The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

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

Posts Tagged ‘entrée

Pesto Rockfish with Rebecca

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For just over a year, I was in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program in secondary education. The experience was incredible. I loved student teaching at Floyd Dryden with my awesome host teacher, and peer learning community. It may sound cheesy, but I’ve missed my students this summer, and I know that they’ll all go on to do some great things with their lives.

The MAT program is only a year long, and so the course work is intense. The summer session has classes that span about three weeks long. One of my favorite people to work with in the MAT program has been my friend, Rebecca. I made a lot of friends in the program who are going all around the world, and state to teach. I’ll miss them all – especially old Jim-Bob, Chris, Nick, Mara, and Abe. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for Summer and Jennie as they go on into the next two quarters of the program, and finish up their student teaching.

A difficult thing for me during my Master’s program was not having enough time to prepare good food, and not getting enough sleep. I worked part-time during the program, an average of three evenings a week at two different local restaurants. It was difficult, but the reward of not having a student loan payment makes me feel like it was worth it. My friend Rebecca and I bonded the last couple of weeks of class. During our break we’d work on course work, and share our lunches. Often we had strangely constructed salads, made from random scraps we grabbed from our kitchens in the morning mad dash to school.

Last week we got together a couple of times to work on our Teacher Work Samples and portfolios, and ate decent food. Rebecca has a pretty good line of fresh local fish, and this fresh rockfish was fabulous.

We prepared the rockfish by baking it in an iron skillet with a simple rub of pesto, salt, and fresh ground pepper. Fresh fish doesn’t need much to be delicious, but it’s easily dried out if you bake it without a source of moisture. This iron skillet recipe could accommodate many kinds of fish.


Rebecca and I talked about how rockfish is often called a poor man’s version of halibut. We decided that this particular rockfish was actually just as flavorful, if not better than halibut that we’d both had this summer. Rockfish can be rad!

– Three to four filets of fresh rockfish (or whatever fish you have available)
– Two tablespoons of olive oil
– Fresh ground pepper & sea salt to lightly coat the filets
– One to two tablespoons of pesto (freshly made, or store bought: Costco brand is good & affordable) to coat each filet

– Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
– Coat the pan in one to two tablespoons of olive oil
– Grind fresh pepper & sprinkle sea salt liberally on each side of your filets
– Rub a tablespoon or two of pesto into each side of your filets
– Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes (check on your filets at 20 minutes, or so to see if the fish is flaking – a good indication that it’s done)

Serving Suggestion:
We made an awesome fresh green salad with pine nuts and feta cheese to accompany our pesto rockfish filets. I’d suggest serving this fish with a Pinot Grigio, or an Alaskan Pale Ale.


Rice Cooker Quinoa

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Quinoa made in a rice cooker. It’s no-nonsense and good. I like to add herbs, a little sea salt, maybe some diced tomatoes, broth if I have it, give it a good stir, and press the cook button down. It’s that easy folks. The proportions are a lot like rice, and if you do eat rice – feel free to mix the two. I’ve made it with 1 cup of white rice and 1 cup of quinoa, same instructions. Quinoa and white rice are a winning combination. I’ve yet to mix quinoa and brown rice. I’m pretty sure that some day soon it’ll happen.

This batch has been used for more than one meal. Old Quinoa was my lunch one day and put on a fancy jacket and transformed into dinner the next. That last lonesome cup of quinoa taking up real estate in my fridge might turn into egg and veggie breakfast muffins.

Quinoa is ancient and nutritionally rad. Ancient warriors feasted on quinoa. Quinoa is a friend when wheat breaks your heart and takes the toaster. <- truth.

Quinoa Straight Up:

– 2 cups of quinoa, rinsed
– 3 1/2 cups water, or broth

Quinoa in a dinner jacket:

– 2 cups of quinoa, rinsed
– 3 1/2 cups water, or broth
– 1 tsp olive oil
– Canned or fresh diced tomatoes, you can throw in the juice & minus a 1/2 cup or more of broth/water
– pinch of sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
– 1 teaspoon of Greek oregano
– handful of fresh basil, chiffonade cut – if you've got it

Rice Cooker Tips:
– If you have a cooking spray or prefer to use olive oil, give your rice cooker bowl a spray around the bottom and edges so the grain doesn't stick too much.
– Stir your quinoa and goodies up before you press the cook button.


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Slow Cooker Garbanzo Bean Stew

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Garbanzo Bean Stew

I’ve never met a chickpea I didn’t like: hummus, falafel, socca. I love chickpeas in all forms. When I woke up yesterday morning to a left over jar of sauce from my coconut milk chicken dish I knew I had to do something with it. I decided to pull the old slow cooker out and get something going before I headed into work. I’d pre-soaked a bunch of chickpeas the night before in anticipation of making some roasted chickpeas, but my roasted chickpea idea turned into stew. I have a recipe for Yumi’s cilantro pesto that I’ll post soon but I’ll just list individual ingredients now so you can make this easy stew.

If you’re a vegetarian, please substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. I’m sure this recipe would be just as good without any meat juice. If your name is Mick Beasley, nix the coconut milk and add some half and half.

– 3 1/2 cups of garbanzo beans (probably around 2 cans)
– Juice from left over morel chicken sauce, or substitute 1/2 cup of diced button mushrooms and another 1/2 cup of coconut milk
– 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk (I use low-fat and it’s delicious)
– Juice from one fresh lime
– A handful of washed, chopped, fresh cilantro
– 3 cups of chicken of vegetable broth
– 1 stalk of lemongrass smashed up and cut into four parts
– 2, 1 inch pieces of ginger peeled and cut into quarters
– A handful of Thai or regular Basil, chiffonade cut
– 1 can of diced tomatoes, sauce included
– 1 cup of diced baby carrots
– 1 cup of broccoli, diced
– 3 stalks of celery, I love using the heart, which has more leaves
– Sea salt & pepper to taste
– 1 cup of frozen or fresh diced yams

– Reserve the broccoli, yams, celery, and carrots for different stages of this recipe
– Put all ingredients into the crock pot, except for the above mentioned
– Put the crock pot on medium heat in the morning before you go to work
– When you come home for lunch, add more chicken or vegetable broth if necessary, add celery and carrots and yams, stir, taste, and add more sea salt & pepper to taste
– When you come home after work check on your stew, add broccoli, let cook for a few more minutes
– Turn off your crock pot, allow stew to cool and serve

Serving Suggestion: Top this delicious stew with a dollop of organic yogurt and a sprinkle of turmeric for color. Or if you’re avoiding dairy, add some finely cut green onions to the top of the stew and enjoy.

Happy Eating!

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Pan-Seared Chicken Breast with Morel Mushroom & Coconut Milk Sauce

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good one

Detox hunger has driven me to get creative in the kitchen. I was craving some protein Friday night and honestly boneless skinless chicken breast can get pretty boring. I’ve had some gorgeous dried morel mushrooms that I got on sale for a while now. I’ve heard of stuffing a blend of morels and herbs under chicken skin and roasting a chicken, which sounded pretty amazing. I’m going to go ahead and say that this dish is one of the most delicious things I’ve made on the fly. Coconut milk is magic! I even went with the light version of this miracle ingredient and was satisfied.

If you can’t find morels at a reasonable price try this recipe with button mushrooms or portabellas. You’ll find yourself spooning the sauce onto everything on your plate and delighted with the flavors.

I was too tired to really get too involved with herbs, etc with this recipe. But I imagine that lemon grass, fresh cilantro, and a clove of garlic might really push this over the edge of being the best chicken breast in the world. It was great just how it turned out, so good in fact that we saved the left over mushrooms and sauce for another crack at this recipe. I bought some lemon grass that I’m going to integrate into the sauce next time around.

– 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 1 tablespoon of olive oil
– sea salt & fresh ground pepper
– 1 package of dried morel mushrooms that you can probably find at your grocery store (or a large handful if you’re lucky enough to have harvested them yourself)

– Boil water in a tea kettle and pour over dried mushrooms, letting sit for 10-15 minutes, reserving liquid for cooking or stock
– Finely chop your mushrooms for pan sauce after they’ve rehydrated and cooled a bit
– Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
– Wash your chicken breasts and pat dry
– Season each side of the breast with sea salt & fresh ground pepper
– Pre-heat a pan and tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat on your stove top
– Get your breasts in the hot oil and fry each side for around 3 to 4 minutes
– Add chopped mushrooms and a bit of the mushroom liquid and let cook for another minute or so
– Add coconut milk and stir the pan well, season again with a little more sea salt & freshly ground pepper
– Stick your oven safe skillet in oven for around 15 minutes, or until chicken is at around 165 degree temperature

Serving suggestion: Top a green salad with chopped chicken, spoon sauce and mushrooms over a bed of rice or grain for a complete dinner.

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Shepherd’s Pie

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In the last Feedbag recipe post we roasted a turkey breast. I’m saving the bones and a bit of the meat in our freezer for a turkey soup, but after dinner last week we had quite a bit of meat and mashed potatoes hanging around. Our friends, the Gin Soaked Raisin food blog duo came over and brought some delicious sides for blogtastic dinner. We had a little of the delicious roasted asparagus that Amanda had brought as a side that we threw into this recipe. Asparagus in Shepherd’s pie? Why not! The more vegetables the merrier.

If you’re looking for a general recipe for shepherd’s pie that will guide you through the process of making mashed potatoes and cooking meat – here’s a good one via Saveur. Our recipe uses left-overs: you can follow our roasted turkey breast recipe, and enjoy the bounty, using excess turkey in this day after recipe. You can also make a vegetarian version of our shepherd’s pie by using some TVP or roasted tofu. I’d substitute about 2 cups of either veggie option in lieu of meat.

The first photo shows the primary layer of vegetables, the second is the turkey layer with Aleppo pepper, and the third is the final layer of mashed potatoes sprinkled with feta, nutmeg, & fresh ground pepper.

– 2 cups of left-over roasted turkey, other meat, TVP, or roasted tofu
– About 2 cups of mashed potatoes
– 1 to 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
– 1/4 cup of feta cheese
– 1 1/2 cups of baby carrots, diced
– 1 1/2 cups of celery, including leaves, diced
– 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn
– Any left over roasted carrots, onions, asparagus from your roasted turkey breast meal
– 1 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper to sprinkle over diced turkey
– 1 teaspoon of nutmeg to sprinkle on top of mashed potato top layer
– salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

– Prepare meat or meat substitute

– Prepare mashed potatoes.

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees

– Coat a large casserole dish with olive oil

– Chop and mix your vegetables together, integrating left over roasted vegetables, seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper

– The first layer of your shepherd’s pie is the vegetable layer

– Chop left over turkey breast in a medium dice for your second layer, season with Aleppo pepper

– Warm your left over mashed potatoes up in the oven, sauce pan, or amicrowave to make them fluffy & manageable

– Layer the top of your shepherd’s pie with 2 cups of mashed potatoes

– Sprinkle 1/4 cup of feta cheese on top of the mashed potato layer, some freshly ground pepper, a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and drizzle just a bit of olive oil on top

– Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, until just browned

Serving Suggestion:

Shepherd’s pie is one of those dishes that stands alone! Best served with an oatmeal stout or a Guinness if you enjoy beer.

Happy Eating!

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Lemon Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

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Roasted Turkey Breast

Let’s talk turkey!

Specifically turkey breast, which in my opinion is the most delicious part of the bird. I bought a turkey breast when they were on sale after the holidays. It was a frozen organic free range breast weighing in at about 4 pounds. I’ll never know my turkey’s name, or if he/she had friends, and I’ll always wonder if my turkey wrapped a little wing around its other turkey friends. Put a bird on it!

After defrosting my skin-on bone-in turkey I rinsed it well with water, patted it dry, and rubbed sea salt all over it. I left the turkey breast in a covered bowl in my fridge while I went to work yesterday. All told, I dry brined the turkey breast for about 8 hours. I think dry brining is the best idea ever! There’s no water, no plastic bag, and thus no big mess to speak of. The dry brine is an innovation that made my mom’s last Thanksgiving turkey even more delicious than her normally delicious turkey.

pink peppercorns are glorious

Here’s the rub: make a delicious herb rub for your turkey breast. It’s tempting to just coat the bad boy in butter and call it good, and believe me coating a turkey breast in butter alone is glorious! Taking the time to make herb rub takes this bird to an entirely new level of amazing. I adapted this recipe from CHOW, tweaking a few things I felt would improve the moistness of the meat.

-1, 4 pound bone-in & skin-on turkey breast
– Sea salt for brining, as much as needed to lightly cover the breast

Herb Rub:
– 6 Tablespoons of olive oil
– 2 Additional Tablespoons of salt for the rub
– 8 cloves of garlic
– 1 lemon, zested and sliced
– 1 Tablespoon of peppercorns (I used pink because I had them on hand)
– 1 Tablespoon of Aleppo pepper
– 1 Tablespoon of Greek oregano, on the stem if possible
– 2 Tablespoons of dried or fresh rosemary

Turkey all covered in rub and decked in lemon slices, with roasting vegetables, ready for the oven.

Roasting Ingredients:
– 1 Cup of white wine
– 1 Onion, roughly chopped
– 2 to 3 handfuls of baby carrots

– Preheat oven to 425 degrees, taking your brined turkey out of the fridge, and giving it another good wash and patting it dry.

– Coat turkey with 2 – 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and allow the turkey to sit while your oven heats and you prepare your herb rub.

– Put rub ingredients in a food processor, slowly adding remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil, while the food processor breaks down the ingredients.

– Use a spatula to scrape the rub ingredients down the side of the food processor once, and pulse again for another minute.

– After zesting your lemon, slice it crosswise.

– Allow your turkey to sit for another 10 minutes before putting the breast in a roasting pan.

– Use herb rub to coat all over the breast, making sure to get the rub under the skin.

– Arrange chopped onion and carrots around the turkey breast.

– Apply lemon slices to the top of the turkey breast, inside the ribs.

– Cook at 425 degrees uncovered for 30 minutes.

– After 30 minutes, remove roast from oven, add 1 cup of white wine to bottom of the pan.

– Decrease oven heat to 375 degrees.

– Cover pan with aluminum foil and roast turkey for an additional 40-50 minutes, checking to make sure the internal temperature is around 160 – 170 degrees, or until
the juices run clear when pierced with a knife or fork.

– Let your turkey breast rest for 10 minutes before carving it up and serving.

– Remove any stray vegetables from the bottom of the pan, leaving any browned bits.
– Dissolve 1 to 2 Tablespoons of corn starch in around 1/2 to 1 cup of cool water mixing well before adding to your roasting pan on medium heat.
– Stir the mixture well, scraping any of the bits off the bottom of the pan, and adding more water if necessary.
– Put a bowl in your sink and pour gravy mixture through a strainer, pressing the bits down with a spatula or wooden spoon to get all of the goodness into the dark delicious gravy mixture.

Serving Suggestion:
Mashed potatoes and a nice green salad are perfect sides for this Thanksgiving like meal. I had a decent bottle of red wine I’d been saving for a year or two that I brought out for our dinner guests. I think a nice crisp white wine, maybe the one you used for cooking would pair very nicely with this decadent turkey dinner. My favorite thing to drink with this dinner is a glass of sparkling water with lemon and lime.

Iron Skillet Pizza

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Pizza is great stuff, even when it’s not great it’s still pretty good. I had friends from out-of-town hanging out this weekend and I needed to throw together a decent meal on the quick. I saved a third of my bread dough from this week’s baking, figuring I’d try making a pizza out of it. The ball of dough in my fridge needed a few minutes to warm up before I rolled it out on a lightly floured cutting board and then tossed it a bit giving it a skillet like shape. Maybe you’re thinking about starting to bake bread, or want a recipe that’ll give a bread and pizza dough option. I love Jacques Pépin’s bread recipe, and have been using it weekly to bake bread for our family. The recipe makes 3 loaves of bread or 4-5 pizzas, depending on size. This week I baked two loaves of bread and saved a portion for this heavenly pizza.

I pre-heated my oven to 450 with the iron skillet inside, took the skillet out when I felt like the oven had heated itself and the skillet sufficiently (about 10 minutes), put a little cornmeal on the bottom of the pan, the rolled out dough, spread a little olive oil around on the dough, covered the dough with a little marinara, some dried Greek oregano, and my favorite toppings. I baked it for around 20 minutes, and it was pretty darn crispy and delicious. If you prefer less crispy pizza, I’d let it bake for around 10-14 minutes.

If you have the dough pre-made, this is a simple and delicious week night meal. You don’t need to make it in an iron skillet: if you have a pizza stone, or a tile-lined baking sheet you’re in good shape.

This pizza is perfect with a nice green salad and good friends to share it with.

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