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Cook Talk

Roll ups for your next party
These are fun, sort of Western sushi.
32 pieces, serves 8 for lunch or 12-16 for an appetizer

DIY Roll ups
Faster than tea sandwiches, hold better, and very au courant.

8 10" tortillas- these are available in carrot orange, spinach green and tomato red as well as corn yellow. If you do several flavors of roll ups, consider a different color wrapper for each.

Filling for roll ups
The very simplest filling is to take the 8 ounces of cream cheese and squish in 1 cup of assorted chopped up bits and shredded cheese, spread it on the eight tortillas, edge to edge, and just roll up and cut. Now, if you want to be fancier, keep reading.

8 ounces cream cheese (see note below)
1/4 cup chutney/salsa/cranberry or compatible taste sparkling condiment to make it spreadable; or spicy refried beans for TexMex.
Add 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice to get a spreadable texture, if you need additional moisture
OR use 4-6 ounces cream cheese and 1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoons chopped green herb, parsley, fresh basil, mint or cilantro
OPTIONAL salty bit:
4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled,
OR a few tablespoons of chopped olives OR chopped capers

fillings= proteins plus green veg plus color layer
16 (8-12 ounces) deli slices (or shaved) turkey, ham, or other meat, or avocado slices
16 thin sandwich slices (8-12 ounces)cheese (you can also use shredded cheese mixed in with the cream cheese
Green layer
1/2 head romaine (8 leaves), stemmed and torn OR spinach or other green (nori strips for example) to make a single layer
Color layer
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and thin sliced= 1/2 cup
OR 1 jar julienne dried tomatoes in oil
OR other thin julienne veg (carrots, peeled cucumber, sweet pepper or bell pepper strips)
OR cooked asparagus spears

Cream cheese note: The cream cheese needs to be very soft; Neufchatel or low fat is softer than standard, and room temp is softer than chilled.
Assemble one roll up at a time, keep the remaining tortillas wrapped/covered so they don't dry out.
Make your cream cheese spread and cover the tortilla to the very edge- this is what will hold the roll up together.
Along the 4 inches that are the middle diameter of the tortilla, layer lettuce/spinach leaves down the middle of the tortilla.
Next, layer two thin slices of turkey/ham and pieces of thin sliced cheese on top of the lettuce/spinach.
Top with tomatoes/color, spreading a thin line the entire length of the tortilla.
Starting at one side of the of the tortilla, roll tightly towards the filling. Continue rolling until the filling is tightly wrapped and the cream cheese holds the roll up together.
Wrap each tortilla roll up tightly in plastic wrap as it is processed.
Continue with the remaining tortillas until all have been assembled. Place seam side down on a tray or cookie sheet that fits in your fridge.
Chill the wrapped roll ups in the refrigerator at least 30-60 minutes before serving. This slightly softens the tortilla and helps the roll hold its shape.
To serve
Unwrap to slice.
Cooks decision- either trim the ends even or stand the wild looking end slices up for decoration, ala sushi.
Apply toothpicks before slicing if your roll doesn't want to stay rolled, or if you are slicing very thin.
Slice each tortilla into 8 pieces for larger bites or 12 slices for smaller bites.

Interesting combos:
Club sandwich; bacon bits in the cream cheese, lettuce, single slice each turkey and ham, tomato. Fancy toothpicks with ruffles
Classic ham n' cheese: touch of mustard in the cream cheese, lettuce, ham, Swiss cheese, tomato
Spring Fling: lemon marmalade in the cream cheese, spring mix, havarti or muenster cheese, asparagus spear, chopped fresh parsley
Thanksgiving again: cranberry relish in the cream cheese, romaine, turkey, very finely julienne celery strip
California roll: bit of soy sauce in the cream cheese, nori strips, avocado slices, strips of "krab", julienne carrots and if you can get it, slivers of pickled daikon radish. Sprinkle of sesame seeds before rolling
TexMex: salsa in the cream cheese, mix in 2 ounces black olives, 4 ounces chopped pimento or green chiles, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, sprinkle on chopped cilantro
Oivey: pure cream cheese mixed with chopped capers, 1/2 pound flaked or very thin sliced lox, sprinkle chopped hard-cooked egg, sprinkle sliced green onion
Curry chicken: chutney in the cream cheese with teaspoon curry powder and sprinkle bacon bits, sprinkle raisins, thin sliced cold chicken, julienne veg,
Reuben rolls: grate Swiss cheese into the cream cheese, very thin sliced corned beef, julienne crisp pickle, scatter of very well drained sauerkraut
Kiddie rolls: Sub Nutella or nut butter for cream cheese, thin spread apricot or strawberry jam, thin slices longways of bananas, definitely needs toothpicks

Plan 2-3 bites per person with a mixed appetizer table or tea.
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