things I learnt in NYC on my Baseball Roadtrip (and an announcement)

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MLB Roadtrip Yankees Stadium - porch&table

Let’s take a bit of a break from the food, and focus on some other important things in life like a baseball roadtrip. Kevin and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary at the end of June, and we wanted to do a fun trip for the both of us.

As a pitcher, Kevin loves going to baseball games, and I’ve been following baseball since I can remember. In fact, my parents used to take me out of elementary school just so that I could go to opening day for the Ottawa Lynx (I know, right?!) It was kinda a no-brainer to do this, and sure enough, there’s a website to help you coordinate your baseball roadtrip itinerary, obviously.

Off we went with our first stop in NYC, a first to the city for me. Yankees stadium athmosphere was unreal. We got tickets through Ticket Liquidator for all our games throughout the baseball roadtrip, and didn’t pay over 30$ for any of them. Side note: the bleachers in the outfield don’t have backrests, which we didn’t know when we got the tickets, and it got long after a 3.5 hour game… 

On our first full day there, we took advantage of some of the free things you can do in NYC, and there’s lots of them. We hopped on the Staten Island Ferry which basically takes you on a 20 minute ferry ride from Manhattan to Staten Island and takes you right in front of the Statue of Liberty. We walked through Times Square, and through all of Central Park, a 4.5km walk (or 2.8 miles). 

Central Park was incredible. The idea that there’s this vast park, with dozens of softball/baseball fields, a giant pond, and even a zoo in the middle of NYC is mind boggling. As you walk in that direction, you wonder how the tall buildings will just disappear and fade into a park. But it does! 

At the end of our walk through the park, we sat on a grassy hill to take a break before making our way to Yankees Stadium, and hung out a bit. I bet Kevin that if I found a four-leaf clover, he would have to marry me. Let me just remind everyone the estimated statistical odds of finding a four-leaf clover is 10,000 to 1, so a fairly safe bet.

Low and behold, about 20 minutes into the search, when I had practically given up was this four-leaf clover. I was so proud of myself! Mid-selfie with my newfound four-leaf clover, Kevin rolled onto one knee (on a hill I might add) and proposed to me in Central Park on June 30th. Though I thought it might happen, I still had tears of joy and it felt surreal. 

porch&table

So now, we plan. We’ve got less than a year til our 10 year anniversary, and that’s the day we’ve picked for our wedding! Stay tuned for as I hopefully don’t pull out my hairs, and try to be a bridechilla, rather than a bridezilla.

 

 


tortellini salad with sesame dressing

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tortellini salad with sesame dressing

 

With summer in full-swing, it’s nice to find some salads that are cool and delicious, just like this tortellini salad with sesame dressing. I’m not a fan of your traditional lettuce or spinach salads, and I try to opt for the not-so-green salad options.

I’m not sure why it is that the traditional salads don’t really appeal to me, I guess I see them as bland and boring, but throw in some quinoa, or cranberries and everything changes. As you probably have gathered, I’m a pretty huge fan of pasta, and so the idea of a pasta salad is a good place to start. 

I discovered sesame oil a couple of years back (i know, a little late) and it changed the way I think about salad dressings. Your dressing doesn’t have to be boring, you can stray away from the olive oil and balsamic and get WILD! Okay, maybe not WILD, but different. Sesame oil is a powerful oil. You don’t need a lot of it to pack a lot of flavour. There’s a very fine balance between too much and not enough, and you eventually get a feel for what’s just right.

You know how some things get better the day after? Well this salad is one of them.

I wish I had more of a story, but I am still kinda in vacation mode and my brain is stumbling over itself still. I’ll post more about the vacation next week! 

But for now, here’s the tortellini salad with sesame dressing recipe

tortellini salad with sesame dressing
Serves 8
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup sesame oil
  2. 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoon hot chili oil
  4. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  5. 2 crushed garlic cloves
  6. Salt & Pepper to taste
  7. 3 cups cheese tortellini
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a boil, and add the tortellini.
  2. Reduce heat and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix well until all combined.
  4. Once the pasta has cooled down a little (about another 10 minutes) mix the sesame dressing with the tortellini and serve.
Notes
  1. Easily doubled, or halved.
porch&table http://porchandtable.com/

sage and mushroom penne

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sage & mushroom penne

There’s nothing I love more than a bowl of pasta, it’s the ultimate comfort food, and this sage and mushroom penne is the pinnacle of comfort.

I’ve recently been asked to be a contributor to AOL’s Kitchen Daily, and I’m pleased to be in such great company as Elizabeth at A Sweet Baker, Melissa from Upbeet, and fellow Ottawa food bloggers Don and Jen at Foodieprints, among many others! You can see a list of all the contributors on the Kitchen Daily website.

When they first approached me, I was asked a couple of questions, and one of them was to describe my cooking style. My answer: comfort. To me, meals should make you feel good, and are often the gateway to some amazing discussions. I’ve said it a couple times, and that’s ultimately how I came to the name of porch&table. If you head to my Kitchen Daily Contributor Profile, you’ll also see that I have a major weakness for anything carb-related, and that means pasta! 

Enter, sage and mushroom penne. This sage infused sauce is so flavourful, and tackles all of your senses at once. The comforting smell as it simmers, to the complex taste it adds, you really can’t go wrong with it. In our house, a meal isn’t a meal, unless there’s some form of meat in it (or at least that’s what Kevin thinks), and so for that reason, I’ve opted to add some sliced prosciutto, but you can easily leave it out if that doesn’t suit you!

Now, I suppose it’s time to introduce you to the sage and mushroom penne recipe.

sage & mushroom penne
Serves 7
The pinnacle of comfort food, all in one spot. This recipe can be adapted to be made vegeterian very easily.
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Ingredients
  1. 500g penne, or your pasta of choice
  2. 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  3. 1/4 cup fresh sage, coarsely chopped
  4. 2 cups mushroom, coarsely chopped
  5. 1/2 cup cream
  6. 2 cups diced or crushed tomatoes
  7. 200g, or 3 thick slices of prosciutto, coarsely cut
Instructions
  1. Bring a large saucepot filled 2/3 with water to a boil.
  2. Place the pasta in and reduce heat to medium for about 10 minutes, and drain once pasta is al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the margarine or butter on medium-high until bubbles start to form, about 5 minutes.
  4. Let the rolling bubbles continue, while reducing the heat for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the sage and simmer for 4 minutes.
  6. Add the mushrooms to the pan, and stir regularly or until the mushrooms start to soften.
  7. Next, pour the cream, tomatoes, and add the prosciutto to the sauce mixture, stirring often and breaking down the tomatoes slightly.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  9. Mix the pasta in with the sauce.
Notes
  1. Consider that you'll be mixing your pasta with your sauce when choosing the pan/pot size.
  2. Don't rinse your pasta! If you sauce seems a little runny, use some of the pasta water to help thicken it.
porch&table http://porchandtable.com/

sweet treats: maple bacon cookies

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Maple Bacon Cookies

When you think about Canada, there are often two things that come to mind: maple and bacon. In my effort to incorporate more bacon in cookies, the idea dawned on me and it was way too obvious, the ultimately Canadian Cookie, Maple Bacon Cookies.

I love making cookies, as you may have noticed, and it’s a fairly quick and easy way to get a sweet treat. That being said, if I can find ways to incorporate a little more Canada in my cookies, I’ll look for new ways to do it.

Finding Inspirations Around the Canadian Table

Around the Canadian TableThis challenge actually led me to the Around the Canadian Table – Food Day Canada Website. It’s an event that not only raises funds for students at Niagara College, but it also brings the best flavours of the season in food and wine, while guests get to have conversation and enjoy awesome music. I think it tops the lists of great Canadian food events!  Did I mention there are some pretty cool chefs taking part in it? There are just too many great ones, but you can find out which chefs are participating here.

Kanata Athletics - Jose CansecoOkay, back to these maple bacon cookies. My boyfriend had an opportunity to play with the legendary Jose Canseco in a charity tournament with the Kanata Athletics. As usual, I try to keep the boys happy with cookies post-game, and given our special guest I wanted to make a cookie that would really feel Canadian. 

They were like a bunch of kids just loving every moment they had with him, and took in the advice and insight he was willing to offer. Sadly, Jose left before trying the cookies, but I can assure you, the 20-something players had no problem polishing them off, in his honour of course.

Here’s the Maple Bacon Cookie Recipe

Maple Bacon Cookies
Yields 30
The ultimate Canadian Cookie, Sweet Maple Candied Bacon Cookies
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Total Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb bacon, sliced into 1" - 2" pieces
  2. 1 cup maple syrup
  3. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla
  6. 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  7. 1.5 cups of milk
  8. 2 cups flour
  9. pinch of salt
  10. 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
Instructions
  1. Marinate the Bacon in 1/2 cup of maple syrup for at least one hour.
  2. Seperate the bacon from the maple syrup, and place the bacon in a pan on the stove on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the maple to the pan once the bacon has started to cook a little, and mix occasionally.
  4. When bacon has started to crisp up a little (likely after 15-20 minutes total cook time), sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar and lower the heat. The mixture will likely start to bubble/foam a little and it's normal!
  5. Handling with caution, as sugar burns hurts, place the bacon maple syrup mixture on a lined-plate to cool down.
  6. Meanwhile, place the egg, vanilla, milk, remainder of maple syrup, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and stir until almost completely combined.
  8. Once bacon has cooled slightly, add it to the cookie batter and stir to incorporate.
  9. Place cookies by the tablespoonful about 1" apart.
  10. Bake 325°F for 15 minutes or until golden.
porch&table http://porchandtable.com/