Celebrating Movember around the baseball world!
In my baseball work, I love to encourage tomatoes for several reasons. Our players spend much of their day in the sun, and lycopene may help to prevent skin cancer. I often remind them, tomatoes are “sunscreen from the inside out”.
Research suggests that lycopene may preserve bone integrity, and we’re always looking for ways to keep injuries from sidelining our players.
During the month of November, I have an extra, very important reason to encourage tomatoes! Lycopene may also help to prevent a second type of cancer, prostate.
Plus, what sport celebrates facial hair more than baseball? It’s a natural for me to write about!
With baseball players, one of my favorite reasons to encourage tomatoes is far more practical. Our roster is strongly represented by Latin American countries. Tomatoes are native to the Americas, and therefore have a strong presence in our players’ comfort foods. It’s an easy vegetable to add that I know they’ll eat. We even add it to our Latin breakfasts!
So, in honor of our sport, our culinary diversity, and our beards…and in the spirit of the Red Movember campaign initiated by our friends at Tomato Wellness, I’ve been curating and Tweeting some of our favorite menu items using tomatoes.
If your own training table includes young, aspiring major leaguers, it may encourage them to expand their food list, knowing that these foods are what some of their favorite players might be eating.
At the time I write this, our complete roster stretching from the Dominican Republic Complex, through the minor leagues, all the way up to Milwaukee, includes 12 different countries. (Well 10, unless you ask our Puerto Ricans and Hawaiians, so I include them as our 11th and 12th!) I’ve curated recipes from each of these culinary cultures from some of my favorite international food bloggers for you to try.
Enjoy! Or as we often say in the clubhouse, ¡Buen Provecho!
What is better on a cold, winter day, something Canadians know well, than tomato soup? Add some grilled cheese croutons and voila! Warm all over. Here’s the recipe from Chatelaine.com.
Hogao, or Creole Sauce, is to Colombians, what salsa is to Mexicans. It’s a great condiment to use with meat, eggs, patacones (plantain chips), perhaps even an interesting pizza. Erica Dinho’s bilingual blog, My Colombian Recipes, is a great resource for someone wanting to learn more about her home country’s delicious cuisine. Check out her hogao!
Ropa vieja (Old Clothes), is a delicious slow-cooked meat recipe. It’s traditionally made with beef, but I love this crockpot version from Healthy Latin Eating, which can also be made with chicken.
If I had a dollar for every time one of our Dominicans told me they were homesick for sancocho! I’m convinced it’s what runs through their veins instead of blood! It’s a hearty stew. Here’s a recipe from Goya, a producer of many popular Latin American cooking ingredients. Although I have about 100 other recipes from Dominican mothers’ kitchens that are supposedly the best ever!
We currently have three players from these islands. And while culturally they are similar to mainlanders, their food is a unique blend of island native, Portuguese, Filipino, and Asian. One thing we’ve added to our salad bar, as it is a daily condiment for many Hawaiians, is kimchi, a Korean pickled cabbage slaw.
Hungry Gopher has a nice recipe and cute video for making tomato kimchi.
Enchiladas! This one is more familiar to most of you. I’m giving you a recipe for turkey enchiladas since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and turkey enchiladas are my absolute favorite leftover turkey dish.
Moving on to Europe, a shout out to friend Michelle Slabbekoorn in Rotterdam, who helped me find this recipe for cabbage and meatballs. The original version is in Dutch, so I’m pasting her translation below.
500 grams white cabbage
250 gram cherry tomatoes
2 medium large onions
1 bunch of chives
125 gram bratwurst
150 gram crème fraîche
250 ml. vegetable stock
2 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper
Peel and slice the onion into large pieces. Clean the cabbage and slice into wide strips. Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems and slice in half. Heat the oil in a big pan And slice the bratwrust in in pieces and push the sausage out of its skin so that you get small pieces with no skin. Sauté these pieces for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Sauté the cabbage and onion in the remaining fat in the pan, add the warm vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Let this cool for about five minutes. Wash, dry and finely chop the chives. Stir some of the chives into the crème fraîche. Return the tomatoes and braadworst to the pan and heat it all through. Garnish with the raining chives and serve the dish with the crème fraîche and a nice bread.
Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) is popular all over Latin America but I especially enjoyed it in my travels to Central America. Here’s a version from Panamanian blogger Crasstalk.
Pastelón. What a great twist on lasagna! Plantains are such a healthy carb, and when they replace lasagna noodles, you just might never make the Italian version again. This version comes from Yeseldy of The Noshery.
Tomato fried rice. We have a few players repping countries outside of Latin America. Taiwan is one! Here’s a Taiwanese recipe from Day Day Cook that uses an American condiment, ketchup.
Perico. This is our all time favorite clubhouse breakfast when we go Latin. It’s traditionally served with avocado, black beans, and arepas, a corn cake that is the “tortilla” of northern South America. I’m not even giving you a recipe here, it’s simply eggs scrambled with tomatoes and scallions. In the version I made here, I used canned, but you can also use fresh.
So many choices here, but I’m going with barbecue in honor of our large Southern contingent. We can never serve enough! Here’s a recipe for this American favorite, from Lady Behind the Curtain, done Texas style ~ spicy Texas barbecue sauce.
It’s amazing to me how far tomatoes have spread around the world since the first explorers discovered them. But that’s a tribute to their versatility and beloved flavor. I hope you find something in my travels here to add to your own repertoire!