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August 03, 2017

Basil Roasted Tomato Goat Cheese Tart

The tangy flavor of the goat cheese and the sweet flavor of the roasted tomatoes make this a taste sensation. Try using different color tomatoes such as red, yellow and green (ripe) heirlooms.

To save time a prepared pesto can replace the basil leaves, garlic cloves and extra virgin olive oil step.

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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

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December 04, 2015

Parmesan stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms make a tasty appetizer for any occasion. Stuffing them with the sautéed stems, garlic and cheese makes them moist and flavorful.

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October 02, 2015

Salmon and Havarti Dill Quiche

Boar's Head Havarti Dill is the perfect cheese for this Salmon quiche.
Havarti is a rich and buttery, semi-soft cheese that melts into wonderful creamy goodness.
Another appetizer idea:
Save a piece of the salmon, divide among several slices of toasted bread, top with a slice of Havarti Dill. Place under broiler long enough to slightly melt the cheese. Enjoy!

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August 19, 2015

Roasted Grapes with blue cheese, honey and walnuts

Prepare this with or without the pizza crust but the crust will make
it easier to eat.

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August 14, 2015

Pan Seared Beef Tips in a Red Wine Sauce

Cutting the beef into bite sized pieces creates a fast and easy meal. The red wine and broth add a rich flavor to the meat. The beef tips can be used in so many ways; on top of your favorite salad greens, in a delicious sandwich wrap or serve over pasta.

I also like to serve as an appetizer with a good bottle of red wine.

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July 26, 2015

Crunchy Cereal Mix

Make this snack on a rainy day and store in an air tight container. Dip out a cup and put into a separate container for the day. Great for a quick, healthy snack on the go.

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July 17, 2015

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

The Italians call this wonderful appetizer Bruschetta al Pomodoro. Seasonal tomatoes and good olive oil are a must for making this topping. I prefer good ripe Roma tomatoes for their texture and they have fewer seeds. Tomato seeds can be a little bitter so try to remove as many as possible.

When it comes to olive oil that will be added for flavor as in this recipe, make sure it is good olive oil. You'll have to spend a little more but you won't use it in large quantities.

There are specifics for preparing the basil and garlic too...

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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March 21, 2015

Goat Cheese Ball

Create a goat cheese version of the traditional cheddar cheese ball- it's easy and delicious.

Wine Pairing:
Sauvignon Blanc

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January 21, 2015

Cheese Sables with Rosemary Salt

These buttery cheese crackers were dreamed up by Anna May, a member of the online community Food52 who lives in West Dorset, England. The sables are an excellent party snack because they come together quickly and can be made in advance.

We enjoyed these at our recent wine club dinner. They were delicious and amazing with the Petite Syrah.

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January 11, 2015

Feta and Dill Galette with Lemony Spinach Salad

Try something different for dinner tonight. Instead of serving crackers or bread with your salad this version provides a salad, carbs, and cheese all in one.

A galette is usually a flat cake made with a flaky pastry dough, a common French tart. It can be savory or sweet, topped with fruit, jam, nuts, meat and/or cheese.

Make your own version by using a different cheese, adding sausage, crumbled bacon or even diced chicken. Might I also suggest using goat cheese and shrimp or crab.

The possibilities are endless!

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November 26, 2014

Smoked Salmon Basil Rolls with Crème Fraîche with Mango Pineapple Vinaigrette

The salmon rolls were meant to be served as an appetizer but when one of our dinner club members who was bringing salad couldn't come, I converted the appetizer into an appetizer/ salad. It was a success.

If you decide to use as an appetizer, simply plate the rolls and drizzle with vinaigrette.

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September 03, 2014

Piquant Cocktail Meatballs

These versatile meatballs can be made with ground pork, veal, turkey, chicken, lamb or beef or try combining them to deepen the flavor profile. They are served with piquillo peppers, tiny sweet peppers from northern Spain. Use any roasted pimiento if you can't find piquillos. Oh and in case you aren't up on your Spanish, pimiento is the Spanish word for pepper.

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July 30, 2014

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!

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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.

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June 17, 2014

Ideas for Topping Cucumbers

Cucumbers can Replace Crackers. I've been using sliced cucumbers and zucchini to replace crackers for dips and cheese. It's a great way to cut calories, use all the cucumbers I'm growing and it is such a great way to get your veggies in for the day. Try it for a party platter.

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April 01, 2014

Feta and Dill Galette with Lemony Spinach Salad

This recipe can be a salad, an appetizer or even a breakfast dish. It can be whatever you want it to be. This was one of my recipes for my last cooking class and it did me proud. Dill is a great herb with the lemon but if you wanted to use cilantro and lime go for it. See my suggestions for other ideas.

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Grilled Italian Meatball Skewers with Parmesan Cheese

I wanted to try something a little different. Instead of using a lot of sauce with the meatballs, I wanted the flavor of them to take center stage. So I grilled them as skewers. Don't forget to top with lots of Parmesan Reggiano- I forget this important step in my class but no one seem to really care since I just added the cheese to the salad instead.

When you are cooking live in front of 20 + folks you have to be flexible.
The key is to have fun!

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December 02, 2013

Herbed Goat Cheese Tarts

I served these appetizer size tarts with a French sparkling wine at our last wine dinner. A white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc usually compliments the tangy flavor from the goat cheese but I tried a Rose and it worked well.

The soup was also a hit, a Chicken Corn Chowder

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November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Dip

Take a few ingredients and create wonderful holiday dip in 5 minutes that is tasty, healthy and versatile.

The dip could also serve as the custard for a pumpkin trifle!

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November 16, 2013

Scallop Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers with Pesto

This is a great combination of flavors with scallops, roasted red pepper and pesto and the end results make a beautiful presentation. Place on a colorful platter to serve.

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Caprese Salad Skewers with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Ciliegine mozzarella are small round balls of mozzarella cheese. They are used for their visual appeal more than anything and in this recipe they're perfect for skewers. Serve these as an appetizer or use the skewer to top a salad.

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October 14, 2013

Mexican Pinwheels

These little pinwheels are great for kids to make. They can add the ingredients they like and create a neat snack to boot. The best part is that the adults like them too.

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September 16, 2013

Goat Cheese with a Honey Orange Balsamic Reduction

The goat cheese mixture is served in endive leaves instead of the traditional cheese and crackers. You'll get a little bit of sweet from the fruit and honey and a little bit of tart from the balsamic vinegar.

Also plated here is a tomato bacon relish also served in endive leaves.

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September 07, 2013

Pistachios Party Twists

A great party snack or serve with a meal with a selection of breads and crackers.

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Tiki Snack Mix

This is a great snack to take on a hike or to pack when traveling. It's a perfect mix of salty and sweet.

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September 04, 2013

Wine and Cheese tasting

Hosting a wine and cheese tasting is fun, simple and best of all it will keep you out of a hot kitchen.
And we can all use a break from the heat!
Here are a few tips:

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August 30, 2013

Mango Ancho Chili Salsa

Mango has a light and refreshing flavor somewhere between a pineapple and a peach. The brilliant golden orange flesh creates an attractive dish especially when paired with the red bell pepper. The Ancho chili gives the salsa a slightly smoky flavor.

Serve as a side or as a topping for chicken or fish. Especially good with Salmon quesadillas.

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Salmon and Seasonal Veggie Quesadilla

Quesadillas, made with tortillas can be filled with just about any ingredients. I wanted to try something different for my cooking class and this turned out to be very flavorful. The salmon is prepared in advance with a spice rub making it a simple, time saving appetizer or meal.

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August 13, 2013

An Antipasto Platter

I really enjoyed our antipasto platter with a Soave wine at our last food and wine dinner. So I thought I would share it with you. The platter was an array of grilled foods, cheeses, salami and pepperoni. Amazingly the wine was perfect with everything. Soave is a very popular dry, crisp, fruity white Italian wine from the Veneto region in northeast Italy.

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August 08, 2013

Grilled Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

The sweet smokey flavors from the grilled peppers and the tart goat cheese create a wonderful combination. Grilling the peppers brings out the natural sugars giving the peppers a wonderful sweet flavor.

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July 17, 2013

Cucumber Rounds with Hummus and Yogurt

I saw these in fine cooking magazine and they looked so refreshing, light and simple to make that I had to try them. They were also great tasting.

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Prosciutto Wrapped Salad Greens with Red Wine Dijon Vinaigrette

Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham and is thinly sliced. The flavor tops off these creative bundles that can be served as a salad or appetizer.

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June 10, 2013

Penny's Onion Tart

Penny provided me with a fool-proof recipe for pizza dough. She topped it with caramelized onions, blue cheese and olives.

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May 13, 2013

Pate Maison

The Pate was served as the first small plate at our wine club dinner.
Pamela provided the recipe.

This recipe makes enough for a large party. If there is any left over it freezes very well. Make a day in advance for best flavors.

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January 24, 2013

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

Tomatillo is a fruit that is sometimes called a Mexican green tomato. They have flavors of lemon, apple and herbs that are enhanced when cooked. The salsa is great with chips, tamales or fajitas.

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January 02, 2013

Artichoke Dip

The best articokes are stored in glass jars, packed in water. Rinse and drain them on a baker's cooling rack to remove the salt and water. Frozen articokes are also good. Just remember to adjust your salt if you use those packed in brine or marinade.

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September 27, 2012

Crab Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are large enough to make a meal out of just one. Cremini mushrooms are the smaller version and also work great for this recipe. You can either grill these or roast them in the oven.

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September 24, 2012

Stuffed Tomatoes

Tomatoes should be in season for this recipe. You can add other vegetables like peas, chopped onions or bell peppers. Rice, couscous or quinoa is the base for the stuffing. Quinoa is a seed from a plant that is very high in protein.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops with Romesco Sauce

Romesco is a popular sauce in Spain. It consists of finely ground tomatoes, usually sundried, red bell peppers, onion, garlic, almonds and olive oil. It is usually served with grilled fish or poultry.

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September 17, 2012

Pizza Bar

Setting up a pizza bar for a party or other special event is a great way to get guests involved in preparing the food. Plus it a ton of fun and everyone gets to create their favorite pizza.

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September 09, 2012

Citrus Marinated Mushrooms

I couldn't find just the right recipe for marinated mushrooms so I created this one in my test kitchen. I used button mushrooms for this recipe but baby portobellas would work as well. See how you can make it your own by changing the herbs.

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August 23, 2012

Toasted Cereal Snack Mix

Cereal is fortified with minerals and vitamins making it a very healthy snack. Make this in advance and take with you on trips, hiking, or just to cure the munchies

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July 06, 2012

Snack Edamame

Edamame is an immature soy bean in the pod. It is highly nutritious, a good source of protein, calcium, iron and folate. Keep a bag in freezer to have on hand for a great snack or appetizer when you're in a hurry.

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June 28, 2012

Too hot to cook- Try Antipasto

My friend Kathleen had the right idea to keep the heat down this summer. She turned the traditional "before the meal" Antipasto into the main meal and it was a hit.

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June 12, 2012

Warm Cannellini Bean Bruschetta

Setting up a “bruschetta bar” and offering several toppings for your guests to choose from is a great party idea. This is one of several toppings that is always a hit. And it is so easy to make that you'll have time to enjoy the party.

For best results use Bush's Best Beans.

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Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Bruschetta, simple food with creativity is a great way to start any party. It’s just grilled slices of bread, rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with olive oil. From that point you can add to the bread a number of toppings. Set up a “bruschetta bar” and offer several toppings for your guests to choose from.

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May 06, 2012

Chicken Wings, Sweet and Spicy Hot

One of my favorite non traditional chicken wing recipes. This one has a little kick to it.

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Chicken Wings with an Italian Flare

Wings are a great appetizer for parties or special events. This favorite uses three traditional, dried "Italian" herbs.

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Chicken Wings with an Asian Flare

There are as many ways to make wings as there are spices. I have a few favorites to share because they aren’t traditional but they are tasty. This one uses soy sauce. See Chicken Wings with an Italian Flare and Sweetly Hots Wings.

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April 16, 2012

Zesty Cheese Ball

I’ve had this recipe for many years. It looks like Granny Kate wrote it so it’s been around for years. She was born in 1917 but naturally it wasn’t passed to me that long ago. There are several ingredients but the directions are simple- cream together, add, stir in and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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April 06, 2012

Orange and White Potato Bites

Create a colorful and delicious side dish with white(red skin) potatoes and sweet potatoes with a few simple steps.

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January 23, 2012

Prosciutto wrapped Melon skewers with Lime dressing

Melon balls wrapped with prosciutto then threaded onto skewers make an impressive plate of appetizers.

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December 05, 2011

Warm Brie with Pear Preserves

During the holidays this simple but stylish recipes is easy to make with only 5 ingredients. It has a sweet and savory combination good with gingersnaps, fruit or crackers.

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November 07, 2011

Moroccan-Spiced Crab Cakes with Cilantro Orange Dressing

There may be lots of ingredients in this recipe but the flavor profile is worth it all.

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September 30, 2011

Duck Quesadillas with apricot jam and caramelized onions

Originating in Mexico, quesadillas can contain any type of ingredients that you creatively want to use. The duck combined with the jam and sweet onions provide great flavors. Enjoy for lunch, dinner or just a snack.

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July 29, 2011

Classic Cheese Fondue

Have a fondue party beginning with this great classic cheese fondue recipe. Select Swiss Gruyere cheese for the best fondue. Gruyere is a semi firm pale cheese stippled with small holes or air pockets. Real Gruyere is controlled and only comes from the Gruyere region of Switzerland.
When we visited Switzerland we ate cheese fondue every day. I brought cheese back and invited friends over for the “real thing”. Follow the tips for making fondue and enjoy! Remember if you lose your food into the fondue pot it will be your turn next to have the next fondue party

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May 08, 2011

Jalapenos with Goat Cheese and Bacon

Some like it hotter than others and depending on the heat of your Jalapeno, these can set you on fire or put your fire out. The heat comes mainly from the seeds and inside membrane. Remove those and you will decrease the heat. Just like wine, the weather plays an important role on the flavor of the pepper. The more rain, the less flavor.

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March 28, 2011


Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern dip that is rich in protein. Made from chickpeas (also know as garbanzo beans) it is great served with chips, pita bread or crackers. I also like it with my home made French bread.

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February 23, 2011

No Guilt Creamy Spinach

When you taste this rich, creamy dish you won't believe it's a healthy version. Enjoy as a side dish or serve with vegetables, crackers or low fat tortilla chips for an appetizer.

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January 28, 2011

Blue Cheese and Sauternes

Blue Cheese and Sauternes:
An amazing and delicious combination of flavors.

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January 15, 2011

Argentine Meat Empanadas

Our wine club enjoyed a fabulous food and wine pairing dinner this month. We tasted South American wines and paired them with several Argentinean and Brazilian recipes. One of my favorites was the Argentine Meat Empanadas with an Argentina Malbec. Select a wine that has fruit, hints of spice and rich flavors.

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January 14, 2011

Smoked Salmon Quiche

Quiche can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner and this quiche is a delicious choice. Add a salad for a complete meal. It also makes a wonderful appetizer, just serve with a dry California Chardonnay, a perfect pair.

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November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

All the planning and work that goes into the Traditional Thanksgiving dinner can send you into a tizzy. I have some great tips and recipes to help you create an incredible meal without all the stress. It begins with putting a plan together and starting early. Set the Menu, divide the tasks, relax and enjoy the meal!

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Gorgonzola-Roasted Shitake Mushrooms and Onion Bruschetta

An easy and delicious starter to serve before dinner

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November 16, 2010

Smoked Salmon with Cilantro Cream Cheese Canapés

Smoked and salty foods go well with slightly acid cold wines with a little sweetness like an off dry German Riesling. Try these simple but delicious appetizers for any dinner party or just as a snack. You will find the presentation very impressive.

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November 15, 2010

Shrimp & Scallop Ceviche

There are many recipes for ceviche but this one has a few new ingredients added for color and flavor. The citrus juices cook the seafood so you don't have to, cooling down warm summer nights.

Pairs well with a citrusy Pinot Gris- Italian style

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Smoked Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms

Try these great crowd pleaser appetizers, simple to make and sensational to eat. You can take these to your next covered dish dinner. Just prepare ahead and cook when you get there. Mushrooms are a great match for Pinot Noir.

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September 26, 2010

Pecan and Cilantro Crusted Halibut

Halibut is a wonderful fish, mild, light and flaky. It tends to be dry when overcooked so follow these instructions for the best results.

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Crab Cakes with Cilantro Lime Aioli

Don't cover up the great taste of crab with a lot of bread filling. This recipe uses cornflake crumbs or breadcrumbs only on the outside so that you get mostly crabmeat on the inside.

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September 22, 2010

Grilled Goat Cheese Tortilla Sandwiches with Mango Lime Salsa

This dish is fun to serve at parties as an appetizer. Any occasion is a special occasion to celebrate with family and friends. So fire up the grill and get the party going.

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August 16, 2010

Smoked Salmon Quiche

I first time I enjoyed this dish was at one of our wine dinners and I loved it. Since then I have made it several times. It was paired with Cakebread Cellars Anderson Valley Chardonnay. The quiche and wine were both richly textured, the wine with the perfect balance of acid and fruit complimented the smokey salmon and creamy filling.

Quiche can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner or add a salad for a complete meal. It also makes a wonderful appetizer. See my tips for baking tips

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July 15, 2010

Goat Cheese and Anchovy Tart

This recipe is a great addition to a Spanish Tapas party. You can serve it as a tart cut into wedges or use any size muffin pans to make individual servings. Don't forget the Sangria.

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July 09, 2010

Spanish Tapas

Try these great Spanish tapas ideas:
Barbequed mini ribs
Grilled Chorizo sausage with mixed red, yellow, and green bell peppers
Garlic marinated olives
Add a refreshing pitcher of Sangria made with red wine and seasonal fruits.

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July 06, 2010

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Salsa

This is a slightly different twist on traditional salsa. The roasted tomatoes and garlic add a smoky flavor that you will love. It makes a flavorful side dish for pork, chicken and fish

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Grilled Guacamole

The avocados take on a smokey flavor when grilled giving this recipe a wonderful flavor that you don't have with traditional Guacamole. Serve this with your favorite chips for a great appetizer.

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June 08, 2010

Shrimp with Caribbean Rum Barbeque Sauce

Remember Bubba in the movie "Forrest Gump" listing all the many ways shrimp can be prepared? Well, I have one more: serve it with a delicious Caribbean Rum Sauce!

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June 07, 2010

Basil Pesto

Basil, called the royal herb by ancient Greeks and a token of love by the Italians is the main ingredient in pesto. It provides a peppery flavor with a little spice with hints of clove and licorice

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June 06, 2010

Grilled Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms with Tomato Basil Relish

The meaty dense texture of Portobella mushrooms make them a wonderful substitution for steak. When grilled, they have a rich flavor that can be enhanced with marinades. They are actually a mature form of the crimino mushroom and because of their size can become a complete meal when stuffed. Mushrooms have little or no calories, fat or cholesterol.

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