Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Food's the Target- At Target Field

Since the All-Star Game is Thursday night in Phoenix, it seems like a good time to talk about baseball and food, of course. When my daughter and her family visited us recently we took a tour of Target Field, Home of the Minnesota Twins. Target Field received an award in 2010 as the best sports experience in America.

During the tour we saw suites, several foods venues and sat in the seats behind home plate. (Nice view!) Since there was a game that night we didn't get into the teams' locker rooms but saw Menus posted in several lounges. Very interesting food for a ball field- a new trend across the country.

Here's a glimpse of two of the menus.

The Metropolitan Club

Main Courses: Traditional Chiliquiles, Classic Eggs Benedict, House Smoked Salmon with White Polenta and Apple Fennel Slaw

Also available are Danish Pastries, Cured Meats, Imported Cheese and Artisan Breads.

The Champions Club

Field of Greens: Classic Nicoise Salad, Greek Chop Salad, Baby Spinach and Orange Segments, Creamy Red Skin Potato Salad

Chef's Station: Mini Ball Park Brats with Parmesan Fries, Pan Seared Red Snapper Veracruz Style, Pan Seared Veal Provencal with Broccolini and Artichokes, Sauteed Chicken Fusilli and Fresh Waffles and Berries.

There are also many other choices available in the concourses surrounding the stadium. There must be classic ball park franks with yellow mustard and brilliant green relish somewhere!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day Favorites

Because Father's Day occurs in the middle of June, we always have a celebratory dinner cooked on the grill. This year in addition to my husband, we will be celebrating with my son-in-law. Since my 2-year old grandson will be around I'm keeping dinner simple.

One of my summer's favorites is a grilled flank steak. After marinating a few hours it will be grilled to medium-rare and sliced on the grain. Baked potatoes finished on the grill so that they have a crisp and chewy skin and tossed salad make a complete meal.

Actually, Pecan Pie Bars, are the ultimate ending. My husband's favorite dessert is Pecan Pie but in the summer, I like to bake bars and not heat up the kitchen. Here's the recipe from Baking Baking and Beyond (Surrey Books, 2006).

Pecan Pie Bars

If pecan pie is one of your favorites, you’ll love these easy-to-make bars. For a fast, fabulous dessert, cut the bars into 2- or 3-inch squares, heat them slightly in the microwave, and top the warm squares with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a spoonful of caramel sauce.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, cut-up

2 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Heat oven to 350°F with oven rack in middle.
Combine flour and brown sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Add butter and beat on Medium speed until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Press the crust into bottom and slightly up sides of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 12 minutes. The crust will be lightly browned.

Beat brown sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla in same mixer bowl on Low speed until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour into crust.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until set in center. A knife inserted in center will come out clean but wet. Cool on wire cooling rack before cutting. Refrigerate bars.

BAKER’S NOTE: Toasting the pecans concentrates their flavor. Bake on a small baking pan at 350°F about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool before using.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Texas Adventure

Last week I attended the IACP Annual Conference (International Association of Culinary Professionals) in Austin, Texas. After the conference my husband and I headed to the Texas Hill Country and then to San Antonio. Every day we were in Texas it was in the mid-90s to 100 degrees. Hot, hot, hot!

Around Fredericksburg, an historic German settlement, there are almost 30 wineries. We didn't have much time but we were able to visit two of them and sampled six wines at each.

Our first stop was Becker Vineyards based on the recommendation of my husband's cousin who had grown up with the owners. On the wall of the tasting room (above), they had framed several menus from the White House featuring Becker wines served by George and Laura Bush.

We tasted a pinot grigio, voignier, fume blanc, claret, malbec and sweet dessert wine made from viognier grapes. The malbec and dessert wines were our favorites.

The photo hanging at Singing Waters Vineyards shows a sparkling creek flowing over a small drop and droplets of water sparkling in the sun. Unfortunately the creek bed is now completely dry as Texas swelters through a drought.

We tasted all the wines they are producing today. My favorite was a crisp, dry sauvignon blanc, perfect for summer sipping. Their blend of merlot grapes, named Sweet Lupe, is medium dry and perfect for sangria.

For summer sipping, I like fruity wines, some with a little carbonation, served well chilled. try prosecco, vinho verde, pinot grigio and soave. Sangria is also a great choice. When I make white sangria, I add a cinnamon stick to the sugar syrup before simmering and allow it to cool with the cinnamon. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.