat, bring to a boil and reduce by half or to a syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat, transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Add lime juice and whisk in oil in small increments until desired balance of oil to acidity is achieved. Add cilantro. Season with salt to taste and reserve in refrigerator until ready to use. Stir well before each use.

Season mahi with salt and pepper. Grill three minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill. Allow to cool slightly. Place two pieces of mahi on each lettuce leaf and top with vinaigrette. Spoon corn salsa over fish and serve.

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa:

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 ears of corn, roasted and cut from cob
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup cilantro, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to develop flavors. Refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor.

 

3. Grilled Chicken Wrap with tabbouleh and hummus

Serves 6

  •  8 ounces bulgur wheat
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 large tomato, diced fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 6 (8-inch) tortilla wraps
  • 3 cups hummus, recipe follows

Preheat grill on high. Place the bulgur wheat into a large mixing bowl and add warm water to cover. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until all of the water is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes. Drain off any excess water; the bulgur should be dry. Mix in parsley, onion, tomato, garlic, olive oil and lemon. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chill.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill 10-12 minutes, or until 165 degrees. Cool slightly; cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss with tabbouleh.

Spread about ½ cup of hummus on each wrap, spoon about ½ cup of prepared tabbouleh on the lower third of the wrap. Wrap tightly and serve.

Hummus:

Makes about 4 cups

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas, drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini, well stirred
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil, or to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, puree garlic with chick peas, tahini, lemon juice and ¼ cup oil, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the hummus is smooth. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Add water and oil if necessary to thin the hummus to the desired consistency and season the hummus to taste with salt and pepper.

 

4. Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4

  • ½ cup dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed

Vinaigrette:

  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 5 small scallions, sliced on a bias
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 Thai chilies, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Salad:

  • 1 medium tomato, julienned
  • 1 European cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced on a bias
  • ½ red onion, julienned
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 8 Bibb lettuce leaves

Preheat grill on high. Combine soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic in a bowl or zip-top bag. Add steak and marinate for one hour. In a large bowl, mix lime juice, scallions, fish sauce, chiles and sugar; stir to dissolve the sugar. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Remove steak from marinade and drain off excess. Place steak on grill and cook for about three minutes on each side or until desired doneness is achieved. Remove from grill and allow to rest for five minutes. Slice meat into 2-inch sections, slicing with the grain, then slice each section across the grain into thin slices.

In a small bowl, toss beef, tomato, cucumber, red onion and cilantro leaves with vinaigrette. Serve on tops of Bibb lettuce leaves.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
This month's issue

Farrah Haidar, left, and Hala Yassine, are two of the seven sisters involved in Seven Sisters Scones in Johns Creek, offering their customers a modern take on a traditional breakfast treat.
Read more page 20.


 

 

THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH...
December 2017 Calendar of Events...

Read more

CONTACT US...
770.442.3278 | 770.475.1216 (fax)

Read more