Number 8 is likely the easiest entry on my list, retirement. It is easy as I did the deed on July 15, ending a working life of over 50 years. The bulk of these years were spent in the transportation industry and ended in a role in finance. This item was key and is intimately related to several other wishes on my list.
I currently have no regrets over leaving the workforce and will remember and cherish the many people that have become friends, and are still friends over the years.
As crazy as this sounds, employment has opened our eyes to many new things. We have lived in Winnipeg, St. Albert, Okotoks, Saskatoon, Martensville and Calgary. We have made many friends and acquaintances and experienced many things with the help of these friends. We intend to spend time revisiting these places and people at every opportunity.
I read a quote that makes absolute sense, “There really are two lives we live. The first life and then the second life when we realize we only have one life.”
Number 9 on my personal bucket list is becoming a better cook. In our travels, we have run into so many different cuisines that we wish we could import into our kitchen. As we get closer to our retirement, I have begun exploring various authors and recipes and have started learning the nuances to better, healthier (sometimes) food. As we both love food and wine, this endeavour is a natural for us. As we go, we will be sharing recipes that we found to be especially good, giving credit to the contributor, as well as commenting on the wine we chose to pair with the dish.
The early reviews from the household foodie have been positive and for that, I am motivated to continue.
We created the following dish and it is now noted as a favourite. We paired with a 2017 King Estate Pinot Noir, from the Williamette Valley of Oregon. It paired well with the dish, a Pinot or Chardonnay would be our recommendation for this pairing. The wine was fairly light and smooth, quite dry and a bit acidic. The main notes we tasted were cherry and red berries with some oak as well. Overall, we gave it 3.9 rating on a 5 scale. Not quite a 4, but still very good.
The dish itself is very tasty and fairly easy to prepare. As a note, cooking with chicken thighs changes everything you know about chicken. We did not add the heavy cream.
We have found this website to be very helpful and stacked with multiple off the grid style recipes. We highly recommend it.
Chicken in White White Sauce (Vino Bianco)
INSTRUCTIONS 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 6 bone-in) Kosher salt Freshly ground black peppercorns 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup finely chopped onion 2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated garlic 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) coarsely chopped 1 cup dry white wine (such as pinot grigio) 1/2 cup chicken stock or water 3 fresh thyme sprig plus 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves for serving 1 pound dried fettuccine or tagliatelle pasta 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream optional 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Season the chicken on all sides with 2 teaspoons of the salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and turn it to coat.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 3 or 4-quart deep skillet or saute pan until it begins to shimmer. Add the chicken in 2 batches and sear until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a platter.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and let it bubble 1 minute. Add the stock or water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes. Put the herb sprigs on top of the chicken.
Cover the pan and turn the heat down to a very low simmer. Cook 30-35 minutes for boneless chicken and 60-75 minutes for bone-in pieces. The chicken meat should be tender and falling off the bone.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Pull the thyme sprigs out of the pan and discard. Using two forks, break the chicken in the pan into large chunks. If you cooked bone-in thighs, discard the bones and stir the meat to combine with the pan sauce. If you’re using cream, stir it in.
Pour the chicken and the pan sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with the cheese and additional thyme leaves and toss everything together. Enjoy!
Number 10 on my personal bucket list is simply, finding waterfalls. The ingredients for this are quite handy at the moment.
Be in a place where there is easy access to waterfalls. Check. We live in British Columbia where there appears to be an endless supply. This leads to…
Having limited ability to travel elsewhere. Check. There’s a pandemic limiting most travel. This leads to…
Spending time away from other people. Check. Hiking into these places invariably means that it is just you and the bears. Which leads to….
Knowing where to go. Check. There are plenty of guide books out there. We are presently using “Mountain Footsteps” by Janice Strong. An excellent source for hiking trails in the Kootenay Range of British Columbia. Which leads to…
Having the equipment to pursue this goal. Check. Our winter adventures loaded us up with good footwear, walking sticks, clothing, backpacks, water bottles and, last, but most important, bear spray and insect repellent (not so needed in the winter).
There’s nothing quite like a hike in the mountains, leading to an inevitably beautiful spot, be it a lake, a river. a waterfall or simply a breathtaking view.
Let us give you some photos of a few of the falls we have visited over the past few years, and we will add many more as we go into the future. Also some related music for you as well, Hank Williams and “Singing Waterfall”.