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Published: Sunday, 4/3/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

MORSELS

New foods sure to be outta-the-park hits -- but prepare for major league calories

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE FOOD EDITOR
The Flaming Muddy is a deep-fried chicken breast with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos on a bun. The Flaming Muddy is a deep-fried chicken breast with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos on a bun.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The Toledo Mud Hens' home opener is 11 days away. That gives you time to start exercising. A lot. Like, a marathon or two. Every day.

And even then, you won't work off the calories of any of the new foods being sold this season at Fifth Third Field.

Exhibit A is the Double Play Burger. This tasty little morsel begins with ⅓ pound of Angus beef hamburger, which is a pretty good meal in itself. And then they go and pile a Philly cheese steak sandwich on top of it -- thinly sliced beef, provolone cheese, and grilled green peppers and onions.

It may kill you, but it sure does taste good. Which seems to be the theme of all this year's new selections.

Exhibit B? Let's call that the Bloomin' Bacon Burger, which begins with that same ⅓ pound Angus beef hamburger. On top of that comes slices of bacon, deep-fried onion rings, American cheese, and a mayonnaise-based bistro sauce.

Bases-Loaded Fries are topped with cheese, bacon pieces, scallions, and sour cream. Bases-Loaded Fries are topped with cheese, bacon pieces, scallions, and sour cream.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

What they call a Koegel's Spicy Sausage at Fifth Third Field would be called a Chili Half Smoke at Nationals Park in Washington, but that doesn't make it any healthier for you. It's a good-sized hunk of hot sausage made by Koegel's Meats (of Flint, Mich.), slathered in chili and onions on a bun.

A Flaming Muddy covers a deep-fried chicken breast with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos, on a bun. Bases-Loaded Fries takes French fries -- never the healthiest choice to begin with -- and tops them with cheese, bacon pieces, scallions, and sour cream.

And how about gyros? Gyros are sort of healthy, right? Well, yes, but not if they're called Greek Nachos because they start with deep-fried pita chips.

As was mentioned before, but it bears repeating, these offerings all taste great. And Craig Nelson, president of TMH Concessions, said they were developed based on feedback from customers and trend information from distributors.

"People come to the ballpark to have a break in routine or to splurge," he said.

He also said that by June, he hopes to have a cart in the stadium selling fresh fruit and vegetables -- although if it's an apple, it may be covered in caramel.

Meanwhile, people who get to see the games in the suites can always order a soft pretzel. Pretzels are low in fat, but the carbs can get you. The Texas Twist weighs 24 ounces and measures one full square foot across.

Meatballs

This month's cooking demonstration at The Fresh Market will show how to make Mediterranean Meatballs with Nicoise-Style Tuna Salad and a Grape Lime Cooler. As always, chef Roberta Acosta will be wielding her knives, showing how to make the food.

The free demonstration will be 1-4 p.m. Saturday. The instruction will be ongoing, so you can come at any point, get the recipe and pick up tips about how to create it.

Poached Pears

Someday, I am told, it will get warmer. And somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.

But while we still have the Toledo Chill (and the Monroe Chill and the Bowling Green Chill), much of the rest of the country is thinking about spring. Which is why we are now getting such pleasant recipes (from The Tasteful Palate at eatingvine.com) as Pears in Red Wine.

An elegant dessert, pears poached in wine are always welcome no matter what the season. Pears are almost always available, and some are juicy and delicious right now (though others are not). Poaching them in wine and serving them either hot or cold always reminds us of warmer weather.

Pears in Red Wine

6 pears

2/3 cup of sugar

4 cups of red wine

1/2 cup water, plus more for boiling

1 cinnamon stick

Place the pears in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the water and let cool. When the pears are cool enough to hold, remove the peel.

Meanwhile put the sugar, wine, water, and cinnamon stick in a pan over medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the pears and simmer slowly until the pears become soft. When the pears have softened remove them from the liquid and place them in a glass bowl.

Leave the liquid simmering a bit longer until it reduces; then pour over the pears.

Poached pears can be served warm or cooled in the fridge.

Yield: 6 servings

Source: The Tasteful Palate

Items for Morsels may be submitted up to two weeks in advance of an event to food@theblade.com.



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