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January 28, 2011

A healthy topping for desserts

I just taught another cooking class at one of our local middle schools. The topping for the baked apples was a hit and I promised I would post the recipe for them.

It's really very simple to make:
Mix one cup low fat sour cream with 2 tablespoons milk. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well and serve over baked apples,apple streusel pie, or your favorite pie or cake.

Posted by terri at 04:08 AM | Comments (0)

Blue Cheese and Sauternes

Blue Cheese and Sauternes:
An amazing and delicious combination of flavors.

Our wine club celebrated another fantastic dinner enjoying old world wines with old world dishes from France. The wines have the complexity and intensity to match the salty, rich and creamy textures and flavors of the cheese. The two together were perfect.

The Sauternes was a 2005 Grand Cru Classe, Chateau d Arche from the Bordeaux region of France. All Sauternes are sweet, meaning that all the sugar did not turn into alcohol during fermentation. Sauternes produces one of the greatest sweet wines in the world. A classified chateau will have wines with intensity of flavor, increasing the price. But the enjoyment is worth the splurge.

Blue Cheese is a cheese made with added cultures of mold Penicillium added, creating a cheese that is spotted or veined with blue, blue-gray or blue green mold. If you are allergic to penicillin you may want to avoid blue cheese. But if you love blue cheese, you can enjoy with wine, add to salads or try my Gorgonzola and White Bean Soup

Posted by terri at 03:44 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2011

Apple and walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette

The great thing about this salad is that you can make it most any time. Apples are always available and taste good year around. We're trying to eat more salads to get in our 5 fruits and vegetables a day!

Serves 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes


  • 2 cups unpeeled, chopped tart red apple, (Braeburn, Honey Crisp, or Gala)
  • 2 cups unpeeled, chopped tart green apples (Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups toasted walnuts
  • 8 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    For vinaigrette: Whisk together vinegar, EV olive oil, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Place spinach in large salad bowl. Top with apples, walnuts, and cranberries. Toss with vinaigrette and serve.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • spiced pecans, can be used to replace walnuts
  • Use white balsamic vinegar to avoid turning the apples brown
  • Toss the apple salad into your favorite pasta

    Posted by terri at 03:09 AM | Comments (0)

    Spiced Pecans

    Try these pecans as a snack or mixed into your favorite salad, especially great with spinach and strawberries.

    Yields 2 cups
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time 25 minutes


  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


    Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine honey, water, cinnamon, and salt and pepper in medium size bowl. Stir in the pecans and coat with the honey mixture. Using a slotted spoon, place pecans in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15 minutes, turning half way through baking time. Cool slightly on baking sheet. Remove and cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 3-4 days.

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

    Chicken Curry

    Discover the aroma and flavors of spicey foods when paired with slightly sweet white wines like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. This dish is delicious and easy to make.

    Chicken Curry
    (or Lamb- see Terri's Tips below for more information)
    Prep Time: 30 min.
    Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
    Serves 6


  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces, (or 1 lb. Lamb, trimmed of excess fat and cubed)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fruit chutney
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine or sherry
  • 1 cup beef stock (or Chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 finely crumbled bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt and fresh cracked black pepper


    In a large oven proof skillet, fry the onions in the oil until translucent.

    Add the meat and a little more oil, if necessary, and brown the meat.

    Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garlic, curry powder, and the turmeric and simmer for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.

    Mix the flour with the wine and add to the meat mixture slowly while stirring.

    Add all the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
    Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour until meat is tender

    Terri's Tips:

  • When using lamb add 1 teaspoon garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Use boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Serve with rice
  • Sauteing the spices will release their flavors

    Cooking Wiser

  • Prep the meat and spices then put into crock pot to cook while you are at work. It will be ready when you come home.

    Posted by terri at 02:30 AM | Comments (0)

    Argentine Meat Empanadas

    Our wine club enjoyed a fabulous food and wine pairing dinner this month. We tasted South American wines and paired them with several Argentinean and Brazilian recipes. One of my favorites was the Argentine Meat Empanadas with an Argentina Malbec. Select a wine that has fruit, hints of spice and rich flavors.

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour


  • 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
  • Salt to taste


    In a large sauté pan cook the beef until brown, salt to taste. Remove beef from pan, add vinegar and set aside to cool. In the sauté pan, melt the shortening, add the onions. Cook until onions begin to turn golden. Stir in the paprika, pepper, cumin and salt. Add the meat to the onion mixture, stirring to combine.
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Unfold the pastry dough and cut into 8 round shells. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture on each round, add a few raisins, olives and eggs. To get a good seal with pastry, avoid reaching the edges of the pastry with the filling. Fold the pastry in half and seal the edges with a fork. Turn the half moon over and seal again on the other side. A good seal is important to keep the juices in. Prick the top of the pastry with a fork or make the little slices with a paring knife.
    Place the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Glaze the top with an egg wash and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve.

    Terri's Tip:

  • Make these in advance and freeze. To reheat place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until crisp and heated through

    Posted by terri at 02:05 AM | Comments (0)

    January 14, 2011

    Smoked Salmon Quiche

    Quiche can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner and this quiche is a delicious choice. Add a salad for a complete meal. It also makes a wonderful appetizer, just serve with a dry California Chardonnay, a perfect pair.

    Serves 6-8
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Total time 30 minutes


  • 1 Prepared pie shell
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/8 inch strips
  • ¼ cup dill, chopped


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. To make the filling, beat the eggs and milk together. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Scatter the smoked salmon and dill evenly over the crust, then pour in the milk and egg mixture. Bake the quiche until the filling is set, about 25 minutes.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Allow the eggs to settle after beating to eliminate air bubbles
  • Cool slowly to avoid cracking the quiche

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Use egg beaters to replace the eggs, eliminating the cholesterol

    Posted by terri at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)

    Poached Pears with Mascarpone

    This cream stuffed poached pears makes a lovely presentation for an impressive ending to an elegant dinner. Serve with a German sweet Riesling.

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 50 minutes


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 orange, zest
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 2 tablespoons honey
  • 8 ripe Barlett pears, cored and peeled
  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • ½ cup heavy cream


    In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, wine, water, zests, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar dissolves. Set the pears in the syrup stems up and simmer over moderately low heat. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pears from syrup and allow to cool. In a deep bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into mascarpone and add the honey. Combine until smooth.
    Place the mascarpone into a pastry bag and pipe into the center of the pear and serve

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Reserve the syrup and use to sweeten tea, serve over strawberries or ice cream
  • Remove the vanilla bean. Once it is dry add it to a cup of sugar. Place into a jar and seal. The sugar will take on the vanilla bean flavor and can be used for tea, making cookies, etc.
  • A good wine for this recipe is a dry Riesling
  • Drizzle a good chocolate sauce on the serving plate, add the pear and drizzle a little chocolate sauce on top
  • When zesting the fruit, do not zest into the white part, only zest the color (outermost skin) to avoid the bitter pith.

    Cooking wiser:

  • Use low fat frozen whipped topping to replace the heavy cream
  • To save calories and money, use reduced fat cream cheese to replace the mascarpone

    Posted by terri at 02:53 AM | Comments (0)

    January 10, 2011

    Lemon Chiffon Cake with Apricot & Orange Coulis

    A very light cake because it contains no egg yolks only the whites. The apricot and orange coulis can be served as one or made separately to show different flavors, colors and textures.

    Serves 8-10
    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Total time: 65 minutes


  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

    Apricot & Orange Coulis

  • 1 pound apricots
  • 3/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, frozen concentrate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup orange section


    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Into a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Do not mix. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until white and foamy. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat. Mix 1/4 of the egg whites until well incorporated into the flour mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites using a rubber spatula. Spray a Bundt pan and dust with flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Remove air bubbles. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top feels springy or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake upright on a wire rack for 1 hour. Loosen the sides and remove the cake. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar

    Coulis: In a food processor, combine the apricots, orange juice, o.j. concentrate, sugar, and lemon juice. Blend until very smooth. Strain through a fine sieve for a smooth consistency. Add the orange segments.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Substitute fresh for canned apricots or use dried apricots by marinating 8 ounces of apricots overnight in 1/4 cup Curacao.
  • It takes about 2 lemons to make 1 T zest.

    Posted by terri at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)