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May 25, 2015

15 Tips for Pairing Food and Wine

This is a list of tips that will help you with your wine and food pairing for some of the more challenging types of foods. Pairing food to the right wine can be an exciting adventure especially when you like food infused with many flavors such as hot, sweet or spicy. Ingredients such as herb and cheese or sauces and vinaigrettes will also change the options.

Use these tips and enjoy your next food and wine pairing.

Not in any particular order

1. Dry sparkling wines are perfect with anything salty

2. Zippy white wines go with tart dressings and sauces

3. When a dish has lots of fresh herbs, drink a wine that has citrus and herb scents

4. Light seafood dishes take on more flavor when paired with delicate white wines

5. Try buttery, silky whites with a rich fish or fish in a rich sauce

6. Pair sweet and spicy dishes with off-dry whites

7. The fruit in desserts are enhanced by a slightly sweet sparkling wines

8. When in doubt a Rose will often work since they have such depth of flavor, being food friendly

9. For rich, cheesy dishes, try a dry rosé

10. Foods with earthy flavors like mushrooms are great with light bodied reds full of savory depth

11. Old World wines and Old World dishes are usually good together

12. Big bold reds are bold enough to drink with foods that are brushed with heavy barbeque sauces

13. For pâtés and mousses pour a Zinfandel

14. Juicy red meat is fabulous with Cabernet Sauvignon

15. Match highly spiced dishes with a spicy red wine

Posted by terri at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2015

May 2015 Wine Dinner

Another great line-up of food and wine for our Tennessee wine club. Every dinner is set with a theme. This time we were asked to bring an appetizer and a wine to go with it. The twist was a test of our skills and knowledge. We put our wine in a paper bag and everyone had to guess the varietal- no blends tonight. The dish was supposed to provide a clue but I can tell you, it was very challenging.

Our first dish was an Apricot relish with chips. It was slightly tangy and slightly sweet. The wine was poured and no one could figure it out. It was a sparling apricot wine.

We all thought we had the next one figured out before we even tasted the wine. What would you pair with Stuffed Portabella mushrooms? Well a Pinot Noir naturally. But it didn't smell like a Pinot Noir, not earthy and it wasn't light like most Pinot Noirs. It was rich and dark with dark fruit and spice aromas and the flavors were rich with blackberry and smoke. Yes, it was a Syrah. This 2011 Syrah was from Wild Coyote winery in Paso Robles, California.

Pizza and Zinfandel- right? Wrong. It was a white wine. But the pizza wasn't your average pizza. It was topped with thinly sliced apples and gouda. The wine was crisp with notes of citrus and apples with just the right balance of acid to pair with the cheese. It was a great pairing. We guessed Sauvignon Blanc; it wasn't a Sauvignon Blanc but the second guess was a lightly oaked Chardonnay, and we were right, it was a 2012 Talbott, Cali Hart Chardonnay.

The next dish was a roasted pork roast that was rubbed with a combination of garlic powder, paprika, brown sugar and chili pepper. The pairing was another Syrah; a 2005 from Chimasal Winery in Edna Valley, California.

Next was a delicious grilled flank steak with a Chimichurri Dry Rub with oregano, dried parsley flakes, savory, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. No one could guess the wine. It was loaded with dark fruit aromas and flavors with pepper and spice. It was a 2011 Petite Syrah from Lodi area of California. A wonderful pairing.

Posted by terri at 03:25 AM | Comments (0)

Spring Pea Salad with Creamy Curry Dressing

This salad was amazing. It was shared at our Cooking Light Dinner Club last week. All the dishes we prepare come from Cooking Light magazine and this one was from the April 2015 issue.

It was different and that is what I liked about it. Using curry powder gave the salad a unique flavor that most salads don't have and it was yummy.

Serves 12


4 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed and diagonally sliced
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
3 tablespoons plain 2% Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup very thinly vertically sliced red onion
1/3 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite green peas, thawed
1 cup very thinly sliced radishes
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add snap peas; cook 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Set aside.

Combine curry and juice in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add mayonnaise and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper), stirring well with a whisk.

Combine snap peas, red onion, mint, and green peas in a large bowl. Add mayonnaise mixture; toss gently to coat. Top with radishes and feta.

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

May 12, 2015

Shrimp and Orange Martini Cocktail

Such a cool presentation. We've always talked about shrimp cocktail so these martini glasses bring it all together.

Serves 6


1 pound 24 count shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/3 cup orange flavored vodka
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
2 tablespoons butter
Crushed ice
Whole black olives
Orange slices


In a small bowl combine vodka, oil, mint and orange peel. Place shrimp in a sealable plastic bag. Pour mixture over shrimp and seal bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours turning bag occasionally.

Heat butter in skillet. Add shrimp and sauté until shrimp turn opaque and pink. Discard marinade. Chill shrimp in refrigerator one hour or overnight.

To serve, place about 1/3 cup crushed ice in each of six chilled martini glasses. Arrange shrimp around each glass. Garnish with olive and orange slices and additional orange peel.

If desired, heat ¼ cup fresh orange juice with 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons orange flavored vodka until sugar melts, drizzle over shrimp

Salad Vinaigrette

2 teaspoons grated orange zest
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
6 cups mixed salad greens

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients together and shake to mix until well blended.
Toss salad greens with vinaigrette and serve on a plate around the martini glass.

Posted by terri at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

Italian Herb and Cheese Dip

The herbs combined with 3 of my favorite cheeses makes for a creamy dip with nutty fresh flavors. Mozzarella provides the creamy texture, I used the fresh form, and the fontina cheese provides the nutty flavor. Parmesan is a bonus, for additonal flavor.

Serves 10


1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
1/2 pound Italian fontina cheese, grated
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place mozzarella and fontina in a medium bowl and toss with cornstarch until evenly coated. Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in evaporated milk ad bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add mozzarella, fontina, and Parmesan. Stir constantly until cheese is melted and smooth.

Stir in herbs and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve while hot.


Posted by terri at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2015

Savory Mushroom Turnovers

These little mushroom turnovers were so good and the wine pairing at Ashes Wine and Spirits was one of the best- a Pinot Noir from Chile.

This recipe could be made into a mushroom pie large enough to feed 8. See how...

Should make 20-24 turnovers


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon EV olive oil
1 small onion, peel and finely chop
16 ounces sliced baby portabella mushrooms, remove caps and wipe with a damp paper towel
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine (Medium dry Riesling)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth, plus 1/2 cup more to thin sauce if needed
For a vegetarian option use vegetable broth
1 package refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts)


On high heat, heat butter and EV olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Shaking pan, sauté until mushrooms are golden brown.

Add sherry or wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add flour and stir to coat mushrooms with flour.

Slowly pour in chicken broth and cook until sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool. Can make up to this point and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

unroll pie crust and roll out to increase size about 1 inch all around. Using a cookie cutter, cut out circles according to the size you want. I used about a 3 inch diameter cut.

Place 1 teaspoon mushroom mixture on one half of the circle. Fold over and crimp edges together with fork. Repeat with remaining circles. Work quickly to keep pie dough cold. If it becomes warm, place turnovers into freezer for about 10 minutes before cooking.

Cook turnover until golden brown about 15-20 minutes.

Cooking Wiser:

Make a mushroom pie by placing one crust into pie dish. Cook in 350 degree preheated oven on bottom rack for 10 minutes. Remove and fill crust with mushroom mixture. Top with remaining crust. Bake on middle rack until crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Make it your own
Add 1/4 cup sweet red bell peppers in with mushroom and onions.
Add 1/3 cup cooked ground sausage or ground beef.
Use beef broth to replace chicken broth.

For a vegetarian option, use vegetables broth. Add 1/4 cup chopped carrots and peas.

Posted by terri at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2015

Wine Gift Baskets

Just in time for Mother's Day. Favorites include an Italian Feast, A day in the Park, Garden of Plenty, or order a beer basket with 4-6 bottles of beer and all the trimmings.

Basket include one bottle of wine, gourmet jam, sauces, cheese and crackers, wine glasses and theme napkins and plates.

Base price $45.00. Add $10.00 for each additional wine.
Place your order today while they last.

Posted by terri at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2015

Kentucky Bourbon Shrimp

Just in time for the Derby! Simple to make and delicious.

We'll tell you what the perfect pairing for this Derby Day Special is today at Ashe's Wine and Spirits. Join us from 3:00-6:00.

Serves 10 – 12

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (30-40 count), tails removed
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
4 teaspoons of your favorite bourbon (I like Woodford Reserve)
1 tablespoons butter
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground Pepper
1 cucumber, sliced into ¼-inch rounds (try to find a seedless variety)
½ cup crème fraiche
Pinch Bourbon smoked paprika (or substitute with smoked or plain paprika)


In a small bowl, combine olive oil, Cajun seasoning and bourbon. Stir to combine. Add shrimp and stir to coat all shrimp evenly.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a large sauté melt butter, add shrimp and cook on medium high heat until cooked through and just pink. in color, approximately 3 – 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine paprika and crème fraiche. Place a dollop of crème fraiche mixture on a slice of cucumber (can also use toast points) and top with a cooked shrimp. Repeat with the remaining cucumber, shrimp and crème fraiche. Garnish with a dusting of paprika.

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