Monday, January 17, 2011

Keep On Truckin’ with Exotic Food on the Fly. Recipes That’ll Remind You of One of America’s Hottest New Food Trends!

Today, food trucks fill a coveted time slot on Food TV and are “followed” by thousands of Twitterers, eager to see where their favorite “restaurants” are parking next. So what kind of miles per gallon are food trucks scoring among hard core foodies like myself? Well, to make a long story short, we love ‘em. I mean, come on…who doesn’t welcome a chance to enjoy four-star cuisine at street level prices? Better yet, food trucks don’t care whatcha wear and no reservations are required. Yet in perusing the menus of some of the nation’s most popular rolling restaurants, I couldn’t help but note, well…just how easy it is to copy their cuisine from the comforts of home.

In my cookbooks, At Home Entertaining and Fresh Traditions, there are MANY recipes that lend themselves to humongous servings, and, like the more hipster food trucks out there, feature things like skirt steak, tostadas, polenta cakes, crepes and sliders; my chapter titles like “Howl at the Moon” and “Wild and Crazy Revelries” emulate the spirit of the food truck best, and are—now that I think about it—motivated by some of the same things, like not being afraid to kick up a classic by adding ethnic flavor; what I had in mind when I created Grilled Brie and Apple Sandwiches with Spicy Apple Chutney.

Exotic Flavors Definitely Include Chutney

Chutney is an East Indian condiment that pairs perfectly with curried foods; it is a blend of hot and sweet and can be just as spicy or unspicy as you like it. Make up a big batch, so there’s plenty left-over to jazz up a spur-of-the-moment grilled cheese sandwich—or you could just buy chutney in a jar. To make apple chutney yourself, simply sauté onion and red bell pepper in 2 tablespoons of olive oil; add some garlic cloves, a jalapeno, dash of ground ginger and curry and you’re nearly there—more precise instructions are available, of course, when you view my recipe. I just want to give you the basics of what’s in an apple chutney, which—besides the ingredients I just mentioned—include allspice, a whole cup of brown sugar, quarter cup of raisins, red wine vinegar, and 4 juicy red apples. You can store your chutney in an airtight container in your refrigerator for weeks’ worth of special, flavorful sandwiches.

Chutney is Excellent at Shifting Gears from Sweet to Savory

Also consider making Grilled Chicken and Mushroom Tostadas with Tomato Chutney sometime. Prepare the chutney for this dish by placing 6 diced plum tomatoes into a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, paprika and ginger to taste. After simmering for 20 minutes, you’ve got yourself an original chutney to spice up the ordinary sandwich, and transform lunchtime into being at the World’s Fair.

Honk if You Love Globally Inspired Cuisine!

Food trucks have jumped on the bandwagon of the very things that make America so American—like immigration. When we welcome people from other countries, they bring a taste of their homeland with them, diversifying our food choices and making our cuisine richer and more sophisticated; it’s cooking icons like Julia Child who paved the way by encouraging us to experiment with foreign recipes. Meanwhile, space age kitchen gadgetry also stepped in to make more food possible—and it all fits in the smallest kitchen—or food truck! So, the next time you redress a classic with exotic flair and take it on the go with you, ask yourself this: is tinfoil the new black?

Whatever you eat, please enjoy to the fullest, and if you should happen on a food truck that inspires you, shoot me a comment…and maybe a referral! I’m HUNGRY!

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