Ask Terri a cooking question

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

« April 2014 | Main | June 2014 »

May 05, 2014

Campari Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce topped off with Mascarpone

The pears will absorb the color from the cranberry juice turning the pears a rose color. Be sure and plan ahead so your pears will be ripe. They should give slightly when pressed. If they are hard and under ripe the end result will not be pleasing.

In class a few of the students found this out when their pears took forever to soften; a few never did. I wish those pears had been purchased a few days earlier. But they were beautiful.

Campari Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce topped off with Mascarpone
Serves 4

1 cup cranberry-raspberry juice drink
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Campari
Zest from one orange
4 medium Bosc pears
1/2 lemon
1 10-ounce package frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
3 tablespoons orange liqueur
2 tablespoons red currant jelly
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Fresh mint leaves


Combine cranberry-raspberry juice drink, sugar, Campari and orange zest in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover and reduce heat to very low, keeping poaching liquid hot.

Peel pears, leaving stems attached. Rub pears all over with cut lemon half. Using melon baller, remove cores through wide end of pears, then cut thin slice off wide ends so that pears can stand upright. Add pears to poaching liquid. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until pears are tender, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool pears in poaching liquid.

Cook raspberries with 2 tablespoons orange liqueur and currant jelly. Cool and strain raspberry sauce through fine sieve.

(Pears and raspberry sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and keep refrigerated.)

Whisk mascarpone, powdered sugar and remaining orange liqueur in bowl to blend.
Garnish with mint leaves.

Cooking Wiser:
Remember when you are zesting citrus fruit only take off the color and not the bitter white pith underneath.

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

Baked Shrimp Scampi with Bread Crumbs

Each group created their own dish by adding more breadcrumbs or less garlic butter, some even added a little extra wine. How could you go wrong? And I tasted every rendition and they were all delicious.

Baked Shrimp Scampi with Bread Crumbs
Serves 4


For the shrimp and marinade:
1 pound (12-15 count) peeled and deveined shrimp; leave tails on
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine
Kosher Salt and fresh grated pepper to taste

For the garlic butter:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened, room temperature
1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice and zest from one large lemon
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko crumbs
1 additional lemon cut into wedges


For the marinade, in a small bowl mix together the olive oil, wine, and salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and gently toss. Allow to marinade while you make the garlic butter, no more than 15 minutes.

For the garlic butter, in a small bowl, mash butter with onion, herbs, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice egg yolk and bread crumbs. Mix until all ingredients are totally incorporated into butter.

Butterfly and arrange the shrimp cut side down with tails curling up in an oblong baking dish just large enough to place shrimp side by side around the edge. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Carefully spread the butter mixture over the shrimp with tails out.

Bake the shrimp in a 425 degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until they are hot and bubbly and the shrimp have turned pink.

Serve with lemon wedges

Posted by terri at 03:59 AM | Comments (0)

Sicilian Tomato Soup with Garlic and Fresh Shaved Parmesan

A richly flavored dish that is simple to make puts this recipe at the top of my list of favorites.
Use fresh tomatoes when in season, otherwise use canned tomato puree. If you like more texture use canned diced tomatoes, they will hold their shape even after several hours of cooking.

Serves 8


  • 2 cups tomato puree (or when in season 5 large tomatoes, halved and seeded)
  • 2 cups beef broth (Swanson’s)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 ounces Parmesan Reggiano, freshly shaved


    If using fresh tomatoes, place tomatoes skin side up under the broiler and roast until skin turns dark. Remove from heat, cool, peel, remove seeds and finely chop

    In a soup kettle, sauté garlic and onions. Add beef stock, tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes add the juice from roasting as well). Bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat, season with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes on low. Add basil and oil, cook 10 additional minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
    Garnish with cheese and serve warm.

    Cooking wiser:

    Adjust thickness of soup by adding more sauce (or tomatoes) or thin soup by adding more beef broth.

    Posted by terri at 03:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Cooking Class

    We had a great time in this hands on cooking class. I took the class participants on a food tour of Italy that included a pasta dish, a rich tomato soup, seafood, and poached pears with mascarpone.

    The recipes included
    Zita with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese

    Campari Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce and Mascarpone>/a>

    Baked Shrimp Scampi with Bread Crumbs

    Posted by terri at 03:42 AM | Comments (0)

    May 04, 2014

    Ziti with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized onions, and Goat Cheese

    The way to get the most flavor out of this dish begins with caramelizing the onions and cooking the mushrooms until they are golden brown. With all the flavor you won't need to reach for the salt.

    Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, sliced thin
  • 12 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms (cremini), sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ziti
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Plus more for serving


    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally until the onions are well browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan to a plate.
    Use the same pan to melt the butter and other 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium high heat until tender and brown about 8 minutes. Add the onions back to the pan. Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    In a large pot of boiling water, cook the ziti until al dente about 12 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta water and drain ziti.

    Add the ziti to the onion and mushrooms with the reserved pasta water and extra virgin oil. Add the goat cheese and stir to incorporate.

    Plate and top with Parmesan cheese.

    Cooking Wiser

    Follow my cooking tips for cooking perfect pasta

    Create your own:

    Add more smoky or earthy flavor by using any combination of wild mushrooms; oyster, shiitake, and/or chanterelles for example.

    To add a little different flavor, add fresh basil leaves to the water when cooking the pasta. I never salt pasta when cooking it. It makes it easier to control the flavor and for this recipe, you don't need salt.

    Change the flavor by using a different cheese, just make sure it is a cheese that melts well like cream cheese or Mozzarella.

    Posted by terri at 02:03 AM | Comments (0)