Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall Baseball

The Diamondbacks may be out of the running for the World Series, but that doesn't mean we Arizona baseball fans are without some fun. From early October to mid-November of each year, we have Fall Ball.

Fall Ball is great for a relaxed, close-up view of up-and-coming players. Each of the 30 Major League teams sends 30 prospects to the valley. They're divided up into 6 teams: the Phoenix Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas, Surprise Rafters, Peoria Saguaros, Scottsdale Scorpions, and Mesa Solar Sox.

They play in training stadiums that are used for Spring Training in March. You can enjoy a nice, relaxed atmosphere with nearly perfect weather most days. Since the average attendance is fewer than 300 people, you can sit almost anywhere in the ball park. Some days we sit behind home plate, close enough to see all the action and here the players when they talk to each other (and sometimes say not-so-nice things to themselves).

Games are every day but Sunday. The season started on October 9, and the last game is on November 17. Games are scheduled either at noon, 12:35 PM, or 7:05 PM. Individual tickets are $6 ($5 for seniors or those under 17). If you want to buy season tickets, they're only $75 ($65 for seniors or under 17). You can also get a season ticket for the whole family (up to 6 members) for $105.

This year, the Chinese National baseball team will be playing a game with each team - it's part of their training for the Beijing 2008 Olympics games. Team USA will also be playing! These games are a chance to relax, see good baseball, and maybe get an early look at a future star!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Arizona Cook Book - Yum!

A friend found this book at a garage sale in California recently and sent it to me. What fun! This spiral-bound paperback claims to contain authentic recipes of Indian, Mexican, and Western origin. I think that in this case, authentic is accurate.

Let's see, what shall we try? In the Indian section, there's and interesting recipe for Blood Sausage. All I need is 4 cups of sheep blood, 1 1/2 cups of sheep fat, and a clean stomach (to contain the sausage - not mine). Or how about using that cup of acorn meal you have lying around to prepare some delicious acorn stew?

There's a whole section of recipes featuring pinto beans, including delicious Pinto Bean Fudge! Yep, there is the usual ingredient list, with one odd inclusion: 1/2 cup strained cooked pinto beans.

I was initially alarmed when I noticed a recipe for Pyracantha Jelly. I didn't realize that pyracantha berries were edible - a little research confirms they are not poisonous after all.

Under Beef Bounties, the adventurous chef can try Beef Earth Roast. The authors provide an 8-step instruction for "an economical, easy and unusual way to feed a large group of people." Instruction #1: Dig a pit 3' deep and 3' wide. Length depends on how much meat you cook. (A 10-foot pit will hold about 300 pounds of beef.) The remaining 7 steps are just as easy. Be sure to have green hickory or oak limbs on hand to create the 12 to 14 inches of live coals you'll need. You'll also need metal bars to place across the pit, 18" apart, and some overlapping tin to cover that, plus a tarp "in case of rain." Easy, indeed!

If you'd like your own copy of this delightful cookbook, Arizona Cook Book was published by Golden West Publishers, and when I checked was available online at several sites that sell used books, including alibris and Bon appetit!