Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baked Cod with a Cream Sauce over Whole Grain Rice

I'd gotten cod and didn't know what I was going to do with it, so I googled cod recipes and liked the idea of this dish, at that moment (meaning my emotions and cravings vary ... duh!). This turned out to be a "comfort food" - which means it's a definite keeper I'll be making again.

I have a chapter in my cookbook called "Cooking Tips & Pantry Stocking". Cooking tips are favorite sections of books for me. I've always looked at lots of recipes when deciding what to make. I've learned a lot from this process. When you know your ingredients, you know what you can mess around with and formulate your own recipes.

I wish I could create a consistent weekly or monthly menu - I know someone who does. It could simplify life, but I'm so motivated (or I should say "mood-ivated") by creative impulse. One of my impulses or motivations is to eat as well at home as some gourmet restaurants.

All that said ... doesn't really apply here, other than introducing how I cooked the rice according to my cooking tip from my cookbook. I have rice in my pantry that'll cook in 15-20 minutes, but it's not our favorite, and Monte has asked me to just cook the whole grain or wild rice. That takes time, so forethought or planning. Here's what's from my cookbook and the easiest way to cook rice -

Oven cooking Whole Grain &/or Wild Rice
Place 3 C tap water in an oven-proof dish with
1 tsp salt and
1 C rice
(could add some olive oil or pat of butter if you want)
Bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours
If I've not thought ahead, I'll pressure cook it for 10 minutes.

Looking at what I wrote in my cookbook, I'm reminded of something we like: keeping already cooked rice and already cooked black beans in the refrigerator for a quick dish - mix the two together and sprinkle with parmesan. Monte likes to heat rice with milk and cinnamon for a snack.

Following this oven cooking rice idea in my book is how to make a white sauce, which is pretty much what I did for this cod sauce. A lot of recipes call for "cream of ... chicken or mushroom soup". I don't buy canned soup, so I needed to learn how to substitute this ingredient in recipes. Basically heat  1/4-1/3C oil or butter, adding the same amount of flour. Let this "roux" brown a bit and add 2C of chicken broth with seasoning to be the equivalent of the canned soup (add some cream or milk powder for the 'cream'). That flour/fat amount will thicken 3-4 Cups of liquid too, if not wanting something so thick. I make up this sauce a lot, adding canned tuna for eating over toast with some grated cheese - a family quick meal favorite. It's also a sauce for macaroni and cheese, or chicken divan, or scalloped potatoes ...

Cook rice
In skillet saute a chopped onion,
1 C sliced fresh mushrooms,
and then some minced garlic in
2 Tb olive oil or butter till golden
Sprinkle in 2 Tb flour and stir in
Add 2 C of a cream and milk mixture
Sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and a pinch of dill
Then add 1/2# of shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pour this mixture over 1# cod arranged in baking dish
Sprinkle with some grated parmesan
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
Serve over the rice

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