Flounder Dinner in a Cozy Vermont Studio

January 25th, 2012 / Comments 2

Saturday was a busy day for me. It began with a five hour meeting, then I ran a couple of errands and had to go to two grocery stores to get everything on my list. When I got home, Charles unpacked the car and after he had finished putting the groceries away he said, “Well, it’s time for my nap.” I was weary, but not sleepy so I went up to my studio, sat at my desk and felt sorry for myself.

I wanted to rest and read the last two chapters of my mystery, but Charles was sleeping in our warm bedroom. The living room and the other bedrooms were too cold and although the kitchen and my studio were warm, there wasn’t a comfy place to curl up in either room. Moving furniture was the only solution.

studio nest Flounder Dinner in a Cozy Vermont Studio

My Studio Nest

After I moved a daybed into my studio, rearranged my painting table and files and created a cozy ‘reader’s nest’, it was nearly dinner time. Charles was rested and said he would make dinner if I told him what to do.I was in charge of the menu and cooking instructions and he would do the cooking. First the menu. We would have sauteed flounder, oven roasted potatoes, and Charles’ favorite vegetable, creamed spinach. Since he would be roasting the potatoes, we agreed the he would bake his first cake ever at the same time. We began with the potatoes because it takes 45 minutes for them to cook.

Here’s how he did it:

Oven Roasted Potatoes

He pre-heated the oven to 350º, put one tablespoon of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium baking dish and put it into the oven while he scrubbed three medium potatoes and cut each potato into six wedges. He put the wedges into the hot oil/butter mixture, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, tossed them to coat all of the surfaces with the oil and put them into the oven to bake.

After putting a log on the fire and pouring a glass of wine for the cook, it was cake time.

Ridiculously Simple, but Delicious, Chocolate Cake for a Tired Spouse

I read the recipe and he followed my instructions.

Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Author: Carol Egbert
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 6
No eggs, no butter, no mixer, put the ingredients in a cake pan, combine and bake. Anyone can make this delicious chocolate cake.
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Put dry ingredients into a 9 inch baking pan.
  3. Use a fork to blend dry ingredients until there are no dark swirls of cocoa or lumps of baking powder.
  4. Pour liquid ingredients into the pan. Stir to combine, there should be no pockets of dry ingredients.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into center of cake comes out dry.

Serve dusted with confectioner’s sugar, topped with a scoop of ice cream, your favorite frosting or naked. The cake not the server!

Charles easily transformed a package of frozen chopped spinach, some sour cream and a few pantry staples into creamed spinach.

Creamed Spinach

He minced a small onion while a package of rock hard, frozen spinach was being zapped, on high, for two minutes in the microwave. Then he melted a teaspoon of butter in a medium saucepan, added the onion and sauteed it. When it was translucent he added the drained, defrosted spinach, a quarter of a cup of milk, a grind of fresh nutmeg and a quarter of teaspoon each of salt and pepper. After five minutes of cooking over low heat, most of the liquid had evaporated and the spinach was cooked. He stirred in a quarter of a cup of sour cream and a half a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and turned off the heat just as the oven timer rang. He pulled out the cake, poked it with a toothpick, the toothpick came out dry, he put the cake on a rack to cool, gave the potatoes a stir and closed the oven. It was time to cook the flounder.

Sauteed Flounder

I found the flounder in the fridge while Charles combined a quarter of a cup of flour, a quarter of a teaspoon each of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of dried dill on a piece of waxed paper and made the egg wash by beating an egg in a shallow bowl. He heated a teaspoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil was hot, he dipped each filet into the egg and then into the flour before sauteing them for three minutes on each side.

The fish was cooked, the potatoes were golden and the spinach was creamy. Dinner was divine. Charles was exhausted, I was grateful. We ate chocolate cake in my rearranged, cozy studio and left the dishes until Sunday morning.

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