The O-Dog in action

The O-Dog in action

As I sit here, listening to the Dodgers postgame on KABC 790 after a disappointing 5-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, I find myself unable to hold too dear a grudge against the fair city of Phoenix.

After all, two of my favorite Dodgers did spend quality time there.

After suffering a seemingly career-ending wrist injury last season, Orlando Hudson left the D-Backs a free agent and was signed by the Dodgers for this season.  Their loss was our gain.  The irrepressible O-Dog, recently named the “Chattiest Player” in Major League Baseball, is an absolute joy to watch on the field, at bat, or in an interview.

AND!  He also runs the nonprofit C.A.T.C.H. Foundation (Curing Autism Through Change and Hope), an organization that seeks “to enable children with autism to enjoy a normal life through the funding of outlets for proper therapy, education, and extracurricular activities.”

'Dre enjoying his unlikely off-season vocation

Phoenix's clutch-hitting, food blogging export

And then, there’s Phoenix’s native son, Dodger right fielder, and king of the clutch homer and walk-off hit, Andre Ethier.  Whenever I see him step up to the plate, I always find myself thinking, despite the fact that I’m only a few years older than he is, “What a nice young man!”

And when he’s not knocking balls out of the park, Ethier is, of all things, a total foodie.  Last season, he started writing a food blog, Dining With ‘Dre, where he explores the ethnic cuisine of Los Angeles and his native Phoenix.

It hasn’t been updated in quite some time (dude’s been busy!), but in his last two posts, he figures out why Mexican food in Phoenix is the best (it’s the Native American influence), and  takes his grandma out to lunch at her favorite Phoenix restaurant.

What a nice young man!

And then, there’s the southwestern feast Brady and I enjoyed the other day, courtesy of recipes from the Junior League of Phoenix‘s Pomegranates and Prickly Pears (2005).

In the forward to the book, Barbara Pool Fenzl, owner of Les Gourmettes Cooking School, writes,

“As a young bride, I loved to cook and try new dishes by inviting our friends for dinner.  As I worked my way through many, many cookbooks, I soon realized that the Junior Leagues’ were the best.  They always had delicious, doable recipes that were perfect for entertaining.  As I traveled about the country, my mission became seeking out the Junior League cookbook from each city I visited.  I knew the dishes would work because they were used by busy, accomplished women who loved to host memorable parties but didn’t want to slave in the kitchen all day.”

pomegranates and prickly pearsExactly!

And I absolutely love that way that Pomegranates and Prickly Pears is organized.  Instead of the typical “Appetizers-Breads-Side Dishes-Main Courses-Desserts” arrangement, the recipes in the book are arranged in terms of how a busy home cook might use them.  Sections include “It’s a Dry Heat” (light and casual summer dishes), “Eat with Your Hands” (kid-friendly recipes), “Just the Two of You” (recipes for romantic dinners at home), and “Valley Glow” (hors d’oeuvre and recipes for festive entertaining).

For this week’s menu, I pieced together recipes from a few sections because there is no chapter in any cookbook for “Things to Cook When Your Husband Has a California Wildfire-Induced Sinus Infection and Can’t Taste Food.”

Lots of spicy chile dishes coming up this week, as well as an elegant, tasty salad, and a dessert that involves a culinary torch!

Go Dodgers (and D-Backs)!

View recipes and photos from the Junior League of Phoenix’s Pomegranates and Prickly Pears (Tomatillo Verde Sauce with Avocado, Jicama Green Leaf Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, Ancho Chile Cheese Enchiladas, Lemon Creme Brulee)