Taste of the Week: Coors Field, Denver

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Coors Field
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Visiting Coors Field for the first time in several years, I strolled past a large menu of (expensive) culinary options ranging from Helton onion rings and GF veggie quesadillas to barbecue mac and cheese and made-to-order salads. A hot dog seemed de rigeur, but I wanted to upgrade from the regular Rockie Dog, so I stopped by the X-treme Dog booth for a Denver Dog, a fat frank smothered in green chile sauce, shredded cheddar, chopped onions and sliced fresh jalapenos. Overall, it was a hefty meal with a nice hint of heat, but it proved challenging to consume. Without a fork, I used my fingers. Unfortunately, the Rockies got beat by the Diamondbacks. When I got home my email included a missive noting that eating a hot dog may shorten your healthy life by up to 36 minutes. This according to University of Michigan researchers looking at the health burden, carbon footprint and nutritional impact of foods. I decided that my hot dog of the year was worth the half hour I might lose when I’m 96. 

By the way, research suggests that baked salmon and bananas each add 13.5 healthy life minutes, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to eat them at a ball game. 

What to do with too much squash and eggplant

Local gardens, markets and stands are piled with summer squash reaching gargantuan proportions. Many were surprised by “gifts” on National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day, Aug. 8.

This is a great time to get to know the taste and texture range of summer squash varieties available, including zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan, crookneck, Romanesco and Cousa, as well as various shapes of eggplant. This recipe is adapted from one by chef Colton Wagner shared by the Boulder County Farmers Market. 

Summer Ratatouille

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup diced zucchini

1 cup diced yellow summer squash

1 cup diced Asian eggplant

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic

3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

Juice of 1 lemon

Lemon zest

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper (or red pepper flakes)

20 to 30 basil leaves, chopped

1 log chevre goat cheese

Heat large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and squash and eggplant, and sauté for about five minutes or until they start to brown. Turn down heat and add onions and garlic, followed by tomatoes. Simmer until about half the liquid in the pan has been reduced. Add vinegar, salt, black pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest and continue simmering until veggies are soft. Add basil and stir. Taste and adjust salt, pepper etc. Serve topped with rounds of local goat chevre cheese and sided with toasted, garlic-rubbed baguette slices. This preparation also freezes well for winter meals. 

CULINARY CALENDAR

Award-winning Denver author Adrian Miller discusses his wonderful new book “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue” in a free lecture 7 to 8 p.m. Aug. 26 at Broomfield Auditorium. … The Boulder Taco Fest returns Aug. 28 at Foothills Park with diverse tacos, craft brews, tequilas, wrestling, live music and kids’ fun. Info:
bouldertacofest.com 

Colorado food events to avoid

As both a veteran food contest judge and a proponent of cutting food waste, I’m generally opposed to eating contests and anything involving throwing food. For those reasons plus the disgust factor and the pandemic, I recommend that you do not attend the following Colorado food events:

• The third annual World Slopper Eating Championship, Sept. 4 at the Colorado State Fair. Sloppers are open-faced cheeseburgers smothered in pork green chile, with or without crackers, fries, cheese and onions. The 2020 winner consumed 37.5 9-ounce sloppers. 

• The Great State Tomato War, Sept. 18 in Buena Vista when Texans and Coloradans will throw 2,000 pounds of still edible tomatoes at each other.

• The annual Jalapeño Eating Contest, Sept. 26 at the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival.