The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

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

Archive for the ‘Family Dinner’ 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

Pagan’s Pho

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pho II

If you find yourself lucky enough to be invited to dinner at Pagan and Rob’s house, you’re in for a delicious experience. Home to one of Juneau’s finest art and record collections, your eyes and ears will be as full and happy as your belly after eating. I’ve even heard a rumor that Rob Roys cooked his famous Texas chili for Brad Pitt back in ’95 when Brad was summering in Southeast.

One of the first meals Pagan ever cooked for me was a delicious piece of halibut in a tarragon sauce. After my first taste of fresh tarragon, I was hooked. I went on an tarragon bender of epic proportion and couldn’t get enough of the anise flavored herb.

I saw a friend recently ask Pagan for her pho recipe on facebook and my mouth immediately started watering. Homemade pho in Juneau? I emailed Pagan to see if she might be interested in sharing her secrets on the feedbag blog and having us down for a meal. Pagan graciously agreed to host a feedbag pho-down at her place, it was a great opportunity to have a family dinner of sorts. I was able to meet Pagan’s awesome mom, Kathy and spend time with my cousin Luke. Rob was out of town on business and was sorely missed.

Pho Tastic


Quick Vietnamese Broth:

5 – cups of low sodium chicken broth
4 – medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 – 2 inch piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
2 – 3 inch cinnamon sticks
2 – pods of star anise (or 1 tsp. fennel seed)
2 – tablespoons of fish sauce
1 – tablespoon of soy sauce
1 – tablespoon of sugar
2 – jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced

Instructions for Broth:

Bring all ingredients to a boil, reduce to low, simmer 20 minutes, strain.

Pagan’s Pho:

2 – sirloin steaks, slightly frozen, fat trimmed and thinly sliced
1 to 2 – packages of soba noodles
1 – head of bok choy, bias cut
2 – zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
4 to 5 – large carrots, bias cut
2 – bunches of green onions, thinly diced, white part & green part separate
1 – bunch of basil, chiffonade cut


When the base broth is complete add your vegetables, starting with the hardier ones first. The carrots and the white base of the bok choy are good ones to throw in first for a few minutes and then you can add the rest of the ingredients. The beef goes in last for a brief steam in the hot tub, or for the less faint of heart, the beef can be put into bowls and broth added on top when served.

This was a delicious interpretation of pho, a rich and spicy broth, great vegetables, and delicious meat. It really didn’t need any of the traditional garnishes. But here are some optional garnish items if you’re interested in them.

Optional Garnish:

fresh limes, quartered
bean sprouts
fresh mint
sriracha sauce

Thanks to Pagan for the delicious meal and the delightful evening!


Happy Eating!

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Written by Patrice Helmar

October 8, 2010 at 11:18 am

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

Italian Dinner with Mama Feedbag

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Here’s Mom Feedbag serving up a plate of her delicious puttanesca pasta with a meatball worthy of payment for a piano lesson. Mom explained that puttanesca literally means “whore’s spaghetti” and comes from Southern Italy. All of this information gave me an even further appreciation for ladies of the evening. Whores in Italy must have the most amazing taste ever because this spaghetti is awesome.

Pasta Puttanesca

Here’s the Fantastic Mr. Feedbag himself enjoying a plate of goodness.

Romaine Salad

Iceburg lettuce salad with roquefort dressing, radishes, and toasted pecans. Mom Feedbag is in love with the show, “Mad Men” and this salad is an homage to the cocktail era. I believe iceburg lettuce is the redhead stepchild in the world of greens. Sure you can find iceburg lettuce slumming it on the corner at any run of the mill fast food chain but don’t dismiss it too quickly. It lacks nutritional value but makes up for it in crunchiness and J&J’s Deli charm.

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Written by Patrice Helmar

August 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Dinner at Auntie Tissy’s house.

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When I was a little kid getting to visit my cousins and aunties in Anchorage was the coolest thing ever. My aunt Tissy’s house was the place where we would always stay with out cool cousins in the city. When we were little we were happy just to play around the neighborhood, take walks with uncle Bill, hit the awe-inspiring Chucky Cheese, and just hang with our cousins. In my teen years my cousins Aram and Anya introduced me to punk shows, Bishop’s Attic, Andy Warhol films, Wu-Tang, the Pixies, coffee shops, and more.

Anchorage was and is the big city in Alaska. Stretches of flat concrete strip mall filled road recall the shittiest towns in the lower 48, but are surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. Large open parks are used by children playing soccer, young families taking weekend walks, kids hanging out and being kids, street folks getting their drink on, and the problematic unexplainable dead body. Fourth avenue will always remind me of stories of the Alaska earthquake in 1964. I can’t drive by without thinking of the pictures of gaping holes in the concrete and devastated buildings.

Last Saturday we celebrated my mom’s birthday at my aunt Tissy’s house with a family potluck. Here are some of my aunties in the Parker kitchen.

gals in the kitchen

Teeny is on the far left, Moira is poking her head in, and Tissy is on the right.

dinner table
My mom, uncle Jake, and Tissy at the dinner table.

Gustavus smoked salmon
Mom with Gustavus smoked salmon that aunt Tracey brought to dinner.

Aunt Teeny with cousin Maggie and family.

North Douglas Chocolate Cake
Matty & I made a North Douglas Chocolate Cake from the Fiddlehead cookbook.

Steak and Tracey
Here’s Tracey and a plate of flank steak that Tissy grilled. The marinade for the steak is a Sigrid Brudie recipe that has legendarily brought a vegetarian back to carnivorous ways.

Happy 61st mom
Happy Birthday Mom!

Thanks to Aunt Tissy for hosting yet another great dinner party!

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Written by Patrice Helmar

August 24, 2010 at 10:48 am


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