So it turns out my sickness last week was a bit worse than my initially self-diagnosed cold with sore throat. Feeling worse and more run-down as the week went on, I showed up to school on Friday with the mindset that it was just one more day till the weekend – I could do it. But with quite a few independent, but similar, you-don’t-look-good statements, coupled with our secretary mentioning that pneumonia is going around, I realized the germs were quickly beating my stubborn immune system to a phlegmy pulp, and decided to call a substitute and go to the doctor. Turns out I had bronchitis (better than pneumonia!) and was told to sleep, sleep, sleep. So that Friday, after eating the last bit of a fabulous need-to-have-any-time-let-alone-when-sick chicken and leek soup, I took some NyQuil at noon, and the rest of the day/evening/night was a mix of drooling sleep and foggy awakeness. In one of my sleep states, Rob went out and got fixin’s to make Mom’s English Muffin Pizzas (EMPs) for dinner. How did I get so lucky to find such a great guy?!
After a hacking coughing fit during the night, then a very discombobulated morning thinking Rob was late for work (his duty was the next day), we decided I needed a bit of that Oregon fresh air to clean out the lungs, and brain, a bit. A simple walk would do just that.
At the lakes next to our house, there are lovely trails, small wildlife, many relaxed fishermen, and one giant goose. Always surrounded by many mallards and other ducks, this goose is obviously the King of the Lakes, honking and flapping his big white wings whenever anyone threatens the air around his brood. This goose is enormous. Turkey-sized. I’m really not exaggerating and find it hard to adequately express just how absurdly rotund he is (although my mind goes directly to pounds and pounds of delicious goose fat to confit with. Figures.).
Anywho, we pulled up to a parking pot at the lake right next to His Gooseness, his bleats and honks penetrating our heat-roaring car. Giggling we walked away to enjoy our moments outside, sans rain.
As we trudged up our last hill, slow and wheezing (well, I was, at least), we spotted him – big, white, and oh so territorial, marking his land right next to the passenger side tire. As we stepped closer, his head lifted. Another step, a blink. Another step, a throaty hiss – his long thin pink tongue sticking out like an old lady’s angry pointy finger. Tail feathers still planted firm on the ground, he did not stand, he did not flap. He just blinked his beady little eyes, continually hissing his attack warning.
“Be careful,” Rob kind of giggled as he saw me venturing to reach the passenger door.
“Oh, it’s fine,” I waved him off. “I can run faster than a stupid goose.”
Well, karma is a you-know-what. At that moment Mr. Would-Be-Sunday-Night’s-Dinner-If-I-Could-Get-A-Hold-Of-Him screamed/honked, reared up on his skinny webbed feet, and I swear those little eyes squinted and turned fiery red. Screaming like a little girl, I flapped more than him and ran away, and thus inevitably became a hacking breathless mess. Not moving from his spot, Mr. Fatso Goose just sat back down, never once leaving his land.
Goose: 1. Jill: 0. Rob: laughing hysterically.
Being sick, it wasn’t a huge foodie week or weekend. But I’ll include the fantastic soup that helped to heal me the two days prior, thus giving me the energy to take on a goose. And lose.
Chicken Leek and Tortellini Soup (serves 4 large servings)
** This is a very fresh and tasty soup, plus easy and fast to make – I ate it solely for two days straight (solely by choice – there was fresh Rockfish in the fridge).
- 1 huge leek (or 2 medium – the leeks up here are amazing), white and light green parts rinsed, cut in half, then sliced into linguini shape.
- meat from 1/2 a rotisserie chicken, shredded (I roasted chicken legs earlier in the week and used the meat from 3 of them)
- 4 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1 c water
- juice from 2 mandarin oranges
- juice from 1 lime
- 1/2 c packaged (dried) tortellini pasta (your choice of filling – I used pesto)
- 1 small sprig rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Parmesan Regiano cheese, grated, to top the soup
Melt the butter in a large soup pot, and saute the leeks until just soft (season with s&p). Add the chicken, then the liquids and juices, and the herbs. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes to develop the flavors a bit. Turn heat back up, add the tortellini pasta and cover the pot, cooking the pasta in the soup (depending on the pasta it should take anywhere from 5-8 minutes). Cooking the pasta in the soup really adds texture to the broth (from the starches), making it thick, different from a French slurry. Taste for seasoning and remove the sprigs (most of the herbs will have fallen off the stems).
Ladle into large bowls and serve with a fresh grating of Parm. Reg. on top.
Enjoy, even when you are perfectly healthy!!
(sidebar: Happy Valentines Day, everyone! Rob and I had some amazing food tonight, and a good “man” story – will share soon!)