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October 25, 2010

5 Spiced Crab with Creole Fried Tomatoes served on Baby Greens

The combination of sweet crab with slightly tart green tommatoes creates a wonderful combination of flavors. This recipe provides just one way to fry tomatoes.

Serves 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 5 medium green tomato, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 tablespoons mixed spices
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • oil for frying
  • 2 cups baby greens


    In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, onions, shallots, garlic, capers, parsley, tarragon. Mix until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Combine crab meat and mayo mixture together. For the tomatoes: In a saute pan, heat oil for frying. Season tomato slices with seasoning. Season with and mix together flour and cornmeal. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and buttermilk together and whisk well. Dredge the tomatoes in flours. Dip into the egg and dredge in flours again. Fry each tomato until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel lined plate. Place the greens on a plate and arrange tomatoes with crab. Garnish and serve.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • See my fried green tomato recipe for another way to enjoy them
  • Be sure to remove any shell bits from the crabmeat
  • To make ahead, fry crab cakes, cool, then freeze; to serve -remove from freezer and heat on a cooking sheet at 350 degrees F until heated through

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Use low fat Mayonnaise and low fat buttermilk
  • For a quick way to fry green tomaotes try the old fashion way Fried Green Tomatoes.

    Posted by terri at 03:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Fried Green Tomatoes

    It's time to pick the last of the garden produce in Tennessee. While the weather has given us an extra long growing season, it is coming to an end so I picked about 30 green tomatoes and fried them this weekend.

    Dennis and I sat on the back deck and ate half of them with cheese, homemade bread and olive oil. To complete our relaxing evening, we opened a bottle of Chamisal stainless Chardonnay. I was shocked to find....

    That the Chardonnay was delicious with the fried green tomatoes. It brought out the sweetness of the wine- truly amazing! Enjoy
    Serves 6
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Total time: 20 minutes


  • 6 medium green tomatoes
  • 2 cups self rising cornmeal
  • Dash Kosher salt
  • ½ cup cooking oil


    Slice tomatoes and lightly salt.
    Dredge the tomatoes in the cornmeal.

    Heat oil in non stick skillet. Fry each tomato until golden brown.
    Remove and drain on paper towel lined plate.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Turn the tomatoes only once- when brown on one side, flip them over to brown on the other side.
  • You will find many ways to fry green tomatoes, but this is my favorite way. Often I add okra to the mix. Just cover sliced okra with the cornmeal and add in with the tomatoes
  • To store the left overs, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze. Remove and place into sealable bags. When you are ready to eat, remove from freezer, place on baking sheet and heat for 15-20 minutes until hot and crispy.

    Cooking Wiser:

  • The good ole Southern style of cooking always includes frying, butter and cream, but you can oven bake these to decrease the calories. Simply dredge the tomatoes in the cornmeal, spray with little cooking oil and bake on a baking pan at 400 degrees F until brown on top.

    Make it your own

  • Serve the fried green tomatoes topped with goat cheese and tomato salsa;

    lime and cilantro aioli; or make it into a BLFGT (bacon, lettuce, fried green tomato) sandwich

  • Try my recipe for 5 spiced crab with Creole Fried tomatoes served on baby greens- this recipe provides a different way to fry the tomatoes

    Posted by terri at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

    Cooking for students

    I recently did a cooking demo at a local middle school for parents, teachers and students. The kids were my assistants and they were fantastic. I had as much fun as they did and look forward to seeing them again. It truly inspired me to provide more family oriented meals for everyone to enjoy. I was delighted when one of the moms sent me this note.

    Dear Terri,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to come out and teach us Healthier ways to eat well!!!
    I made your healthy version of chicken alfredo and your basil pesto (with my fresh garden basil) and I am happy to say that it was a Huge hit!!! All five of us were a member of the clean plate club!!!
    I involved my middle school son in the cooking and WOW!!! You were sooooo right!!! There was more than dietary health gained in the kitchen last night. The pride he took in the meal and prep was amazing, and I so much enjoyed sharing that time with him .
    Talking, chopping, seasoning the chicken and a relationship all at the same time!!! My other kids saw this and now they want to each cook a healthy meal for the family. We visited your website and have picked more delicious choices to try. I bookmarked the site and am well on my way to cooking meals and making it a priority to bring the "Spice" back to my kitchen & family meals. It truly inspired us, Thanks to you and your willingness to share your talents with others.

    Best Regards,
    Gresham Middle School

    Posted by terri at 02:33 AM | Comments (0)

    October 18, 2010

    Apple Nut Tart

    Use a tart apple like Granny Smith for this amazing apple dessert. It takes a little bit of time but it is well worth it.

    Serves 12
    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Total time: 1:30


  • 3 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, sliced thin

    The filling

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup almonds, ground and toasted
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond paste
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg separated
  • ½ cup apricot jam, melted

    The topping:

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds

    Instructions: (preheat oven to 325 degrees F.)

    For the filling
    Stir flour, almonds, and baking powder into a small bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the 5 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup sugar until blended. Add almond paste a small bit at a time until smooth. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating well. Beat in the 2 egg yolks. Stir in flour mixture.

    Clean beaters and beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold into filling.
    Press pastry into bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch spring-form pan. Spread half of the melted apricot jam over the pastry.

    For the pastry:
    Beat ½ cup softened butter, add 1/3 cup sugar and beat 4 minutes till fluffy; Add 1 egg yolk, beat 1 more minute. Add 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon lemon peel , finely shredded and a dash of salt. Beat until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Pour filling into pastry. Arrange apple slices on top. Drizzle with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Top with nuts.

    Bake in oven for 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool the tart for one hour. Remove the spring-form pan, transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with remaining apricot jam. Cut into wedges and serve.

    Terri’s Tip:

  • Enjoy every bite

    Posted by terri at 02:28 AM | Comments (0)

    October 14, 2010

    Caramelized Brussels sprouts with bacon and pecans

    Even the Brussels sprout skeptics will love this recipe, everyone in my class sure did!

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 35 minutes

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 4 slices bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    Cut brussels sprouts in half, and cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add pecans, and sauté 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove pecans from skillet. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel, crumble. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes or until caramel colored. Remove onions from skillet. Add oil and heat, add brussels sprouts to pan and cook on medium high heat until slightly golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add all ingredients to the Brussels sprouts and heat through.

    Terri's Tips:

  • Omit the bacon for a vegetarian dish

    Posted by terri at 03:48 AM | Comments (0)

    Pork Crown Roast with sausage and sage dressing

    This beautiful presentation of pork is so impressive you will be glad you spent the extra money. You can have a butcher prepare it or if you're patient, you can try it yourself. The stuffing completes the work of art.

    Serves 12-14


  • An 8 pound pork rib crown roast- 12-14 ribs
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

    For the stuffing:

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 16 ounces ground sausage
  • 3 cups crumbled corn bread
  • 3 cups seasoned croutons
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper


    Place the pork roast in a shallow roasting pan. In a small mixing bowl, mix thyme, sage, rosemary, oil, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture onto the pork.

    Dressing: Place the cornbread and croutons in a large bowl.
    In a large pan cook the sausage. Remove the sausage but not the juices. Add the butter to the pan and sauté on medium heat the onion and celery until softened. Add the garlic and herbs. Heat for 3 more minutes. Add the sausage and onion mixture to the cornbread mixture. Moisten with the chicken broth. Add salt and pepper.

    Spoon the dressing into the center of the roast. Any remaining dressing can be added around the roast. Cover the roast tips with foil. Roast in the oven for 2 hours or until the thermometer reads 150 degrees F and allow meat to rest to 160 degrees F.

    To serve spoon out the dressing and cut the meat between the ribs.

    Posted by terri at 03:35 AM | Comments (0)

    Home for the Holidays

    Last night we celebrated the holidays a little early with a menu that pleased everyone. There were 20 people in my cooking class with three assistants who kept me on track. I provided some tips on cooking a pork crown roast, surprised everyone with a delicious recipe for Brussels spouts, and shared with them how to make my Mom’s cornbread dressing. We finished the night with an Apple Nut Tart.

    The pork crown roast was provided by Lobel’s of New York, a family business in Manhattan for five generations. They provide the most tender, flavorful meat that money can buy with old fashioned, personalized customer service. If you are looking for a special gift or planning an impressive dinner for friends and family, Lobel’s is the source for the finest and freshest USDA prime dry-aged steaks, roasts, pork, lamb, poultry, specialty meats, gourmet products, and much more. Lobel's of New York!.

    I can’t take full credit for the caramelized brussels sprouts with bacon and pecans because the recipe was provided by Nancy, one of my dear friends. I never loved brussels sprouts until I tried them prepared with bacon and pecans. I was thrilled with the reactions from the skeptics in my class. They even asked for seconds!

    You probably have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that you prepare every year. Like most of us though there is usually one dish that is your favorite. Mine is my mom’s cornbread dressing. She always makes extra for me to take home and I have it for breakfast the next day. My favorite tradition is to turn on my Christmas music, eat left over dressing and put up my Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. I know to some that seems early but I have the day off from work and it just works out. I encourage you to cook at home with your kids or friends and create memorable traditions. Try these recipes sometime during the holidays and enjoy!

    Posted by terri at 02:55 AM | Comments (0)

    October 10, 2010

    Cooking Wiser Alfredo Sauce with Pasta

    Many people love Alfredo sauce but they don't want all the fat and calories. I came up with this recipe several years ago. It has more flavor, better texture and half the calories. I prefer this recipe to the tradition Alfredo recipe that tends to glue my insides together.

    Serves 6-8
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Total time: 20 minutes


  • 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pasta of choice


    Melt the butter in the microwave.
    Add flour to butter and stir to combine.
    Heat stock in a 12 inch skillet on medium high heat.
    Whip in butter mixture and stir until thickened about 15 minutes. Reduce heat and add pesto, cheese and milk.
    Cook on low heat for an additional 10 minutes.
    Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta.

    Terri's Tips:

  • Pasta should always be cooked al dente- means "to the tooth" in Italian, with a bite so that it isn't overcooked.
  • You can add richness by adding heavy cream to replace the milk but I think it is really good without the extra fat and calories
  • I like all kinds of pasta but this is great with bow tie or tortellini
  • For a complete meal add grilled chicken and a fresh mozzarella tomato salad.

    Posted by terri at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Arugula Salad with Roasted Pears, Beets and Goat Cheese

    Arugula is a peppery, aromatic salad green that is becoming more popular in the U.S. The Italians have been very fond of Arugula for many years. Try it in this salad and you will understand why they love it.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Total time: 10 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • ½ tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 medium roasted beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (if not in season then use 1 can (15 ounces) whole beets, drained and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 Bosc pear, sliced in half
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 6 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature, sliced into 12 rounds
  • 8 ounces (1 bunch) arugula, stemmed and washed well


    Brush each half of the pear with honey. Turn broiler to high and place rack in middle of oven. Roast pear until golden about 5-8 minutes. Cool and slice into 8 wedges
    In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, vinegar, orange juice, oregano, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Place beets in a small bowl. Pour 1/3 of the dressing over beets; toss to coat.
    Place arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle arugula with remaining dressing, and toss to combine. Divide among plates, and top each serving with some of the sliced beets, walnuts, pears and goat cheese.

    Terri's Tips:

  • If you don't have shallots, use purple onion and 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Don't burn the walnuts, it will make them bitter
  • Goat cheese and pears go very well with a Sauvignon Blanc wine
  • Wash the Arugula well before using, the leaves hold a fair amount of grit

    Posted by terri at 03:32 AM | Comments (0)