Category Archives: Entertaining Trails

What’s Up Next – Some Notes – December 10, 2021

It’s Friday, and a good week it was. Just a reminder, we are looking for contributors to the blog. We are planning on expansion in the new year and it is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Do you like music, sports, food, beverages, travel or just like to write, then we have a place for you as a weekly, monthly, daily or your schedule contributor. Reply to this post or email me at johnlorieh@gmail.com.

Now a look at the next week. The weekend will see some musical posts on random bands (Sylvia Tyson is up next) and we continue with our countdown of Canada’s top 100 rock songs.Starting Monday, we will have another Saturday special recipe. We have a new post from Dean and Laynni, who are on their way home from Cyprus as I write. Safe travels. Our interview with Maddisun will be up during the week, we had a nice conversation on the 9th.

If you are an active musical artist and would consent to an interview, please contact me at johnlorieh@gmail.com and we can have a chat.Have a great weekend all.

Chicken Thighs in Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Today’s adventure in Saturday night suppers is Chicken Thighs in Sun Dried Tomato Sauce. As a bonus we prepped a side dish, Roasted Asparagus in Lemon Vinaigrette. Both are reasonably simple recipes, however, we made a few changes due to a poor shopper, me. We used 18% cream instead of heavy cream, and dried basil instead of fresh basil leaves for the chicken. The asparagus did not have lemon zest because someone forgot to buy lemons and we did not have parsley either. Still, both turned out fine, and after the second bottle of wine, we didn’t care very much.

Chicken Thighs in Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

These chicken thighs are quick and easy dinner. Eat them as is, or serve over pasta or rice.

Course Main Course

Cuisine American

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 4

Calories 566kcal

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. chicken thighs skinless and boneless

Salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup chicken broth/stock sodium free

1 cup cup heavy cream

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes chopped

1/2 cup parmesan grated

1 cup basil leaves

Instructions

1. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels.

2. Preheat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil and then add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides.About 6-8 minutes total. Remove onto a plate.

3. Chop your sun-dried tomatoes and add them to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes

4. Add white wine and simmer for 2 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate.

5. Now add chicken stock heavy cream, Dijon mustard, salt, Italian Seasoning, onion and garlic powders. Bring the mixture to a low simmering point and then add Parmesan cheese. Use a whisk or a wooden spoon and mix it in until you have a smooth mixture.

6. Add basil leaves and cook until wilted.

7. Return chicken to skillet and allow it to warm up for an additional 5 minutes.

8. SERVE chicken with sauce on top.

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette

PREP TIME 10 mins

COOK TIME 12 mins

TOTAL TIME 22 mins

SERVINGS 4 servings

CALORIES 91 kcal

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (450 g) asparagus

2 tablespoons (30 g) very finely chopped shallot

1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar

Freshly grated zest from one lemon

1 tablespoon (25 ml) fresh lemon juice

½ – ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 green onion root end and one inch green top trimmed

2 tablespoons finely chopped

Italian parsley

Flaky sea salt optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 (225C) degrees.

2. Trim off the tough ends from the asparagus and place on a small rimmed baking sheet.

3. Whisk together shallot, vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and season with additional salt, if needed.

4. Pour 2 tablespoon of the vinaigrette over the asparagus and season to taste with black pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon water.

5. Slice the green onion into thin rings. Combine the green onion, parsley and remaining lemon zest in a small bowl.

6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast10 – 12 minutes, until the asparagus is beginning to brown at the tips.

7. Transfer asparagus to a serving plate. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and sprinkle with the parsley mixture. Finish the dish with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if you like.

We served with a bed of white Basmati rice and paired with Chilean wine, one of our favourites, Coyam. It is a blend of a variety of organic grapes. A very good wine, in the $20.00 range and is great with food and and as a glass when the doctor orders it.

Tuscan Pork Tenderloin

Since retiring, I have been indulging myself in a wide variety of projects, basically all the stuff I’ve been wanting to do since, like, forever. One that I am having some fun with is cooking. It is easy to combine with one of my other loves, wine. As my co-conspirator in life has similar tastes, this was a no-brainer to move forward on. So I have put writing a book, learning to speak Spanish and becoming a guitar hero on the back burner while I concentrate on this one. I did allude to this in a previous post, here about my latest bucket list.

Our Saturday night dinner this time was Tuscan Pork Tenderloin. A very simple recipe, quick to prepare with very little fuss or muss. Here’s the recipe. Note it is for 4 servings, but we find far too often that 4 equals 2.5.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

4 servings

  • 1 ⅓ teaspoons garlic, minced
  • ⅘ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ⅘ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ⅓ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ⅓ pounds pork tenderloin

Directions

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Step 2 Combine garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over the pork tenderloin. Place in a baking dish.

Step 3 Bake in the preheated oven until pork is slightly pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Like I said, very simple. We would suggest upping the time to 30 to 35 minutes. That was the only issue we had. The clean up was super easy as well. We used Jasmine rice for a base, mixed with frozen broccoli and butternut squash. The vegetables were cooked in a bit of olive oil and spiced with salt and pepper to taste.

We paired the dish with one of our go to wines, Meiomi Pinot Noir. The two went together very nicely. The wine is a typical California Pinot, although it has more of a vanilla taste than most. A popular brand, it goes in the $20.00 range.

Overall the supper was a success and one we will repeat in future. The tenderloin was excellent. The minimal spice only accented the overall taste and melded with the wine. I’d rate it a 9 of 10, very subtle, very good.

What’s Up Next – Some Notes

The Real Canadian Music Blog

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Hi all

We have a full schedule next week. First off, we will see the first article from our new writers, Dean Johnston and Laynni Locke. They will be contributing articles on travel on a regular basis. They have been traveling extensively for the last 15 years or so and I believe are up to 80 countries at this time. They are currently in Crete as part of a 3 month journey in Europe. Look for the first article to drop on Monday November 8, 2021. A big welcome to them.

A new series that will appear regularly is “Saturday Supper”. In this, we will take you through a dish from scratch with a recipe and hints. We will also comment on the wine we enjoyed with the meal and give you comments on the meal itself, thumbs up, or thumbs down. I f…

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Beer Review – People Skills

Next one to hit my palate was a very smooth and refreshing light ale. Once again, there was no note attached (retirement gift from work),so I have to thank the anonymous donor for a solid choice. People Skills is brewed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They brew several beers, all are good based on my experience with this one.

They call it a Patio Ale, and I agree it would be a good one to drink on a patio. I definitely enjoyed it on my deck.

Here is the link to their website page referring to this beer, and make sure to click on the video below as well. You may want to spend some time perusing their website, pretty well done.

Tool Shed Brewing Company

People Skills Video

Beer Review – Big Hill Blonde

Next on my list of retirement beers is an entry form the Fitzsimmons Brewing Company of Airdrie, Alberta. The beer, Big Hill Blonde, is a feisty ale, with great colour and all the taste one can handle. a beautiful summer beer. Unfortunately, no one took credit for gifting me this one, and I forgot to take a picture. So congratulations to the anonymous donor, you did a great service to beerkind.

For more information, their website is here;

https://www.fitzsimmonsbrewing.com/beers-1

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

What I’m Reading – “The Kill Room” – a Review

New feature, we will see how this goes. It is pretty much dependent on whether or not I have the time to actually read a book.

First up, a mistake. Picked this one up without realizing it is a series of 14 published and 2 pending publication this fall. This is number 10 in the series. You have likely seen or read some of these yourself. The Bone Collector comes immediately to mind.

Jeffery Deaver is definitely prolific and has created a very interesting character in Lincoln Rhyme, a wheelchair bound detective. The Kill Room was published in 2013 and continues with a new case for him to work on. All the regular characters are in the novel and, as usual, he has created a unique protagonist with some unusual quirks. Without giving much away, the pursuit is engaging, and the reading is easy. There are not many side issues to distract the reader from the core story, and it is easy to keep up with the narrative. All in all, an enjoyable summer book that you can put down and go back to without losing the story. I intend to continue the series, but will start at the initial work and carry on from there.

In conclusion, please support your local bookstores. If you live in the Cranbrook, BC area, please do your book shopping online at www.huckleberrybooks.ca or visit them in person at 16 9Th Ave S in Cranbrook.

The Big Day – Beer 2

The second retirement gift I sampled came courtesy of Jesi, thanks. The beer she chose for me is Poland’s number 1 beer, Zywiec. This is a pilsener, light on the palate and smooth. The colour is golden, and overall very refreshing. A very good beer, worthy of further investigation. Another brewery that needs closer inspection.

The Big Day – Beer Number 1

The first beer I sampled was Erdinger. This is advertised as the ultimate premium wheat beer, and is brewed in strict accordance to the Bavarian Purity Law. This was gifted to me by Terry, one of the very small group of us known as Boston Bruins fans. Go Bruins. Thanks Terry, your pick was exceptional. I’m going to have to visit this brewery at some point, they do a great job at what they do. I found it to be very tasty, hits the front of the tongue and then goes down smooth, with a slight hint of bitter. Golden in the glass and sparkles with bubbles like champagne. Definitely one I intend on having again, and likely again, then again some more.

The Big Day

July 15, a big day for us, the day when everything changed, and we are positive it will be for the better. I feel slightly overwhelmed at being unemployed for the first time in 50 years or so, but also relieved that we can now move down the path to a more fulfilling future.

In all honesty, work, as much as I enjoyed it, was getting in the way of a multitude of projects that are in planning, in progress or are almost completed. More on those in later posts. This is about the “Big Day”.

For us, the CoVid pandemic did a few things. We both worked from home, which allowed us to move about and work on our retirement nest. For this, we are grateful to have understanding and progressive employers. It also allowed us to winter in our spot and test out those waters. We were successful on multiple fronts. Come spring, the decision was made that I would retire on July 15 and moved forward to attain that goal.

Moyie River
Lot 25 With Nothing On It

We purchased our lot in 2017 on the Moyie River in British Columbia, with mountain views on all sides. The intent was to retire here and spend a chunk of each winter in various locations, while basking in their warmth.

On the the 15th of July, I spent the day with all my work friends, doing minimal work of course. We went for lunch with all who could make it, as only 25% of employees were on site due to health restrictions. Prior to lunch, I was presented with my good bye gift, an ample supply of beer, each attached with a note from the person who contributed it. A wonderful gift on so many levels. I’m going to miss these people.

Now that I have more time (apparently, I’ve been retired 6 days and this is the first post I’ve done) I am planning on regular posts. There will definitely be a series of beer reviews added to the mix, to go along with all the regular cadre of photos, reviews and recipes. I am so looking forward to the R&R, and the more casual lifestyle.