Food trucks roll out with unique recipes

Gorilla Cheese food truck. (Supplied)

Gorilla Cheese food truck. (Supplied)

Elizabeth Baird, Special to QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Food trucks are the new way to eat.

They've been building in popularity thanks to food shows and rallies like Sew Hungry, taking place on Friday at the Ottawa Street Farmers' Market in Hamilton, Ont., and considered one of the biggest food truck festivals in Canada.

It's serving amazing food from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will be offering such cross-Canada favourites as poutine, tacos, pizzas, pulled pork, schnitzels, souvlaki and grilled cheese from trucks that go by frisky names like Gorilla Cheese, Dobro Jesti, Bonfire Catering, Smoke's Poutinerie, Blue Donkey Streatery and Hank Daddy's Barbecue.

Already the rally sounds like a party. The fun starts with bright yellow, red, blue and purple trucks parked bumper-to-bumper along the street. At Sew Hungry local restaurants and a farmers' market just add to the choices for hungry customers.

So, what's a food truck? Some may call this foodie phenomenon mobile catering or canteen, but I'm going with "chip wagon gone gourmet" -- multicultural with heaping spoonfuls of zany passion stirred in. Food trucks are trending. You can find them at street festivals, fairs or farmers' markets, rock concerts or sporting event. On a regular day, they can be seen occasionally clustered around office buildings -- where there are workers or revellers, there are food trucks.

The Internet is the best source of information for up-to-date information about food trucks in your hometown. For a taste you can make at home, here are two amazing recipes from the trucks at Sew Hungry.

Bonfire Catering's Bacon Jam Pizzas

An ingenious blend of creamy, salty, chewy, crunchy and oozy with a touch of sweet and sour. No wonder this pizza is one of Yvonne Deveau's best sellers from Bonfire Catering, a wood-burning pizza oven on wheels.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed
  • 3-Hour Pizza Dough (recipe below)
  • 2 pkg. (250 g each) Fior di latte mozzarella, or 6 cups (1.5 L) shredded regular mozzarella
  • 3/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Bacon Jam (recipe below)

Directions:

Combine olive oil and garlic. For each pizza, roll 1 of the balls of dough to 10 inches (25 cm) round. Place on an oiled pizza pan; press edges to raise a rim around the outside. Brush dough with garlicky oil.

Drain Fior di latte; pat dry. Pull each ball into coarse shreds. Spread a quarter of shreds over pizza base avoiding centre and rim. Scatter a quarter of onion overtop. Drop a quarter of Bacon Jam over cheese by spoonfuls avoiding centre. Repeat with remaining dough, garlic oil, cheese, onion and jam to make 4 pizzas.

Bake in bottom third of 450F. (230C.) oven until crust is golden and cheese and bacon jam form lovely swirls all creamy and colourful.

Makes 4 pizzas, 4 to 5 servings.

Bacon Jam

When Yvonne Deveau heard about bacon jam, she did what everybody she knows does: " I googled it." The recipe, halved for four personal-sized pizzas, and slightly adjusted, is from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb (375 g) sliced bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) medium maple syrup

Directions:

Cut bacon crosswise into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. In large skillet, fry bacon over medium heat, stirring often until bacon is lightly browned, 20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) fat from skillet; add onion and garlic. Fry over medium-low heat until translucent, 5 minutes. Add coffee, vinegar, brown sugar and maple syrup. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from skillet.

Scrape into small heavy saucepan; stir in bacon. Cover; bring to a simmer over low heat. Barely simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is syrupy and bacon is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. In food processor, pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool; refrigerate in airtight container, up to 1 week.

Makes enough for 4 personal pizzas.

 

3-Hour Pizza Dough

A longer rising time gives dough more flavour. Yvonne's recipe calls for Mugnaini pizza flour, but she suggests "00" pizza flour, an Italian soft wheat flour available in some supermarkets, as an alternative. In a pinch, use all-purpose, adding a little more water as needed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) active dry yeast
  • 4 cups (1 L) "00" flour (see above)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) olive oil

Directions:

Combine 1/4 cup (60 ml) of warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once until creamy. Combine with remaining water.

In large bowl, whisk flour and salt. Add yeast mixture, stirring to make a shaggy dough. Drizzle oil overtop; mix in. Press and pull dough into rough ball. Turn out onto lightly floured counter. Knead 5 minutes, dusting counter lightly with flour if necessary. If dough feels dry and difficult to knead, cover and let rest for 10 minutes; resume kneading. If dough feels wet and builds up on your hands, add flour 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) at a time and continue kneading. Dough should feel moist but not sticky.

Cover dough with bowl; let rest 20 minutes. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 2 1/2 hours. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate dough for up to 1 day; let come to room temperature before continuing, about 2 hours.) Press down dough; divide into 4 portions. Form each portion into smooth ball; let rest, lightly covered for 10 minutes.

Makes enough for four 9-inch (23 cm) pizzas.

Dobro Jesti's Schnitzel with Sriracha Mayo

From Dobro Jesti, Jim Godina's Hamilton-based truck, comes a taste of his Slovenian heritage. Pork schnitzel with plenty of flavours - the classic with lemon on a ciabatta bun with marinara and provolone, one he calls the Kraut with sauerkraut, and the summer of 2012's best sellers, Schnitzel with Sriracha Mayo.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (500 g) centre cut pork loin
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) white pepper
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 4 grainy ciabatta buns
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes

Coating:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) minced parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (500 ml) Panko breadcrumbs
  • Sriracha Mayo
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) Sriracha hot sauce, approximate
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) each soy sauce and lime juice

Directions:

Trim pork loin, removing all fat and membranes. Cut into 8 thin even slices. Place slices, 1 at a time, between waxed paper. With the bottom of a small saucepan, pound evenly to 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness. In bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt and white pepper. Very lightly brush over the pork cutlets; layer with waxed paper in airtight container. Refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 1 day.

Sriracha Mayo: In bowl, stir together mayonnaise with Sriracha sauce, adding more if you love heat, soy sauce and lime juice. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Set out 3 shallow bowls. In 1, beat the eggs with the parsley, salt and pepper. Arrange bowls in order, flour in first, egg mixture in second, and Panko in third. Dip each piece of pork, first in flour, shaking off excess, then in egg, letting excess drip off before coating both sides in Panko. Place cutlets in a single layer on tray.

Heat enough canola oil to come 1-inch (2.5 cm) up side of a large heavy skillet until a pinch of flour dropped into oil sizzles. Fry schnitzels without crowding, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes total. (Or, deep fry for about 2 minutes.) Drain on paper towels; keep warm at low heat in oven while frying remaining schnitzels.

Meanwhile, cut buns in half and warm. Stack lettuce, spoonful of Sriracha mayo, schnitzel, sliced tomatoes, more mayo, another schnitzel between the top and bottom. Open wide!

Makes 4 sandwiches.


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