Ask Terri a cooking question

HOME | Cooking Basics | Kitchen Tools | Cooking Tips | Ingredients | Wine & Food | About Terri

« October 2011 | Main | December 2011 »

November 27, 2011

Fresh Spinach with Berries, Caramelized Pecans and Blueberry Vinaigrette

Blueberries are one of very few fruits that are native to North America, so proudly enjoy the sweet delicious fruit and gain great health benefits as well. They have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. The strawberries add more color and flavor and so what if they're good for you too.

Serves 8


  • Enough salad greens for 8 salads (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup caramelized pecans
    Blueberry Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup blueberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon green onion, fine chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
    carmelized Pecans
  • 1 cup pecans , roasted
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper


    Pecans: Place skillet over stove and melt butter. Add brown sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved. Stir constantly to emulsify sugar and butter, add cayenne pepper and pecans. Coat them well. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and let cool. Vinaigrette: Mix all ingredients for vinaigrette together into container with lid. Shake until well blended. Place salad greens in a bowl and toss with pecans and berries. Pour vinaigrette over salad and serve right away

    To make blueberry sauce cook 2 cups fresh or frozen berries with 3/4 cup sugar for 30 minutes on medium heat. Mash through sieve.

    Posted by terri at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

    November 26, 2011

    Turkey in Cream Sauce with Tomato Pasta Noodles

    Got Turkey? - Try This Recipe

    The tomato pasta gives this dish a bright colorful flare to wake up the visuals.

    Total time: 30 minutes
    Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cups shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh herb, chopped, I like thyme for this recipe
  • ¼ cup semi dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tablespoon freshly grated tricolor pepper
  • 2 cups diced or shredded turkey or chicken
  • Fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ cup butter to finish
  • Tomato pasta, cooked al dente
  • Salt to taste


    Melt butter in large skillet, add shallots and bell pepper and cook until tender; add herbs and cook until herbs are fragrant. Deglaze the pan with brandy and wine, heat until reduced by half. Reduce heat and add cream, pepper and turkey and cook until thickened. Top with butter, add pasta, toss to combine. Salt to taste

    Terri’s Cooking Wiser Tips:

    Begin cooking pasta when you add the cream to the recipe. If the pasta is done before the sauce, take a spoonful of sauce and toss into pasta to keep it from sticking.

    See Cooking Pasta Tips

    Make it your own:
    Add sundried tomatoes, chopped red bell pepper, artichokes and/or black olives
    Add sautéed mushrooms
    Use leftover beef (ground or roast shredded) plus 1 cup beef broth and red wine to replace white and tarragon- sound like beef stroganoff?
    Use different herbs and try the sauce over fish (dill, basil or tarragon)

    Posted by terri at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

    November 23, 2011

    How to Roast Garlic

    It's easy, fast and so good

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place one head of garlic on cutting board and remove 1/4 inch from the top, enough to expose the garlic. Peel away outer layers of skin. Place in a square piece of foil, enough to fold up over garlic head. Drizzle with olive oil, fold foil up and twist. Place on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or until soft.

    Allow to cool
    Mix into mashed potatoes, serve on bread with olive oil, or add to pasta.

    Posted by terri at 04:02 AM | Comments (0)

    Fennel and Citrus Salad

    Serves 8


  • 3 large fennel bulbs
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce, finely chopped
  • 4 small navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olive, pitted


    Trim stems and base from fennel bulbs, reserving feathery fronds for garnish. Remove tough out layer from each bulb. Cut each bulb in half through base. Cut out the small pyramid shaped core from each half. Place cored fennel , cut side down, and slice crosswise into 4 thick slices. Slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips
    Combine fennel, romaine and orange sections in a serving bowl. Mix olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and add to fennel. Toss. Add 1/4 cup olives and toss gently. Place remaining 1/4 cup olives in center of salad. Chop fennel fronds and sprinkle over salad for garnish. Add more freshly ground pepper, if desired

    Posted by terri at 03:08 AM | Comments (0)

    November 18, 2011

    Fruit Chutney

    Chutney can be made with fruits or vegetables, flavored a variety of ways with many different spices. Vinegar or citrus juices are added as a preservative. Chutney is often served with Indian dishes such as curry and can be hot to mild in flavor.


    2 cups dried apricots, finely chopped
    1 cup dried dates, finely chopped
    4 cupsapples (dried or fresh), finely chopped
    1 cup dried cranberries
    1/2 cup raisins
    4 cups apple cider
    2 cups apple cidervinegar
    1 pound brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon each chili powder, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg,
    ginger (freshly ground when possible)
    1/8 teaspoon ground clove
    1 clove garlic, crushed


    Mix all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and simmer for one hour over low heat until thick and most all liquid has evaporated.

    Terri's Tips:
    The cooking process is long but patience will make a better chutney

    Serve Fruit Chutney over ham, biscuits, rice or ice cream

    Make it your own
    Add mango, pineapple, pears and or peaches

    Posted by terri at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

    Curried Turkey and Rice Salad

    How many ways can you use the left over Turkey from Thanksgiving? Turkey soup, turkey pot pie, turkey casserole, and then there's always a good turkey and cheese sandwich.

    For something new try this recipe idea.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice, cooked
  • 1 ½ cups cooked turkey, cubed
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped


    For pineapple bowls, cut 1 pineapple lengthways, crown and all. To make 4 bowls cut each half into again.

    Cut fruit from rind, leaving a ½ inch thick shell. Remove core from loosened fruit and discard.

    Chop enough fruit to equal ½ cup. Save remaining fruit for another use. Cover and chill pineapple shell until serving time.

    In a medium mixing bowl combine pineapple, turkey, celery and dried cranberries.

    For the dressing, stir together in a small bowl the yogurt, garlic, mayonnaise, curry powder, lemon juice and zest. Pour dressing over turkey mixture and chill for 2 hours up to 24 hours.

    To serve, divide the salad among the pineapple bowls. Garnish with parsley.

    Terri’s Tips:

    If fresh pineapple is not available substitute ½ cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained, serve on lettuce

    Create your own:
    Chicken can be used to replace turkey
    Add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
    Use raisins to replace dried cranberries

    Posted by terri at 02:43 AM | Comments (0)

    November 14, 2011

    German Hot Potato Salad

    The real authentic German Potato salad uses the bacon drippings to sauté the onions. To cut calories and create a healthier dish my version use olive oil for sautéing. You won't miss the fat but your waistline will!

    Serves 4


    3 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked
    1 cup yellow onions, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 tablespoon grainy mustard
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    ¼ tablespoon cider vinegar
    4 slices crisp bacon, drained and press between paper towels to remove grease, crumbled


    Place potatoes in microwavable bowl with 1 tablespoon water. Cover with plate and microwave until tender, drain and cool. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan and sauté onions until onions are translucent. Add salt, sugar, mustard, pepper, and vinegar. Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch dice. Place potatoes back in bowl and add onions mixture and ½ bacon. Toss lightly. Garnish with remaining bacon. Serve hot.

    Cooking Wiser:
    Cook potatoes in advance and refrigerate to chill. Cold potatoes are easier to peel.
    Do not overcook the potatoes; the salad will be more like the texture of mashed potatoes

    Salt to taste to avoid over salting

    Serve with Sweet Mustard Chicken Thighs

    Posted by terri at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Mustard Potato Salad

    You can create many types of potato salad by starting with the basics and adding different herbs and spices. This recipe uses mustard to replace the sour cream in Creamy Potato Salad.

    Serves 6


  • 3 cups red skin potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked until tender
  • 1 cup russet potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked until tender
  • ¼ cup yellow green onions, finely chopped, use mostly the green part of the onion
  • 1/4 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


    In a small bowl mix together mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar. In a large bowl, combine potatoes,and onions. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the potatoes and gently mix in until well blended.

    Terri’s Tips:
    Cook potatoes in advance and refrigerate to chill. Cold potatoes are easier to slice
    Cut potatoes into smaller pieces for more surface area to take up flavors
    Do not overcook the potatoes because you will end up with mashed potatoes

    Cooking Wiser:
    Use low fat mayonnaise or olive oil mayonnaise to reduce calories and fat

    Create your own:
    Add ½ teaspoon dill, mustard or celery seedas in creamy potato salad, or bacon, German Hot potato salad

    Posted by terri at 01:59 AM | Comments (0)

    Creamy Potato Salad

    There are many varieties of potatoes, some make the best mashed potatoes or baked potatoes but red skin potatoes make the best potato salad because they hold their texture best when cooked. To increase the creamy texture for this recipe I also add a few russet potatoes.

    Serves 6


  • 3 cups red skin potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked until tender
  • 1 cup russet potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked until tender
  • ¼ cup white onions, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions with green tops, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed and ¼ teaspoon to garnish
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


    In a small bowl mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, celery seed, vinegar and sugar.

    In a large bowl, combine potatoes and onions. Add the sour cream mixture to the potatoes and gently mix in until well blended.

    Sprinkle with additional celery seed to garnish.

    Terri’s Tips:
    Cook potatoes in advance and refrigerate to chill. Cold potatoes are easier to work with
    Do not overcook the potatoes; the salad will be more like the texture of mashed potatoes

    Cooking Wiser:
    Use low fat sour cream and mayonnaise or olive oil mayonnaise to reduce calories and fat
    Salt to taste to avoid over salting

    Create your own by adding ¼ cup diced celery, ½ teaspoon dill to replace celery seed, mustard and olives, mustard potato salad, or bacon, German Hot potato salad

    Posted by terri at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

    November 07, 2011

    Smoky Beef Chili

    The beef broth added to this chili creates a rich and flavorful broth. Any stew or soup made the night before allows time for the flavors to develop.

    I also used my home canned tomatoes to replace the store bought tomato products and I added one can of refried beans to thicken the chili.

    My secret ingredient was 2 tablespoons Pampered Chef's Smoked Apple wood Rub. This gave the chili a wonderful rich and smoky flavor.

    Serves 6-8


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1- 15 oz can chili hot beans
  • 1- 15 oz can refried beans (pinto)to thicken if desired
  • 1- 14 oz can pureed tomatoes
  • 1- 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced, more or less depending on amount of heat you want
  • 3 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • pinchcayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Pampered Chef Smoked Apple wood rub or use 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika (optional)


    In a large pot, heat the oil and add the onions and cook until onions are translucent.

    Add the beef and continue to cook making sure to continuously break up large pieces with a spoon or spatula. Once browned drain fat off of ground beef.

    Add the garlic, jalapeno peppers, chile powder, cayenne powder, smoked seasoning (optional) and black pepper. Heat over medium heat, stirring until fragrant. Pour in the beef broth, beans, and tomatoes. Stir to mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour. Can cook in slow cooker.

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

    Moroccan-Spiced Crab Cakes with Cilantro Orange Dressing

    There may be lots of ingredients in this recipe but the flavor profile is worth it all.

    Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger , finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 8 ounces crab meat
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup corn flakes, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • Cilantro Orange Dressing
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in skillet. Add the red pepper and cook over moderately high heat until softened. Add the scallions and ginger and cook until the scallions are wilted. Stir in cumin, turmeric and cardamom and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.
    Meanwhile make dressing: heat orange juice until reduced by half. Remove from heat and add orange juice to remaining dressing ingredients and mix well.
    Crab Cakes: Add mayonnaise, lemon zest, egg, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
    Add red pepper mixture to mayonnaise mixture. Add the crabmeat and mix gently but thoroughly. With moistened hands, shape the crab into cakes. Combine bread crumbs, corn flake crumbs and parsley. Coat the crab cakes with the bread crumbs and transfer to baking sheet. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil and butter in skillet and cook crab cakes until browned and crisp. Transfer to platter. Serve with dressing.

    Posted by terri at 02:12 AM | Comments (0)

    Pork Roast with Sauerkraut, caramelized Onions and potatoes

    Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish that has a characteristically tangy flavor. It is often used with sausage, sandwiches (Rubén), and salads. My grandmother explained to me one time that the saying "cold as kraut" came about because tossing the kraut by hand throughout the winter months was a very cold chore.

    This dish is a very traditional German recipe. Sauerkraut means sour cabbage in German.

    Serves 4


  • 3-4 pound pork roast
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 cups fresh sauerkraut
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 red potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 strips smoked bacon
  • Salt to taste


    Salt, pepper and add caraway seed to pork roast. Heat cooking oil in large sauté pan, add roast and sear on all sides. Remove and place in slow cooker or Dutch oven. Add sauerkraut, onions, and potatoes. Top with bacon, cover and cook on medium low heat for 1-2 hours hours or until meat is tender.

    Terri's Tips

  • Taste the sourkraut before adding it to the pot. If it is very saltly rinse it in cold water

    Cooking Wiser:
    Raw Sauerkraut is very low in calories and high in vitamin C. Add it to salads, hotdogs or sandwiches.

    Make it your own by adding
    Sliced carrots and red peppers
    A variety of sausages

    Posted by terri at 01:29 AM | Comments (0)

    November 03, 2011

    Tennessee White Sipper

    Try this delicious, refreshing drink made with Tennessee wine. It was a hit at the 2011 Tennessee Wine Festival!

    Terri Geiser
    Serves 6-8+

    1/3 cup brandy
    1/3 cup apple syrup (can cook to reduce 1 cup apple juice to 1/3 cup)
    1 (750-milliliter) bottle Tennessee white table wine, chilled
    1 lemon, thinly sliced
    1 green apple, cored and sliced
    1 red apple, peeled and sliced
    1 peach, sliced (frozen peach slices work well)
    12-ounces ginger ale, chilled

    Combine first 7 ingredients in a large pitcher, (through peach). Chill at least 2 hours or until cold.
    Before serving stir in ginger ale.

    Posted by terri at 01:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Tennessee Blackberry Sangria

    Sangria is a delicious and refreshing drink. Since Sangria is the Spanish word for blood it would make sense to make it with red wine and that is exactly what I did. I used Tennessee Valley Winery Blackberry wine. For another fabulous idea top your favorite cheesecake recipe with a Blackberry wine sauce and fresh or frozen blackberries.

    Terri Geiser
    Serves 8


    4 ounces triple sec
    4 ounces brandy
    3 plums, sliced
    8 ounces frozen dark cherries
    1 ½ cups blackberries
    4 cups Blackberry Wine
    1 ½ cups club soda, chilled
    1 orange, cut into small slices for garnish


    Combine first 5 ingredients through the blackberries in a large pitcher. Stir in the wine. Chill at least 2 hours or until cold allowing the flavors to develop.
    Stir in club soda before serving. Add orange and a sprig of mint to garnish.
    Note: Orange slices can also be added for more color.

    Posted by terri at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)