My First Country Meal: Yummy Cod and More

This is officially my first blog from our new home in Easton, CT.  It’s very quiet in this neck of the woods; we mainly hear peepers, birds, and the incredibly active bullfrogs that live in the bog across the way.  In brief, I’m thrilled to be surrounded by nature once more.  I actually grew up about 8 miles from this cottage, in the neighboring town of Weston.  While I didn’t necessarily take nature for granted during my upbringing, 10½ years of New York City living (well, subtract a couple years in the middle when I was staying in India, Paris, and Kazakhstan) completely deepened my appreciation of it… the power of opposition, I suppose.  Anyway, here we are.

There are some amazing luxuries added back into our lives after years of apartment dwelling.  Just to name a few:

  • The use of our own WASHER and DRYER
  • The ability to step outside of our own home BAREFOOT and feel healthy about it
  • The fact we can temporarily put objects outside of our house if we need to make extra space to clean or organize (very good after a move)
  • The ability to buy groceries… LOTS OF GROCERIES and other essentials like kitty litter… I can get FAR more than I could ever lug on the subway!
  • The ability to GARDEN
  • The eventual acquisition of a basic WEBBER GRILL

There is one culinary adjustment that’s less ideal for an avid cook: the switch from gas to an electric coil stove.  We will eventually switch over again but in the meantime, I’m seeking to master my electric cooking skills.  After all, Julia Child cooked amazing meals on one for part of her career.  That’s the motivation I need.  It’s a bit of an abstract experience to not be able to see the flame or know how long it takes for the coil to cool down and heat up, but I’ll get used to it.  For small baking projects, we also have our beautiful Breville oven next to the stove. These things are stellar!


I was actually pretty pleased with my first supper cooked over electric coils and would like to share it.  It was very simple: Pan-seared cod served with roasted balsamic Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, and wilted baby spinach.

Note: I am still teaching at Park Slope Yoga Center Friday and Saturday afternoons. Fannie and I are also charging ahead with the Doing It podcast.  Check out episode 6!

$$$ The Cost $$$

It’s hard to keep track of everything while moving. I actually lost the receipt, but will base this on memory.  Dinner for 2 with 1-2 servings of left over cod: ~$16.59

What To Do:

For the Cod

This is a super basic recipe. You could spiff it up with capers and more lemon, even some tomato. Be creative.


What you need:

  • 1 pound cod fillet or there about ($10.99 – was on sale at Whole Foods)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Lemon ($0.35)

What you do:

  • Rub cod with olive oil, salt, and pepper and let sit for about 10 minutes or so.
  • Preheat large pan over medium high heat.  Add a little olive oil and then add the fish.  Cook for about 5 minutes per side, less for less thick parts of the fillet (I adhere to the 10-Minute Rule or Canadian Cooking Method.  It’s one very streamline guide for cooking fish by conventional methods including grilling, broiling, poaching, steaming, sautéing, en papillotte (in parchment paper), planking, and baking (at 400F to 450F). Adjust heat as you need.  Ideally, the outside of the fillet should be just a little browned and crisped.
  • Serve with fresh lemon.
This is probably one of the worst photos I've ever taken in my life! It totally does do this meal justice!

This is probably one of the worst photos I’ve ever taken in my life! It totally does do this meal justice!

Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Caramelized Onions and Wilted Spinach

What you need:

  • 2-3 Portobello Mushroom caps ($3.50)
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ medium Yellow Onion, thinly sliced in semi-rounds ($0.20)
  • 1 clove of Garlic, minced ($0.05)
  • Optional dash of Sugar for alliums
  • 1-2 handfuls of Baby Spinach ($1.50)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

What you do:

  • Whisk together vinegar and olive oil with a pinch of salt and a bit of fresh pepper. Clean your mushroom caps and place them in a small baking pan, face-up.
  • Evenly pour ½ the homemade vinaigrette over mushrooms, turn upside down and add the remaining vinaigrette. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I LOVE using the Breville oven for small roasting jobs like this.
  • Roast Portobello mushrooms for about 20-25 minutes, or until soft. Flip them over ½ ways through the baking process.
  • Optional, broil them for the last 5 minutes or so.
  • Remove and slice each cap into 5-6 pieces.
  • While the mushrooms are roasting, heat some olive oil in a skillet and sauté garlic and onions.  Once the onions are nice and soft, add dash of sugar and caramelize.
  • Add roasted Portobello mushrooms.
  • Toss in baby spinach and continue to cook until just wilted.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and some fresh parsley. Serve.
  1. Charlie said:

    I actually just watched a documentary about how we have exhausted our cod fisheries here in New England to the point where fisherman are really struggling to make a living. Right now they are trying to figure out a way to replenish the cod fisheries so we can begin to fish sustainably.

      • Charlie said:

        Not necessarily. It’s not our fault that fisherman overfished the sea. Besides, since the government is involved, nothing is getting done.

      • Sounds pretty bleak 😦
        So with Cod is sustainably farmed the best way to go?

      • Charlie said:

        From what this documentary said, fisherman need to maybe lay off the cod and give them a year to build up their numbers so that they can be farmed sustainably. As it stands right now they can’t be farmed sustainably because their are not enough out there. Iceland is a perfect example of how they can be farmed sustainably. They never overfished their waters and today they have very healthy fisheries full of cod in Iceland while we do not.

  2. Jesse Bluma said:

    Sounds simple and flavorful. I wonder what flavored balsamic vinegars might work well with the mushrooms, so many choices out there now. All the best on your new home.

    • Thank you so much, Jesse! That is a good question to explore!

  3. vasisht said:

    i personally like cod beer batterer and deep fried, remoulade sauce and fried sweet potatoes potatoes, like they say in england ‘Thank Cod for fish and chips’

    • Absolutely yum!! Why don’t you newlyweds come over here and cook that one day!

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