Home Run Hits

Bites inspired by the ballpark

Baseball is as about American as it gets. My dad coached high-school teams for most of my youth, and we would head out to Peninsula High School during baseball season with snacks in tow to watch games. It was always peaceful — with golden sunlight, summertime, family, and great food. America’s pastime has become synonymous with delicious bites, from grilled sausages to garlicky crispy fries and those giant soft and chewy pretzels. Pair it all with ice-cold beer, lemonade, and salty roasted peanuts, and your taste buds can transport you straight to a dugout or onto loaded bleachers with hands reaching for another hunk of pretzel to dunk in warm cheese sauce. Finish it off with cotton candy made from a store-bought kids’ machine. With baseball season in full swing, you can savor the flavors of ballpark food in real time or in the comfort of your own backyard!

Cream Cheese Queso

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 8 ounces soft cream cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan
  • ½ cup diced pickled jalapenos

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add garlic and chili flakes. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, then add

cream cheese. Once it’s melted, add the heavy cream and cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheddar, Parmesan, and diced jalapenos. Stir until the cheese melts completely. Serve with fresh pretzels — most bakeries and grocery store bakery sections make them.

Ballpark-Food-26Roasted Yukon Gold Garlic Fries 

  • 8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • ¼ cup olive oil, suited for baking
  • 10 cloves garlic
  •  2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a large baking sheet, arrange potatoes and drizzle with oil. Using your hands, spread the oil evenly over every potato wedge. Salt and pepper liberally. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden on the outside and tender inside. Meanwhile, chop the garlic and add to a sauté pan along with the butter on medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook the garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the parsley. When the potatoes are finished, sprinkle your hot garlic mixture over the top. Feel free to mix with tongs to evenly coat each wedge in garlic. Serve immediately.

Ballpark-Food-42

Perfect Cast Iron Pan Peanuts

  • 1 pound raw, shell-on peanuts
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peanuts in the seasoned cast iron pan. You can get raw shell-on peanuts in the bulk section of the grocery store. Bake peanuts for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the shells begin to turn golden and smell fragrant. Sprinkle with salt while hot.

Ballpark-Food-9Grilled Polish Sausages on Sticks

  • 2 pounds of your favorite store-bought kielbasa
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Hot grill pan or outdoor grill

Rub the sausages with oil, slice into 6-inch sections, and grill! Set your outdoor grill to 375 degrees, or if using a grill pan inside, medium/high heat is suitable. Turn the sausages every two minutes until the outside casing begins to darken and split. Put sausages on a stick to serve.

Old-Fashioned Lemonade

  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (4 to 5 lemons)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 to 4 cups water

Squeeze lemons and add the juice to the sugar. Stir to completely incorporate. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes or until the sugar granules have completely dissolved. Add water, starting with 2 cups, then adding an additional cup to suit your own tastes.

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