Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sam's Wrap

 I’ve always wondered how much time I spent on my feet for the past 2 decades preparing food. I even tried once wearing a pedometer just to see how many steps I took in a normal day of running up and down the hot line. Running around the prep counter too the fridge and back, and running sauté pans back and forth to the dishwasher. At the end of the night (1 AM) when I sat down for my typical shift drink of Makers Mark and Coke with my good friend Michelle while she was counting the nightly tips, I looked at my pedometer, and to my shock I walked 12 miles. That made perfect since seeing how my feet felt. I suppose a chef can gauge his time in kitchen by his feet, at lest I can. Mine are shot after so many years on them. Of course it doesn’t help with my ankles being a complete mess from playing hockey during high school with sprain after sprain. I think to myself, Good Times!

I recall a span of years on my feet, that are my fondest and dearest memories, but also, the most physically hardest I ever had. Those years were spent flipping burgers and spinning pizza and moving freight up and down from the root cellar of this 200 year old building. Those years were packed with laughter and being around genuinely great people and customers. That time resulted in a lasting friendship with my best friend. I would have liked to think that those times would have lasted forever, but like all things in life, people move on to chase after there goals and dreams. I would love to name off the people I came to call my friends for life, but that would probably be embarrassing for them.

This isnt the original photo, but many
will recall the underwear tree!
Many good memories!
Those days in that kitchen and the hours upon hours in it on my feet, were spent trying to create new things to eat. We all just loved to experiment. Even though it was short order Bar and Grill food, it never stopped us. The Hamburgers that we made up, would pretty much kill, or seriously injure anyone with the slightest heart condition. The thousands of Wraps we experimented on our customers, most of them not leaning on the healthy side of life. Many have been forgotten but a few still stand out in my mind. And of course we won’t forget the deep fryer! I don’t think there was one item in that kitchen we didn’t try to deep fry at some point in our experiments. I even attempted to batter and deep fry one of the staple hamburgers that this place was known for. I’m sad to report it was not a success and I spent a good part of one afternoon draining and filtering and cleaning the fryer.

An amazing thing about reflecting on this time is that a lot of those people I worked side by side with moved on in the culinary field. Those friends now work to this day, in kitchens around the world. One of them even opened his own successful restaurant here were I live, which I might add, is a local favorite. I’m proud that I stood next to these people through the 100 plus degree kitchens in the dead of summer slinging out great food and many colorful phrases and nicknames.

Of the many thousand upon thousands of things that came across that kitchen grill, none stand out in my memory more so than a wrap called the “Sam’s Wrap”. It kind of had a local cult following, but those who had it could never get enough of it. It popped back into my mind because several weeks ago I was asked to recall how it was put together for one of the former Prep Cooks who couldn’t remember all the steps. So they called my best friend and then he tracked me down so we could conference call and I could refresh the steps. Once this was done and we did a little reminiscing and laughing I couldn’t get the damned wrap out of my head. So, instead of making it and blowing the diet that I’m slowly day after day failing at, I will post it so maybe one of you can enjoy it. I’ll just think about it and let drool drip down my chin.

Sam’s Wrap

Large flour tortillas (Herb flavored if you can find them)
1 lb Honey Smoked thick Bacon
Vinaigrette Marinated Chicken (grilled)
Swiss cheese
1 container of Button Mushrooms
¼ head of Iceberg lettuce Shredded
Ranch dressing (not store bought, use homemade, it just tastes better)
¼ cup Clarified butter

Marinate your Chicken for 24 hours in Vinaigrette.

Make your Ranch dressing and refrigerate 24 hours.

Grill Chicken, after chicken is done, let cool, then cut into ¼ inch thick long ways. Should look kind of like chicken French fries once done. Set aside in bowl.

Cook bacon on a cookie sheet so you can drain off excess bacon fat. Once done set aside bacon to cool. Once cooled rough cut bacon and set aside in bowl.
Wash Mushrooms then drain and dry. Remove all steams. Slice mushrooms into ¼ inch. Set aside in bowl.

With a food processor, if you have one, finely shred your Iceberg lettuce.; Set aside in bowl.

Getting HOT:
Place sauté pan on med high heat. Once Pan is up to heat apply ½ of your clarified butter in pan, then add 1 handful of your mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms for about 1 min adding more butter if needed. After 1 min add bacon and chicken, and finish off sautéing. Keep in mind that the bacon will add more grease as it reheats so be sparingly with the butter. After another minute, place Swiss cheese on top of your mushrooms , chicken and bacon in the sauté pan. Removed pan from heat and place a cover over the pan to melt the Swiss cheese

At this point you will want to warm your flour tortilla up either on another large sauté pan or a flat top grill if you have one. This should only take a few moments to warm each side.

Place your tortilla on a flat surfaced counter. Put a small handful of shredded lettuce in center of tortilla. Pour a little ranch dressing over the lettuce to coat it as if you’re prepping a salad to eat. Slide your mushroom, chicken, bacon, and Melted Swiss onto the top of your shredded lettuce and ranch. Top off with just a little bit more ranch.

Now fold the bottom lip of the tortilla forward over the mound of goodness. Then fold over both left and right ends of your tortilla. Now roll the rest of the tortilla away from you keeping the roll tight but not to tight so the tortilla ruptures, which happens a lot till you get use to the feel for it.

If you have some parchment paper, you can roll the Wrap into that after you finish rolling the tortilla. This will help keep the wrap together and so you can cut it in half to serve and also to keep it from exploding in your hands.

***Makes 1 to 4 Warps depending on portion sizes***

Even thought this restaurant and Bar/ Grill wasn’t haute cuisine by any standard and was never expected too be, the food was always good quality. I think of those times often every morning I drive by the place on my way to work. Over time the food and atmosphere have changed and it has lost its appeal to me so I don’t eat there but maybe once a year. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears were poured into those building and those of us that spend many hours on our poor hurting feet have a lasting love and friendship.


No comments: