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July 30, 2014

Food and Wine Dinner

Another fabulous Food and Wine Dinner
The idea for this event was for everyone to bring a new varietal that maybe no one had tasted before and to pair it with an appetizer. We had some very good wines and as always the food was incredible.

We started with a greeter, a sparkling wine from Anderson Valley. The Roederer Estate Brut is made from Chardonnay grapes and is blended with oak aged reserve wines to create a complex, dry and harmonious sparkling wine. It was truly a cause for celebration, good health, great friends, and wonderful memories.

The Watermelon Strawberry Sangria was a new drink for everyone. Have you ever tried Watermelon Sangria? Well it is a creative way to enjoy watermelon and for all you vodka drinkers there is a cup added in just for you, (Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay). Wish Bobby could have joined us!!

This was paired with Grilled Zucchini with Jalapeno Yogurt Dipping Sauce, also from Bobby Flay.

Next up was a delicious French white that came straight from France and unfortunately you can’t get it here, a 2005 Cour Cheverny Fleurs de Lis from the Loire Valley area; a crisp, acidic, minerally white wine. We had never heard of the varietal- Romorantin, one of those grapes that France keeps all for themselves. It paired nicely with cheese puffs. The recipe was basic with Gruyere cheese added to one batch and Fontina added to the other.

A 2012 Finca Cerrada Viura from Spain. The wine is 100% viura varietal which was a new one for us. The citrus fruits and minerality add complexity to this crisp easy to drink wine. The pairing was a Provencal goat cheese and fig tart which was a perfect balance of flavors.

Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking may be the best Risotto and Asparagus recipe I've ever had. Amazingly it was paired with an Italian red wine, a 2007 Sagrantino Di Montefalco. Sagrantino is a grape varietal that grows only around the hilltop town of Montefalco, in the Umbria region of Italy. In fact, it is grown nowhere else in the world. The wine has solid tannins and sweet dark fruit flavors making it a good wine pairing for the risotto.

A Lucky Duck Moscato was paired with a rich lemon chicken, infused with just enough red chili heat to compliment the wine. The chemistry between the sweet and spicy is always an amazing phenomenon to me!

Posted by terri at 04:01 AM | Comments (0)

Grilled Zucchini Skewers with Jalapeno Yogurt Dipping Sauce

This recipe is courtesy of Bobby Flay.
It is a great way to enjoy zucchini for an appetizer or a side.
The original recipe used 8 jalapenos. We use 2 and it was the perfect amount of heat for the average person. If you aren't average, add all 8!

Serves 4


2 jalapenos, stems removed
Canola oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups low fat Greek yogurt

For the skewers:
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch rounds
Canola oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
12 skewers

For the dipping sauce: Prepare a grill to high. Brush the jalapenos with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, covered turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board.

Halve the jalapenos lengthwise and remove the seeds. Put the jalapenos in a food processor with the parsley, cilantro, Parmesan, pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until roughly chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and thick. Taste and season to taste. Put the yogurt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Swirl the pesto into the yogurt and set aside.

For the zucchini skewers: Thread 3-4 rounds onto two parallel skewers so that the cut sides will lay flat on the grill. Brush the zucchini with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill uncovered until charred and tender, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with some olive oil. Serve with the jalapeno yogurt sauce.

Posted by terri at 03:37 AM | Comments (0)

Cheese Puffs

Be creative with this recipe. I recently made these with Boar's Head Smoked ButterKase cheese and they were yummy. Butterkase is a semi-soft cheese with a golden natural rind, very popular in Germany and Austria for its creamy texture and buttery like taste.

I've also made these with Gruyere cheese but you can use any cheese that you like.

These are appetizer size puffs but you can make the puffs larger by dropping a 2 or 4 inch mound onto the cookie sheet. The puffs are perfect for parties.

Makes about 40 appetizer size puffs


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, ground
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ounces grated Gruyere cheese, or other cheese like Buttkase (save some for sprinkling the top before baking)


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

    Combine the flour with the salt, and black pepper, in a large bowl.

    Put the milk, mustard seeds and butter in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. When the butter melts, turn heat to low. Add the seasoned flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Remove from heat.

    Put the dough into a large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for one minute. Then beat in one egg at a time until all eggs have been incorporated. Beat until completely absorbed into the dough; dough should be smooth and satiny.

    Add the Gruyere cheese. Incorporate thoroughly into the dough.
    Use a pastry bag to pipe dough onto 2 ungreased baking sheets. You can also drop dough from a teaspoon. For small appetizers, mounds should be 1 inch in diameter

    Sprinkle tops with additional cheese.

    Bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. and bake 15 minutes more or until puffs are golden brown. Test by removing a puff from the oven and breaking it open. The inside should be baked through. If it is still doughy or wet, bake another 5 minutes.

    Remove pans from oven and leave puffs on pans until cool enough to serve

    Posted by terri at 03:31 AM | Comments (0)