Ricotta soufflé. Asparagus soup. Even a full Thanksgiving dinner. Cooking in a truck just reached Richard and Sharleenanother realm. It’s the realm of lovebirds Sharleen Winschell and Richard Launius, fiancé owner operators who drive for Pyramid Logistics, transporting trade shows around the country.

For Winschell and Launius, cooking is a passion. Together, they watch the Food Network on satellite TV, dine out at nice restaurants and savor each opportunity to gather new recipe ideas.

“We went out to a Todd English restaurant in Connecticut. They served celery puree with my meal,” Winschell says. “It was so good that we said, ‘Wow, wonder if we can make this.’ Two days later, we made it.”

Not every driver could cook up what Launius and Winschell do on a truck. The couple, after all, has the luxury of ample counter space and upscale appliances. Among them is a glass-top, sunken stove that enables them to cook while the truck is moving—and a generator that only uses 6 gallons of fuel every 10 hours. In the end, it’s a cost-effective setup that makes eating on the road much more affordable and healthier, they say.

Like a great recipe, Launius’s penchant for fine cuisine and Winschell’s panache for home cooking strike the perfect balance. While her home cooking style resulted from years of cooking for her kids, his culinary palate resulted from his love of great food—and something far more pressing: type 2 diabetes.

“He was almost disqualified from driving four years ago because his sugar levels were very high, almost 300,” Winschell recalls. “He was told he had 30 days to get his sugars under control or he would be disqualified from driving.”

That month was tough, but the couple got through it. Launius got his sugar level under control through medicine and diet.

“I knew I had to do it, but I probably wouldn’t have done it without Sharleen,” Launius says. “Now, my knees feel better, my back doesn’t hurt. I sleep a little better. I can tell a big difference.”

By making wise substitutions, such as pureed cauliflower for mashed potatoes, Launius has lost 50 pounds in the last four years.

Winschell and Launius each started driving trucks in the mid-1980s. They’ve been driving together for two years now. Winschell has been cooking since she was 10, when her mother insisted she learn. Launius learned from watching his father and uncle, the latter of whom was an Army cook.

Today, cooking still is a family affair. When the couple visits Winschell’s daughters, “the very first thing we do is load up the truck with things they want to eat,” Winschell says. “We know we’ll be cooking when we get there.”

 Ricotta souffle

Ricotta souffle

Images courtesy Sharleen Winschell; featured image Google.com

Ricotta Souffle Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 3 tblsp flour
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of fruit preserves of your choosing
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
Directions:

  1. Butter 4 ramekins then coat with sugar. 
  2. Mix 3 tblsp flour, 1 cup ricotta, 1/8 tsp salt, 3 egg yolks, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and the interior of a vanilla bean (slice in 1/2 lengthwise. Using a knife tip, scrape the “meat” from the bean, add it to the mix).
  3. Beat the egg whites from 3 eggs with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
  5. Fill ramekins up half way with the egg mixture, then spoon in whatever fruit preserve you like (about 1 tblsp per ramekin)
  6. Cover to top of ramekin with more egg mixture.
  7. Bake on 400 degrees in a convection oven for about 7 to 10 minutes or just until tops are browned.
  8. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm. Fruit in middle will be very hot. Be careful not to shake or jar the oven or they will collapse.