Wrap it Up & Go Nuts

IMG_0687I’m almost too embarrassed to write this post after such a long hiatus. I could easily attribute the break to three months of melancholy incurred by the disaster that was Winter’s Tale, but in truth, my absence has been a result of my thesis. And that’s probably a better excuse anyway. Miraculously, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’ve been working pretty hard to finish it. Still, one’s brain can only withstand listening to famous movie themes on repeat for so long, so I’m hoping to do myself a favour and have completed a full draft by the end of next week. The plan is to defend in June sometime but I want to get it done ASAP because we have some exciting stuff coming up in the summer. But I will get more into that next time…

The last month or so has been fairly eventful; my first peer-reviewed journal article came out (exciting but a little anti-climactic since I first submitted it for review last July), Wilf and I bought a car (a beautiful Subaru Impreza that we’ve named ‘Carsley the Blue’), and we took her on a mini road trip to Seattle a couple weekends ago. Although, that almost didn’t happen since one of us forgot to turn off the inside passenger light and her battery died, which we didn’t notice until we were planning to leave. But we have good neighbours so that was sorted quickly and, windiness aside, it was a pretty great weekend. I had never been to Seattle before (sad, I know) and in addition to roaming the city and being all touristy around Pike Place Market (yes, of course I bought a stupid Starbucks mug. But only because we got there at 8am and there was no lineup…), I got to take in my first ever Mariners’ game. I can’t say that I like baseball yet (still way too slow for my taste) but it’s growing on me. I at least understand that it’s very much a game of strategy, which is something I failed to appreciate in years past. And I did get a pretty cool first time Mariner Fan certificate. That said, I only lasted five innings so I hope it still counts…

Anyway, I’m still writing pretty hard (my thesis ‘Conclusion’ chapter is this week’s project but so far I am failing to adequately encapsulate the last three years in one big ass bullet point). So, I just wanted to share a recipe that has sustained me over the last week or so. (Don’t feel compelled to tell me that that’s an incredibly lame topic for a post after a 3-month break—I know it is.)

The actually assembly of this meal didn’t really have much foresight, but since Kaz has been bringing wraps to the Fisheries Centre for lunch a lot, I thought I’d try my own version. Its design was heavily inspired by a favourite feature lunch of mine from With the Grain, an adorable café in Guelph that serves a variety of fresh, locally-sourced dishes and the best lemon squares known to man. Seriously.

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IMG_0686Right then, so what is it? It’s a squash and hummus wrap. Now don’t leave. I promise it’s more exciting than that. In fact, let’s call it a Summer Joy Explosion Wrap instead. It’s perfect for a dinner on a hot summer night or an easy-to-pack lunch. And, while I’m often hungry an hour after eating a wrap, these suckers are super filling and basically eliminate the need to snack until your next meal. Super handy when you have a lot of work or errands to get done. The first part takes about 45 min, and you will need:

  • butternut squash (or other fave gourd)
  • a generous handful of pecans*
  • olive oil
  • cinnamon
  • salt & pepper

1) Preheat your oven to about 400º F.

2) Cut a butternut squash into ½” slices (no need to skin it, the skin will become soft enough and you won’t even notice. Plus it has extra vitamins and all…)

3) Generously coat the squash with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. (For me, this means a few shakes of cinnamon, a moderate amount of pepper, with a pinch of salt).

4) Bake for 30 minutes on an uncovered cookie sheet.

5) Remove from the oven, flip the squash.

6) Turn the oven down to 350º F, add the pecans to the tray, and bake for an additional 10 minutes (until squash pieces are very soft and pecans are toasted but not charred).

IMG_0689 IMG_0690 IMG_0688

The squash and nuts can be baked well ahead of time and I think it actually tastes better once they’ve cooled. According to my grocery receipt, my squash weighed .980 kg, and this yielded enough slices for at least 6 wraps. (If you don’t have squash or don’t like squash, it works just as well with sweet potato.)

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Once that’s ready, it takes about 5 minutes to assemble everything else. Here’s what you need to make one wrap:

  • 1 large tortilla of your choice (I’ve been using ‘Ancient Grains’ because I like to feel like a Roman Empress when I eat my meals. For the gluten-free homies out there, I’m sure corn tortillas can inspire a similar experience)
  • 3 T hummus, store bought-or homemade (again, the flavour possibilities are endless, but I like the caramelized onion one)
  • 1-2 T goat cheese (plain)
  • half a ripe avocado, sliced or cubed**
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • large handful of pea shoots

The order they’re listed works pretty well for layering, and I slip a few slices of squash and some of the nuts in right after the hummus before I crumble the goat cheese on top. Basically it’s the most delicious wrap you will ever eat. And, since most of these ingredients come in larger quantities than you need here but keep pretty well, you’ll have enough to make a few more over the week or invite your friends for a Summer Joy Explosion Wrap Party. Wow, madness.

Anyway, that’s about all I have time for right now. Will be back in a month probably…when I’ve finished my thesis!

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 *I might have mentioned this before but, unless I’m baking a cake, I don’t really measure anything in metric or imperial terms. I tend to just go with more tangible quantities of things. For me, its seems that a generous handful of pecans is equal to about 1/2 cup. On the bright side, everyone’s different so add as many or as few pecans as you like! (Keeping in mind, the squash/pecan part makes enough for about six servings). The same goes for all the other ingredients because, let’s face it, wraps aren’t exactly as difficult to prepare as Baked Alaska.

**It might be a well-known fact, but after taking half the avocado, store the other half in the fridge with the pit left in and the avo won’t brown. Aesthetics, but well, you know.

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