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Pistachio Watermelon Salad with a Jalapeño Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette

Courtesy of Kebabalicious as featured in Trailer Food Diaries: Austin, Volume 2. Kebabalicious is known for their great kebabs and tantalizing ingredient combinations. Here is why. Yield: 4 servings.

10 ounces arugula

1 small seedless watermelon

1 (8-ounce) block of feta (sheep milk)

7 ounces roasted pistachio nuts, chopped

½ red onion sliced thin

10 ounces grape tomatoes

1 bushel fresh mint, diced

Jalapeño Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1 small roasted jalapeño

2 tablespoons Düsseldorf mustard

¼ cup of fresh squeezed navel orange

2½ tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon pure wildflower honey

salt and tellecherry pepper to taste

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

• Wash the arugula and find a place to let it dry.

• Take the watermelon and cut it into 1-inch slices (like big discs), then cut those in half. Take a small paring knife and remove the red flesh of the fruit from the green shell. Once complete, cube watermelon into 1-inch pieces and set aside in the refrigerator to chill.

• Cube feta into half-inch bite-size pieces. Set aside.

• Heat a pan, add the chopped pistachio nuts and toast lightly.

• Fill a big bowl with the washed arugula, thinly sliced red onions, grape tomatoes, feta and diced fresh mint. Give it a good toss and put it in the fridge. Let your pistachio nuts cool in pan.

• While that chills, start the dressing. Toast a small jalapeño over a gas burner until black. Wrap it in saran wrap and let it sweat for about 5 minutes.

• Meanwhile, grab a blender and add the mustard, freshly squeezed orange juice, balsamic, honey, a pinch of kosher salt and tellecherry pepper. Blend until homogenous, and then, very slowly, stream the olive oil into the blender while on low.

• Unwrap the jalapeño and peel off charred outer coating. Cut off the stem and cut jalapeño in half to remove the seeds. Add jalapeño to food processor and liquefy. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.

• Take the watermelon out of the fridge and add it to the bowl of salad. Sprinkle your toasted chopped pistachio nuts and serve with the dressing drizzled over or on the side, as you prefer. Insert image 019 / WRONG IMAGE? 019 is pickled okra / 085 is the pistachio salad

Kebabalicious, Chris Childre and Kristian Ulloa

Best friends Chris Childre and Kristian Ulloa grew up in multicultural homes in Houston, Texas. They did their fair share of globe-trotting in their college years. One of the most significant journeys they made was a trip to Switzerland, where they worked for a dynamic Turkish man who taught them the secrets of what would become Kebabalicious. With no European kebabs in Texas, the guys launched their food trailer business and brought it to Austin after graduating from Texas State University in San Marcos.

They are best known for their famous Beef Lamb Kebab, which consists of the traditional beef/lamb shawarma on a warm pita topped with fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, tzatziki and spicy red sauce. Similarly, the Falafel Lebab is smeared with your choice of homemade hummus and then filled with hand-rolled falafels and topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, tzatziki and spicy red sauce.

Another fan favorite is their Zucchini Fries. Although they are not readily available (they are the Tuesday special at the lunch stand), they are a rare gluten-free treat. They are made with gluten-free crumbs in a designated gluten-free fryer. Photo courtesy of White Light Exposure.

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Strawberry Basil Balsamic Lemonade

Courtesy of Pompeii as featured in Trailer Food Diaries: Dallas/Fort Worth edition. Adding a splash of balsamic glaze to this strawberry basil lemonade makes a tasty summer drink.

1 pound frozen strawberries15 medium basil leaves, juice of 9 lemons, deseeded, 1 cup sugar, a few squirts of balsamic glaze

º Cook down strawberries for about 15–20 minutes until soft and then pull from heat. Add the basil leaves to the hot strawberries and steep for 30 minutes.

º Blend or puree the basil and strawberry mixture and strain through chinois, china cap or other straining device.

º Add fresh lemon juice (or 1 container of simply lemonade) and sugar. Add balsamic glaze to taste and adjust lemon/sugar as needed.

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Smokey BBQ Pulled Pork

Courtesy of Lyle Bigelow, Josh Chapman and Stephen Concilla of Buckeye Snack Shack as featured in The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook.

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons hot paprika

1 teaspoon mustard powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 3- to 4-pound boneless pork shoulder

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

½ cup apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons tomato paste

12 Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar, the paprika, mustard powder, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet; add the pork and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 5 minutes. Remove the pork and transfer to a plate; whisk ¾ cup water into the drippings in the skillet. Transfer the liquid to a half-hotel foil pan and place inside smoker or grill.

Add the vinegar, tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 cups water to a secondary pan and whisk to combine. Then place inside of smoker or grill. Add the pork, directly to a grill rack and cook on low, 8 hours.

Remove the pork and transfer to a cutting board. Strain the liquid [NOTE: which one? The drippings or the vinegar and tomato one? And what do you do with the other?] Renee can you make a best guess here? I believe it’s the vinegar and tomato one, I don’t think they use the drippings. Into a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Roughly chop the pork and mix in a bowl with 1 cup of the reduced cooking liquid and salt and vinegar to taste. Serve on Hawaiian rolls.

Buckeye Snack Shack: Lyle Bigelow, Josh Chapman and Stephen Concilla

The Buckeye Snack Shack is a combination of three experienced food service industry veterans, all bringing their individual talents together to offer Columbus a new take on concession-type foods while promoting the local economy by creating job opportunities and making connections between small business owners and Ohio State University.

Lyle Bigelow, Josh Chapman and Stephen Concilla took the once popular Swoop food truck that Lyle was a partner in and rebranded to meet the needs of their new venture, C2 Concessions, which handles roughly 15 percent of all concessions for Ohio State University athletics—from fifteen food carts at the Horseshoe (Ohio Stadium), three permanent spots at the Schottenstein Center and 100 percent of the concessions at baseball and track and field events. The team’s goal is to take local food and incorporate it into concessions, and with 100,000 loyal Ohioans and visitors packing in to see OSU football on fall Saturdays, they have a captive audience to get Columbus food like OH! Chips into the hands and mouths of hungry fans.

With the motto “eat with one hand, high five with the other,” Buckeye Snack Shack offers up highlights like the BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos, starting with Steve’s five-hundred-pound competition smoker, slow cooking locally sourced pork butt to pile high on top of tortilla chips with cheese, sour cream and more barbecue sauce. A real “eyecatcher” the team says—as soon as one sells, everyone nearby has to have their own.

When asked his personal favorite menu item, Lyle mentioned the sliders, which they take great care to prep. Buckeye offers many versions, including cheeseburgers, pulled pork and meatball, all on what Lyle considers the best bun for the job: Hawaiian sweet rolls.

From creating sixty-five jobs just last year to helping fellow food truck Dos Hermanos secure placement with Ohio State, Buckeye Snack Shack and C2 Concessions are proud to be a part of the city and continue to help it grow and improve. The “coolest thing about the Columbus food truck scene is its untapped potential. We haven’t even come close to some other cities like Portland, LA, et cetera. Those guys have figured out how to be visible, accessible and consistent; food truck pods have developed with trucks leasing space for multiple months to build an audience—that’s missing here still.” But there’s a good chance it will happen, as the “reason it’s been successful is because there are so many people here that want to find the next best meal, fans of trucks that really want to be the one to know hidden gems of the city, places to eat that people want to come write about/film.” And Buckeye Snack Shack is definitely among those delicious offerings.