Ask Terri a cooking question

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

« December 2013 | Main | February 2014 »

January 29, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Relish

Long ago people made relish to use and preserve the vegetables out of their gardens. Today we are more likely to use relish to spice up a dish or add a flavorful topping to meats and vegetable dishes.
Roasting the peppers intensifies the flavor and creates a slightly sweet and smoky flavor.

Yields ¾ cup


  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro or basil, minced


    Heat oven to 450F.
    Place red pepper on baking sheet or in shallow roasting pan. Roast pepper 30 minutes or until skin is blackened.

    Transfer peppers to paper bag; close bag. Let stand 10 minutes.

    Combine pepper, tomatoes and onion in medium bowl. Stir in pine nuts, oil, vinegar, cilantro, and salt.

    Remove peppers from bag; peel off and discard skin. Slice peppers into thin 2 inch pieces. Stir into tomato mixture.

    Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

    Serve with chicken, pork or fresh roasted vegetables.

    Posted by terri at 02:52 AM | Comments (0)

    January 22, 2014

    Broccoli with Bacon and Parmesan

    Broccoli, a very versatile vegetable in the cabbage and cauliflower family is bright green in color with a sharp peppery flavor. It can be eaten raw, creamed, steamed, roasted or fried; in casseroles, salads or just eaten raw as a snack. This recipe combines bacon and parmesan to create a very tasty side dish.

    Serves 4


  • 2 cups broccoli florets, washed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices good quality bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


    Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

    Toss broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet. Mix bacon, bread crumbs and cheese together. Top the broccoli with the bacon and cook in oven until cheese melts and broccoli is slightly tender, about 12-15 minutes.

    If you prefer broccoli with less bite, precook in 3 tablespoons water in microwave (in a covered microwave safe dish) for 3 minutes, drain. Then proceed with the recipe by tossing broccoli with oil, salt and pepper.

    Posted by terri at 01:36 AM | Comments (0)

    January 20, 2014

    Roasted Pork Shoulder with Western Dry Rub

    The secret to this recipe is to add enough dry rub and roast on high heat the first 30-40 minutes to seal the juices in.

    Pat the dry rub into the meat with a good solid coating. Use more rub if needed to thoroughly cover the pork.

    Serves 6
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 4 hours


  • One 5 pound pork shoulder, bone in
  • 1/3 cup Western Dry Rub
  • 6 whole garlic heads, cut off root end about ¼ inch
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 6-8 medium red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    Rub dry rub over all sides of pork. Generously add salt and pepper to pork. Place 1 cup chicken broth in a roasting pan, add pork and roast for 40 minutes, uncovered.

    Reduce the heat to 325 degrees, add garlic cloves and cover pork tightly with lid or foil. Continue to cook until roast is fork-tender, about 3 hours. Check the pork after 1 hour to make sure liquid hasn't absorbed. If so add 1/2 cup broth. Continue to check about every 30 minutes adding broth as necessary.

    Serve with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
    Toss potatoes with olive oil and rosemary and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add potatoes to pork with remaining chicken broth. Cook uncovered until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and allow pork to rest for 10-12 minutes before slicing.

    Posted by terri at 03:04 AM | Comments (0)

    Mexican Rice

    I use home canned tomato juice but if you don't have this available, any store brand will do. The important thing is to sauté the rice before adding the liquid. It not only adds flavor but it also cuts the cooking time.

    Serves 6-8


  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 ½ cup Basmati rice
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (if tomatoes are not in season use 1-14 ounce can chopped tomatoes)
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    Heat oil in large skillet, add rice and cook on moderate high heat until rice is slightly browned, stirring often.

    Add tomato juice and diced tomatoes. Cover and cook until rice is soft. If all the liquid absorbs before the rice is soft add ¼ cup more juice. Remove from heat.

    Add cilantro and adjust flavor with salt and pepper. Cover and allow to set about 10 minutes.

    Create your Own

    Add ½ cup chopped onions to rice when sautéing in oil or
    Add 1/3 cup seeded, chopped green peppers or red peppers or
    Add 2 seeded, chopped jalapeno peppers
    Or any combination of the above
    Top with 3 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

    Posted by terri at 02:42 AM | Comments (0)

    Ginger Molasses Cookies

    I love the peppery flavor of ginger, a root from a tropical plant. While dried ground ginger is very different from the fresh form, both add intense wonderful flavor.

    Makes 2 dozen


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon groundcinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling



    Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and salt.

    In another bowl beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until smooth.

    Add flour mixture; beat until combined. Wrap dough in plastic, flattened into a disk. Chill until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make 1 1/2-inch balls of dough; roll each in sugar. Place them 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill 20 minutes.

    Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until firm around the edges and slightly soft in the center, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

    Posted by terri at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

    January 16, 2014

    Mexican Coffee

    We first saw this coffee being made 25 years ago on our first trip together to Mexico. It was fun to watch and delicious to drink. We were delighted when we recently revisited Mexico years later to find that they are still making the drink. This time we got pictures and a recipe. There are many variations but we like this one.


  • 1-2 ounces 151-proof rum
  • 1-2 ounces Kahlua
  • 1 ounces brandy
  • About 3 ounces brewed coffee
  • Enough lemon juice to rim the glass
  • Enough sugar, brown sugar or Spiced Sugar to rim the glass
  • Several pinches ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Whipped cream or heavy cream, to taste

    You'll also need a coffee mug or other piece of heat-resistant stemmed glassware
    Two small bowls or plates suitable for rimming the glass
    A long match or lighter
    A fire extinguisher , just in case


    To rim the glass, you'll need two shallow bowls, each with a larger diameter than the rim of the glass. Put the lemon juice in one bowl and the sugar in the other. Dip the rim of the glass into the lemon juice and then, while it is still wet, dip it into the sugar. The sugar will stick to the rim of the glass.

    Pour the 151-proof rum into the wine glass. Carefully tilt the glass and light the rum with a long match. Keep everything away from the flame including your hair. Slowly swirl the flaming rum to slightly melt the sugar on the rim of the glass. You can also pour the flaming rum from one glass to another for dramatic effect.

    When the sugar has slightly caramelized, sprinkle the ground nutmeg and cinnamon over the drink. The spices will flavor the drink and add sparks to the flaming rum.

    Quickly and carefully pour the Kahlua on top of the cocktail. Be careful not to pour from too high or the flaming rum may splash out of the glass.

    Garnish the top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

    Other variations include
    Use Amaretto to replace the brandy
    Omit the brandy and just use Kahlua
    Garnish with ice cream

    Posted by terri at 02:35 AM | Comments (0)

    January 08, 2014

    Simple Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

    Fresh tomato sauce with garlic and basil can be tossed together in just minutes. Add spaghetti and anything else you like. Complete this fine meal with a garden salad and a good bottle of Chianti.

    Serves 4


  • 3 large in season ripe tomatoes, diced or 1-16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup light red wine, (try a French burgundy)
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces Parmesan Reggiano, freshly grated or shaved
  • 1 pound spaghetti


    In a large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons oil, add diced tomatoes and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add crushed tomatoes and heat for through. Stir in basil and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    In a large pot of boiling water, cook the spaghetti until just done- al dente. Drain and toss with the sauce and additional basil to garnish.

    Cooking Wiser:
    To create a truly healthy version use whole wheat pasta

    Create your own
    Add any of the following in any combination
    1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms
    1 cup cook cooked ground beef, turkey, lamb, or sausage (can make any amount of meatballs)
    1 pound Italian sausage
    1/2 cup sautéed onions, green, red or yellow bell peppers
    1/4 cup sliced green and/or black olives
    1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts
    Top with any cheese, for example use feta with olives, mozzarella with vegetables.

    Posted by terri at 02:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

    Fresh blueberries are always best but blueberries freeze really well so frozen will work. The cake is a 3 step process, layering as you go creating a moist and delicious treat.


  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed, or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds


    In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, bring blueberries and apple juice to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until blueberries have released their juices, about 3 minutes.

    In a small bowl, blend cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water. Add to blueberry mixture; stir until it simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature.

    In a bowl or food processor, mix flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Add butter to flour mixture. Cut in with a pastry blender or pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup; pour remaining into a large bowl. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon peel.

    In a bowl, mix yogurt, vanilla, and 1 egg until blended; stir into flour-baking powder mixture until incorporated. Spread batter in a buttered 9-inch round cake pan with a removable rim.

    In a bowl or food processor, whip cream chees with an electric mixer on high speed with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining egg, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread over batter in pan, leaving a 1/2-inch border bare. Gently spread blueberry mixture over cream cheese mixture.

    Stir almonds into reserved flour mixture and sprinkle over cake, concentrating most around edge of batter.

    Bake in a 350° oven until center of cake barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken and top of cake is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove pan rim. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Posted by terri at 02:00 AM | Comments (0)

    January 07, 2014

    Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce

    Bolognese has a rich sauce with ground meat usually beef and pork, vegetables, all enhanced with wine and milk. It takes time to make a really good Bolognese but well worth it. If you prefer a quicker sauce see my Spaghetti made simple recipe.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 2:30 (includes simmering time)


    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
    1 carrot, finely chopped
    1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 pound ground beef
    ½ pound pork
    ½ cup light red wine (Pinot Noir)
    1- 6 ounce can tomato paste
    2 -14 ounce cans diced tomatoes, Italian style
    2 cups beef broth
    ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
    ½ cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese, shaved
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    1 pound pasta


    Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

    Add the meat and cook until browned. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the tomato paste, the diced tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper and the oregano.

    Cook the sauce over low heat, uncovered, for 2 hours. Stir frequently. Add the cream and cook another 5 minutes on low heat. Remove from the heat.

    Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, drain well. Serve sauce over hot pasta and garnish with basil and shaved Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

    Cooking Wiser:

    To cut fat and cholesterol use 1 pound ground turkey, or a combination of 1/2 pound ground turkey and 3/4 pound lean ground beef

    Use 1 cup milk to replace cream. Gently heat milk before adding to reduce to 1/2 cup.

    Posted by terri at 03:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Stuffed Chicken

    I love the intense flavor of sun dried tomatoes. Adding them to cheese creates a creamy center when cooked inside the chicken.

    Serves 4


  • 4 deboned chicken breasts, pound flat about ¼ inch thick
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing chicken


    Combine cream cheese and feta stirring to blend. Add sun dried tomatoes, and basil.

    Divide mixture into fourths and place a quarter of the filling into end of each chicken breast. Roll jelly roll style and close ends with toothpicks then brush both sides of the chicken with extra virgin olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.

    Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat then sauté chicken for 4-5 minutes a side, cover and continue to cook until juices run clear. Remove toothpicks then serve.

    Cooking Wiser:
    To cut calories and cholesterol use 1/3 or low-fat cream cheese

    To make your own, add 2 tablespoons finely minced sautéed onions and/or 1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts.

    If you don't like feta cheese omit or replace with mozzarella, goat or Havarti.

    Posted by terri at 02:46 AM | Comments (0)

    January 06, 2014

    Linguine with Onion, Bacon and Parmesan

    The caramelized onions give this dish a slightly sweet taste.
    Enjoy with a Riesling from Washington State.

    Serves 4


  • ½ pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ½ inch strips
  • 2 onions, sliced thin
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ¾ pound linguine
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


    Cook bacon in large frying pan until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Heat bacon drippings over moderate heat, add the onions, thyme, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

    In a large pot of boiling water cook the linguine until al dente, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the linguine and toss with the bacon, onions, pasta water, pepper and more salt if needed. If the sauce seems too thick, add more of the pasta water. Serve with additional Parmesan.

    Cooking Wiser
    For less fat and cholesterol use turkey bacon

    Make it Your Own:
    Use 1/2 cup sautéed button mushrooms to replace the bacon or add with the bacon
    Substitute the onions with 1 cup sliced leeks

    Posted by terri at 02:16 AM | Comments (0)