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March 28, 2016

Black Pepper and herb mashed potatoes

This was a Cooking Light Magazine hit at our last Cooking Light Dinner Club.

Serves 4


1 1/4 pounds red potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper


Arrange potatoes in a microwave safe dish, cover and microwave at high for 8 minutes or until tender. Pour buttermilk and oil over potatoes. Mash until smooth. Stir in parsley and the remaining ingredients.

Posted by terri at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Asparagus and Peas with Warm Tarragon & Vinaigrette

Oh my goodness this was so good!
I loved the combination of flavors and the fresh asparagus came out of my garden.

I added it to my meal plan service after serving it at our last Cooking Light Dinner. I also prepared the Black Pepper and Herb Mashed Potatoes out of the same March 2016 issue.

More great recipes from Cooking Light Magazine at our March cooking light dinner club.

The host prepared a fabulous Cod dish and we enjoyed a wonderful salad of mixed greens, turnips and shaved parmesan with a creamy vinaigrette and decadent Lemon Squares. The appetizer was a bonus specialty- one that we all love, jalapeno poppers.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

136 cal./serving
15 g. CHO


5 slices lean bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil or other cooking oil
¾ cup shallots or sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas, thawed
1 ½ pound asparagus, trimmed and halved
1 pound sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest


Cook bacon in a large non stick skillet over medium heat until crisp.
Drain bacon on paper towels, crumble.

Discard all but 1 tablespoons bacon drippings and add oil to pan. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Add peas, sugar snap peas and asparagus. Stir to coat vegetables. Cook about 4 minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender. Remove from heat, add bacon and lemon zest.

Cooking Wiser

I modified the recipe slightly to save a step and to maximize the flavor. I try not to ever blanche or pre boil vegetables simply because you lose flavor and nutrients into the water. So try it my way and I hope you will agree it is a fabulous dish.

Posted by terri at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

Lemon Ricotta Herbed Flatbread

From Cooking Light Magazine, this was delish. How many pieces did I eat? Only Ron knows for sure, cause he was counting.

The lemon juice and zest lift the flavors up.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

153 cal./serving
1 g. CHO


½ cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
1 whole wheat pizza crust
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place a large cast iron skillet in oven, preheat oven to 400 decrees. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over crust, leaving a ½ inch border around the edges.

Place crust on preheated cast-iron pan. Bake in the center of the oven at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until crust is crisp.

Place crust on a cutting board. Sprinkle evenly with chives and pepper. Cut into 16 pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooking Wiser:
All my favorite recipes can be modified to your own taste. I call it create your own

Top this flatbread with thinly sliced smoked salmon

Add sliced dried apricots

Or even strawberries- yum!

Posted by terri at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

Wine Dinner

Our March Wine Dinner theme was Dishes and Wines for Spring. The menu included Lemon Ricotta Herbed Flatbread from Cooking Light, Strawberry Soup, Strawberry Salad, Stuffed Lamb and

Carrot Cake.

The Lemon Ricotta Herbed flatbread was paired with a delicious 2009 Graham Brut Rose

The Lamb was paired with a rose and with an Italian red. I took so many pictures of the lamb because the presentation was spectacular. It was a beautifully prepared dish. Compliments to Penny, the chef.

The Strawberry soup was equally delicious and the Strawberry Salad was incredible. Maybe they will share the recipes.

The soup was paired with a Port

I made the carrot cake from Duncan Hines box mix. I used milk instead of water and butter instead of cooking oil. I made a cream cheese frosting. The pairing was a choice of a 1997 Late Harvest Vidal from Virginia or a 2006 Ice wine from Canada.

Posted by terri at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Thai Seasoning Blend

If you can't find a pre made Thai seasoning blend you can make your own. Double the recipe so you will have more on hand for another recipe.

Makes about 1/4 cup


1⁄2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh ground white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground dried hot Thai red chili pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons dried lemongrass (ground powder)
2 tablespoons dried lime zest
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons dried mint
2 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut, ground


Process all ingredients in a food processor or mix together with a pestal and mortar. Seal in an airtight container.

Posted by terri at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

Shrimp and Pineapple Tikka

Bring the flavors of India alive in your kitchen. Indian food is a great palette of flavors and seasoning with exotic spices. To maximize the flavors, start with whole spices and toast, then ground.


1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
¼ teaspoon nigella seeds
Pinch of chili powder
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails left intact
12 bite side wedges fresh or well drained canned pineapple
Chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges


Dry roast the first 6 ingredients in a hot skillet over high heat, stirring them around until you smell the aroma of the spices. Immediately turn the spices out of the pan so they do not burn.

Put the spices in a spice grinder or mortar. Add the chili powder and salt to taste and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a nonmetallic bowl and stir in the lemon juice.

Add the shrimp to the bowl and stir them around so they are well coated. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the broiler to high or prepare a medium hot grill.

Thread 3 shrimp and 3 pineapple wedges alternately onto each skewer. Broil or grill about 2-3 minutes on each side, brushing any leftover marinade, until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through.
Serve the shrimp and pineapple skewers with cilantro.

Cooking Wiser:

Garam Marsala is a combination of different whole spices. The word Garam means warm in Hindi while Masala means spice mix. Garam masala is therefore a warming spice mix. The word 'warming' refers to the 'heating properties' of the ingredients.

Different regions of India have different versions of garam masala. Some are made without dry roasting the ingredients while others are made after dry roasting then cooling the ingredients and grinding them to a powder. Some contain 'extra' ingredients that others don't.

Once you determine what flavors you prefer, you can make your own garam marsala to suit your own tastes. Make a batch ahead and store for several months in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

Posted by terri at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2016

Fish Poached in White Wine with Caper and Tomatoes

Just about any type of fish is good for poaching. Salmon, tilapia, perch and cod are a few of my favorites. In my recent cooking class we used snapper and it was delish.

Serves 4


3 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
4 (4 ounce) skinless, boneless white filets
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
¾ cup fish stock
¾ cup white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
2 tablespoons capers
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Dry the fish fillet on paper towels

Lightly score the fish down the middle

Season both sides with salt and pepper

Melt half of the butter in a heavy skillet and add half of the shallots

Arrange fish slightly overlapping on top of melted butter and shallots

Pour in the wine and fish stock almost covering the fish
Top fish with remaining butter and shallots

Cover and bring fish to a slight simmer

The fish is done when it has turned milky white and is slightly resilient rather than squashy

Do not overcook

Remove the fish from the pan to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm

Reduce the poaching liquid to about 1 cup.

Add the capers and tomatoes to the pan and cook until heated through

Plate sauce on serving plates and place a piece of the fish on top

Posted by terri at 03:47 AM | Comments (0)

Almond Crusted White Fish

Pan frying works very well for dry, firmer white fish like flounder and halibut. Lightly breading the fish helps keep in the juices, making the fish more moist.

We used Tilapia in cooking class and it worked very well. Tilapia is a flaky white fresh water fish. It is low in fat and has a very mild flavor.

Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


1/2 cup whole almonds, finely chopped
¼ cup cornflake crumbs
1 tablespoon flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup whole milk
4 (4-ounce) tilapia fillets
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Lime Dipping Sauce

Juice from 1 lime
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped


Place first 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process 30 seconds or until ground. Transfer crumb mixture to a shallow dish.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Dip fish in milk, season lightly with salt and pepper, dredge in crumb mixture. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

For the Lime Dipping Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to blend.

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

Salmon with Cornbread Stuffing

The stuffing is used in this recipe is very similar to the stuffing I use to stuff my Thanksgiving turkey. The Lemon Allspice Jus tops off the dish adding so much flavor.

Salmon is a firm, pink fish that is high in fat with a rich flavor. It is a good choice for grilling, baking and poaching.

Serves 4


2 tablespoons melted butter for fish
4 (4 ounce) fish filets
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

For the stuffing

2 tablespoons butter
½ cup onions, peeled finely diced
¼ cup celery, finely diced
1 cup cornbread, crumbled
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried sage, chopped
1/3 cup chicken broth

For the lemon allspice jus

Juice and zest from ½ small lemon
3 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and black pepper, freshly cracked to taste
1 tablespoon heavy cream
4 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
8-10 (1/4 teaspoon) whole allspice


Preheat oven 400 degrees. To make stuffing melt butter in sauce pan and sauté onion and celery until onions are translucent. In a bowl combine onion mixture with breadcrumbs, chicken broth, thyme and sage.

For the fish, make a pocket for the stuffing by cutting a slice in the middle of fish beginning at the top and running the knife down to the opposite end of the fish, being careful not to cut all the way through the fish. Season each fish filet lightly with salt and pepper. Place ¼ of stuffing into each fish filet pocket. Place melted butter in bottom of baking dish. Add fish and bake until fish is opaque and flaky. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.

For the lemon allspice jus, combine wine, lemon juice and zest, allspice, and salt and pepper in a small pan and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove allspice. Stir in cream. Turn heat to low and stir in butter, small amounts at a time. Spoon sauce over the fish right before serving.

Posted by terri at 03:09 AM | Comments (0)

Cooking Fish Easy as 1-2-3

The most common mistake made when cooking fish is over cooking it. You can always increase the cooking time but you can't reverse overcooked food.

This was the first tip I gave class participants who attended my fish class. Other tips included how to successfully saute, bake and poach fish and the best fish for each technique.

Fish is done when the color turns from translucent to opaque or white. The average internal temperature should reach 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit.

When baking fish, bake uncovered at 400 degrees on a baking sheet in a single layer. Allow about 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish is done. Some of the best fish for baking include cod, salmon, grouper, and flounder.
Salmon Stuffed with Cornbread Stuffing

Pan frying or sautéing works very well for dry, firmer white fish like flounder and halibut. Lightly bread or batter the fish to help keep in the juices, making the fish more moist. Shrimp and scallops are also good choices for this technique. Allow about 4 minutes per side per inch of thickness on medium heat.

Almond Crusted White Fish

Thick cuts of fish are best for grilling and include tuna, salmon, and swordfish. Always use a clean, well oiled grill grate or cover the grill with foil. Fish should be about 4 to 6 inches away from the heat source and the heat source should be medium to medium high heat. For direct method of cooking allow 4 to 6 minutes per side per inch of thickness and about 15 minutes per side for indirect method of cooking. See grilling tips at

Poaching fish is good for just about any type of fish such as salmon, tilapia, perch or cod. It involves cooking the fish gently in heated liquid such as wine, fish stock or milk. The liquid should just barely cover the fish and the poaching liquid may be used as the base for a sauce. Cook fillets about 8-10 minutes and whole fish for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

Fish Poached in White Wine with Capers and Tomatoes

Common Types of Fish

Fish.........Type of Fish...............Fat Content......Flavor

Cod.............Flaky, White................Low.............Mild
Flounder........Flaky, White................Low.............Mild
Grouper.........Firm, White................Medium.........Medium
Halibut.........Firm, White.................Low.............Mild
Perch...........Medium firm, white.........Low...........Sweet mild
Salmon..........Firm, Pink..................High...........Rich
Snapper.........Firm, Pink................Low Medium.....Mild
Swordfish.......Firm, orange/pink/white...Medium.........Medium
Tilapia.........Flaky, White..................Low............Mild
Tuna, Yellowfin.Firm, Pink....................High...........Rich
Tuna, Albacore..Slightly flaky/Light Pink...High...........Rich

Posted by terri at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2016

Potato Head Baked Potatoes

Remember the game Mr. Potato Head? With a little creativity you can
have the same fun with baked potatoes. It only takes a few colorful ingredients and a little bit of time to turn your kitchen into a party room.

Makes 8 potato heads


4 medium red skin potatoes, wash and dry
2 tablespoons butter, softened

Food to decorate:

Red bell pepper
Green bell pepper


Place potatoes in microwavable safe dish. Microwave on high until tender. Cool. Cut in half lengthways. Mash a small amount of butter into each half. Use food to decorate- Give your potato head character.

A great way to encourage choosy eaters to try more vegetables. They might even eat the carrot nose.

Posted by terri at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Mini Meatloaves

This is a great recipe for kids to make. They might need help pre heating the oven and removing hot pans when the meatloaves are done.


2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
1 pound ground beef (80% lean)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup instant oatmeal
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 small can tomato sauce
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Put ground beef, egg, oatmeal, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir just a little. Add the cooled onions. Gently mix in onions.

Scoop out meatball size portions of the ground beef mixture and press into a mini muffin pan.

In a small bowl, mix tomato sauce, brown sugar and vinegar and stir together. Pour the tomato sauce mixture over the top of each meatball.

Bake for 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the muffin pan you may need to adjust the cooking time.

Allow to rest 15 minutes.

Posted by terri at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

Kids in the Kitchen II

Several years ago I taught a cooking class for a little girl's birthday party. She was turning 7 and most of the kids at the party were between 5-9. Her mother is a friend of mine from a previous job. She selected the menu and I brought the food and equipment. It was a blast. I loved watching the excitement on their faces as they made their food and enjoyed every bite.
Kids in the Kitchen I

Shortly after that, I left my 20 year public health career to teach more cooking classes. I recently got connected with a home school program after one of the moms contacted me to teach classes for her kids.

This was our first menu.

Mini Meatloaves

Potato Head Baked Potatoes

Frozen yogurt sundaes

Posted by terri at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2016

Create Your Own Quesadillas

Take this basic recipe and make it with your favorite ingredients. I love chicken but you could use shrimp, beef, or any combination of ingredients that you like. There is even a vegetarian version.

See how to modify this recipe

Serves 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


2 large flour tortillas
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or diced small
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Salsa (commercial or make your own)
Sour cream

Basic Instructions for making any quesadillas:

Lightly oil one side of each tortilla. Place one tortilla oil side down into a non stick skillet or quesadilla maker.

Evenly layer with choice of ingredients, ending with cheese. Top with remaining tortilla oil side up. Don't forget to season the meat or veggies.

On medium heat, cook approximately 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Carefully flip tortilla over and cook another 3 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Remove to a cutting board and slice into 8 pieces. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Create your own:
12 medium size cooked shrimp, or 1 cup shredded cooked pork or ground beef or shredded beef steak or roast
Use caramelized onions- adds great flavor
Sliced red, yellow, and/or green sweet bell peppers
Sliced mushrooms
Spread tortilla with 1/3 cup cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
Add refried beans or any beans even whole beans will work
Change the cheese, Swiss, Havarti, Monterey Jack or Hot pepper Jack

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

Traditional Salsa

You can practically build a party around a bowl of salsa and some chips, or serve it as a topping for quesadillas or a side for pork, fish or chicken. I even add it to fish while poaching.

You might like my roasted tomato and garlic salsa, also great as a side dish.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 3 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


    In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, garlic, onion and pepper.

    Mix lime juice and oil together and drizzle over tomatoes.

    Gently fold in cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper

    Cooking Wiser
    Other optional ingredients include diced green and/or red bell peppers

    Make in advance to allow flavors to develop. Will keep refrigerated for 2 days.

    Posted by terri at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)