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