The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

A website celebrating and enumerating Juneau, Alaska's food culture

Archive for the ‘feta’ Category

Greek Smoked Salmon Dip

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salmon dip

Last weekend Matty and I were invited to the best dinner party, ever. It was celebrating the birthday of one of our favorite people in town, Katie White. Unfortunately, I got sick late in the afternoon, and was unable to attend the dinner party. I hear it was a beautiful dinner with fantastic people, and of course ridiculous food. Someone told me a rumor about lobster macaroni and cheese, can you believe that? Matt made this dip for the party and has been happily eating it all week.

This past fall, Matt went out fishing off the beaches here in Juneau. He caught a good number of cohos that we smoked up for all kinds of deliciousness. This winter we invested in a little smoker, which I’m sure we will put to all kinds of amazing uses when we start hunting and gathering again this coming summer/fall.

Oh, Feedbag: I almost forgot to tell you I got a food dehydrator for Christmas! Does anyone out there with a food dehydrator have any awesome ideas for me? I’m excited to buy a flat of mangoes at Costco and get started with a dried fruit project.

This is Matt’s own recipe with our wild caught salmon, it’s already a classic in our house.

Ingredients:

– 12 ounces of crumbled & deboned wild Alaskan smoked salmon
– 8 ounces of cream cheese, pre-softened to room temperature
– 1 cup of Greek yogurt
– 1/2 cup of feta cheese (Mt. Vikos is my favorite)
– 1/2 red onion, finely diced
– 1/4 cup of fresh dill
– 1 lemon, juiced
– 1 bulb of roasted garlic
– salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

To roast garlic:
– Pre-heat oven 325 degrees
– Cut off the top 1/3 of the bulb, exposing the cloves, and drizzle in olive oil
– wrap bulb in tin foil and roast for one hour

To assemble dip:
– prepare all ingredients and process in a food processor

Serving suggestion: This is perfect as a dip for crackers, or as a spread for a sandwich or a bagel.

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Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions, Shallot & Feta

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Lentil Salad

A warm lentil salad is a perfect meal or side on a cool winter night. These lentils are surprisingly flavorful and tender. The addition of bay leaves in the lentil cooking liquid brings a depth to the wonder legume. In fact, my boyfriend asked me if I cooked the lentils in my homemade chicken stock. Admittedly, I added a tablespoon of butter after cooking the lentils to make them a little more decadent. I think letting the lentils rest with the sauce pan lid on, after cooking and draining them is important for a managable tender texture. French green lentils are a little heartier than your basic red or green lentil. They’re French after all, so they’re going to be a little difficult to cook, but in my opinion, even more delicious.

Make sure to take the time to really caramelize your onion and shallot. The rich flavor of the browned shallot and onion mixed with lentils is unstoppable. Mixing in fresh herbs and a sharp feta or chevre makes this one of my all time favorite applications of the humble lentil. You might serve this dish over rice for a double carbo – bomb, or a mixture of fresh greens lightly dressed in a Dijon vinaigrette.

Ingredients:
– 2 cups French green, washed and picked through
– 2 dry bay leaves
– 1/2 onion, thinly sliced, crosswise
– 1 shallot, finely diced
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp butter
– fresh mint & basil, chiffonade
– salt & pepper to taste
– feta or chevre, crumbled

Instructions:
– Place clean lentils in a saucepan with enough water to cover them, about 3 inches.
– Add bay leaves and set to high heat, bringing to a boil.
– When lentils boil, reduce heat to medium and cover pan.
– Simmer lentils until cooked and tender, around 20 minutes.
– Drain lentils, if possible through the lid of the saucepan, remove bay leaves.
– Add Tbsp of butter, place lid back on lentils, let sit: stirring once or twice and adding a dash of salt while you finish prepping other ingredients.
– Caramelize onions and shallot on medium to low heat in a dash of olive oil with salt & fresh ground pepper.
– Stir onion & shallot mixture frequently, until nicely cooked through, and caramelized.
– Remove onions & shallots from heat and place in a small bowl.
– Chiffonade fresh basil & mint and mix together.
– Crumble feta or chevre.
– When all ingredients are prepped and ready to be assembled, pour lentils in a large serving bowl.
– Stir lentils and allow to cool another 5-10 minutes before adding all other ingredients.
– Serve with cherry or grape tomatoes as garnish, add a dash of balsamic or red wine vinegar if you want a little acidity.


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Written by Patrice Helmar

January 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Spaghetti Squash á la RP

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Spaghetti Squash I

Friends and family are often my best source of ideas for recipes. I had tea with my friend Sarah this afternoon and I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I started looking through my fridge and in my pantry for inspiration. I had a lovely spaghetti squash hanging around on my counter.

“How would you make it?” I asked.

“Halve it, seed it, drizzle on some olive oil & balsamic vinegar, herbs, and cook for about an hour. Add some diced tomatoes and cheese, cook for a little longer, and you’re good,” was an abridged version of RP’s reply.

Ingredients:
– 1 spaghetti squash
– 1 to 2 tsps. olive oil for each half
– 1 to 2 tsps. balsamic vinegar for each half
– 1 tsp. or more dried oregano, or other dried herb mix for each half
– salt & pepper, to taste
– 1 can of drained stewed tomatoes, split between each half
– feta or parmesan cheese, to taste

Instructions:
– Heat oven to 350 degrees
– halve & seed squash, poke holes all over with fork
– cover the top of the squash with foil
– sprinkle oil and vinegar over squash
– bake for 45 minutes to an hour
– remove foil and add diced tomatoes & cheese
– bake until cheese is melted and tomatoes are warm
– using a fork mix squash and filling
– season with a bit more salt and pepper

Spaghetti Squash

3.5 WW points, per half.

Happy Eating!


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Written by Patrice Helmar

October 26, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Spinach Salad with mint, feta, bacon, & pecans.

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Spinach Salad with mint, feta, bacon, & pecans

The salad before it was dressed and tossed.

I’m having dinner with some friends tonight and wanted to make the salad a little flashier. How can extra crispy diced turkey bacon hurt? How would a little bit of feta be detrimental? How could anyone not like toasted pecans and fresh mint? The nightly salads at the Haus of Feedbag are usually much simpler but since we’re taking our salad show on the road we jazz-handed it up a little. More on the fabulous dinner we had at our friend’s house, later.

Ingredients:

10-12 grape tomatoes, halved
4-5 handfuls of organic baby spinach
1 head, rough chopped baby lettuce
5 sprigs of fresh mint, chiffonade cut
2 pieces of turkey bacon
1/4 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup of pecans, toasted
handful of grated baby carrots

Dressing: (this will be enough for more than one salad – refrigerate the remaining dressing)

3/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of garlic
2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme


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Written by Patrice Helmar

October 7, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Spinach & Feta Eggroll

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spinach & feta eggroll

My Full Circle Farm box was heavy on the greens this last week. Red dandelion greens, spinach, arugula, and of course my constant herb friends: dill & mint. I wanted to make sure I could use them all before they went bad. The Full Circle Farm box is a blessing and a curse of farm fresh produce that begs immediate use. It’s a shameful thing to let precious organic fresh produce spoil in the forgotten nooks and crannies of a refrigerator. I’m constantly forced to get creative and cooking while the cooking is good. This ain’t your mama’s eggroll!

This recipe makes 9 -12 spinach and feta eggrolls:

Ingredients:
1 package of egg roll wrappers
1 bunch of fresh spinach or a package of frozen spinach
1/2 medium onion
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup dill, chopped
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 baking sheet covered in wax paper or aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350.

I processed the fresh bunch of spinach like I would if I were going to make spanakopita. Make sure to wash your spinach well, cutting off the ends, and then roughly chopping the leaves. First sautée half an onion in olive oil and then add the spinach until just wilted. I juiced my half lemon and added it to the cooling mixture and then added the freshly chopped herbs. When the spinach mixture was fully cooled I added the feta and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.

spinach eggroll

Remove the eggroll wrapper from the package and place onto a cutting board or other clean surface. Using your clean fingertip or a pastry brush lightly coat each edge of the egg roll wrapper with olive oil. Place 1 Tbsp. of filling in the center of the eggroll and fold as shown in above diagram. Put the eggroll, seam side down on the baking sheet and continue making rolls until filling is used. Bake eggrolls for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned on edges. If you use frozen spinach it might take a bit long to bake rolls.

Let eggrolls cool and then serve with a dipping sauce like tzatziki. My friend Jerrick loves dipping his eggroll in ranch!

Happy Eating!


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Written by Patrice Helmar

September 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Tarragon Feta Kalamata Pignolia Stuffed Rolled Pork Chops

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I was recently inspired by Mark Bittman’s article in his regular column, “The Minimalist”. Bittman lauds the importance and difficulty of keeping lean white meat moist. He suggests not to choose the well traveled road of the marinade, but to provoke moisture of the meat from within. This is a simple concept that requires cutting or pounding and filling boneless white meat with some sort of fat source and flavorful delight.

I discovered “natural” thin pork chops on a recent long distance hunting and gathering expedition to a far off super market in the nether regions of the valley. Many known substances in the world are natural but not necessarily great for humans. That sweet little hormone free natural sticker really did reassure me that eating swine is just fine!

The packaging was a little cheesy but I was happy to find hormone free minimally processed pork in town. My conversation with the bag boy at the grocery store was even more awe inspiring than finding a quality natural meat product. As he bagged my loot, the faithful employee launched into a double rainbow-like monologue about airport scanners and whale radar. It all seemed like a perfectly normal late night valley interaction to me.

“Did you know you can hear whales under water?” He asked and before I could answer continued, “747s are loud you can’t hear them on scanners and sometimes they block out things on the radio because it’s top secret.”

I thanked the fine bag boy and wished him well on his listening in on scanning device adventures and happily left the store with my groceries. Into the parking lot I went with the bags of food and a dream of beating pork chops and filling them like little mediterranean burrito bombs.

plate

Ingredients:
– 6 – 8 boneless thin cut pork chops
– 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
– 3 tablespoons of low fat sour cream
– 10 – 15 kalamata olives
– 1 or 2 handfulls of fresh cut tarragon leaves
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 1 teaspoon of olive oil
– fresh ground pepper to your taste
– 1 tablespoon of fresh finely chopped garlic
– 1 cup of flour (semolina if you have it)
– 1/2 cup of feta cheese
– 1/2 cup of white wine
– 1 to 2 tablespoons of half & half
– 1 onion

Instructions:
– In a food processor add tarragon, sour cream, pine nuts, kalamata olives, salt, pepper, and garlic and lightly pulse until mixed together. Add a teaspoon or so of olive oil and use a spatula to reserve mixture in a bowl alongside a bowl of crumbled feta for future use in stuffing pork chops.

good stuff

– Rinse and dry pork chops and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place pork chops in a plastic bag or between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet, iron skillet, rolling pin, or whatever you have around the kitchen until thin.

pork

– Making sure you have a clean and sanitary work station put a spoon full of magical filling sauce and then a smattering of feta.

pork roll

– Roll the chop up like a sushi roll or a burrito and then gently cover in semolina flour. It’s best to have a separate plate for rolling the pork chop in flour.

browned

– Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees (or turn down oven if you’re roasting vegetables to accompany dish).

– Have a stainless steel pan with a dash of olive oil pre-heated and ready for pork rolls. Sautée rolls on each side for about 3 – 4 minutes until browned. It’s best not to use a non-stick pan so you can make a pan sauce and/or caramelize onions with the pork drippings. Let the pork rolls rest in oven while you prepare a tasty pan sauce.

onions

– Finely dice an onion and add to pan with a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until caramelized and then add 1/2 cup of decent white wine. You may also add a sprig of tarragon and a touch of half and half to the sauce after the wine cooks down. Top pork rolls with pan sauce deliciousness and enjoy.

Happy Eating!


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The best tuna noodle casserole, ever.

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cooked casserole

I happen to think that tuna noodle casserole is pretty gnarly stuff. I never really ate it as a kid, but I guess a lot of people have fond or not so fond memories of this dish. I’m in the business of making my special gentleman friend, Matt a happy guy.

The other day when I was asking him what he might want for dinner, he mentioned tuna casserole.

I’m pretty sure I lifted both my eyebrows, “Dude, seriously?”

“My mom made it for us when we were kids,” he said.

I decided to give the dish a whirl and started to look at different recipes online. I looked through plenty and adapted a few to suit my casserole needs. A lot of “gourmet” recipes suggested using tuna in olive oil for the extra moistness. I’m a firm believer in using what you have available. I decided to use an albacore in water can I had and just add a little olive oil. I also decided to forgo the two tons of cheddar cheese for a 3/4 cup or so of freshly grated parmesan regggiano.

Recipe for the best tuna noodle casserole, ever:

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, small dice (about 2/3 cup)
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Parisienne spice mix (or dried tarragon, thyme, chive)
2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 ounces flat egg noodles or macaroni
3/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan
1/2 cup of feta
bread crumbs & freshly grated nutmeg for the top of casserole
1 can of tuna or albacore with a dash of olive oil

For the casserole:
– Heat the oven to 350°F.
– Coat an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish with olive oil using a towel
– bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

sauce

– Heat olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot and butter foams, add celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.
– Stir in scallions, cook for 3 minutes.
– Add Parisienne spice mix and flour to vegetable mixture, stirring until flour is well incorporated. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly pour in milk, stirring well to make sure no lumps of flour are left.
– Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
– Remove from heat and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in sour cream and mustard, and set aside.
– Once the water is boiling, add egg noodles and cook until they are slightly tender and still white in the middle, about 3 minutes. Drain.

noodles

– Stir parmesan and noodles into vegetable-and-milk mixture. Flake tuna into mixture, and stir gently. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
– top with bread crumbs, freshly grated nutmeg, and feta cheese
– bake for 20-25 minutes until casserole is golden brown

Here’s Matty enjoying a healthy portion of the best tuna casserole in the world. It was as good as tuna casserole gets!

Matty Polaroid


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Written by Patrice Helmar

July 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm