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FOURTH OF JULY | Getcher Bleacher Eats!

Little Leaguers need snacks too. You can make them.

July 04, 2001|MARCY GOLDMAN | Special to the Times

Baseball managers are remembered for many things. Some are brilliant strategists or superb teachers of the fundamentals. Others are inspirational leaders. I may be the only manager in baseball history who will be remembered mainly for my baking.

That's not why I started coaching baseball, of course. No, I got into it to keep my sons from suffering terminal IRFF (In Right Field Forever) syndrome, something that is as common to Little Leaguers whose parents don't volunteer as rotator cuff surgery is to big league curveballers.

It's not that I was a baseball know-nothing before. I learned the game from my dad, who had a deep appreciation for the cliches of the game ( "Nothing is a given," "It's all stats and strategy," "On any given day

Each spring for the last eight years, I have had this fantasy that finally I'll be noticed for something--anything--besides my cooking, but I'm skeptical. I've given up on having one of my sons make training camp for the Braves or the Yankees, or on winning enough games to earn an appearance on "Oprah." We'll probably never even win the regionals, and I'll probably never be coach of the year.

At this point, I'd be willing to be remembered for simply being able to pick up that humongous equipment bag by myself. Just once. Zip 'er up, hoist it over my shoulder, wave goodbye to the umps and stroll off into the sunset. That would be sweet.

As it is, it'll probably be another year of having the boys do the lifting. And of me doing the baking. If you can't win, you can at least feed 'em right.

With my sons' teams, of course, that doesn't mean any fancy dishes or profound flavors. We're talking Little League baseball here. Instead, I try to fix them stuff that I know they'll like, hopefully done a little better than they might be used to. In cooking, as in baseball, there are no small victories.

Homemade Cracker Jacks, lemonade and corn dogs. Homemade pretzels dipped in ballpark mustard. And especially chocolate chip cookies. These are the kinds of things kids want to eat.

It adds a whole new twist to "getting it over the plate."

Corn Dogs

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Serve these with mustard for dipping. Corn flour is available at Indian markets and health food stores.

*

2/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal

1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons corn flour, optional

1 teaspoon salt

Dash white pepper or cayenne pepper

1 egg

2 tablespoons oil

About 1/2 cup seltzer or plain water

10 hot dogs

Flour, for dusting

Oil, for frying

*

Whisk together the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, corn flour, salt, pepper, egg, oil and seltzer in a large bowl.

Insert a wooden skewer in each hot dog, then dust the hot dogs with flour. Roll or dip them in the batter so that they're totally coated.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a large wok or cast iron skillet to about 375 degrees. Cook a couple of corn dogs at a time until they are lightly browned, turning them over, about 4 to 5 minutes.Drain them on paper towels and repeat with the remaining hot dogs.

10 corn dogs. Each dog: 460 calories; 973 mg sodium; 79 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 56 grams carbohydrates; 18 grams protein; 0 fiber.

Stadium Lemonade

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes plus 1 hour cooling

I like to use Perrier for this. Citric acid is sold at health food stores. Lemon oil--the flavoring, not the furniture polish--is sold at gourmet stores.

*

1 1/2 cups lemon juice

1 cup extra-fine granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon lemon oil, optional

1/8 teaspoon citric acid, optional

Ice cubes, lightly crushed

Sparkling or spring water

2 to 3 lemons, thinly sliced or quartered

Mint leaves

Simmer the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar. Cool well, about 1 hour, then stir in the lemon oil and citric acid.

Prepare each glass with some ice cubes, then pour about 2 to 4 tablespoons of the lemon mixture into each glass. Fill them with chilled Perrier or spring water.

Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves. Serve these with straws.

*

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings: 110 calories; 1 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 0 saturated fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.21 gram fiber.

Soft Pretzels

Active Work Time: 35 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 2 1/2 hours

Malt powder is sold at health food stores.

*

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons sugar

5 teaspoons dry yeast

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon malt powder

2 1/2 to 3 cups bread flour

1 egg white, beaten

Coarse salt

In a large bowl, stir together the water, sugar and yeast, then quickly add the oil, salt, malt powder and most of the flour, mixing until the dough is no longer sticky. (Add more flour, if need be.) Knead until you have a soft dough, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Let the dough rest, covered, until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 portions and let the portions rest a few minutes before rolling each into ropes.

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