Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rounding Third And Heading To My Tummy

A beer vendor yelling ... cold beer

The beautiful green grass of the ball field cut so perfect.

The smell of hot dogs roasting as they spin.

You guessed it, today was opening day for the Cincinnati Reds.  When I say opening day I mean to say its a area holiday.  No one goes to work, they either go to the game or watch it at home or at a bar.  For me I was at a catering event so I was only able to hear it on the radio, which I feel is the best way to experience the game if your not at the ballpark. 

I have so many memories from opening day, and I guess that is what makes me look forward to it so much.  Years as a child I can remember it was one of the days my Dad and I would listen to the game together if I was home from school in time.  A very special day because Marty and Joe on the radio always got me out of doing my homework for at least until the game was done.  As I got older I went to a few opening days with friends which was always an event, beer beer... hot dog... beer beer... well you have to forgive me but that is mostly what I remember from those years.  Sad thing about it is that I haven't gone to an opening day since I got stung by a bee in 2002 and had to go to the hospital because I am allergic. Completely lame I know.

Although with anything I do it always has to do with food, and usually it means eating a lot and always too much.  At the ballpark is no exception, from hot dogs to funnel fries and everything in between you can gorge yourself with almost anything fried.  Unfortunately to do this you may need to be paid up on the credit card because unlike when I was a child, the prices are steep.  But in the grad scheme of things food at a baseball game is a necessity so go ahead and list one of your kidneys on Craigslist. 

When I was scrolling through some recipes I came across this one that you may want to try the next time you have friends over the game.

 Ballpark Pretzels

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 quart water
1 egg, beaten with
2 teaspoons water
  Sea salt, to taste


Combine water, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl; set in a warm spot. After 15 minutes, it should begin to foam and bubble. Add the salt and half the flour; mix well with a wooden spoon.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; gradually knead in the remaining flour to form a smooth dough. Knead for 5 minutes; transfer to an oiled bowl and coat evenly with oil. Cover bowl with a towel; set in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450F. Punch dough down and roll into a log. Divide evenly into 12 pieces; roll each into a 16- to 18-inch rope. Shape pretzels into a traditional pretzel by tying dough into a knot and pinching ends across loops.

Combine baking soda and water in a saucepan and boil. Lower each pretzel in boiling water until it floats, about 30 seconds. Drain; transfer to a greased baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture; sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Cover pretzels with a cloth and let rise again for 5 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serve hot with cold beer and mustard. 

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