The weather is just starting to really heat up in Miami, but summer will soon be making its exit -- something you can't say about almost any other part of the country.
To parents of young kids, that sweltering mid-August sun means only one thing: brown bag lunch season. This Monday, kids in the county are headed back to school -- something for adults to dread, too, because they can only make a PB&J so many times before their fourth-graders can't take it anymore.
Short Order spoke to four of our favorite chefs in Miami to see what they recommend you pack in your children's lunch bags. Get ready for some awesome snack and sandwich suggestions.
1. Jose Mendin of Pubbelly: Falafel Wrap
"The way we do it at home, is take cooked chickpeas, shelled edamame beans, tahini sauce, parsley, a little minced garlic, cumin, paprika and olive oil, and mix it all in a food processor. We then make patties or balls. You can put them in the wrap like that, or you can pan- or deep-fry them for a nice crunchy outside. The wraps can be served at room temperature, cold or hot, which makes it perfect for bagged lunches. Ian likes the green colored spinach wraps, and we put sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce and Tzatziki inside."
2. Oscar del Rivero of Peacock Garden Café: Homemade Flatbread
"Homemade breads are much simpler to make at home than most people realize. The key is to be patient, especially when preparing your dough. Watch it closely as you work and with practice you will know when it's reached the perfect consistency. There is nothing better than when your family arrives home, and they are greeted with the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. Flatbreads are a great base for whatever fresh vegetables or herbs you have on hand. At Peacock Garden Café, many guests enjoy starting a meal by sharing a flatbread topped with tomato, fresh basil and goat cheese. My favorites are tomato and basil flatbread and prosciutto and asparagus flatbread."
3. Allen Susser of Daily Melt: Turkey and Provolone Sandwich
"I grew up with brown bag lunches for school days -- my favorite was always been tuna on rye. Fast forward to today, I have made brown bag lunches for my two daughters each school day. As a chef and father, I know it is essential to feed them fresh and healthy lunches. Their favorite is turkey and provolone on whole wheat. Along with the sandwich is always a fresh fruit, a few nuts, and a bottle of water."
4. Chef Douglas Sisk of The Social Club at Surfcomber: Apple Banana Nut Cereal Bar
Chef Sisk recommends packing a healthful yet filling cereal bar. His recipe for an apple banana nut cereal bar packs a protein punch with tofu, almonds, dried banana, dried apple, rolled oats, and cereal. This bar is satisfying and helps keep you alert and productive throughout the day.
Apple Banana Nut Cereal Bar
3 cups of rolled oats
½ cup of almonds
3 cups of Kashi cereal
1 cup of dried apple, chopped
1 cup of dried banana, chopped
¼ cup of all-purpose flour
½ tsp of salt
12 oz of Silken Tofu
½ cup of canola oil
1 cup of honey
1 Tblsp of vanilla extract
2 Tblsp of lemon zest
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, almonds, Kashi cereal, dried apple, dried banana, salt, and all-purpose flour.
3. In a second mixing bowl, puree the tofu and add in the canola, honey, vanilla and lemon zest.
4. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients together.
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5. Add the mixture to a greased, jelly roll style pan and place in the oven to bake.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
7. Let cool completely and then cut into bars as needed.