John T. Edge is a national treasure. A son of Georgia and the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and, he’s done as much as anybody to promote and celebrate the culinary heroes, new and old, of the American South. But for The Truck Food Cookbook, he traveled far and wide through this great country to find 150 of the most inspired recipes on wheels. Here are a few of them, from NYC’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. And, by the way, it’s copyright 2012 by John T. Edge, reprinted by permission of Workman Publishing. – Ed.
Cheater Soft-Serve Ice Cream
When Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck were developing their toppings, they tested recipes with a kind of homemade soft-serve ice cream, which they made in their apartment kitchen. Inspired by their efforts, I made some, too.
Makes 4 cups
3 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 cup whipped cream (see Note)
2 to 4 tablespoons chocolate syrup (optional)
Scoop the ice cream into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the whipped cream and, if you like, the chocolate syrup and beat until thoroughly blended. Cover the ice cream tightly, either by placing it in a container with a lid or by wrapping the bowl several times in plastic wrap. Place the ice cream in the freezer for at least 12 hours; it will still be slightly soft after that time. Then, it’s ready to eat, with or without toppings.
Note: To make 1 cup of whipped cream, pour 1/2 cup cold, heavy (whipping) cream into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Toasted Curried Coconut
Here the inspiration is Southeast Asia. Doug and Bryan prefer large flakes of coconut over the shredded kind. They say the big flakes have more visual impact, plus you get a stronger, chewier coconut taste. For the recipe, they use a slightly sweet curry powder (Doug and Bryan like Whole Foods house blend muchi curry).
Makes 2 cups
2 cups large-flake coconut
1 tablespoon curry powder, or more to taste
Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat (do not use a nonstick skillet for this). Add the coconut, then shake the curry powder on top and stir to coat. Taste for seasoning, adding more curry powder, if desired. Cook the coconut until it takes on a golden brown hue, about 2 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning the coconut. Transfer the curried coconut to a pan or heatproof bowl to cool before using it as a topping for ice cream. The curried coconut can be stored in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.
Wasabi Pea Dust Topping
Believe it or not, this topping from Doug and Bryan isn’t as spicy as you would think. The wasabi’s heat, combined with a little bit of salt and crunch, makes a great complement to smooth, cold ice cream.
Makes about 1 cup
1 cup wasabi peas
Pulverize the wasabi peas in a coffee mill, spice grinder, or food processor. (This will be loud, says Doug—so loud that your cat will go into hiding.) Bryan likes to make the consistency as close to powder as possible. Doug leaves a little texture and crunch. Use a sifter to sprinkle the wasabi topping on ice cream. The topping can be stored indefinitely in an airtight container.