The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

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

Archive for the ‘Haus of Feedbag’ Category

Turkey Keftedes with Shallot Tzatziki Sauce

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I come from a long line of master meatball makers. When my parents would make spaghetti, my mom was the sauce maker and dad was in charge of the meatballs. For many years I was a vegetarian, meatballs were of great cultural importance, so dad insisted on making me riceballs. Riceballs were my dad’s own special and secret blend of ingredients. Dad painstakingly made both meat and veggie balls for my favorite family meal so no one missed out. I’ll have to re-create riceballs for my vegetarian friends soon, they’re amazing.

At our current family dinner table, when my mom makes meatballs we honor the departed by teasing her, “these aren’t as good as dad’s were.” It’s a very Greek thing to say and I think it would make him smile.

These meatballs are my own creation, they aren’t made with traditional meat like lamb, beef, or pork. They’re tiny glorious balls of deliciousness, especially when topped with my very own shallot tzatziki sauce.

– 1 pound of free range ground turkey
– 2 cups of chopped fresh parsley
– 1 shallot, finely diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
– 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup of feta cheese
– salt & pepper to taste
– 2 tsps smoked paprika

– Preheat oven to 350
– Grease a large Pyrex pan, or cookie sheet
– Whisk egg in a small bowl
– add to a larger bowl w/ chopped parsley, shallots, garlic, and bread crumbs
– roll up your sleeves and add ground turkey, mixing by hand
– wash your hands and add salt, pepper, paprika, and feta cheese
– give it another good mix with your hands
– start rolling your balls!
– Bake for about 35-40 minutes in preheated oven

Shallot Tzatziki Sauce

– 1 1/2 cups of greek yogurt (or whatever plain yogurt you have on hand)
– 1 Tbps of plain unsalted butter
– pinch or two of sea salt
– 1 shallot, finely diced
– 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
– 1/2 cup of good white wine
– 3 to 4 fresh sprigs of mint, julienned

– Add butter to a saucepan on medium – low heat
– Add diced shallot & garlic, let cook for a minute or so, stirring carefully & adding sea salt
– Add white wine and let it cook off, still stirring mixture
– Remove sauce from stove and let it cool
– Julienne mint leaves and mix into yogurt
– Add cooled sauce mixture to yogurt and mint, mixing gently

Serving Suggestion:
Spoon sauce over three or four meatballs and top with ras el hanout.
Serve with a Tall Greek Salad or Tabouleh.

This makes about 20 little meatballs with enough ground turkey leftover for 2 delicious turkey burgers on another night.

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Thanksgiving at Metcalfe Manor

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Thanksgiving isn’t something taken lightly in our family: literally or figuratively. We do it up! This year was no exception, with a full spread at our ancestral home on Gold Street. The clan converged for our traditional Thanksgiving meal and to help out with Uncle Peter & Aunt Sandy’s Juneau Public Market.


Mr. Feedbag, in the flesh with the wonder turkey!


Matt carves the ham, Peter carves the turkey, mom makes gravy, as Jakes looks hungrily on.

Matty made a ham that could launch a thousand ships with a drunken fig glaze. I made a decent couscous salad and some sweet potato popovers that kind of flopped over. In addition to making 800 pounds of mashed potatoes and enough pies to supply Costco, mom dry brined a 20 pound turkey. The turkey was perfectly cooked, one of the most delicious birds we’ve ever had.


Mama Feedbag making whipped cream for her arsenal of pie.


Pie festival, 2010. From left to right: pumpkin, lemon meringue, huckleberry.

Brother, cousins

Cousins in deep discussion at the dinner table.

Luke brought champagne, Leo made a Japanese yam dish, Lynn brought cookies, Sandy made a delicious salad, Phil & Deborah made a cheese & pickle platter, Jake and Moira brought some wine from Moira’s vineyard in Hungary, Ann & Mac brought a loaf of sourdough bread from San Francisco worth its weight in gold, Peter made his famous onion dip, and it’s all a blur after that.


The recipe everyone in the family seemed to really want was a new yeast roll that Mama Feedbag premiered at this year’s Thanksgiving Feedbag Extravaganza. You can find the recipe for the rolls on this aptly named website.

Broadway Maggie
Cousin Maggie was the star of the after party and entertained the family post dinner with some new songs she’s been learning at pre-school.

Uncle Jake snapped this candid shot on his phone of Bien and Leo having a little nap on the couch after dinner. Classic.

All in all it was one of the best Thanksgiving weekends, ever. The market was a great opportunity to work with the family, hang with cousins, and see just about everyone in town during the holiday. Lynn and I single handedly destroyed a case of DP while serving our tour of market duty. We had a cousin’s night at the movies and went to see the new Harry Potter flick in the valley. Bien had an emotional moment during a pivotal scene in the film and we all had some laughs. Happy Birthday to cousin Nellie, 21! You were missed for sure! Missed our cousin Peter this year, especially at the movies, a tradition that started with Transformers and will hopefully continue with other awesomely bad films.

We have such a great family and so many things to be thankful for.

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Written by Patrice Helmar

November 30, 2010 at 1:01 am

Big Mama Squash Recipe

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The glorious squash season is upon us. This evening at Mama Feedbag’s Sunday night dinner, her big mama squash dish was a hit. I’d never heard of a squash by the name of “big mama”, but apparently they do indeed exist. Imagine if an acorn squash and a butternut squash got together and had a love child. A star is born, and that huge delicious star is named: big mama squash. Nutty, delicious, and sweet it’s everything you could want in a squash and more.

When pressed for her recipe source by friends and family she replied, “it was just something I threw together. I was sautéing leeks for my pasta dish and divided them between the squash and the pasta.”

Everyone at the table was a little intrigued. It couldn’t just be delicious buttery leeks that gave the squash such a great flavor. What else had mama feedbag done to the magical squash?

“Oh, yeah and I added a couple of ounces of fontina cheese,” she added.

Oh, glorious cheese. You’ve never spoken an ill word against anyone in the world. All you do is spread love and saturated fat across the land.



– 1 big mama squash
– 2 tablespoons of butter
– 1 to 2 ounces of fontina cheese
– 1 leek, sautéed
– salt and pepper to taste


– halve, de-seed, and bake the big mama squash at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes to an hour, until soft

– while squash is cooling, sauté leeks in a skillet with a bit of butter and salt until cooked

– grate fontina cheese

– remove squash from peels and put into a mixing bowl and either with a handheld mixer, or a standing mixer beat until the consistency of mashed potatoes. Feel free to add chicken stock or milk if necessary.

– add leeks, cheese, salt, and fresh ground pepper to squash, blending with a spatula, until integrated.

Thanks Mom, for the incredible meal!

Happy Eating!

About 4 WW points per 3/4 cup, 8 servings or more.

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Written by Patrice Helmar

November 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Iron Skillet Rockfish Tagine

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I was at the downtown Juneau public library the other day exploring the cookbook section. I found a copy of Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World. A thick volume with a title that really delivers what it promises. There were so many recipes in fact, that at first I was a little overwhelmed. Where should I start? The answer was simple: with the freshest ingredients I could find. Yesterday I was making the rounds at Foodland and found a nice filet of fresh rockfish. Rockfish is cheaper than halibut, and though it’s flavor is no where near the glory of my favorite bottom feeder, it’s a suitable substitute when you haven’t got much money. It was easier to find a recipe in the book with a main ingredient to get inspiration from.

A tagine is a dish from North Africa named after the pot that it’s cooked in. Traditionally, a tagine pot is made from clay and consists of two separate parts. I made this dish in a tried and true well seasoned iron skillet. I think a pyrex baking dish would work just as well. Usually a tagine consists of a sweet component, a dried fruit, like apricots or plums. This recipe omitted that component, which was fine with me, but it you feel so inclined feel free to add a fruit or two.

This recipe was adapted from one in Bittman’s book.

Tagine Set

Above is a photo diagram that highlights the order of operations for layering this tagine.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

This makes about 4 servings.


1/3 cup of finely chopped parsley, or cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
One 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup of olive oil
1.5 to 2 pound fillet of rockfish or halibut
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
5 small tomatoes, cored
3 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup of olives, (kalamata or green)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a shallow baking dish. Place the fish in the marinade and turn to coat. Refrigerate fish in marinade while preparing the rest of the dish.

2. Place the garlic, cayenne, tomatoes, cumin, a large pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of pepper in a food processor and pulse until mixture is coarsely chopped. Oil the bottom of your baking dish. Lay the onion slices across the bottom, then top with the tomato mixture. Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture becomes juicy.

3. Remove the foil and lay the fish on top of the tomato mixture; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay the lemon slices on top of the fish, then pour on the fish marinade; top with olives. Cover and bake for another 15 minutes, or until a thin bladed knife passes through the fish with little resistance. Garnish with additional parsley or cilantro and serve immediately.

Each serving has around 5 WW points with sauce left over for another dish or a later fish stew.

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Written by Patrice Helmar

November 5, 2010 at 10:02 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.


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

Banana Yogurt Honey Muffins

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Banana Yogurt Muffin

I don’t think I’ve ever met a muffin I didn’t like. When I make muffins I use natural sweeteners and limit my use of white flour. The integration of wheat bran and oatmeal brings a whole new level of fiber and chewiness to these bombs of deliciousness. I have a fantasy of really giving them the Greek treatment and topping them with a whipped Greek yogurt topping and honey. That might be an acceptable Sunday brunch kind of ordeal, but this is your every day muffin. This is your wake up late, make a pot of french press coffee, and read the New York Times muffin.

The photo above and some of the ingredients listed may look and sound much like the huckleberry muffin recipe I already wrote about. But the addition of honey, yogurt, and bananas really made these treats even more moist and delectable.


1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup of wheat bran
1 cup of whole wheat flour (sifted if possible)
1-1/4 cups yogurt, plain, Greek, or flavored
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 ripe smashed bananas
12 pecans for topping


In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg, smash the bananas, and mix honey, yogurt and apple sauce. Integrate dry and wet ingredients. Stir into a batter just until moistened.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Top each muffin with a pecan or a walnut, pressing the nut lightly into the muffin. Bake at 400 F. for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

You can top with Greek yogurt and honey, or enjoy a simple hearty & healthy muffin.

Happy Eating!

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Written by Patrice Helmar

October 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Paul’s Spätzle

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Some weekend mornings my dad would wake up before all the kids in the house to make his Americanized version of Spätzle. It was something he grew up with: a concoction of egg noodles, scrambled eggs, spinach, and feta cheese. Growing up in Boston, the son of a Greek mother and an Irish-German father it makes sense how this dish was born in a culturally mixed household. The real spirit of this dish or anything that my father cooked was being spontaneous and using ingredients on hand.

The word Spätzle translates literally to “little sparrow”. I wonder if my dad ever knew the meaning of the word, he loved watching sparrows build nests and raise their babies.

This was one of my Spätzle creations, inspired by the countless versions I ate for breakfast growing up. I ate this dish for dinner. Feel free to use whatever noodles you may have at home or even make your own traditional egg noodles, making this dish more authentically German.


– 1 package of cavatappi (a type of macaroni-like pasta)
– 2 tsps olive oil
– 3 eggs
– 1/4 cup of milk
– 2 endives
– 1 leek
– salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
– 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan-reggiano


– Cook your noodles with a bit of salt

– While your noodles are cooking, wash and chop your endives and leek.

– In a large sautée pan pre-heat your olive oil, adding endives, leek, and a dash of salt.

– Wisk three eggs and 1/4 cup of milk in a small bowl. When leeks, and endive have sautéed so that the leeks have cooked (about 5-10 minutes) add egg & milk and stir constantly while cooking until eggs are sufficiently integrated. Make sure to season again to taste, going light on the salt because of the later addition of cheese.

– When the noodles are done cooking, drain the water (do not rinse the noodles or you will wash the starch off), and add noodles to sautée pan with 1/2 of the parmesan-reggiano cheese mixing well. When the noodles and other ingredients are properly mixed, top with some freshly ground pepper and the rest of the cheese.

Happy Eating!

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Written by Patrice Helmar

October 1, 2010 at 7:17 pm