If no one's taking you out to the ball game, you can still enjoy that prime treat--a spicy Dodger dog, just like the one you get at Dodger stadium.
Regular all-meat (pork and beef) Dodger dogs are in supermarkets, but the all-beef spicy dogs are hard to come by. We've managed to find one source that carries the dogs occasionally, the Maloney Meat Co. at 3255 Firestone Blvd. in South Gate.
The spicy dog is 8 inches long, 3 inches longer than regular wieners but 2 inches shorter than the traditional Dodger dog, and it contains a special blend of seasonings that gently sizzles your mouth. At Dodger Stadium, where baseball fans consume about half a million spicy dogs a season, it is served in an onion roll shaped like a hot dog bun.
Clougherty Packing Co., producer of both kinds of Dodger dogs under its Farmer John brand, also delivers the spicy dogs to the Hollywood Bowl.
At Dodger Stadium, the wieners are cooked in a pressure cooker or grilled. John Maloney of Maloney Meat Co. suggests this method for home use: Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the wieners, turn off the heat and let them stand 3 minutes.
It's worth the trip to South Gate just to see Maloney's market, which looks like a cross between a red barn and a European chalet and is surrounded by colorful evidence of his interest in flowers. But call first if you're after the spicy dogs--they're not always in stock. The number is (213) 563-2111.
If football is your game of choice, your snack of choice is likely to be cookies--the new National Football League helmet-shaped cookies that feature logos of all 28 league teams.
Titled Cookie Bowl I, this is the first officially licensed NFL food product. The plain, crisp cookies come in three flavors: chocolate, shortbread and cinnamon shortbread. They are manufactured by FFV, a division of Interbake Foods of Richmond, Va., and are scheduled to be in supermarkets by the start of football season in September. The price will be just under $2 for an 11-ounce box.
The cookies are made without animal fats, tropical oils or preservatives, and they are packaged in recyclable paperboard. "We hope the fans have as much fun with these cookies as they do with our sport," say Frank Vuono, vice president of licensing, NFL Properties. And if they do, there will be more goodies on the way. "Food could turn into the hottest segment in our business," Vuono predicts.
The season for Italian prune plums is much too brief, considering their superior performance in pies, crisps and other baked desserts. The skin is dark purple and the flesh pale greenish-yellow, but as the plums cook, they produce appetizing, deep-red juices that are pleasantly tart.
Prune plum pies would be great for a Labor Day party. Or make this easy Prune Plum Crisp: Cut 1 pound prune plums into quarters, discarding pits and place in 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Combine 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in bowl. Add 1/4 cup butter and rub lightly with fingers until blended. Pour mixture over prune plums and bake at 375 degrees 35 to 40 minutes, until browned and juicy. Double recipe and you'll get 8 to 10 large servings.
The plum season is winding down, but this week you'll still be able to find Friar plums, and they'll keep for about three weeks in the refrigerator. The skins are blackish purple, and the plums are round but flat on top. Grown in the San Joaquin Valley, Friar plums are good for eating, baking or preserves. They'll perform best in baking if not overly ripe, but for blender drinks, riper is better.