Tidbits: Lexington one of nation's most food-truck friendly cities

swthompson@herald-leader.com,Sharon ThompsonNovember 20, 2013 

Sharon Thompson

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF — mcornelison@herald-leader.com

If you've got a hankering to run a restaurant, but don't have the capitol, then operating a food truck might be your calling. It seems Lexington is one of the best places to do that, according to Mobile-Cuisine.com.

Lexington has been ranked No. 7 of the top 20 cities to open a food truck business based on factors such as licensing costs, freedom to operate under existing food truck laws, acceptance of small business entrepreneurs by local politicians and the strength of the local food truck organization. Kentucky is the only state with two cities in the top 10 with Lexington ranking No.7 and Louisville No. 9.

The Bluegrass Food Truck Association (BFTA) director Sean Tibbetts said, "We are extremely proud to have received this kind of recognition from a national source like Mobile-Cuisine. We know that Lexington will continue to be at the forefront of the mobile food industry as we continue to work with local leaders."

Fresh Market turkey tips

The Fresh Market will cook your holiday turkey and sides, or offer tips on roasting the turkey yourself.

The fresh turkeys that are sold at the market, 3387 Tates Creek Road, are raised in Pennsylvania's Amish country and are fed a vegetarian diet free of animal by-products. Order online at Thefreshmarket.com.

Here are guidelines from The Fresh Market for cooking a turkey.

■ Don't underestimate how much turkey to buy. To ensure enough meat for leftovers and seconds, allow at least one pound of turkey for each person. Large tom turkeys (about 14 pounds and up) have more meat on their bones than smaller hens, but this is a good rule of thumb.

■ Be flexible with roasting times. There are many variables that can affect the roasting time: the temperature of the turkey, inaccurate oven temperature, too-frequent opening of the oven door (which drops the temperature), and even the temperature of the stuffing. Tack an additional 30 minutes onto the estimated roasting time, just to be sure.

■ Use an accurate meat thermometer. Use the pop-up thermometer as an indicator that the turkey might be done, but back it up with a digital meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer in the thickest part of thigh (between the thigh and the drumstick), not touching the bone.

■ Stuff warm stuffing in a cold turkey. Contrary to what you might think, it is best to stuff a turkey with warm, freshly made stuffing. Stuffing must be cooked to 160 degrees to kill any potentially harmful bacteria, so it has a better chance of reaching that temperature if the stuffing is warm.

■ Let the turkey rest before carving. A rest period before carving is one of the secrets to a moist, juicy bird. The hot juices in the turkey must cool and relax back into the meat. If carved too soon, they will squirt out and contribute to dry meat. The larger the bird, the longer it can stand at room temperature without cooling off. Allow 30 minutes for an average-sized bird of about 15 pounds and up to one hour for large birds around 20 pounds. With the turkey on the platter, the oven is now free for reheating side dishes.

A dandy candy buffet

Julie Davidson has spent a great part of her career selling candy, and she's an expert when it comes to planning a candy buffet for a holiday party.

Davidson, regional sales manager for SweetWorks candy brands, shares these tips on how to add a new dimension to your festive gatherings.

■ Think about the event you are celebrating. Are there particular candies special to that occasion? Choose candy colors to match your event.

■ Choose vessels and platters of all shapes, sizes and heights, but consider using those made of the same materials. Glass vessels let the textures and colors of the confections take center stage, while white platters make candy stand out nicely against colored or patterned tablecloths. Other fun ideas include sand pails, baskets and cake stands.

■ Select a table covering that does not fight with the design and effect of the sweets. Sometimes a solid color sets the stage best. Then dress it up with ribbon around your vessels, flowers and whatever bling you like.

■ Think about gluten-free, nut-free, kosher or even sugar-free areas on the candy buffet.

■ Identify sweets with place cards in front of each.

■ Make sure your tables are large enough so you can space out containers. This makes them accessible and easier to view.

■ Consider preparing small goody bags or boxes branded to match the buffet, and set them on a tray on the buffet. Or, you could have empty bags or boxes available for guests to fill.

■ Make sure you have an easy-to-use spoon, scoop, or serving utensil for each vessel.

■ Test your vessels and platters before the party. They might hold more candy than you realize, and you want them to start off full for the best effect. Plan on a minimum of 4 to 8 ounces of candy per guest. For more ideas, go to Sweetworks.net.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com/.

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