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That's a wrap

Tortillas can be filled with meat, veggies and garnishes

Tortillas can be filled with meat, veggies and garnishes

September 29, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Donna Shoemaker has been cooking at The Broad Axe in Hagerstown for about 15 years. She's been making wraps for about eight of them.

"You can put anything in them," she said.

Several wrap varieties are offered at the downtown restaurant and tavern. Tortillas - in plain flour and pesto, tomato and cheese flavors - are filled with tuna salad, barbecued chicken, smoked turkey, and steak and cheese and dressed up with a variety of tomato, onion and cheeses.

Rolled up and sliced, the sandwiches are pretty and popular with customers at The Broad Axe and are popping up a many restaurants.

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Wraps are convenient and versatile, Shoemaker said.

And they're easy to make at home.

Sara Corpening Whiteford agrees. Evidence of the splendorous variety available in the sandwich form is displayed in Whiteford's (then a not-yet-married Sara Corpening) 1997 book "Wraps: Easy recipes for handheld meals."

The book was co-written with Lori Lyn Narlock and Mary Corpening Barber, Whiteford's identical twin.

The sisters grew up in North Carolina, earned undergraduate degrees in art history and studied cooking in New York City and France. They've been in San Francisco for 13 years, operating Thymes Two Catering, which Whiteford described as a small, customized business.

Since the arrival of their young children - two each - Whiteford and Barber have scaled back their catering. The sisters, who have cooked together since childhood, have written seven books, including "Cocktail Food: 50 Finger Foods With Attitude," "Skewer It!: 50 Recipes for Stylish Entertaining" and "Simplify Entertaining."

Wraps came into Whiteford's consciousness about 1995, but the book acknowledges wraps' long history, citing Greek gyros and Chinese egg rolls.

People wanted meals on the go, and simultaneously, "global ingredients" became more accessible. Food seems global, Whiteford said. Pizza, sushi and Mexican foods are readily available international options. Even Indian, Thai and other world cuisines are more widely available now.

"I think that's where we're headed in the world today," Whiteford said.

The wrap's versatility can embrace many cultures and times of the day.

"Wraps" includes recipes for breakfast and dessert and in between. Ingredients stretch from cream cheese and smoked salmon to ice cream.

Maryland Cooperative Extension offers a "master recipe for quick wraps." The plan provides a lot of variety, each wrap a combination of choices from each food group. Vegetables, cooked or raw, include salsa, lettuce, onions, carrots, broccoli, cabbage and spinach. Cottage cheese, light sour cream or grated cheese satisfy the dairy category, and beans, tuna or salmon, lean ground beef or tofu meet the protein recommendation. Macaroni, rice and bulgur can work to wrap up the grain group.

The twin chefs' creations include wraps with Moroccan and Vietnamese leanings, as well as an All-American Sloppy Joe, spiced up with sausage and sour cream. Whiteford's 4-year-old is a fan of the PB&G - peanut butter, granola and banana wrap.

Both Shoemaker and the "Wraps" authors recommend warming tortillas before filling to prevent tearing.

Shoemaker places ingredients in the center of the tortilla, folds in the sides and wraps from the bottom.

Whiteford and Barber's instructions advise spreading filling on the bottom half of the tortilla, folding the sides toward the center and gently rolling until the tortilla completely wraps around the filling. For an open-end wrap, begin by folding the bottom edge first then rolling from one side to the other.

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