Category Archives: Vegetables

Chinese Pheasant Meatballs and Cabbage

So far, this is my favorite pheasant meatball, not just because they simmer in broth instead of needing to be browned, but I like the vibrant flavors of ginger and garlic and soy with the pheasant. They are big enough to be called Lion’s Head meatballs, if you know those recipes, although the only thing that ties all such recipes together seems to be the size of the meatball. My 1.5 pounds of ground pheasant made 12 large meatballs. Most recipes that called for a pound of meat, suggest making 8 meatballs.

I have a recipe in a Chinese cookbook for “Meatballs and Cabbage” that I followed for cooking directions, but the seasoning seemed too tame to me, so I added some extra ingredients.

Chinese Pheasant Meatballs and Cabbage

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Prepare the meatballs:

1 1/2 lbs ground pheasant (or pork or chicken, etc.)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (my ginger was stored in vinegar, so included in that ingredient)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

salt & pepper

Mix all the ingredients and set aside or refrigerate for up to four hours. When ready to cook the dish, form the meat mixture into about 12 large meatballs.

Prepare the cabbage and assemble the ingredients:

1 head of Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large sautéing pan with straight sides and a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Sauté the cabbage, stirring until wilted, not browned.
  2. Place meatballs on top of cabbage and pour in the stock/soy sauce mixture. Cover with the lid and reduce the temperature to low after the liquid comes to a slow boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are done.

Serve in bowls as is or with noodles or rice.

Eggplant Caviar

I couldn’t resist the pile of glorious purple eggplants at the grocery yesterday, even though my husband won’t go near one, as far as eating goes. I didn’t want to make a huge dinner dish just for myself, so I’m making the caviar, which works as a side dish with meat or a snack as a dip for veggies or a spread on crackers or bread. I’m making the recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo iPad app, with the only changes being my use of bacon fat for roasting the garlic bulb and skipping the red pepper flakes. I am hoping that smoky bacon fat will add an interesting flavor to the dish. No, I’m not on a paleo diet, but I like to take from this and that way of eating. I’m most aware of following the low-glycemic index, but I can’t permanently restrict my eating to any one promoted diet. I do like many things about the paleo diet in terms of low sugars, but I picked this recipe for taste. Sweet, smoky, garlicky, and a little chunky. Mmmm.

Eggplant Caviar

  • Servings: about 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400°

1 large eggplant

1 garlic bulb, top cut off to expose cloves (you don’t have to use it all in this dish if you like less garlic)

1 teaspoon bacon fat or Ghee or fat of choice

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly-ground black pepper

1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Optional: ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Prepare garlic and eggplant:

  1. Pierce the eggplant all over with a large meat fork or sharp knife and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Cut off the top of a garlic bulb, place on a square of foil, and top with the teaspoon of fat. Bring up the edges of the foil to make a tightly-sealed pouch. Place the pouch on the baking sheet with the eggplant.
  3. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the eggplant is wrinkly and slightly collapsed. Set aside to cool a bit.

Prepare the caviar:

  1. Cut open the eggplant and either peel off the skin or scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher or two forks or even a food processor, mash the eggplant to desired smoothness.
  3. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves onto a small plate, removing any papery skins, then transfer to the bowl of mashed eggplant.
  4. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, the chopped parsley leaves, and salt and pepper. Add pepper flakes, if using.
  5. Refrigerate to let the flavors come together, then think of delicious ways to serve it.

Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

Just a few posts ago, I traveled back to the 70s to bring you a crazy crust pie. Today, I only go back to the 80s to bring you another meal in a crust, “Sausage and Three Pepper Pie,” from a March 1987 article in Redbook magazine—do they still publish Redbook? The article showed 12 different pies that used either hot roll mix or frozen puff pastry (sheets or shells) for the crusts. The whole idea of a one meal dish with a crust is obviously related to the pizza and even the sandwich, but some of these pies seem a little fancier. Whatever the motivation to invention, it’s both convenient and impressive to serve these creations in a crust.

The pie I made uses hot roll mix for the crust, but I imagine you could use a homemade roll dough instead. I made only a few changes to the original recipe and I’ll give you both versions below.

My Version: Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 425°

Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, sliced into bite size rounds (mine was a beef sausage)

1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-size onion, sliced, about 3/4 cup

salt and pepper, to taste

1 16-ounce package hot-roll mix (requires 2 tablespoons soft butter and 1 large egg)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup (or more) grated mozzarella cheese

Prepare filling ingredients first, so they cool a little while you make the dough:

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in each of two large skillets over medium-high heat. In one skillet, cook peppers and onion until they begin to soften, about five minutes. In the other skillet, brown the sausage, then add the tomatoes and garlic, stirring to heat through. Set both aside, stirring half the Parmesan into each mixture.

Prepare dough for crust:

  • Prepare dough according to package directions, using the butter and egg in the directions. I still can’t figure out why the original recipe leaves those out. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky. You need to be able to press it in the pan and up the sides. I added about 1/4 cup extra and it was still a soft dough.
  • Let dough rest, covered for 5 minutes.
  • Press dough into bottom of greased dish and up sides at least an inch. Flour your hands if the dough is sticky.
  • Bake the unfilled dough for five minutes.
  • Remove the dish and add filling. I add the peppers and onion first, and then the sausage and tomatoes, so the juices run over the peppers. Cover with mozzarella.
  • Bake for 20 more minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is browned. Let cool and cut in squares.

Original: Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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“A hearty, colorful Italian main dish.” Redbook, March 1987

Preheat oven to 425°

Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 pound sweet Italian sausages

1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-size onion, sliced, about 3/4 cup

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 16-ounce package hot-roll mix

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Prepare filling: Using fork, prick each sausage in several places. In 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook sausages about 20 minutes, turning frequently until well browned on all sides. Using slotted spoon, remove sausages to paper towels to drain. when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices, set aside. To drippings remaining in skillet add green, red and yellow peppers and onion; cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in fennel seeds, salt, black pepper and reserved sausages. set aside.

Prepare crust: Prepare hot-roll mix according to package directions, using 1 1/4 cups hot water and omitting margarine and egg. After dough rests 5 minutes, pat into prepared baking dish, making thick, high border around sides. Bake 5 minutes. remove baking dish from oven; maintain oven temperature. Spoon sausage mixture into crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20 minutes until cheese melts and crust is golden brown.

Asian Apple Cabbage Slaw

I had half a large head of Napa cabbage left from yesterday’s egg rolls, so a quick slaw seemed like a good idea. We were already in an Asian flavor mood, but I had some Fuji apples, too, and that’s how it came together.

Asian Apple Cabbage Slaw

  • Servings: 6-8 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage

1 Fuji apple, or apple of your choice, cut in matchsticks


1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar, unsweetened and unseasoned

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/3 -1/2 cup Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

ground pepper to taste

Whisk sauce ingredients together until smooth. Pour over cabbage and apples in bowl, before they are mixed together, so that all the apples are covered to prevent browning. Toss. This is a slaw that can be eaten right away, as Napa cabbage is milder and more tender that regular cabbage. I don’t like to add salt to slaw, because it draws out too much water from the cabbage, but it can be added by diners at the table.