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March 2005
The Meal of the Year

Recipes by Joshua Ploeg

Hello Readers.

Here is a great meal for spring, late winter, fall—pretty much any time. It came to me all at once in an inspired moment and I’ve been dying to make it ever since. It turned out great.

These eggplant balls are reminiscent of falafel but they are more European in taste.

Fried Eggplant Balls with Blood Orange Sauce

Eggplant Balls
1 Large Eggplant
1/3 C. Onion, minced
1⁄4 C. Tofu, crumbled
1 C. Flour
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 t. Broth Powder
1⁄2 t. Baking Powder
1⁄2 t. Paprika
1 C. Seasoned Fine Breadcrumbs
2 T. Parsley, minced
1 T. Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch Nutmeg
Sprinkle of Garlic Wine Vinegar

1. Peel and slice eggplant into strips.

2. Baste the strips with lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkle with salt and bake at 400 for half an hour.

3. Allow to cool a bit, then cut up and mash the eggplant, adding the rest of the ingredients with 1 T. olive oil. Mix and knead this to make a relatively uniform texture. Add a bit of broth or other liquid if necessary. Chill for about an hour, just so it firms up enough to handle more easily.

4. Form the mixture into small balls and roll in breadcrumbs, coating them thoroughly. Fry in some olive oil (or deep fry) until uniformly browned and cooked to your liking. You may also coat with cooking spray and bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until done, turning once.

5. Serve with sauce and the rest of the meal.

Blood Orange Sauce
1⁄2 C. Shallots, minced
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 T. Ginger, peeled and minced
1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper, minced
1⁄2 t. Chili Powder or Paprika
1⁄2 C. Broth
1⁄2 C. Fresh Blood Orange Juice
1 t. Cornstarch (more for a thicker sauce)
1 T. Lemon Juice
1 or 2 T. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Hot Sauce to taste
Sweet Wine to taste
Drambuie to taste
Brown Sugar to taste

1. In a saucepan, fry ginger, shallots and garlic in olive oil with salt and pepper for several minutes.

2. Add lemon juice, chili powder or paprika and bell pepper, stir and add sweet wine and a bit of blood orange juice.

3. Mix cornstarch into broth and add this to the saucepan with additional salt and pepper, hot sauce and brown sugar.

4. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes, add a bit of Drambuie and season to taste. Serve with the fried eggplant balls.

This chard melts in your mouth—good for those of you that like super-cooked greens.

Steamed Chard with Cumin Seed
1 Bunch Red Chard, chopped (remove most of the stalks)
1 t. Toasted Cumin Seed
1 t. Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Spot of Margarine

1. Sprinkle the chard with salt, pepper and lemon juice and steam for 45 minutes to an hour, until soft.

2. When cooked, mix chard with a bit of margarine and the cumin seed and serve with the meal.

The nutty flavor and substantial texture of cooked Irish oatmeal is perfect for a pilaf!
Irish Oat Pilaf
1 C. Irish Oatmeal (steel-cut oats)
4 C. Water (or broth)
1⁄4 C. Dried Currants
2 T. Margarine
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/ 3 C. Walnuts, chopped
1 T. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Simmer the oatmeal in water or broth with some salt and pepper and currants for 20 minutes (or slightly longer if desired).

2. Meanwhile, cook the onions, walnuts and garlic in olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper until browned.

3. When the oatmeal is ready, drain and then toss with margarine and the fried concoction, add salt and pepper to taste and serve with the meal.


Joshua Ploeg will be touring up the east coast during March and April, from Atlanta to Boston. Be sure to check his website for cooking tour dates and events: Contact Joshua at His cookbooks are available at



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