Award-winning Chef Phyllis Segura has cooked for people in all walks of life both in the U.S. and E.U. Chef Phyllis has been cooking for special people since 2000.
She attended the Apicius Cooking School of Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, Italy; received a James Beard Foundation scholarship; attended various New York cooking schools; and watched her grandmother very carefully.
As a personal and private chef Phyllis cooks for individual clients and offers cooking demonstrations regularly. She specializes in small elegant dinner parties, and intimate dinners - plated or buffet, weekday meals and private and group culinary instructions.
The chef prepares a wide variety of cuisines. Whereas a restaurant chef might have a specialty that is served daily, as a personal or private chef Segura applies her skills to the requirements and palates of her clients. Fresh and seasonal ingredients make the best dishes. She is not shy with herbs and spices and will go out of her way to source ingredients.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Macrobiotic, Kosher, grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, blood type, diabetic and other special diets are available. Chef prefers to use organic, pesticide and antibiotic free, non-GMO and local products as much as possible.
Consultations with nutritionists are recommended for special needs and diets for proper guidelines.

References and a rate sheet are available. She currently lives in Saugerties, NY.
In 2013 she offered cooking classes in her home kitchen in Spencertown,NY www.reddoorcookingworkshop.blogspot.com

Send an email: info@cookingontheriver.com

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's nice to be mentioned. I don't charge $55-65 per hour, yet. And if you sign up for 12 sessions the last one is FEE free. You who have had information about you published know that the incidence of incorrectness is extremely high, so remember when you read absolutely anything how off the mark it can actually be!!

They changed the recipe a little and two people actually phoned to ask about making two cakes because the instructions did not specify that. As you can see my original recipe as written did and that's what I told them.

Friday, February 24, 2006

(the long version)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Collect enough beef bones, shin meat, ribs, meat scraps to fill a half-sheetpan
2 onions, washed, quartered with skins on
2-3 carrots, washed but not scraped, cut in 1-inch pieces

Spread bones and meat scraps out in one layer. Roast for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Toss or stir every 20 minutes. Bones should brown evenly but not burn. Add onions and carrots
after about 45 minutes and continue to roast another 45 minutes. Stir and turn over a couple of times.

Remove from oven and put the bones, meat, vegetables, into a stockpot using a spoon with holes. Pour out whatever fat is in the pan. Add some water and scrape up the cooked-on juices. Don’t burn them. Add to the stockpot.

Fill pot with water almost to the top by about 2 to 3 inches. Boil. Then boil gently for 2 hours. Skim fat off. Add a bunch of parsley, half head of unpeeled garlic, half a celery heart, 2-3 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons thyme, 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns, 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes without the juice. Simmer gently for 8 hours or overnight. Strain the broth through a sieve. Don’t press the pieces down just shake the sieve to allow the juices to pass through. Refrigerate and when cold skim off the fat.

Or, just buy some beef broth in a box…there are some organic brands on the shelves these days, such as Pacific, that are good.

You could also add some demi-glace to the liquids if you don’t think you’ve achieved a satisfactorily enough hearty broth. You’ll notice too that I have not indicated the addition of any salt. This is not, repeat not, an oversight.


Find some Onion Soup bowls, the ones that are ceramic and glazed brown. There are always some for sale in thrift stores. Looks like people buy them then don’t know what to do next. They are perfect for putting into the oven and practically indestructible. If you have a cuckoo clock you could pretend you are eating in Switzerland!

Take about 8 large onions (I like half Vedalia and half red onions)
Some oil – grapeseed or canola
1-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
10 cups of the beef broth you made
An optional Baguette, thin sliced and toasted in 400 degree oven about 8-10 minutes
An optional mountain of grated Emmenthaler and/or Gruyere cheeses
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt, yes, salt

Slice the onions on a mandoline – or thin slice by hand. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons oil. Saute the onions in batches until well-browned. Add a dash of sugar if needed to help the browning.

Optional: Slice the bread and toast. Grate the cheeses. Put 6-8 slices (or less) in each soup bowl placed on a sheetpan. Sprinkle a little cheese on the bread.

When the onions are well browned add the stock (beef, chicken, or water: Yes, the French used water and sometimes chicken stock. Don’t be so shocked; it’s true.) Boil and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Push the onions through a food mill and back into the broth. (Yes, a food mill, not a processor. If you really, really, want to just leave them stringy, though I don’t know why you’d want to do that and have to watch people struggling with the dripping onions. They’re going to have enough trouble with the stringy cheese, you sadist. Supply a copious amount of napkins.) Add salt and pepper. Then taste. You should have been tasting all along. You knew that.

Fill the bowls with the soup. Fill to the rim. Stir in some water, if needed.

Optional: but of course you must do it. Pile the cheeses on top of the bowls – half cup or more – make sure the cheese touches the edge of the bowl so it will stick and form a pretty crust that doesn’t sink into the soup. I did notice that when I only used 3 slices of bread, and not the full 8, the crust did drop down. You could probably live with it either way.

Bake, on the sheetpan, (you still have the bowls on the sheetpan, don’t you?) for 30 minutes to brown. Serve while hot.

Makes 6 bowls or more, but not much more.

Of course you could just eat the onion soup without the bread and cheese and it will taste just fine, really.

Onion Soup
(the short version)
6 onions sliced thin
2T butter
1t flour
1t sugar
6c beef broth
1/2c dry white wine
6 slices french bread
3T grated Swiss
Lightly brown onions in butter. Sprinkle with sugar and flour. Cook. Add beef broth, white wine, s&p. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Toast french bread. Pour soup over. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Put in oven or broiler to brown cheese.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


On a recent Saturday evening I prepared a dinner party for six people who were tasting Merlots and Shiraz wines.

We didn’t know when it would start snowing – at 4pm or 10pm – but the dinner was scheduled for 7:30 anyway.

After an arrival tasting with snippets of cheeses and a sun-dried tomato and artichoke spread, everyone sat down to begin dinner that began with a hot Onion Soup Gratinee made with beef broth that had been simmered and mellowed for hours. The steaming bowls were coated with a lavish grating of Gruyere and Emmenthaler cheeses.

This was followed with a fresh Salad of mesclun and red leaf lettuces, snow pea shoots, Macadamia nuts, and tiny cubes of red bell pepper. The salad dressing, designed not to interfere with the wine, was prepared with verjuice and blood orange juice, with walnut and canola oils, soy and mustard. Halved grape tomatoes and avocado cubes that had been soaking in the dressing were added.

No snow yet. Everyone sounded very jovial and friendly. Exclamations of “This is superb!” filtered from the dining room.

The main course, a prime beef Rib Roast, which had been coated with fresh herbs and black pepper rested at room temperature prior to a high heat blast and then a lowered temperature. It rested again, covered in foil, on the back of the stove for 30 minutes to relax. Then served au jus, crusty on the outside and warm in the center.

The roast was accompanied by a Yorkshire Pudding with sautéed leeks, and Green Peas cooked in the French way with bits of lettuce and scallion bulbs and a pinch of savory and thyme.

At this point the wine tasting was between two Shiraz wines, one mixed with other wines and one only Shiraz. The bottles were covered and the examining of tastes and preferences began.

Everyone wended ever so slowly toward dessert made mostly of fruits and designed to allow for optimum digestion. Bosc pears poached in sweetened red wine and vanilla beans were filled with creamy Mascarpone flavored with honey and lemon zest, then coated with Caillebaud chocolate, and garnished with marzipan leaves. They each stood on a deep purple strained reduction of the pear poaching liquid with blackberries. This was accompanied with a strawberry fan, fresh blackberries, small scoops of mango-vanilla sorbet and a petit triangle of Pyrenee with Green Peppercorn cheese, and more chocolate shavings.

Then….the snow flurries began and continued until the following afternoon.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Last night, January 31st, was the Annual Winter Potluck for the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. This year’s theme was Chinese New Year. The event was totally sold out as all the members like to come to this gathering and see and meet each other. The membership is comprised of women in all areas of the culinary field. About 120 members gathered this year at the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE) on 23rd Street in Manhattan. Gotham Wine Mart supplied all the wines and alcoholic beverages.

Three prizes were awarded: one for the best presentation; most delicious, and best use of theme. I won for most delicious! The prize was a beautiful Analon non-stick wok. My good friend, Judy, won for best presentation with her fried dumplings with stir fried napa cabbage. The best use of theme was for a dish of jelly fish that also tasted good.

The dish I made was Soy Sauce Chicken. This is something I have often purchased ready-prepared in Chinatown, but I learned how to make it almost as good. The way I do it, it is almost a reverse marinade. First I boil the chicken in the marinade and then let it sit in the juices. Making it the day before seals in the flavors. And, the marinade, once strained, becomes a master sauce than can be used again and again.

Here is the basic recipe from the Chinese Cooking book of the TimeLifeBooks Foods of the World series, followed by what I did:

1 4-5 pound roasting chicken
2 cups cold water
2 cups soy sauce
¼ cup Chinese rice wine, or pale dry sherry
5 slices peeled, fresh ginger root
about 1 inch in diameter and 1/8 inch thick
1 whole star anise, or 8 sections star anise
¼ cup rock candy broken into small pieces,
or substitute 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sesame-seed oil

I used: approximately!
8 pounds chicken wings, separated and well-washed
1 cup light tamari
1 cup double black soy sauce
½ cup of thick soy sauce
1 cup Shao Hsing [Shaoxing] rice wine
1 cup or more cold water
½ pyramid of piloncillo sugar
½-1 cup light brown sugar
8 slices fresh ginger with peel
5-6 star anise
1 tablespoon Sechuan peppercorns, roasted
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon anise seeds
2-3 cinnamon sticks, or Chinese cassia bark*
4-5 pieces dried orange or tangerine peel**

Boil everything up to the ginger together and stir until the sugars melt.
Put the rest of the ingredients into some cheesecloth and tie it up. Or just add the spices to the marinade and strain them out later. Boil together for a few minutes. Taste to see if more soy or water, and so forth, is required.

If you are using chicken wings put them in now. Or, if you are using a whole chicken, you can put that in at this time. Bring it back to a boil while immersing all the chicken parts. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size and quantity of the chicken. Then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the chicken marinate 2 to 3 hours.

If you have cooked the whole chicken, take it out and cut the chicken up ‘Chinese-style’, which means hack or chop the pieces across the bones with a cleaver. If you used the chicken wings, just leave them.

If you make this a day or two in advance, refrigerate the chicken with a little sauce. Strain the sauce, or take out the cheesecloth sack with the spices, and pour into a clean container. It is now a master sauce and can be refrigerated for about 2 weeks or put into the freezer for several months. When you want to make Soy Sauce Chicken again you can add a bit more of everything to refresh the sauce and use it again.

To reheat: Preheat oven at 350F and lay the chicken out flat until it is warmed through, about 15 minutes.

To serve: pile up and brush with roasted sesame oil, sprinkle with chopped green onions. If you like, put some of the warmed sauce on the side. Don't forget the chili sauce in a little bowl. Eat with fingers.

*The bark-like cassia is better for this, but I had run out of it, so I used the common cinnamon sticks
**If you peel an orange carefully, without the white pith, and let it dry, you have dried orange peel (or tangerine, or grapefruit...whatever)

I used the piloncillo sugar because I had it for a long time. It lasts forever and is a good substitute. If you only have white sugar, you could use that too.
There is no good substitute for the Sechuan Peppercorns.