Food & Drink | May 2022

By Abby & Kevin Tankersley

Keep on Truckin

A little more than 10 years ago, I was given an assignment to write an article about food trucks for this magazine. I did my research, drove around a bunch and wrote 609 words about the state of food trucks in Waco at the time, and the article was never published. The reason, I’m pretty sure, is because that while there were plenty of mobile eateries in town at the time, there was no variety. During my explorations, I made a list of 17 food trucks. Of those, 15 served tacos, almost exclusively. There was one that specialized in burgers, and one ice cream truck. Aside from those, tacos, and that was it. I will say, however, my research did send me to 1400 LaSalle Ave., which is where El Pollo Palenque Taqueria food truck is located. It’s still our go-to place for tacos.

The assortment of food trucks in Waco has certainly been expanded since 2011. There are now places that serve pretty much any cuisine you desire. And there were even more choices available March 19, when the Texas Food Truck Showdown returns to town.

“I think food trucks are so unique. They’re always trying to do something new, something different. And I think that’s the cool part about it,” said Alivia Zepeda, director of signature events at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the event.

The Texas Food Truck Showdown started in 2015, Zepeda said, hoping that maybe 20 trucks and a couple of thousand folks would show up.

“It ended up being closer to 9,000 (attendees) the first day,” she said. “We were completely blown away and knew that it was here to stay.”

The competition portion of this year’s event was held in the morning, and the public could buy tickets to sample the trucks’entries into the showdown. After that, the trucks were free to serve their full menus.

Prior to the trucks being open to the public, a panel of judges sampled offerings from vendors and decided on awards for best dessert, best between-the-bread, grand champion and a couple of other categories. A people’s choice award was also given. In addition to bragging rights, the grand champion title came with a $3,000 prize and other category winners took home $400.

More information about the showdown, including a list of competing food trucks, and a list of winners, which wasn’t available before this issue went to press, can be found at TheTexasFoodTruckShowdown.com.

The last showdown took place in 2019, with the next two years’ competitions being canceled due to the pandemic, so we looked to the category winners from ’19 for recipe inspirations this month. Five Boys Ranch food truck from Bridgeport won the “best between buns” category that year with a Bourbon Blueberry Bacon Slider; and Churros’ Time from Waco was crowned grand champion with its mini churros filled with dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

For the photo, we made turkey burgers with a blueberry-chipotle glaze on brioche buns, and served those alongside sweet potato fries with an Arnold Palmer to drink. According to ArnoldPalmer.com, the drink got its name in the late 1960s after the golfer Arnold Palmer ordered a drink consisting of half lemonade and half iced tea at a restaurant in Palm Springs, California. Another diner overhead him, and asked the server for “that Arnold Palmer drink.

The Recipes

Cornbread Brioche

  • 4 ounces milk
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened

Add the milk to a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Just before the milk boils, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the yeast and 1 cup bread flour. When the milk has cooled to room temperature, add it to the flour and mix well. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the eggs all at one time and beat until combined. Add the 2 1/3 cups bread flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt; mix until combined.

Add the butter, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, to the dough and mix until the butter has been incorporated into the dough. Continue until all the butter has been added.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a medium to large scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared pan. Set aside in a warm place until the buns have become puffy.

Heat oven to 400 F.

Bake the buns until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Makes about 12-15 servings.

­

Blueberry-Chipotle Glaze

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries

Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, chipotle peppers and cumin. Add the blueberries and gently crush with a spoon. Simmer over low heat, stirring until thickened, 15-20 minutes.

Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the sauce to create a smooth consistency. Strain through a sieve or fine mesh colander. Sauce may be used right away or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator after cooling completely.

Makes 2-3 cups.

­

Turkey Burgers

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, or use pan spray

Grate the onion on the fine holes of a grater. There should be about 2 tablespoons of grated onion. Discard the liquid. Place the onion in a bowl with the turkey, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix together well. Shape into four patties and press the patties into 1/2-inch thick rounds. The meat will be quite moist.

Spray a griddle or nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and place over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, cook the patties for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F on an instant-read thermometer. Serve the patties on the brioche buns with whatever burger toppings you like, and drizzle with the blueberry-chipotle glaze.

Makes about 4 burgers.

­

­

Cajeta Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups fresh goat milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Add the vanilla, milk, sugar, baking soda and salt to a 5-quart stainless steel pot. Place over medium heat and warm, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the milk turns foamy and light, about 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking at a gentle simmer, stirring and scraping the sides of the pot frequently, until milk is thick, golden and reduced, about 45 minutes, or until the mixture has become syrupy and coats the back of a spoon.

Pour into glass jars and let cool completely. Place lids on the jars and close tightly. The cajeta will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 months.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce.

­

­

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

  • 1 can (14 ounces) dulce de leche (see note)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can (15 ounces) full-fat coconut milk

Combine the dulce de leche, cream and coconut milk in a pitcher. Whisk to thoroughly mix ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To make the ice cream, stir the milk mixture again and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers’ directions. When done, scrape into a loaf pan and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours to harden.

Drizzle the cajeta over the ice cream and add some chocolate shavings, if desired, top prior to serving.

Note: You can make your own dulce de leche by placing one unopened 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk in a slow cooker and covering completely with water. Turn heat to low and let sit for 8 hours. Carefully remove the hot can from the water and allow it to cool completely before opening.

Makes about 6-8 servings

­

Join the Conversation