Nowadays, food trucks are all the rage in the culinary industry. Gaining more prestige with competition television shows like The Great Food Truck Race, food trucks are no longer considered only for their convenience (like a lunch truck near your office building), but people are actually seeking out food trucks, stalking them on Twitter, and gaining greater appreciation of the culinary delights provided in these mobile restaurants.
There is a huge variety in food trucks across the nation. From those offering comfort foods to others with elevated, gourmet dishes, and yet many more that span the globe with Internationally-influenced cuisine. Between taco trucks and all manners of Asian mobile kitchens, the sky is the limit.
I recently had the opportunity to review an exciting new cookbook entitled Food Truck Road Trip, published by Page St. Publishing and written by Kim Pham and Philip Shen. It includes recipes from food trucks coast to coast, as well as profiles of their chef/owners.
I'm very happy to report that every single recipe in the book features at least one photo! Additionally, there are tons of really enticing recipes that I'm adding to my "to do" list, but some that particularly stand out include BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos, Maker's Mark Fried Chicken, Fried Chicken Sandwich with Fennel Slaw, Yolko Ono, Crab a Hold of Me, Spanish Pork Shoulder Chili, Beef and Bacon Chili with Corn Bread Waffles, Venezuelan Arepas with Muchacho, Brisket Barbacoa Empanada, Japanese Curry with Chicken Kara-age, Bulgogi Filo Bites, Crab Balls with Remoulade, Curry Garlic Portabella Mushrooms Fries with Mustard Aioli, Vietnamese Iced Coffee Pops, Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Pops, and Kiwi Mango Pops (Psssst, there's a whole chapter devoted to pops!).
The first recipe I tried from this really versatile cookbook is called Be Lovin' Veggies from the Melts My Heart food truck (they provide the Crab a Hold of Me recipe as well). It's typically made on sourdough bread, but I actually used Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane for mine.
A medley of sauteed vegetables including chopped onion and mushrooms comprises a portion of the filling, along with cheddar, tomato, avocado, basil, and Sriracha for a little kick.
This is the ultimate veggie-centric grilled cheese. It's crunchy and gooey with acid from the tomatoes, richness from the avocado, pungency from the onions, earthiness from the mushrooms, and of course an herbaceous freshness from the basil.
It's a bit messy to eat, and perhaps in the future I will slice instead of chopping the onions. I also felt that using an entire avocado per sandwich was extreme, and even barely contained half an avocado within each sandwich I made.
I would definitely make this sandwich in the future. It's super filling and super satisfying. I don't miss the meat at all, giving me a wonderful meatless option with enough decadence and flavor to keep my family and me very happy. I'm looking forward to trying many more recipes from this book!
I'm pleased to announce that the folks at Page St. Publishing are offering a copy of Food Truck Road Trip to one lucky Mission: Food reader. The giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. Post a comment below by November 17, 2014 at 11:59pm EST telling me your favorite food truck dish you've ever tried! Is it Korean tacos in the Big Apple or perhaps waffles in the City of Angels? Share your favorite and you just might win your very own copy of Food Truck Road Trip. I'll be selecting a winner at random. Good luck!
Be Lovin' Veggies
Melts My Heart - Wes Isip - San Jose, CA
Makes 1 sandwich
(From Food Truck Road Trip by Kim Pham, Philip Shen, Terri Phillips printed with permission of Page St. Publishing)
A visit to a popular grilled cheese truck in Southern California and a little market research convinced owner Brian Aflague that his love for grilled cheese was a universal love. “It’s such an easy concept: bread, butter and cheese,” Brian explains. “But what’s great about it is it has so much stretch, so much range and versatility. There’s so much you can do with it.” Brian displays this versatility at his Melts My Heart truck with sandwiches like the Be Lovin’ Veggies, a gorgeous blend of veggies and cheese kicked up with Sriracha. With the limited refrigeration space on a food truck, Brian goes through his ingredients pretty quickly. He shops every other day to ensure his veggies are as fresh as possible. Trust us, you’ll taste the difference it makes.
1 tbsp (14ml) olive oil
3 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1⁄4 yellow onion, chopped
1⁄4 red onion, chopped
1⁄4 tsp minced garlic
1⁄2 scallion, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 slices sourdough bread
2 1⁄2 slices mild Cheddar cheese
1 1⁄2 tsp (7ml) Sriracha sauce
2 slices tomato
3 small leaves fresh basil
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced (I used 1/2 an avocado per sandwich)
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the cremini mushrooms and yellow and red onions to the pan. Sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat to low, add the minced garlic and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes. Stir continuously to avoid burning.
Add the scallion and a pinch each of salt and pepper and stir for 1 minute. The sautéed ingredients should be tender and a little crunchy with a light brown color. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Raise the heat to medium-high. Butter one side of each slice of sourdough bread and set the buttered-sides down onto the pan. Spread the cheese over both slices of bread. In a zigzag motion from one side of the bread to the other, squeeze on the Sriracha sauce. Add more to taste for increased flavor and spiciness.
Add the sautéed vegetables, tomatoes, fresh basil and avocado on top of the cheese on one slice of bread. Add the other slice of bread on top of the ingredients, buttered-side up. Toast both sides of the sandwich for 2 to 3 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
*Disclaimer* I received no compensation to write this review other than a free copy of the book. My opinions are always my own.