My Fantasy Food Truck

It’s been over a year since I posted on this blog… Since my life change I have had no time to cook in my kitchen, ever, so this post is just a dream of what I may some day explore if I ever get a chance to cook for myself again…

I was compelled to post this because of Brittany’s blog post on BlissffulBrit, a wonderful website!

http://blissfulbritt.com/what-id-sell-in-my-food-truck/

So,…

I have always thought throughout my life that the very best food inventions on this planet were, sandwiches, meatballs, and pizzas. These would be the focus of my serving menu. There would be “the regulars” (items that would never leave the menu), the “double dailies” (items that would only stay on the menu for only two days every month), and finally the “mad mashes” (items that would be uncommon food combinations that would be on the menu no longer than a week, or less). All of these menus items of course would be in the form of a sandwich, a meatball, or a pizza.

Understanding that the common representation of these three food items most always have bread, meat, and cheese in their construction. My food truck would give into the status quo of these items to a certain extent for those people whom are not looking for “different”. However, the rules do not always apply when you are looking for something you have never experienced before.

For healthy adventurers, have you ever had a saladball? Or a fruit calzone? How about a portobello club house?

For meat mongers, ever try a fried turkey-pork shred-sphere? How about a diamond steak strip pie? Ever get your hands around a bacon weaved bo-po-pul stack?

These are just a few things my food truck would serve. My food truck of course being the size of a family RV with two serving sides. 

Maybe one day I will actually add the menu to this blog post that is still in my head.

(Thank you for inspiring me Brittany!)

Haddock and Shrimp Cakes with Basil Mayonnaise

1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3/4 pound skinless haddock or cod fillet, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg lightly beaten
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (do not grate into the white!)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil

In a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the basil for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse it under cold running water. Squeeze the excess water from the basil and transfer the basil to a blender. Add the mayonnaise and purée. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate the basil mayonnaise until lightly chilled.

In a large bowl combine the haddock and shrimp with the panko, heavy cream, egg, chopped parsley and chives, lemon zest, cayenne, 1-1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Form the mixture into 8 half cup cakes about 3 inches in diameter.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the oil. Add 4 of the fish cakes and fry over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Remember, these are cakes, not balls. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cakes to paper towels. Repeat with the remaining butter and fish cakes. Once all the cakes are finished and drained on the paper towels, transfer the cakes to your mouth at once with the basil mayonnaise.

Be warned… They are hot and tasty.

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Spring Halibut Papillotes with Baby Spinach and Scallops

12 scallions (about 6 ounces)
I-1/2 pounds skinless halibut fillet,
cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces baby spinach, cut into 1-1/2-inch strips
lemon juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons creme fraiche
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
dry white wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
French bread, for serving

Preheat the oven to 500°. On a baking sheet, arrange the scallions in a single
layer. Roast for 3 to 5 minutes, until the leaves are slightly puffed and beginning
to brown at the edges.

In a medium bowl, toss the halibut
with the olive oil and chives; season with salt and pepper.

Lay four 14-inch-long sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. Arrange 3 scallions in the center of each sheet and top with the halibut. Mound the baby spinach with a squeeze of lemon on the fish and top with the creme fraiche, wine and soy sauce; season with pepper. Fold the parchment over the fish, then fold the edge of the parchment over itself in small pleats to seal the papillotes.

Transfer the papillotes to a baking
sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until they are slightly puffed. Snip the parchment packets open with scissors and serve with French bread.

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Seared Tuna Steak

4 Yellowfin tuna steaks, about 7oz each and 2cm thick
1 ½ tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed
9oz couscous
5fl oz vegetable stock, hot
3.5fl oz orange juice, hot

Roasted vegetables:
2 leeks, outer layers removed and cut into 2 cm cylinders
1 large red pepper, cubed into 2cm pieces
1 large zucchini, cubed into 2cm pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 2cm pieces
1 large garlic clove, crushed
handful coriander leaves, chopped
zest and juice of a lemon

Vinaigrette:
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 430°

Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl, drizzle over a little olive oil and season well. Toss to coat all the pieces and tip out onto a foil lined, oiled and seasoned baking tray, making sure all the vegetables sit in one layer. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (or until the vegetables are cooked and slightly crisp round the edges.)

Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, season to taste and set aside.

Tip the couscous into a mixing bowl. Add a dash of olive oil and pour over the hot stock and orange juice. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 15 – 20 minutes.

Season the tuna and coat with the crushed coriander and olive oil. Heat a frying pan, add a splash more oil along with the steaks and pan-fry for 2 minutes on each side. Pour over 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and transfer to a warm plate. Cover with foil and leave to rest for a few minutes.

Fork through the couscous to separate the grains. Add the coriander, lemon zest and juice, a couple of spoonful’s of the vinaigrette and season to taste.

Divide the couscous onto the plates and spoon the roast vegetables on the side. Slice the tuna steaks diagonally and arrange on top of the couscous. Finish with a drizzle of lemon vinaigrette.

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Broiled Shrimp Toast

4 ounces rock shrimp (or peeled medium shrimp, deveined)
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoon Sriracha (Asian chili sauce) or other chili sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 medium baguette, sliced into 20 thin slices (less than 1/4 inch)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pulse shrimp, shallot, and ginger in a food processor until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, Sriracha, and lime zest and juice.

Heat broiler. Working in 2 batches, toast bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet 8 inches from heat source until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from oven.

Flip bread, generously brush tops with butter, and spread with a thin layer of shrimp paste (about 1 teaspoon each).

Broil until shrimp mixture is opaque and cooked through and toasts are browned, about l minute. Serve warm.

If you decide to make this ahead of when you want to eat it, the shrimp paste can be refrigerated up to one day as well as the baguette slices in an air tight container at room temperature for one day.

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Quinoa Crab Cakes

1 cup buttery cracker crumbs or gluten free crakers
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup cooked white quinoa
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh chopped
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon McCormick Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 pound fresh lump crab meat

Place cracker crumbs in bowl and moisten with milk.
Add quinoa, Worcestershire sauce, parsley flakes, baking powder, Old Bay Seasoning, Salt, egg, and crab meat. Gently mix so as to keep as much of the lump crab meat together as possible.
Shape Old Bay Crab Cake mixture into patties.
Broil or fry the prepared Quinoa Crab Cakes until golden-brown on both sides.
Serve with Lemon Aioli
Lemon Aioli:

2 (large) egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
1/2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove(s) garlic, minced
1 tablespoon(s) fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until a thick mayonnaise forms. Whisk in the minced garlic and lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper

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Seared Bay Scallops with Brown Butter emulsion

The emulsion

2 cups balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

The scallops

2 pounds bay scallops
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
About 1⁄4 cup Clarified Butter (recipe below)
2 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Prepare the emulsion: Place the vinegar in a medium nonreactive saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and reduced to 1⁄2 cup, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Place the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and allow it to melt and turn light brown. Remove the butter from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Gradually whisk the browned butter into the reduced balsamic vinegar. Whisk in the soy sauce and season with pepper to taste. Reserve the emulsion at room temperature.

Cook the scallops: Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and season them with the salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of 2 large skillets with clarified butter. Place the pans over a medium-high flame and heat until the butter is nearly smoking. Divide the scallops between the pans; do not shake the pans or move the scallops around. Immediately reduce the heat to medium and add a little more clarified butter to each pan. Cook the scallops until they are deeply brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops over, and add a sprig of thyme and a clove of garlic to each pan. Allow the scallops to brown slightly on the other side, continuously basting them with the hot butter, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the scallops to a platter with a slotted spoon and reserve in a warm place. Add the 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and scrape with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits; remove the pan from the heat when the butter is completely melted.

Pour an equal portion of the emulsion onto each plate in a wide stripe down the center. Place an equal portion of scallops, browned side up, in the center of each plate, spoon the pan drippings around, and serve immediately.

Clarified Butter: There are a number of variations on the procedure for making clarified butter, but the end result or goal is always the same: to eliminate the milk solids, which cause the butter to burn and spit when frying or sautéing foods at higher temperatures.

(((Note: Clarified butter is available in Asian or Indian markets under its Indian name, ghee.)))

Makes about 1-1⁄2 cups

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter

Cut the butter into 1⁄2-inch slices and place it in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and then come to a boil; this should take about 5 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. The butter should sizzle and crackle; throughout the process, make sure the heat is never so high that the bottom of the pan starts to brown or blacken. Lower the heat to keep the butter at a slow, steady boil for another 15 minutes, continuing to skim any surface foam. The bubbles in the butter will become smaller and smaller, ultimately the size of a pinhead. Allow any residual milk solids to settle to the bottom of the pan. Carefully pour off the pure, clear, oily butterfat into a holding container, leaving all solids behind. (At this point, you can pass it through a tea strainer or other fine-mesh strainer just to be sure it’s completely clear.) Allow the clarified butter to cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

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