Ashley Rodriguez's Unexpected Pastime

Guest post from Ashley Rodriguez, Not Without Salt

Spring has arrived, which means many things: the lilacs are perfuming the air, rhubarb is showing off its rosy hue, fresh herbs are their most tender and sweet, morels burst through the fallen leaves...and it's time for baseball! I never expected myself to get so eager for anything sports-related, but watching my boys delight in the stats, the players, the strategy and the game, I can’t help but get on board. Also (and probably most of all) it’s an opportunity for me to pack the cooler with my version of ballpark food.

All photos courtesy of Ashley Rodriguez

In Seattle, our stadium boasts some incredible food options, but for the number of games we like to see in a year, it’s much more cost-effective for us to bring in our own food. I pack a tin full of fresh cut vegetables to balance out the popcorn and sweets. Then there’s a sandwich nearly as long as a baseball bat which riffs off the classic Seattle hot dog that includes cream cheese and pickled peppers. And finally, a simple sweet of bittersweet chocolate, roasted peanuts, and tangy golden raisins. Now we’re ready to play ball!

Salted Chocolate Covered Peanuts and Raisin Clusters

A riff off a classic candy. This one combines both peanuts and raisins in one irresistible cluster. The final touch-a flurry of crunchy flake salt to balance out the sweetness.

Makes about 2 dozen clusters

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups salted and roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • Flake salt

1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals or over a double boiler.

2. Stir in the vegetable oil, peanuts, and raisins. Stir well to make sure everything is well coated in chocolate.

3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper then use a large spoon to drop clusters of the chocolate mixture onto the sheet pan.

4. Top each cluster with a small pinch of flake salt then set the tray in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set the chocolate.

Seattle Salami Sandwich

In Seattle, our classic hot dog is served with cream cheese and pickled peppers. I’ve taken that winning combination and turned it into a cooler stable sandwich. The basil adds a hit of freshness and won’t shrivel or lose its integrity after a few innings.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 baguette
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup pickled hot peppers
  • 12 ounces thinly sliced salami
  • 10 large basil leaves

Halve the baguette then spread the cream cheese over both halves. Top with pickled peppers, salami, and basil. Replace the other half of the baguette then cut into 4 to 6 pieces. Wrap the sandwich well then refrigerate until ready to pack into the cooler.


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