Monday, March 28, 2011

Anniversary fun


We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, we took a trip up north to Marin County and stayed in an adorable little place right on Tomales Bay. If you’ve ever visited the area, you know that there’s not a whole lot to do in Inverness, which is precisely what we wanted. Sure, there is hiking and lots of trails, but that wasn’t our goal. Sitting on our deck, reading, staring at a gorgeous view - those were our goals. The only thing we had on our agenda was Cheese 101: a cheese class and tasting at Cowgirl Creamery.


Why then did we decide to drive out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse a little more than an hour before we needed to be at the creamery? We’re still not sure what came over us…it was a 25-minute drive each way. At best, we would just barely make it on time for the class. But drive out we did, and then for some reason decided to get out of the car and walk down to the lighthouse. According to their website, it’s a half-mile walk from the parking lot to the visitor center, then 308 steps down to the lighthouse. Going down wasn’t bad. We flew down there, checked out the lighthouse, took some pictures, marveled at how perfect the weather was and how clear the day, and then realized that we had better book it back to the car. Here’s where the trouble begins. 308 steps going up is a whole lot of steps. And yes, I admit it…I may be a bit out of shape.

(308 = way too many steps) 

Andy has this mode he goes into when he’s physically over-exerted. I call it his “Hulk state.” I sometimes expect him to turn green and don ragged purple pants. By going into this state, he has been able to do amazing things like finish a 200-mile bike ride. Try as I might, I can’t tap into my Hulk state. Mine is more of a “quit, lay down and cry state.” So about halfway up the steps (we were practically running, mind you), I started feeling the pain. My chest hurt, I couldn’t breathe, and I truly thought I was going to keel over. Andy kept assuring me that I wasn’t going to die, but I wasn’t convinced. I was busy liberally cursing our decision to “take a quick trip to the lighthouse.” When we finally made it up the steps, I thought I would recover quickly. Hardly. I couldn’t take a breath without coughing. It was like I had suddenly become asthmatic. Between the coughing and wheezing, I continued to berate our choice. Andy promised me we’d make it. Since we weren’t even to the car yet, I had my doubts.

Turns out that what Andy meant was that he would drive like an absolute maniac to ensure that we got to the creamery on time. And we did. But I was still coughing and wheezing so much that at this point Andy had dubbed me Wheezy (the penguin from Toy Story), and I wasn’t sure I could get through the class. I drank some water, took as deep a breath as I could manage and hoped I wouldn’t cough all over the cheese.

Cheese 101 was fun and I got through it without embarrassing myself. We learned some new things and tasted lots of cheese. Afterwards, we had lunch at a tiny place with the best fish and chips. I’ve been craving fish and chips ever since.

(Back where I wanted to be) 

So when I recently found a loaf of Nature’s Pride Hearty Wheat with Flax bread on my doorstep, it seemed like a great opportunity to try out a new version of fish and chips.

Breaded Cod with Mustard Cream Sauce

Sauce:
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Breading:
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I used Nature’s Pride Hearty Wheat with Flax)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Fish:
6 pieces cod (about 2 inch sections)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

cooking spray

Sauce: Heat olive oil in a small saucepan and sauté shallots until soft. Add wine, reduce by half; add broth, reduce by half; add cream and reduce by half. Whisk in mustard and butter. Season with salt and pepper. (Reduce a little more if needed.) Reserve.

Breading: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and garlic. Toss until bread crumbs are evenly coated with oil. (If mixture looks dry, add a little more oil.) Cook until browned and crisp, tossing frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan.

Mix mayonnaise and mustard together in a small bowl. Coat both sides of cod with mustard mixture, then press fish into bread crumb mixture to cover.

Place breaded cod on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. (Adjust time depending on the thickness of the fish.)

Serve with mustard cream sauce.


I was very pleased with the outcome of this dish. Because I’m used to beer batter or white bread crumbs, the breading was an unexpected flavor. The wheat bread has a nutty, slightly sweet taste, and was light and crisp. The rich mustard cream sauce was the perfect complement to the breaded cod. And no, this isn’t the battered and fried version that I had on our trip, but it was just as good.

Gratuitous action shot. (Ignore the messy stove.)



(As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I get to try out new products from time to time and received this complimentary loaf of Nature’s Pride bread.)

27 comments:

  1. That looks SOOOOOO amazing! I am craving that now, looks so great! I really enjoy cod and I love that sauce you have with it

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  2. Wow your fish looks amazing!!! I love that you used the bread for the coating on the fish. I wish I had this for dinner, it looks sooo good. :)

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  3. Happy anniversary! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip in celebration, lighthouse steps not withstanding. The cod looks absolutely scrumptious!

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  4. lovely pictures and fish
    happy anniversary

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  5. WOW! I want to be there NOW! Happy anniversary...go great you guys got away! The fish is wonderful and I LOVE the sauce!

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  6. Karen, this is such a tasty recipe! I have pounds of cod begging to be used for this. Happy anniversary to your and your husband! It looks like you had a very fun trip. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful place and beautiful pictures. Love cod and your sauce recipe sounds terrific!

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  8. Happy Anniversary and I wish you many many more:)
    I love your photos too, that is one tasty fish..delicious!!!

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  9. Oh dear, poor Wheezy! I mean, it all sounds fun in theory, but not when it means you can't breath for hours afterwards! Mmm, but the cod and cream sauce...definitely worth the effort.

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  10. Happy Anniversary! This cod looks delicious. Love the mustard sauce too!

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  11. Umm holy crap... can I order some of that cod with a side of THOSE VIEWS?!! How delicious, and how gorgeous.

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  12. That looks like a beautiful anniversary get away! The shot of the light house is excellent. Love your take on fish and chips. Sounds SO good with the mustard sauce.

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  13. Happy Anniversary! I'm happy to find a local food blogger. I look forward to your post!

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  14. Happy Anniversary! Lovely fish dish. I started to get vertigo looking at the photo with 308 steep steps! Great views.

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  15. happy aniversary and wow what a great cod recipe

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  16. Happy Anniversary! Your trip sounds great. What a great Cod recipe, thanks for sharing

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  17. Happy Anniversary! Sometimes that is all we should do; sit and enjoy and what lovely scenery! I found out I love cod, but I love Fresh cod; not easy to find when I get back home; your recipe is very tempting.
    Rita

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  18. Love a Blogger that does not have word verification.
    Rita

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  19. Happy Anniversary! your sauce sounds quite mouthwatering and the fish ... Pity I couldn't grab it off the screen....

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  20. Happy Anniversary! Sounds like it was a beautiful trip to the lighthouse. I like what you did with the Nature's Pride loaf. The bread's texture seemed to lend itself for a great breading. =)

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  21. thanks so much for your visit and Happy Anniversary, we love Cod and eat it often will have to try this one!

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  22. Happy Anniversary! Love the "hulk state." We call it "being in the pain cave," esp when it's during a hard workout at the gym :)

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  23. Happy Anniversary! It sounds like you had a lovely celebration. My hubby would have definitely wanted to visit the lighthouse as well, and I would have had plenty of trouble going back up those steps! I love your cod recipe- that sauce sounds great! :)

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  24. Wow! This trip looked like so much fun! Makes me want to visit there soon!

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  25. I made your Breaded Cod With Mustard Cream Sauce last night. SO GOOD! Nice and crunchy breading. The sauce was perfect. It was creamy with a little tang. We loved it!

    Patty

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