December 1, 2012

Savory Pastry using the Peached Tortilla's Japa Jam

I met Katie Lewis of Slow Down & Savor on twitter (@slowdownsavor) and invited her to the last Trailer Food Tuesdays of the year.  At this event, we have 8-10 local food trucks on the city terrace lawn of the Long Center for Performing Arts every last Tuesday of the month from 5p-10p.  For more on that visit our Facebook page (or twitter @trailerfoodtues).  Meanwhile, Miss Katie came to the event, ate, drank and conquered it.  

While there, she purchased the Peached Tortilla's Japa Jam, one of the food trucks my jelly company Trailer Foods licenses and represents. I'm pleased to post this recipe for a savory pastry puff that Katie created using this jam.  For more creative ideas on how to use food truck jellies, jams and sauces in your home cooking please visit the Cooking with Jelly blog via

And thank you Katie! We LOVE this recipe and can't wait to see what you are cooking next over at Slow Down and Savor!

Savory Pastry 
by Katie Lewis

Yummy Japa Jam
Source:  Katie Lewis

The more and more potluck dinners I have under my belt, the more and more daring I become in my kitchen adventures. This week, I dove into the sea of puff pastry. Not knowing anything about how to even use the stuff, I was a tad nervous, however, I was excited to be doing something else new, and daring. 

So last night, I made some savory pastries for my weekly Wednesday night heart group potluck. I found the recipe I wanted to use as I was oogling over picture after picture of “Potluck Favorites” on Pinterest. When I landed on the Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salsa stuffed Puff Pastry, I knew I needed to look no further.
The pictures of these golden puffy packages, filled with avocado, cream cheese and salsa were stunning, and the recipe looked easy enough, but as I’ve found, a lot of things on Pinterest look easy enough, but just plain aren’t. 

My finished product
Source: Katie Lewis
But, I just couldn’t pass this one up. I felt like the challenge of working with puff pastry would be fun and exciting, and who doesn’t like making something totally gorgeous? I know that beautiful food makes me happy, and when I’m the one producing it, I just feel ecstatic that I’m gaining the confidence to create new things that only a few months ago, I’d be too afraid to make. I used to be scared that I’d mess up, or whatever I was making wouldn’t come out right and be awful, or something petty like that. 

So yesterday when I got home from the Food Bank, I set to work in the kitchen, first removing the puff pastry from the freezer, and then lining up all my ingredients. At first, I was going to just be using salsa, as the recipe called for, but when I was at Trailer Food Tuesdays this week, I was able to sample and take home something TRULY unique, Japa Jam. This tomato jam created by Trailer Food Diaries, comes from The Peached Tortilla food trailer, and WOW does it pack a punch! 

After I sampled it, I KNEW I’d have to use some of this sweet, spicy, tart, cinnamony, garlicky, zesty, warm jam in my pastries. I couldn’t pass up this sudden burst of inspiration, so I got hold of a jar, promising to make something exciting and delicious with this stuff.
While I was waiting for the puff pastry to thaw (this took way longer than anticipated, and I started to get nervous, looking at the clock, the time ticking by…  again, no one ever accused me of being patient.), I sliced open my pretty avocados, and scooped them into a bowl. I mashed them up as best I could, leaving a few chunks whole. 

Ready for the oven!
Source:  Katie Lewis
After a few long minutes, the pastry was mostly thawed, so I floured my working space, and rolled the dough out as thin as I could without tearing it. I used a pizza cutter to cut squares from the flattened dough, and lined up an assembly line. First I put a layer of cream cheese, then a layer of mushed avocado, and then finally the Japa Jam. I made 14 pastries with Japa Jam, and 14 pastries with Tommys! Roasted Ancho Chilie Salsa. 
Once I secured lids on all of the layered pastry squares, I gave them all a nice egg washing, and put them in the oven for 25 minutes.

There wasn’t exactly a strong aroma from these bad boys, but they sure were absolutely perfect. They looked SO beautiful. I mean, I was super surprised with how they turned out.  
That’s when I started to catch a whiff of them. The avocado and the tomato jam mixed together to create this sweet yet savory smell that beckoned me to taste! Then, I started to pick up hints then of the roasty toasty ancho chilie salsa. Holy cow, this was going to be hard – driving with these all the way to the heart group meeting and resisting temptation to eat them. All.

I resisted temptation and all 24 of these golden beauties arrived safely. They weren’t going to be around for long though!  So I bet you’re all wondering how they tasted, huh? 

Source: Katie Lewis
Super delicious, that’s how! The puff pastry was crispy, flakey and super light. The cream cheese was melted so nice and the avocado was warm and full of that wonderful buttery flavor. The pastries with the salsa tasted super traditional. The avocado, salsa and cream cheese just blended together to create a really familiar Mexican flavor composition. The flavor was really remarkable.
The pastries with the Japa Jam were just so out of this world. The flavor from the jam mixed with the avocado and cheese beautifully, but it was definitely a taste that I’d never experienced before. It was so warm, and spicy and yep, there’s the tomato sweetness, oh wait… that tastes like cinnamon, oh hey… there’s something citrusy…. 
Pretty little buggers
Source: Katie Lewis

Everyone agreed that it was something really special and unique. The layers of flavor in that jam translated nicely into the dish. The jam wasn’t over powering, but you could without doubt pick out each and every flavor.

While the salsa was familiar and comforting, the jam added a new meaning to exciting food.
I hope that you try these yummy savory pastries. If you’re at all apprehensive about working with the puff pastry, I assure you, it’s not as scary as it seems. I never used it until last night, and it was easy-peasy.

Phew, another successful week, another successful potluck under my belt. I wonder what next week will bring? Stay tuned to find out!

Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salsa Stuffed Puff Pastry 
Recipe Adapted From: Love, Veggies & Yoga

What You’ll Need:
2 Ripe avocados
2-4 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
Cream cheese, room temperature
Salsa of your choice, or if you feel inspired to add something else, like Japa Jam, add that to your list! (For more information on how to get some Trailer Food Diaries, scroll to the bottom)
1 egg, beaten

Tools That Will Help:
2 baking/cookie sheets
Parchment paper
Rolling Pin
Pizza cutter
A pastry paintbrush
Spoons & forks
How to make them:
Preheat your oven to 400 °F

Slice open your avocados, and scoop the meat out into a bowl. Mush it up as best you can.
Flour your counter top or working surface and roll out the pastry square as thinly as possible, and be careful not to tear it! With a pizza cutter or knife, slice the puffed pastry into approximately 2-inch by 2-inch squares. I made 48 squares out of 3 sheets of pastry.
Create an assembly line! First lay down some cream cheese, then some mushed avocado, then your salsa or jam. Do this on half of your squares. The other half of the squares will be lids for the first half.

When you’re ready to add the lids, place them on top of the stacked ingredients and pinch all the edges together. I used a fork for this part, to ensure that every single teeny place was sealed tight. You don’t want any leakage!

Next, place your pastry packages on a parchment lined baking sheet, and give them a layer of egg wash, to make them pretty and golden in the oven.

Place the cookie sheets in the oven, and check them at 15 minutes. I let mine cook for 25 minutes, but I’m sure anywhere between 20-30 minutes would be the ideal length of time.
Source: Katie Lewis
Interested in Trailer Food Diaries Jam? I don't blame you!
Click here to see their Fall 2012 Flavor Line, or you can or for more information.
Happy Baking!

Posted by Katie Lewis

November 12, 2012

Food Trucks at F1

 Peached Tortilla's Bahn Mi
Bonnie Berry Photography
Austin is buzzing with the new arrival of Formula One.   In a city that rallies over 100,000 at weekly football games downtown, Austinites have been busy preparing for an international audience of nearly triple that amount. So which food trucks are getting involved down at the race track?

I had the opportunity to interview Tom Ramsey, owner of Snappy Snacks Mobile Catering in Pflugerville.  Host to a fleet of 60 trucks, you'll recognize some popular food truck brands within the Snappy Snacks family.  From the Peached Tortilla to Chi'Lantro, East Side King and Fresh off the Truck, several of Austin's favorite food trucks have used the services Snappy Snacks provide

Snappy has contracted with Formula 1 to provide a variety of 15 food trucks representing multiple different flavors of Austin's iconic food truck scene. 

So who will be participating? Here is the interview with Tom: 

1. How did Snappy Snacks become involved with the food truck court at F1?
Snappy Snacks became involved shortly after the contract was awarded to Sodexo. We began discussions very quickly and invited Sodexo for a gourmet tasting and tour of our commissary facility.  Shortly after, Snappy Snacks was offered the opportunity to work alongside Sodexo for all the upcoming events at COTA.
2. How many trucks will be there and who is coming?
Snappy Snacks Team will have a combination of 15 gourmet and standard units representing a wide flare of Austin Eatery’s:
·       Snappy Snacks Mobile Catering
·       Chi’Lantro BBQ
·       Papa J’s BBQ
·       Casa Chapala
·       Lucky J’s
·       Peached Tortilla
·       Crazy Fish
3. What is Snappy Snacks' role in food trucks in Austin with regards to large events?
Snappy Snacks services a HUB for gourmet and standard mobile operators, we have a state of the art 20K sqft commissary.  This facility allows our operators to bulk buy and warehouse product to service the largest events such as SXSW, ACL, Fun Fun Fest, Pecan Street Festival and now the F1/COTA event.
4. How many trucks do you have in your fleet and where will they be generally speaking during F1?
The Snappy Snacks Team will be servicing three main zones. We will have five units located at the Grand Plaza next to the amphitheater, another five units will be located by turn 11 and we will have another five units deployed outside the COTA facility to support shuttle services.
5. How will operations change at Snappy Snacks during F1 to accommodate the larger food orders?
Our Snappy Snacks commissary team is quite familiar with the operational needs for these types of events. We coordinate with Sysco weeks in advance to ensure that the custom orders of our operators arrive on time and have the proper amount of onsite freezer and refrigeration services.
6. How much food are the trucks preparing for at F1?
Each member of the Snappy Snacks Team is preparing a minimum of 1,500 units per truck per day. While we are anticipating bigger crowds on Saturday and Sunday, our team members are seasoned professionals when it comes to servicing large crowds.
7. Who do you think will win the race?
The fans, they will have great food options to select from while enjoying seeing the fastest race cars in the world and we wish for there to be a safe and fun event for all at that are involved at the F1.

November 3, 2012

ATX Volume 2 is here!
Photo courtesy of Bonnie Berry
of the Seedling Truck food

Whether you're looking for indulgent treats like the Deep-fried Cinnamon Crunch Muffin with Banana & Nutella from Hey!... You Gonna Eat or What or farm fresh fare like Schmaltz' Pickled Okra, Bufalo Bob's Hoppin John, or Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto from the Fat Cactus.... or if your palette prefers more gourmet grub like the Polenta Cake with Poached Egg and Kale Pesto from The Seedling Truck or Fusion food such as the Bacon Fried Rice with Fried Egg from Be More Pacific, The Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook Austin Volume 2 provides completely different recipes and histories from the food trucks and trailers here in Austin, Texas.  This volume is trickling in stores now.  Follow updates on twitter at @trailerfood

Come visit me and get your copies signed at Book People on my birthday 11/7, at 7pm. 

Here is an excerpt from the Austin, Volume 2 cookbook: 

Gingerspice Ale
Courtesy of Schmaltz

A citrus fresh tonic that uses cloves, cinnamon and ginger.

Yeild:  4-6 drinks
6 cups water
1 cup fresh ginger root, grated
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons dried whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. While water is boiling, grate fresh ginger root. Add ginger root, sugar, cloves and cinnamon sticks to a big or bowl and pour boiling water over. Stir and steep for one hour or more.

Juice each citrus fruit and add to your mixture. Strain through cheesecloth.

This tea can be added to kombucha (1:4) for flavoring or to sparkling water (1:1) for a delicious and refreshing beverage.