Once upon a time, baseball was synonymous with hot dogs. Today, so much more is available, and Progressive Field is at the cutting edge of the new trend of crazy amazing food. I had the privilege to visit Progressive Field for the Astros versus Indians game with my husband and my father-in-law over Memorial Day Weekend, and let me tell you, everything was delicious.
Practically every brewery in the state had their own stall along the promenade serving both beer and food. Specialty vendors lined the walls. Local restaurants even had small stalls to serve quick food to baseball fans. There was a lot to see and a lot to eat, more than what I had available to me at Camden Yards in the previous month.
Some of the best ballpark food comes out of Progressive Field. Melt Bar and Grilled is one of the local restaurants featuring a stand at the park, and they were voted the nation’s best ballpark food in 2016. I tend to agree. We’ve visited one of their stand alone locations in the past, but the speed with which they produce an amazing grilled cheese at this kind of venue is truly amazing.
The husband and I shared a mushroom melt. They only serve half sandwiches out of the park, but that was more than enough for us after the food we had earlier in the day. It’s a texas toast grilled cheese served with spinach, assorted mushrooms, and I believe swiss cheese. The stick this bad boy into one of those roller toasters with the cheese already on it, and then they top it, cut the bread in half, and serve. The line sure as hell moved a lost faster than the 14 inning game we saw that day.
Before the game even started, however, we got a platter of Momocho nachos to accompany our giant glasses of Great Lakes beer. They fry their tortilla chips right there behind the line, and they have a variety of toppings for you to choose from. As a team, we chose carnitas, onions, pickled jalapenos, and black beans. For the record, I did forgo my pescetarian diet this week. I only kind of regret it. The food was amazing.
Baseball is changing. Gone are the days of hotdogs and peanuts. You can eat well and experience the game in a new way everywhere you go.
The recipe lab is a busy place, and it is full of cheese. Mac and cheese, if you will. Chips and dip are my all time favorite bar food, and I like to try and translate them into something I can eat at home without as much guilt. It’s still insanely cheesy and relatively unhealthy, but whatever. It’s a meal, not a dip.
This is just the beginning. There are obvious improvements to make, which you will see later on.
So it begins.
My first challenge in the recipe lab is going to be cheesy. Mac and cheesy, if you will. Since moving to Delaware, I’ve come to love hot crab dip. The other day, I had an idea to turn it into a mac and cheese. I know it’s been done before, especially now that I’ve started to do some research, but I want to make something that is all me. That meant starting from the base, a crab dip itself.
I started off using the old bay standard hot crab dip recipe, and these are the flavor adjustments I made for the crab dip that will eventually become my mac and cheese template. I just added hot sauce. That is the only modification to the recipe that I made, so I won't bother typing it up a new. If you want to make it like me, just toss a couple shakes of hot sauce into your mix while you're bringing the cream cheese and mayo together.
I already know I won’t be putting mayo in a mac and cheese, so there’s that much. This has helped me get to know the ingredients used in most crab dip recipes. I think this is how each of these 'recipe lab' portions will go. We'll tweak already existing recipes to get to something I can call my own. Keep an eye out for that in the next few weeks.
Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables
June is the month for us to check out Six Seasons. Farmer’s markets have just started springing up again with local and fresh produce to lend itself well to the construction of this cookbook. The book reads in order of growing season, broken down into ‘six seasons’ for the growth of certain vegetables. Almost all of the recipes I picked out come from Early Spring with a few exceptions because that’s exactly where we land!
I have to tell you, from the minute I started reading this, I knew it’d be an exciting book to cook from. The author worked at Jon Barber’s Blue Hill restaurant in NYC. Blue Hill is particularly famous for their sister restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns partially due to their unique farm to table dining experience and partially due to its appearance during season one of Chef’s Table on Netflix.
Chef turned farmer has a lot to teach us about the growing seasons of vegetables and how to prepare them for their place in the season. As I read the book to prepare for another month of new recipes, I found myself gaining more knowledge about food than I had from previous cookbooks so far. It is not just technique he talks about. He spends a lot of time discussing how the season affects the taste of the vegetable, when is the best time to get it, and how to cook it for it’s place in the year. It really is a new way with vegetables.
I haven’t even began to cook from the book yet, and I feel myself looking at the produce in my fridge differently. My whole life I have done nothing but put ranch on my salad but today I made my own balsamic vinaigrette. It's a new respect for the vegetable.
Join me each week to explore a new recipe centered around in season vegetables from as local a source as I can manage. June’s cookbook of the month promises to be a special experience.
This was probably the most disappointing dish to come out of Thug Kitchen’s cookbook so far. The scramble gave me higher hopes, but they were struck down by the sweet sauce for this recipe. That said, I think there are some things about this recipe that are redeeming qualities, namely techniques that can be learned when you follow through.
Dry frying and pressing tofu are discussed as part of this recipe, so it is a good guide for treatment of the product. Tofu is absolutely intimidating the first time you unwrap that block of soybean curd. Thug Kitchen has a good way of disarming the vegan jargon into something the average person can understand and feel comfortable working with. It also helped me clean out my fridge of vegetables I use in other recipes throughout the week, and that’s something I find that almost every recipe in this book is good for doing.
Still, the sauce itself remains a problem for me. I am wary of the brown sugar whenever it comes up in a savory meal, and I will hold it at fault for my feelings on this recipe. The sweet sauce just was not tasty on the noodles or the vegetables. My husband really liked it, all but the thin rice noodles I choose at the grocery store. The choice of maifun probably did not help my chances of enjoying this recipe, to be honest.
Oh well. At least it was pretty.
*Translation: He thinks he’s chef now too
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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