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April 20, 2015

Smoked Trout Salad with Creamy Cucumbers and Dill

This was a fabulous appetizer that was shared at our April Food and Wine Dinner. It could also be served over salad greens for a light and refreshing summer dinner. It will be my next go to, I loved the flavors created by the smoked trout, lemon and dill.

We served this with a Villa Des Anges Old Vines 2014 Rose from France.

Serves 8


1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, remove seeds and thinly slice
1/2 cup crème fraiche (or use low fat or fat free Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh dill, plus extra for garnishing
Kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound smoked trout, skin and bones removed
Toast points for serving (we used sliced sour dough bread without toasting)


In a medium bowl mix cucumber with crème fraiche, 1/2 of the lemon juice and dill. Season to taste with salt.

In another medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together. Add the flaked trout and scallions. Season with salt and pepper. You will not need a lot of salt since smoked trout can be a little salty. Taste first.

Serve the toast or bread slices with the two toppings. Place on spoonful of the cucumbers on the bread then top with the trout mixture. Garnish with more dill.

Posted by terri at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

April Food and Rosé Wine Dinner

What a beautiful picture Rosé Wines make. True to their name, Rosé wines vary from light pink to rich ruby colors. And the flavors vary too depending on the varietal from which they were made.

Our Rosé garden for tonight's dinner included:

1. 2013 La Grenouille Rougante Pink from Napa Valley bottled by Frog's Leap winery. It is made with 59% Valdigue and 41% Zinfandel grapes.

2. 2014 Villa Des Anges from Southern France is made with 100% Cinsault grapes.

3. 2013 Sancerre La Metairie Rouge is from the Loire Valley of France. Sancerre rosé are made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes.

4. Back to the 2014 Villa Des Anges

5. 2014 Penya Cotes Catalanes is from Southern France. This rose was a blend of Grenache noir (96%) and Syrah grapes offering red cherries, raspberries and melon flavors.

6. 2013 Chateau De Segries Tavel is also from France. The wine is made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette, and a bit of Syrah creating a deep raspberry color, with ripe black cherries, lavender and melon like aromas and flavors.

7. Next was a beautiful wine from Monterey County CA, Sofia Rosé. It is a blend of Syrah and Pinot Noir varietals. The flavors begin with red fruit and finish with a little spice.

8. The last wine for the evening was a 2014 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rosé, a very well balanced, soft and fruity wine. Sancerre is in the Loire Valley wine region situated along the Loire River in north central France.

The La Grenouille Rougante was paired with an antipasto plate including olives, blue cheese, and goat cheeses (drunken goat and naked goat cheese- I bet you can imagine the fun we had with this :o).

It was amazing that the delicate floral aromas and fresh fruit flavors in this Provencal style rosé would pair with olives but it did. The bright, natural acid and low alcohol make this wine an excellent food wine.

The Villa Des Anges was paired with two very different dishes. First a delightful Smoked trout salad with creamy cucumber, scallions and dill crostini was served as a make it yourself appetizer, by spooning the cucumber mixture on sourdough bread then topping it with the smoked trout. Smoked trout salad with creamy cucumber, scallions and dill

The wine is intensely crisp, balanced with strawberry fruit flavors and acid making it a great pairing with this fresh tasting dish.

The second dish paired with the Villa Des Anges was smoked turkey kabobs, showing how you can push the envelop for food pairing with rosé wines. Usually smoked food is not an easy food for wine pairing. The turkey was served with a slightly spicy Thai sauce. The smoky and slightly sweet and spicy flavors created layers of flavors with the Villa Des Anges rose. It was proof that smoked foods hold up to Rosé wines, fabulous.

Can you believe it, next was split pea soup cooked with a ham bone, that was rich and complex with flavors. The soup was topped with celery, scallions, ham and crème fraiche. It was paired with the Sancerre La Metairie Rouge, a wine with fresh aromas of strawberry and peach and tart citrus flavors of pink grapefruit, orange and lemon with a huge burst of acidity finished with white pepper and ginger. This was a very good pairing, more proof that a Rosé is an excellent choice with food.

Next we took a poll to see what was the best, the sausage and sundried tomato pizza or the sundried tomato and pesto pizza. And just to make it interesting we had to pick which of two wines, the Penya or the Tavel went with the two pizzas. We all agreed that both pizzas went with both wines. Pretty diplomatic wouldn't you agree.

Our next dish presented a little bit of a unique sequence for food but I love a good salad anytime. The Sofia wine was paired with a fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce wedge with real bacon bits, blue cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes. The dressing was a creamy blue cheese. The acid in the wine cut through the creamy blue cheese and the spice in the wine added just the right amount to create a great pairing.

Last but not least was our Italian Dip. I guess it was the dessert since we really didn't have a dessert and I would rather have cheese any day. The herbs in the dip went very well with the Pascal Jolivet flavors and the acidity was exactly what was needed to balance the creamy cheese.

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

April 17, 2015

Grilled Salmon wth Mixed Salad Greens, Roasted Pears and Goat Cheese

Grilling outdoors is a great way to enjoy summertime with family and friends. This salad with fresh summer greens out of the garden will make a delicious summer meal.

Try a Pinot Noir to go with this recipe, the easiest red wine to match with food. It is brilliant with fish and summer veggies. Ask the staff at Ashe’s Wine and Spirits to recommend their favorite Pinot Noir for tonight’s dinner.

Serves 6


1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
½ tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 Bosc pear, sliced in half, remove seeds
½ tablespoon honey
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, toasted and chopped
6 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature, sliced into 12 rounds
6 cups mixed salad greens, stemmed and washed well
Grilled Salmon (see recipe below)


Brush each half of the pear with honey. Turn broiler to medium high and place rack in middle of oven or place on medium high grill face side down. Roast pear until golden about 5-8 minutes. Cool and slice each half into 4 wedges.

In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, vinegar, orange juice, oregano, and oil; season with salt and pepper.

Place salad greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing, and toss to combine. Divide among plates, and top each serving with the walnuts, pears and goat cheese.

Slice Salmon and place atop each salad.

Grilled Salmon:

Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total time: 2:20 (includes marinating time)

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
3 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest (zest orange before squeezing juice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil


Season salmon fillets with garlic, salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice and zest, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large re-sealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Prepare the grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork

Slice and serve over Salad greens with Roasted Pears and Goat Cheese

Posted by terri at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2015

Food and Rosé Wines

Today at Ashe's Wine and Spirits we will be tasting Rosé Wines.

Rosé wines are made from red grapes or red grape varietals. In very few cases winemakers may add a little white wine to their blend. Rosé sparkling wines are the exception, they are often blended with white grape varietals.

Most rosé wines are blends of multiple grapes. Some of the most common grape varieties used in rosé wines are Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir.

There are also many styles for producing Rosé wines. Ranging from sweet to very dry each wine will have it's own characteristic increasing the possibilities for food pairing. The fruit expectations lean towards strawberry, cherry, and raspberry with some citrus and watermelon presenting on a regular basis.

Since you should serve the wine chilled it is a fantastic wine for a warm summer day on the deck or take it on a picnic. Summer picnics shouldn't be a thing of the past. They are so much fun! Keep the menu simple and enjoy the wine.

Try this simple toasted cheese tapas.

Slice French Baguette about 1/4 inch thick. Mix 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with 1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar (1 part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil). Mix 1 cup grated Fontina cheese with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Drizzle oil mixture on baguette slices. Top with cheese mixture. Toast until cheese melts.

For a simple yet delicious picnic include potato salad and cold sliced meats, including turkey, salami and roast beef and cheeses. Don't forget fresh fruit, nuts and jam and Vanilla short bread cookies for dessert.

Other Foods for pairing include:

Tapas with Shell fish potato dishes and Vegetable tartlets.

Salads and cold vegetables including antipasto platters with cold meats with a little salt especially salami

Fish dishes, even those that are grilled

Paella, other rice and pasta dishes

Chicken, Pork and Veal, including grilled dishes

Spicy Foods such as barbeque, curries and Thai dishes

Hamburgers, Philly cheese steak sandwiches and hoagies

And very good news is that rosé wines hold up very well to a number
of cheeses including Fontina, Blue cheese, mild Goat cheese and many of the Spanish cheeses

You should drink Rosé wines when they are young or are 1-3 years old

Serve the wine chilled. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

A good Rosé will cost less than $20.00-$25.00.


Posted by terri at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2015

Grilled Asparagus Salad with an Orange and Fennel Vinaigrette

I prepared this salad on the WBIR noon show and it presented beautifully. It tasted fantastic and it is easy to make. I demonstrated a few tips on how to section an orange and slice fennel. This was a modification of a salad I made in cooking class several years ago. That is the beauty of making it yourself. You can create your own version.

Serves 8


1 pound asparagus
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups Arugula
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 orange, segmented into sections or 1 small can mandarin oranges
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
8 ounces goat cheese, cut into ¼ inch slices
½ pound penne pasta, cooked al dente and cooled

For the vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated, 2 medium oranges, reserve oranges for juice
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fennel fronds, coarsely chopped
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning


Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the asparagus with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Cool and cut into 1 inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the arugula with the grilled asparagus, cucumber, oranges, fennel and pasta.

For the vinaigrette
In a bowl, combine the orange juice, vinegar and honey with a pinch of salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil until emulsified.
Add the goat cheese, fennel fronds and orange zest.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.

Cooking Wiser

To save time use canned Mandarin oranges
To save time and arm muscles make the vinaigrette in a food processor
Use your favorite pasta, bowtie would make a nice presentation
If goat cheese isn't your favorite use any cheese, for example parmesan or cheddar.
Reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water to toss on pasta to prevent it from sticking

Posted by terri at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2015

Basic Cake Recipe

From this basic cake recipe we'll create 4 outstanding cakes from scratch

Basic Cake with Vanilla Frosting
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Grenache
Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting
Lemon Cake with Lemon Glaze

Any of the cakes can be made into two-9 inch rounds, Bundt, or 9x13 sheet cake but the baking times will vary.
Learn how we did it!


Yield: Two 9-inch Cake Rounds


2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans (or pan of choice- but adjust cooking times, see below).

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt, mix with a wire whisk.

In a smaller bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until completely combines. Slowly add flour to egg mixture alternately with milk. At end of addition batter should be smooth. Divide equally between 2 pans.

Bake cake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting. Use frosting of choice.

For a 9 x 13 pan - Bake at 350° F. for 30-38 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

For a bundt pan- Bake at 325° F. for 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Makes 3 cups

½ cup butter, softened
4 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons milk


In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Yield: About 3 cups.

Chocolate cake:
I added English Toffee Bits for fun

Use basic cake recipe:
First heat milk on low heat. Add 6 ounces semi sweet or dark chocolate squares into milk and stir until melted. Then alternately add flour and chocolate milk to the butter and egg mixture. Then proceed with the recipe. Bake cake in 2 (9 inch) prepared round cake pans. Drizzle each cake with ganache.

For the Ganache:

In a medium sauce pan heat 1cup heavy cream on medium low heat until slightly warm. Add 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate and continue to heat while stirring until all chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon butter and stir until melted. Cool until just warm. Cool slightly before using.

Apple Spice Cake:

Use basic cake recipe:
Add 1 cup peeled and chopped granny smith apples and ½ tablespoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, and ¼ cup brown sugar 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter and stir to mix. Then proceed with the recipe. Bake cake in a prepared Bundt pan.

Caramel Frosting

Enough for 2- 9 inch round cakes

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk or cream
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, and mix in 3 tablespoons milk and brown sugar. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and beat in 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Cool slightly, and beat in the vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick

Lemon Cake:

Use basic cake recipe:
Add two teaspoons fresh grated lemon peel plus juice from 1 lemon to the batter. Bake cake in prepared 9x13 baking dish. Can also add grated lemon peel from another lemon to garnish cake.

Lemon Glaze

Makes ¾ cup Ingredients: 2 cups confectioner’s sugar ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup; stir in lemon juice (glaze should be thick, yet pourable). Add more sugar or lemon juice, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency.

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

Baking 101 Cooking Class

In this creative hands on baking class the students learned how to bake the old fashioned way. We took my granny's basic biscuit recipe and turned it into cheese biscuits, sundried tomato biscuits, and even scones.

Then we took a Basic Cake recipe and created four different cakes just by adding a few ingredients like chocolate, nuts, apples and lemon.

Basic Cake with Vanilla Frosting
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Grenache
Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting
Lemon Cake with Lemon Glaze

Basic Biscuits Recipe

Makes about 12 biscuits Granny always said you need a light touch to make a good biscuit.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces, frozen
1 cup whole milk


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir to just mix. Add the butter and cut it into the flour making little crumbs, a few larger pieces are okay. Add the milk and stir with a fork to moisten the flour. The dough will be sticky.

Flour a work surface and your hands. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and drop it onto the work surface. Knead the dough about 5-6 times and pat the dough into a 9 inch circle or square. Cut the biscuits out according to the size you want. A two inch biscuit will make about 12 biscuits. If you want thicker biscuit, roll out a thicker but smaller circle.

Transfer the biscuits to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until they are golden on top. Do not overcook, they will be too dry.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits:

Follow Basic Biscuit recipe
When you add the milk also add
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Then proceed with the recipe

Create your own: use any hard cheese like Parmesan or Hot Pepper Jack

Sundried Tomato Biscuits

Follow the Basic Biscuit recipe
Substitute buttermilk for the milk
When you add the milk also add:
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed, drained and finely chopped
Then proceed with the recipe


Use the basic biscuit recipe
Add with the dry ingredients:
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
Substitute buttermilk for the milk
Put the flour, baking powder, soda, sugar and salt into a large bowl, stir to just mix. Proceed with the recipe.

Posted by terri at 02:51 AM | Comments (0)