Saturday, May 23, 2009

Book #34 and a meal to go with it - Moloka'i

I'm jumping way ahead in the book reviews to talk about my 34th book of the year, Moloka'i. One of the challenges for the Spring Book Challenge on the Nest is to read a book and then cook a meal inspired by the book. I chose the book "Moloka'i" and made a Hawaiian inspired meal to go with it. The book, written by Alan Brennert, is fantastic, and deals with two periods of American History that have always fascinated me because there is so little attention paid: The banishment of Hanson's Disease/Leprosy patients to Moloka'i in Hawaii, and a part of WWII history that is rarely talked about (I'm not going to spoil this part for anyone who wants to read this). This was one of the more effective historical fiction novels I've read, combining a heart breaking story with accurate history in a way that more people can be educated on our past. The characters were very real and the author, though not a Hawaii resident, seemed to honor Hawaii's history with respect. Very well done.

For the meal that went along with this book, I made Ahi Poke as an appetizer, mirroring the Ahi Poke that we had on our 5 year anniversary trip to Hawaii in November. I seriously dream about that dish, and I think I did it honor by buying very high quality ahi and marinating in a prepared Poke marinade. If I didn't have the marinade, I would have made my own using soy, ginger and sesame oil, but the prepared marinade was tasty and I think I presented it well in martini glasses:

For the main course, I made macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi. I have tried making this before and couldn't quite get the nuts crushed enough, plus I didn't know to mix the nuts with other breading. With the help of my Magic Bullet and some panko bread crumbs, I think I got it just right this time:

Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi
2 6 oz Mahi Mahi filets
2 oz Roasted Macadamia nuts, chopped in a processor until chopped very fine
3 oz plain panko bread crumbs, added to processer and pulsed until mixed with nuts
1 Tbs olive oil or butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place nut and crumb mixture on a shallow dish. Press fish into crumbs and pat until both sides are well coated with crumbs. Heat oil in an oven safe pan. Add fish and brown the outsides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to oven and cook until fish is flaky and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve with hot rice.

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