Hot wrap melts! Roll your own!

The gluten thing…

About five years or so ago I discovered I was having issues with gluten. It’s called (I learned) Non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or NCGS. Wikipedia tells me if I eat too much gluten (pizza, wheat bread, pasta) I’m in for a rough ride, to wit —

… irritable bowel syndrome or wheat allergy, and/or a wide variety of non-gastrointestinal symptoms, such as headache, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, atopic diseases, allergies, neurological diseases or psychiatric disorders, among others. (italics mine)

Oh man, don’t want any of those, especially the last two. So I’ve adapted to gluten-free breads, pasta, pizza crusts, Eggos, baguettes, cereal, cookies, crackers, and many other things that not only are becoming more abundant at Hannaford (and elsewhere), they’re tasting better and better all the time. And as a result I’m almost always free of bloating and psychiatric disorders!

Norman Bates

 

 

 

 

Don’t want to be like him. Too much gluten, Norman?

But. And big but. Gluten (which come from the Latin word for “glue”) is the complex arrangement of proteins that gives bread and other baked goods their stretchiness, their elasticity– that certain gluey gooeyness that feels pleasurable in the mouth. Well, most gluten-free food bakers throw in xanthan gum to create the same bendable effect. Fine, but it’s not quite the same. And lately I’ve started craving wraps, which do need to stretch and bend around their various fillings.

Suddenly, Toufayan gluten-free wraps come to the rescue! Perfectly good and tasty and stretchy. Tapioca starch, soy flour, xanthan gum – that’s a good combination of wheat flour substitutes, and there’s the added bonus of no quinoa!  Quinoa, to me, has all the flavor of a placemat bought at a yard sale. And I know I’m not alone with that opinion, because of three sentences I’ve never heard:

  • “Oh, man, I could SO go for some quinoa right now!
  • “Anyone got quinoa?
  • “I am way overdue for my quinoa fix!”

Ain’t gonna happen. I’m also irritated at quinoa because I was pronouncing it wrong for a couple of years.

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True to Hannaford’s aggressively democratic approach to supplying its customers with a wide variety of healthful food options, they had Toufayan wraps in stock – but I had to hunt around, then ask a bakery person, and she unearthed them in a small rack in front of the deli counter. Bingo!

And for the first time ever, I was about to “roll my own” with a pliable, elastic gluten-free wrap.

Hot wrap roll-up melts…

You’ve probably been rolling your own for years, but if not, spread your filling (thin-sliced turkey, chicken, beef, salami, cheese, maybe some baby spinach or other flat green veggie, whatever you like) in three approximate rows on the wrap. Add spices and maybe olive oil or a bit of mayo as you wish. Now, starting with one of the rows (in other words, from the bottom of this photo), roll up the wrap nice and snug, and place seam side down in a small baking dish or pan. If it wants to loosen up, jam a couple of toothpicks deep into the roll-up. It’s also a good idea to brush the wrap lightly, all around, with olive or canola oil to keep it moist while it bakes.

DSC_0240smallYou can fill the three rows with whatever you want (except quinoa!!), but this is thin sliced roast beef from Hannaford’s deli, genoa salami in the middle topped with baby spinach, and sliced baby swiss cheese – with a sprinkle of olive oil and smattering of hot red pepper flakes. Good advice: keep each row thin – nothing chunky!

Heat your oven to 350. Cook the roll-up for about 12-15 minutes, remove when cheese is melty and oozes out from the ends, slice in the middle at an angle, and you’re done! (Of course you can microwave it, too. Pretty easy. I never mention microwaving in my food posts because we don’t own a microwave.) It might look like this:

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I hope it does look like that. Happy rolling!

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B’bye to the “New South”

Just a small dollop of angst-inspired curmudgeonliness here, and then you’re free to go.

When we moved from New Mexico to the greater Atlanta area in 2001, we became residents of what they call the “New South” – much improved race relations, a vigorous economic upswing, a slight shifting away from evangelical ultra-conservatism. Not just Georgia, but all of the Deep South, from Mississippi to South Carolina. We had good friends who were natives of Jackson, Birmingham, Columbia, and of course several towns in Georgia, and they were of one mind about how the South had changed for the better.

Fifteen years later, in 2016, it just ain’t so anymore. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act has inspired all kinds of voter suppression chicanery aimed (natch) at minorities. Black folks. The fundamentalist right wing keeps surging. If you look at who’s in Congress from these states right now, well… I’d rather not. More than a handful of them are ardent Creationists and generally wacko anarchists. Weirdest and saddest of all, I think, is how the South has voted in the Democratic primaries, a whopping 180 degrees away from how most of the rest of the U.S. has been voting, with huge margins for Clinton. I don’t get it. But it’s painful to see a region so utterly out of step with nearly everyone else.

I suppose it could be argued that the South is right and the rest of us in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Washington, Hawaii, Alaska, Utah and other states are all screwed up. Any takers?

This special TV “weather report” from The Onion may be instructive. I think it’s over-the-top cynical and derisive, but it’s The Onion after all.

OnionWeatherReport

 

So a big “B’bye” to the “New South.” We’ll miss you.

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Come visit my website! More than just a pretty landscape photo!

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Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, humorist, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.