Recently, I was invited to attend a Cardinals game (with other bloggers and local media folks) on Tuesday, to sit in the Red Bird Club All-Star (aka VIP) room, and to schmooze with Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence. I am a fan fangirl of "Hot Tyler" so I immediately accepted the invitation...even if he was promoting "healthy" ballpark food. I mean, when I go to a Cardinals game, I usually go just to eat hot dogs (with mustard & sauerkraut) and nachos loaded with that bright orange cheese-stuff & pickled jalapenos. But, I figured I could play along with healthy food....for Tyler's sake.
Actually, Tyler (I've met him twice now, so we're on a first name basis) is appearing at stadiums across the country representing the California Table Grape Commission during Grapes from California days. After throwing out the first pitch, Tyler made his way to the All-Star room where he introduced himself to everyone and talked to each of us. And take pictures, of course.
Don't we make a cute couple???
In real life, Tyler Florence is a pretty personable guy. He seems genuinely excited about his new Food Network show, The Great Food Truck Race. He spoke passionately about his wine-making. He mentioned his three kids. He talks fast & kind of stutters (in a completely adorable way, of course).
Oh, and, he looks strikingly like my husband. Really, the resemblance is uncanny. Don't you think?
The California Grape people arranged a nice spread for us, which included their signature recipe for turkey dogs with grape relish. It was actually pretty tasty; the relish was a sweet & tangy compliment to the smokey hot dogs. I'd make it at home.
We were also given copies of Susan Volland's cookbook Green Black Red: Recipes for Cooking & Enjoying California Grapes. I've already picked out a few recipes to try...warm spinach salad with grapes & pancetta, grape & brie fritters, foccacia with grapes and rosemary, green grape & tomatillo salsa, grape & cranberry tea bread, and fresh grape popsicles (for KBO).
Tangy Grape Relish
1/2 cup EACH: diced red & green seedless California grapes
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
- Stir all ingredients together. Set aside until ready to use.