Deep Fried Pheasant Egg Rolls

I wanted to make fried dumplings, but couldn’t find dumpling wrappers and didn’t want to fool around with cutting the egg roll wrappers into circles, so egg rolls it is. Not much different in ingredients or flavor from the other Asian-inspired pheasant dishes I’ve made, but I will be deep frying these, and that’s always a treat. I even went back and changed the title of the recipe to include the cooking method, just because “deep fried” is such a hook.

I find the big question about the vegetables in an egg roll to be how to wilt them so they still have crunch in the finished dish without being raw. The cabbage, I’m not worried about; it’s the carrots. Some people say to dump the just-cooked hot meat on top of them to wilt them, while others cite varying degrees of sautéing them. I’m going to throw them in with the ground meat after it is browned just for a minute and then cool it in the fridge before filling. Cooling/resting also allows the meat to absorb cooking juices, so that you don’t drain off more than you should. You don’t want a filling that makes the egg rolls soggy, but you don’t want it to be too dry either.

My rolling was maybe not as tight as it could have been if I had broken up the ground meat more in browning, but it was tight enough that the frying oil did not get inside, probably because I did not overfill them. Strips or shreds of meat would have been another choice for a less lumpy filling. I used more meat than vegetables in these egg rolls. You might like different proportions.

Deep Fried Pheasant Egg Rolls

  • Servings: makes 20-30 egg rolls
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 lb ground pheasant (or chicken, turkey, pork)

1 minced green onion

1 tablespoon ginger, grated

1-2 cloves garlic, grated

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 lb Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced

1 cup carrots, shredded

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 or more packages egg roll wrappers

oil for frying

  1. Mix ground meat with minced onion and seasonings. This can be made earlier and refrigerated until ready to cook. Brown the meat mixture over medium-high heat in at least two tablespoons of oil if it is very lean like pheasant.
  2. Toss in the cabbage and carrots with the additional soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Remove from heat and spread out mixture on a sheet pan and refrigerate for about 20 minutes until cool. Drain, if necessary.
  3. Heat oil for frying to 375°. I used a deep fryer, but you can use a straight-sided frying pan with about 2 inches of oil.
  4. While the oil is heating, wrap about 1 large tablespoon of the mixture in each egg roll wrapper and wrap, securing the end corner with a small dab of either a mixture of flour and water or beaten egg white. Roll all the egg rolls, covering them with a towel to prevent drying.
  5. Fry about 4 at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Blue Cheese Bacon Scones

There was buttermilk after a recent biscuit menu, so scones were inevitable. Thought I’d try something savory this time instead of the usual fruit scones I like. These are pretty rich and practically a meal in themselves, so don’t plan them to accompany a heavy meal. In my kitchen, scones have more butter and less buttermilk per cup of flour than biscuits. I like a lighter, fluffier biscuit and a denser scone. I have no idea what a scone from Scotland is like, but it’s probably not like the ones I make.

I bought some Gorgonzola and Stilton, but the Stilton (my favorite) is so good just for eating, I couldn’t bear to hide it in a scone, so the Gorgonzola went in. Bacon seemed like a no-brainer and chives rounded out the savory flavors. While they were meant to be savory, I think they would be yummy with a fig jam, and I’m thinking of going out looking for some right now.

Blue Cheese Bacon Scones

  • Servings: makes 8 scones
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400°; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons dried chives

12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cold butter, diced

4 strips cooked bacon, cut in small dice

1/2-3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

1-1.5 cups buttermilk

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients, including the dried chives.
  2. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, using your favorite method. I like to rub the butter in with my fingers, but I’ve read that Martha Stewart will use a food processor. As with biscuits, the resulting bits of butter do not have to be of uniform size; some larger chunks are okay.
  3. Toss the bacon and crumbled cheese into the flour/butter mixture.
  4. Stir in 1 cup of the buttermilk until mostly combined. Start with one cup and see if you need more. I did need a little more—you never know how your flour is going to react to moisture based on the variances in temperature and humidity, so you need to be prepared to adjust the ingredients. Just don’t dump it all in at once until you see if you need it. You want the dough to hold together but not be sticky.
  5. Form the dough into a circle or square or no particular shape on a lightly floured surface to no less than 3/4 inch. Mine were about an inch high. I do use a rolling pin for biscuits, but usually just pat and shape scone dough with my hands. I cut today’s savory scones with a 3″ round cutter, but you could make the traditional triangle shape as well, by forming the dough in an 8-10 inch circle and cutting like a pie. Or you could cut them in squares—too many corners for my taste. For reasons unknown to me, I like a sweet scone in a triangle and a savory scone in the round.
  6. Bake at 400° for about 15-20 minutes or until they are browned and seem done in the center. The cheese crumbles will melt and I think this has an effect on the baking, so just watch them. Mine had to go about 17 minutes.

I Fixed that Annoying Apron

Two things annoyed me about this good quality apron: (1) the adjustable neck strap and just the fact that there was a strap around my neck at all, and (2) the back ties. I hated putting that neck strap over my head and then having to adjust it so that the bib was high enough to protect my clothes, leaving a big length of strap hanging in front and getting in the way. Okay, tying the back ties was not that annoying, but I liked them rather loose and sometimes had to re-tie them (whine). What I really wanted was a criss-cross set of straps with no tying or adjusting, so I took off the neck strap and just brought each tie to its opposite shoulder and over to the front and sewed it where the strap had been. Voila! Now it just goes over my head and hangs at—who would have believed it!—just the right spot and looseness. Here it is on my dress form in front of a mirror, so you can see both sides:

Easy Puff Pastry Blueberry Tart

Some of the best desserts are the ones that look complicated, but are surprisingly easy to put together. How could you not be in love with frozen puff pastry for that reason? Yes, I made my own puff pastry once, and it wasn’t that hard—just messy and time-consuming—but I see no need to ever do it again. It was just another of those things you try to see if you can do it and to say that you have done it. I still have the article that inspired that little adventure, Julia Child’s “You Too Can Be a Pastry Cook” from March 24, 1985 in Parade Magazine, that newspaper insert in the Sunday paper:

Today’s tart is much easier to produce with frozen puff pastry, although you could make your own and keep it in the freezer, too. Like a lot of the recipes I make, it’s part with quick, available products and part from scratch. The cream filling uses pre-packaged instant pudding mix, but you have to whip the cream yourself. The blueberry topping is all from scratch but simple to create.

Easy Puff Pastry Blueberry Tart

  • Servings: 8-10; makes two
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can make the fillings before, during, or after the pastry shells are made—they both come together in minutes. Just don’t fill the shells until completely cooled.

Make the pastry shell:

Preheat oven to 400°; line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

1 package Pepperidge Farm® puff pastry sheets

  1. Separate the two sheets and cover with plastic wrap while they thaw for about 40 minutes. They will thaw more uniformly if you unstack them for thawing. Just don’t try to unfold them while frozen.
  2. Unfold each sheet of thawed pastry on your cookie sheet and score the dough about 1/2 inch from the edge all around. Cut through as far as you can without cutting through the bottom, although I suspect it might grow together in baking if you do cut through. This is the easiest way to make a border around your tart. Some recipes suggest rolling out the dough a little and then folding over the edges—I wanted to do as little fooling with the dough as possible.
  3. Now dock the dough of the inner rectangle all over with a fork. You are trying to keep the center from rising too much. If you have pie weights, you could put those in the center to keep it down. I wish I had pie weights.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes until browned and puffy. Remove with parchment paper to rack and cool completely.

Make the two fillings:

Vanilla Pudding Pastry Filling from

1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix (The original recipe makes a mistake here by calling it a 4.5 oz box. Actually, it makes 4 1/2 cup servings and weighs less than 4 oz)

1 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream, whipped

  1. Whip the cream until it makes big fluffy peaks, but is not churned into butter!
  2. Whisk the pudding and milk together until combined, then set aside for about 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Fold the pudding into the whipped cream.

This is not like a cooked pastry cream made with eggs, but it is a nice, fluffy filling without a lot of sugar.

Blueberry Filling adapted from Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Tart recipe

4-5 cups (two 11 oz containers) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

  1. Bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining fresh berries just to heat.

Spread the filling over the inner rectangles of each tart (I had a lot of leftover cream filling). Spoon the blueberry filling over the cream filling (I had just enough for the two tarts).

These tarts are a refreshing dessert that are not too sweet or filling, so go ahead and have two pieces. I cut ours into 4 squares each, but you could make more servings.

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