Last month I announced my first ever MaurPowerFoodie Challenge and you got to pick 5 mandatory ingredients! The ingredients picked were Brown Rice, Garlic Chives (Thank you Michael Chen, fellow MasterChef Season 3 competitor), Cantaloupe, Buttermilk (Thanks to Ben Starr of MasterChef Season 2), and Pickled Whitefish from Ikea (Thanks a lot Abe… from law school). Another subscriber, Dave Miller, of MasterChef Season 1, did not get his ingredient of miso in before the other 5, but I went ahead and decided to use it anyways. So here I am, with an odd combination of ingredients to say the least, but I came out with a killer dish in the end! This month I made a Buttermilk Battered Fried Pickled Whitefish, over a garlic chive and lemongrass infused buttered brown rice, served with a cantaloupe miso broth. Anyhow, I am sure you are dying to know how I made it, so let’s go step by step.
First, the broth:
I started with a whole cantaloupe, which I juiced. Take a look at this melon. Ripe, fresh, and delicious:
I then sauteed some garlic in a bit of olive oil. I added a little bit about three stalks of chopped green onion. I also put the stems in there to get some more flavor out of them, but remember to remove them at the end. Next, add the cantaloupe juice (I used 3/4 of the melon’s worth and then poured myself a glass of the rest of the refreshing nectar). Bring this to a boil and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Then add just a little bit of hot pepper sesame oil. Remember, a little bit of this goes a long way, so no need to be heavy handed. So it looks like this:
Now, remove from the heat (VERY IMPORTANT! YOU DO NOT WANT TO BOIL THE MISO). Add 1 1/2 tsp of white miso paste and stir allowing the miso to dissolve completely in the broth. Set aside and simply reheat when ready to use!
Next we have the Brown Rice. This is pretty simple. Take 1 cup of brown rice, 1 cut up stalk of lemon grass (big chunks are better because you are removing it after cooking), some finely chopped garlic chives, 2 cups of water, and 1 tbs of butter and put it all in a pot. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 50 minutes. Remove top, remove lemongrass chunks, and stir.
Next is the buttermilk batter. Again, really easy. First take 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp of salt, and 1 tbs of garlic powder. Sift the dry ingredients and put in a large mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, lightly beat 1 egg and then add 1 cup of buttermilk to the egg and mix together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until you have formed a smooth, liquid batter… like this:
Finally comes the roughest part of this challenge. Doing something with pickled whitefish from Ikea. And yes Abe, I even went and got it from Ikea… See:
This stuff is extremely salty and slimy, so I wanted to do something to get some of the moisture and salt out of it so it did not simply fall apart while it was frying. I simply took the pieces of fish out of the pickling juice and let a paper towel sponge out some of the moisture and salt along with it.
After I had sponged out some of that moisture came the easy part. I heated peanut oil up to 350 degrees, battered the fish, and fried it in the oil.
This leads us to the assembly of the plating. First a nice circle of rice in a bowl, leaving enough room around the sides for the broth.
Next a few pieces of the fried whitefish on top of the rice.
Then add broth around the sides of the rice, pouring a little bit on top of the fish (we don’t want to soak the batter and get rid of that amazing crispy outer shell).
Finally, I topped it off with a little bit of caviar and there we have it!
In my first MaurPowerFoodie challenge I think the score definitely goes MaurPowerFoodie: 1; Challenge: 0. While I am very happy with how this whole dish turned out, the best part was that broth. It was killer! I will most definitely be using that broth on a regular basis. Rich in flavor and color, definitely make yourself a nice cup of cantaloupe miso soup, maybe with some shrimp.
Which leads us to the next month’s challenge! Remember my 5 mandatory ingredients are up to you and based on the first 5 comments to this post (provided they are available to me at a somewhat reasonable price). You must follow the blog AND leave a comment on this post for me to use your ingredient suggestion. One ingredient per person. Then I will take the ingredients and in September make my dish and do a post about it. Then, on that post, I will take suggestions for the next month’s challenge ingredients. Be creative but also be thoughtful, because as fun as it would be to watch me squirm with some odd ingredient combo’s, it would also be great to give you all new recipes you can use at home when looking for something delicious. Remember, for me to use your ingredient, you must BOTH follow the blog AND leave a comment on this post. I will definitely use the first 5 ingredients and then as many of the others as I can.
The creative juices are flowing, so let’s get this party started. Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off.