Fr. Z’s Kitchen – Illness Edition

I’ve been fighting off a nasty bug – including bronchitis – for a few days now.  Oatmeal in the morning, clementines and chicken broth and antibiotics in the evening.  Yum.   I haven’t had much of an appetite or energy.  I can be up for an hour or two, and then I have to lie down.  Blech.  Yes, I managed to sing a Mass on Epiphany, but… I paid dearly.

However, I ran out of broth, which was about the only thing that seemed edible.  So, I was compelled out of my nosocomium in search of comestibles.    To the grocer!

On the way in, in the sale case, there were some wild caught sole filets.  They were immediately appealing, which is a good thing when you aren’t feeling well.

I got a couple lemons, and a Belgian endive – and lots of chicken broth – and went home.

The endive I halved lengthwise, dotted with butter, seasoned with lemon, salt and pepper and set to braise in my toaster oven.  Braised Belgian endive is a material proof that God loves us.

Since the huge and hugely successful Supper For The Promotion of Clericalism™ last week for nine priests and a bishop,…

Seven courses.

… but I digress … I had a few things left over, including half and half in which I set the sole to soak and lots of butter.

Meanwhile, I clarified some of that left over butter, dusted the filets and slid them into the frying pan.

You should always have some clarified butter on hand.  Make some – use unsalted butter.  Store it.  It’s handy.

On to the fish.  The last thing you want to do is over cook something so delicate.  Resist every temptation to leave it in just one … more… moment.

Sole meunière in its infancy.

Just for kicks I added some capers to the butter after I extracted the fish.   That makes it into Sole Grenoble, if memory serves.

My version of a Wisconsin Fish Fry at the Z Supper Club and Infirmary.

Fried fish and cooked cabbage.

No wine.  No way!  Not with the meds and the way I feel.  This was pretty light on the stomach but more substantial and much more satisfying than chicken broth.

So, now to watch a little college hockey (Ite Rodentes!) and then… hopefully about 10 hours of sleep.


My team lost, but I am consoled with CURLING. Team USA battles Japan in my home state.  This young curler is from Madison.

The action in Eveleth!  It’s Curling Night In America!


As the evening progresses with the excitement of curling, I find that I am still a little hungry.  I’ll take that as a good sign.

Also, I was that the US Curling championship will be held in Jacksonville, FL.  That’s a little weird, but it would be fun to go to that, wouldn’t it!  Isn’t there a strong TLM group going in Jacksonville?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. excalibur says:

    Get well soon, Father Z.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  2. wanda says:

    Sorry to hear you are ill, Fr. Z. You will be in my prayers. I have to hand it to you for going out shopping and then cooking. It looks great. Get well soon and Happy New Year to you and your readers.

    [Thanks. It was a quick trip, as the store is nearby. This seems to be my time of year to collapse. Last year I was traveling.]

  3. APX says:

    I love watching men’s curling. I don’t think there is a more manly sport.

    [Along with sumo wrestling, bull riding and calcio fiorentino.]

  4. acardnal says:

    Are you sure you didn’t have just a little wine with those meds?

    Sorry about those gophers. Feel better soon.

    [Very sure. I would like to have had a glass of an un-oaked chard. But … that’s out for now. At least Team USA didn’t completely blow it when choking against Japan.]

  5. SKAY says:

    Prayers for your quick recovery Father.

    I hope that you got the flu shot this year.

  6. Kerry says:

    Besides braised Endive, we’ve recently butchered a goose, French Toulouse, and several of our Welsh harlequin ducks. Add goose and duck fat to the “proof of God’s love” list.

  7. Chatto says:

    Get well soon, padre! Is there no Latin neologism for “Gopher”? I think that would certainly enrich the language.

  8. Joe in Canada says:

    “No one who enjoys curling can shortly after say anything bad about me”. It is indeed a manly sport. I’m glad it has spread to the US, and that you are feeling better.
    “Cooked cabbage” sounds only marginally better than the other variety, but put “braised” in front of anything green(ish) and it comes alive! [It just goes to show that with a little imagination and technique, the simplest ingredients can be transformed into something more than fuel.]

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    Feel better soon, Fr. Z. Bronchitis is a bummer. Don’t forget steam tents, good old Vicks, and if you can, have someone do “percussions” on your upper back, where your lungs are. They take their fists, and kind of drum on your back quickly. Not so gently you hardly feel it, but if they knock you to the floor, that’s too hard, lol. [I’ll bet any number of people would volunteer.] It can make a real difference by loosening up the mucous and giving some relief for a while. For the steam, water hot enough to steam, in a bowl, and a towel over your head. Do that for five or ten minutes, inhaling deeply. But DO be careful of that hot liquid, yikes. It’s no joke.
    There are great natural remedies which I’m sure help, of the hot toddy with ginger, lemon, honey, shot of whiskey variety, but I don’t have a specific recipe. Someone in the Ozarks does though.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    Poor Father Z, I prayed for you. I am glad you are doing those priestly fraternity suppers. I would wish my pastor to attend, but I know he was hearing confessions at the special “year of mercy” evening hours, at the time that occurred. [These suppers are not like an “open house”.] I don’t think I have ever had Belgian Endive, maybe this is something I need to try. If I want something leafy I usually go for something dark green. [Belgian endive is expensive per pound, but if you don’t get them a dozen at a time, it won’t make much of a dent.]

    Monsignor H has also been miserably ill, apparently with a winter virus. [I sympathize and pray for his swift and complete recovery.] I think he had already been poorly for the Feast of the Mother of God, then he was truly struggling by Sunday morning and the Bishop said the second Mass (usually concelebrated) by himself and Monsignor has been out of commission this entire week while one of our new young priests was home on break from canon law studies covered for him. [At least that helped!]

  11. rcg says:

    Wow! That menu shows that your illness is not serious. [I guess its really nothing, since am not bed-ridden in a cranial halo with tubes inserted into my gut.] But take care anyway. [Gee, thanks.] Green tea with h honey and lime juice Tastes great and kicks colds butt. Am Miami University hockey Fan third generation. [Back I go now to my non-serious sickbed before I cough up more of my lung.]

  12. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    I pray you will recover quickly, dear Father. I often cook sole munière but my recipe does not have the pre-soak in cream. I will try that. [Milk is fine.] Thanks for sharing your cooking adventures. When you are recovered, do it again with a glass of non-oaked chard or sauv blanc. Also, if you can’t get sole, flounder munière works very well. Same warning about not overcooking. Heck, almost anything lightly dusted, sauteed in butter, and finished with lemon would go down well.

  13. excalibur says:

    Flu shot!? Just say ‘No’.

  14. benedetta says:

    Curling was brought to upstate New York, to the city of my alma mater, in 1907 with the establishment of a local club. Incidentally, my alma mater of this same “Electric City” was the first to send a radio show out over the airwaves and carries the moniker “The First Station in the Nation”. Curling is considered to be a chess match, on ice.

    I hope you are taking your Emergen-C, Father, to boost your immune system.

  15. Rachel K says:

    Sorry that you have bronchitis, Fr, that is not a fun illness. I had it last year for the first time and am asthmatic, I was surprised at how long it took to fully recover. I am praying for a swift recovery for you.
    I think it was a good sign that you enjoyed the fish! I hope you are able to get plenty of rest.
    I found echinacea helps with fighting off bugs and general immune health.

  16. Mike says:

    I am drinking a Chartreuse for you! I hope you feel better soon!

  17. pannw says:

    I pray you get well soon, Fr. Z. Hopefully, there is more curling to watch while you recover. We became fans during the last Olympics. So much fun! I think it was my favorite thing of the whole competitions. I wish they broadcast more of it.

    You have my mouth watering with that meal! I’m going to have to try it. I would need a little more detail on the braised endive, though. If you could, do you braise it in a bit of water, the chicken broth, or just the lemon and it’s own water that it releases??? Looks so good! You really need to start a side cooking blog, or write a book. Seriously…because you don’t’ have enough to keep you busy, right?!

    As to the wine, my husband and I both strongly dislike Chardonnay. Probably the only variety we’ve ever had that we dislike across the board. That was, until we were visiting Niagara Falls a few years ago and went to do some wine tasting in the nearby region. We were offered a Chardonnay and both refused it. The woman serving asked and we told her we did not like it. She smiled and said, “But this is unoaked.” And so we learned that it is not the Chardonnay that we dislike, but the oakiness from the aging barrels. Who knew?

    It was also the first time I’d ever heard of Ice Wine…yummmmm…

    [Back in the day, I think the California craze to use heavy oak was a marketing thing aimed at women. The French style is not so burdened by oak. Try a steel cask chardonnay or sauv blanc sometime alongside a really oaky chard and it will open your eyes.]

  18. benedetta says:

    But Father! What about La Giostra. Or Il Palio?! I think these ought to be included with il calcio fiorentino.

  19. Dear Father, I hope you feel better soon. I noticed some nasal stuffiness on your podcasts [I download thru my iPhone Podcasts BTW, listen while doing chores] and wondered how you were doing.

    How in the heck did you put on a dinner feeling like that? good grief.

    My French grandmother LOVED endive. It was very hard to come across here in the States back then. The DC area was pitiful when it came to good food, coffee, and breads in my bewildered grandmother’s estimation. She had a friend who regularly fed it to her little bird, which my grandmother found both amusing and incredible. Who would feed such a delicacy to an ANIMAL? lol
    I’m going to try your idea of braising it too. hmmm. sounds delish.

    Yea, wine increases stuffiness, good choice to skip that.

    As my usual advice is, don’t forget the BEETS!! Being a very effective liver cleanser, not only does it lift one’s mood, but speeds up healing almost miraculously. Also take the lowly Vitamin C hourly – in high doses that stuff cures everything. really it does.

    Here’s hoping you get enough sleep. That’s how the body puts out ‘the trash’. Can’t heal without it.

    You remain in my prayers.

  20. Brian Cannon says:

    I hope you are well on your way back to wellness. Prayers for you.

  21. knute says:

    Praying for your swift recovery pater!

    On another note, why yes, Jacksonville does have a thriving TLM community, with one at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and another at St. Joseph’s historic church. You should definitely come down and educate us in the manliness that is curling, and perhaps celebrate a sung Mass? Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaassssssssssssse?!?!?

  22. I don’t mind oakey Chardonnay but I assume that strong and pungent flavoring is used to hide bad wine? ha. IF I’m gonna drink white, at least let me taste the wine itself.
    For whiskeys and such, that woody taste is an asset :-)

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