Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 18, 2014

Lee Ward: Trendy food trucks bring Southern delicacies to your door: 2/18/14

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — For years, city people have been purchasing lunches from food trucks. Lately, it’s become another food fad and with good right.

Food bought from a truck may not sound upscale or even tasty, but it’s not limited to hot dogs and Bahama mamas. In fact, truck food has become both upscale and delicious, Heather Donahoe reports in her book “The Southern Food Truck Cookbook.”

In fact, Louisville is home to Holy Mole, a taco truck that specializes in Korean beef taco and soft-shell crab taco.

Donahoe reveals at least 500 food trucks in Southern cities. Unfortunately, none has hit the Tri-State, but she shares several recipes, all of which can be duplicated at home.


(Mexican corn on the cob)

From Holy Mole of Louisville

8 ears of corn, husks and silks removed

Wood sticks

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese

4 tablespoons chili powder

Lime wedges, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add ears of corn. Boil for eight minutes. Remove each ear of corn from water and holding the corn with a clean towel, stab the wooded stick into the flat end of the corn. Spread the corn liberally with mayonnaise and dust each ear with the crumbled queso fresco and chili powder to taste. Serve with lime wedges.


From Holy Mole of Louisville

1 small white onion

2 garlic cloves

4 ripe avocados

3 ripe tomatillos, husked

1 jalapeno pepper

1 bunch cilantro

Salt to taste

Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Quarter onion and place in dry skillet. Add garlic and cook until charred. Slice avocados in half and remove pit. Scoop out pulp into blender. Halve tomatillos and add to blender, along with charred onion and garlic. Halve peppers and remove seeds, if you prefer a milder salsa. Add to blender and process until smooth. Add cilantro and pulse to chop cilantro. Season with salt to taste.


Louisville has another truck, Lil Cheezer, that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches. This one is quite different from the kind most of us grew up with.


From Lil Cheezers of Louisville

1⁄2 tablespoons oil

1⁄2 large yellow onion, sliced

Salt to taste

1⁄4 cup butter

4 slices wheatberry bread

1⁄3 cup chopped walnuts

6 ounces brie, sliced 4 inches long and about 1⁄4 inch thick (six slices total)

1 small Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Cook until brown, eight to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Butter each slice of bread and place butter side down on a large skillet or griddle. Arrange the onions on two slices of bread and top each with walnuts, brie and apples. Place remaining two slices of bread on toppings and grill each sandwich over medium heat until the bread is golden brown and brie is melted.

Makes two sandwiches.


Get It On A Bun at Booty’s in Louisville offers a wide selection of comfort food. The food truck shared this cornbread salad recipe. It makes quite a bit, so be prepared to serve a crowd.


3 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix, plus ingredients to make cornbread

1⁄2 cup pureed onion

6 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped

1⁄2 cup sweet pickle relish

1 four-ounce jar pimentos, drained

3 tablespoons yellow mustard

11⁄2 cups mayonnaise

1 cup Miracle Whip

2 pounds hickory-smoked bacon, fried and crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare Jiffy cornbread according to the package directions and set aside to cool.

In large bowl, combine onion, eggs, pickle relish, pimentos, mustard, mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, bacon, salt and pepper. Mix until well blended. Break up cooled cornbread and stir into prepared dressing. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.


In the South, we have a reputation for frying everything. Roaming Fork in Charlotte, N.C., isn’t helping that reputation with its fried deviled eggs, but it sure is a different recipe that will appeal to many.


One dozen hard-boiled eggs, peeled

One scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped

1⁄4 red onion, finely diced

4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp and finely crumbled

1⁄3 cup shredded, sharp Cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon smoked Hungarian paprika

Garlic powder to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1⁄2 cup mayonnaise

11⁄2 cups flour (add a dash or two of paprika for taste)

1 cup buttermilk

11⁄2 cups panko bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Honey mustard dipping sauce, for serving

Place eggs in food processor and pulse enough to chop but not enough to make them mushy. Place in large bowl and add scallion, onion, bacon, cheese, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well with hands, then add Dijon and mayonnaise. Add more mustard and mayonnaise if needed, but don’t get mixture overly wet.

Form into 10 or 12 ping-pong-ball-sized egg shapes and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare three dishes: one with flour, one with buttermilk and one with bread crumbs. Heat deep fryer or deep skillet containing oil to 350 degrees.

Dredge chilled “eggs” first in flour, then buttermilk and finally in bread crumbs and gently place in hot oil. Fry until golden brown; remove and sprinkle with salt. Serve with dipping sauce.


The Atlanta-based King of Pops serves up dessert on a stick, but not your ordinary freezer treats. This recipe combines a Southern favorite with the food truck’s special style.


1 quart whole milk

1⁄2 cup  heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (keep seeds and pod)

11⁄2 cups organic evaporated cane juice

8 ripe bananas, divided

21 bite-sized vanilla wafers

In saucepan over low heat, mix milk, cream and vanilla (both scraped seeds and pod) and cane juice until warmed through. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove vanilla pod.

Pour liquid into a blender. Add 4 bananas and blend until smooth. Slice four remaining bananas until one-inch-thick pieces. Place two slices of banana and two vanilla wafers into each Popsicle mold. Then, pour milk mixture into mold. Place one Popsicle stick in each mold, submerging it halfway. Freeze for at least eight hours.


While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send email to lward@dailyindependent.com.