If you love food trucks, then you'll love "Food Trucks," the book, which hits bookstores today.

Chicago food writer Heather Shouse visited 20 cities from Los Angeles to Portsmouth, N.H., immersing herself in the food truck movement and chronicling some of its key players in words, pictures and recipes. It's a fascinating and colorful read.

When she dropped in on Minneapolis, Shrouse fell for the Chef Shack, the city's first meals-on-wheels purveyor, founded by top chefs Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer.


Chef Shack chefs/co-owners Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer.

Shrouse captures the trajectory of so many food-truckers when she descibes the duo's 2007 debut at the Mill City Farmers Market:

"Lines formed immediately for the hand-cut fries and bacon ketchup, tongue tacos dress with corn salsa, and all-natural beef hot dogs loaded with gourmet toppings. "We were raking in more in a day than a cook is really used to making in a week, and Carrie was like, 'Are you ready to be famous for hot dogs?'" Lisa says. "At first I was like, 'I went to New York and I cooked at all these really great places, and I'm finally getting known for french fries?' It was kinda hard on my ego, but I realized if you do one thing you just do it really well, not matter what it is."

Great, right? "Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels" is published by Ten Speed Press, and it's $20.

By the way, the Chef Shack returns for the season on May 7 at the Mill City Farmers Market, which means that Indian-spiced organic mini-doughnuts are just a few weeks away.

Here's the recipe from Shrouse's book:


Serves 4.

Note: "If you really want to replicate the Chef Shack's most popular fall dish, go organic with the eggs and milk, try to get your hands on some bacon beer brats (they use Fischer Farms) and crisp up the bread in a deep fryer," writes "Food Trucks" author Heather Shouse. "If that sounds out of reach for you, your favorite pork sausage links will do, and a griddle or frying pan should work almost as well." From "Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels" (Ten Speed Press, $20).

4 eggs

1 c. whole milk

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

12 slices multigrain bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Vegetable oil or canola oil for pan

4 pork sausage links

2 tart-sweet apples, such as Pink Lady or similar variety, cored and cut into matchsticks or small slivers

1/4 c. maple syrup


In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla extract and sea salt and whisk to combine (if you have one, use an immersion blender to emulsify the ingredients). Soak bread slices in egg mixture until saturated. Meanwhile, split each sausage link down the middle, almost cutting in half but not severing it. Preheat frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat and brown sausages. While sausages are cooking, heat a deep fryer to high (or lightly oil a griddle or frying pan and preheat to medium-high heat) and fry bread until both sides are deep brown. Plate 3 slices of French toast with 1 sausage link, top with a pile of apple slivers and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Repeat with remaining ingredients.