From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, it seems like our calendars are full of parties, kids events, family get-togethers, neighborhood parties, church potluck dinners and breakfasts as well as parties with the fun clubs and organizations that we belong to. Of course, all these events usually mean we bring appetizers, hors’doeuvres or desserts. The problem arises when you have so many other things going on in December and little or no time to actually make that special appetizer that everyone asks you to bring. Why not truck in your holiday hors d’oeuvres, enjoy the festivities and leave the kitchen, the heat and the cooking to the Kingwood area food truck caterers? Luckily for us, the Kingwood Food Court food truck event at 1956 Northpark Drive Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. can really help us all out with a variety of finger foods, from appetizers to desserts.

The festival is a great place to taste gourmet finger foods and buy a tray to take along to a party. One of my favorites is the holiday filet bruschetta that the Q Crew of Texas Q makes. You can try it at the event, then place an order for your party or just follow the recipe Texas Q has shared. There are many other food trucks around Kingwood, including a delicious cookie truck called “Big Bootie Blanche” by its owner, Stacey Trbovich. Why make dessert when you can show off these mouth-watering desserts? Trbovich is a baker and the owner of Stacey’s Sweets (staceyssweets.net) and can be seen around Kingwood serving up cookie bombs and sundae explosions! She will deliver and/or park at your party and serve out of the truck! Now, my husband’s family is also in the food truck business. Our niece and nephew-in- law, Missi and Steve Sabo, are pretty famous with their food truck in Norton, Ohio called “The Orange Trük.” One of the trük’s most popular items is a killer appetizer called “The Original Trükballs,” they are delicious. Won’t you “Please Join our Holiday Table” … as we indulge in delicious appetizers and desserts made by and in local food trucks and beyond.

Texas Q Team, left to right: Connie Black, Sloan Rinaldi and Janie Barker.

This is my take on “Texas Q Holiday Filet Bruschetta.” Sloan Rinaldi of the Q Crew is the owner of Texas Q Food Truck and Catering. Texas Q Original BBQ Sauce by Rinaldi, a fourth-generation Texan. She has been a contestant on Food Network and has also won many awards around the state. Rinaldi also has two BBQ sauces, Texas Q Original and Texas Q Sweet Heat, both available for sale at your local H-E-B.

Karen’s Holiday Filet Bruschetta

1 cup mayonnaise (Duke's, not low fat)
1/4 cup fig jam
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked coarsely ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme, rough chopped without stems
1 1/2 pounds cooked beef tenderloin or lean brisket, grilled or roasted in the oven
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter
1 loaf baguette, sourdough, Asiago loaf or bread of choice, sliced
6 shallots, sliced, not minced or 8-10 spring onions, white parts only
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter

In a medium bowl, mix together mayo, jam, sea salt, cracked pepper and thyme, blend well, cover and set aside. Heat 2-4 tablespoons of butter/olive oil in a medium pan on low/medium heat. Add shallots, stir until coated, add a pinch of salt and brown them until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Take meat out of oven or off the grill and tent it with foil to keep warm. Saute 2-4 tablespoons butter in skillet. Add bread slices in one layer. Pan fry on both sides until a nice golden brown color. Slice the meat thin. Spread thyme mayo on toasted bread slice. Place 1 or 2 slices of beef on top of bread slices, top with a spoonful of the caramelized shallots and a small piece of fresh thyme or capers (optional). Serve hot immediately or at room temperature.

Here is my TexMex version of the Orange Trük-inspired appetizer. In Italy, they are called arancini; in the U.S. they are a great food truck snack. They’re deep-fried balls of rice stuffed with many different ingredients. The most popular is ground meat and mozzarella, but you can use fillings of chestnuts, mushrooms, prosciutto, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, chopped baby spinach, and more. My Texas version has a twist to it …

My TexMex Trükballs

For the rice
10 1/2 ounces any short-grain rice (I use arborio)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper seeds
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

For the meat sauce and filling
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Vidalia onion, minced
1 tablespoons garlic (minced)
3 ounces lean ground beef
3 ounces ground pork (I use 1/2 plain pork and 1/2 ground chorizo)
2 tablespoons tequila or bourbon
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup poblano pepper (seeded and finely minced)

For the rice balls

4 ounces pepper jack or Serrano pepper cheese
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2-4 tablespoons water
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced into discs
2 cups breadcrumbs
1/4-teaspoon paprika
2-3 inches vegetable oil (I use grapeseed; this is for frying)

DIRECTIONS TO MAKE THE RICE: In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, place the rice, crushed red pepper seeds and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer about 15 to 20 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove lid, stir in grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well then spread the rice out on a large baking dish to cool completely to room temperature.

DIRECTIONS TO MAKE THE MEAT SAUCE AND FILLING: In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, sauté, stirring often, until softened and the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground beef, pork and chorizo, fry, stirring often, until browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tequila or bourbon and tomato paste, let cook about 1-2 minutes. Add the poblano pepper and simmer until the sauce is thickened, just a couple minutes. It shouldn’t be liquidy. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.

DIRECTIONS TO COMPLETE THE TEXMEX TRÜKBALLS: Place one heaping tablespoon of rice in the palm of your hand, and use your fingers and mold it into a small hollow bowl shape. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center and one to two cubes of diced pepper jack cheese and a slice of jalapeno. Carefully close the rice around the filling to form a round ball. Place on baking sheet to rest; continue making balls until all ingredients have been used. In a low bowl or pie pan, whisk together the flour, eggs, 1/2 cup of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika until smooth. Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate, carefully roll each ball first in the egg/flour/paprika mixture, and gently let excess drip off. Roll them in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let them firm up. Heat about 2 inches of oil to 360 degrees. Fry your TexMex balls in batches of 2 to 3 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot or they will steam instead of fry. Fry them until they are evenly golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Move them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve on a platter with bowls of queso cheese sauce, salsa, chopped cilantro and chopped avocado.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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