Welcome!

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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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

ENSCONCED IN SCONES

This Christmas morning I created a brunch for a family in northern New Jersey. The lady of the house loves scones so I made lots of them. Scones fare best just-out-of-the-oven but if wrapped loosely in aluminum foil they can be warmed up in a 200 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes. Serve with butter, clotted cream or lightly whipped heavy cream, fruit jams and jellies.
If you scroll down a bit you can see the photographs of the fresh scones.
For the curious, here is the rest of the menu:
Flat Italian Green Beans with Roasted Garlic and Parsley
Green Salad with (tons of things) dried cranberries, fennel, mesclun mix, baby spinach, sugared walnuts, goat cheese, grated carrots, cubed beets
Salad dressings of Sun-dried Tomatoes and a Basic Vinaigrette
Orrichette (little ears) Pasta Salad with roasted fennel, cannellini beans, roasted artichokes, and lots of parmigiano cheese and extra-virgin olive oil
Antipasto of dried meats and cheeses
Filet Mignon with Horseradish Sauce
And I created fresh Omelets, to order, for each person to choose from an assortment of : bacon, sausage, roasted red peppers, sauteed spinach, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, sauteed mushroom medley
People brought lots of desserts.




PICTURES OF SCONES

Blueberry Scones

Banana Scones
Oat and Fruit Scones


Thursday, December 20, 2007

COOKING AND DRIVING

Not only a chef but a driver in winter weather! Check out the article below and get some tips on driving in bad weather. From Fuel to Food.....

http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071212/NEWS03/712120379

Saturday, December 01, 2007


POTATO PANCAKES (LATKES) EXTRAVAGANZA








I make these every year for people who celebrate Chanukah and even for those who don't. Once a year I offer them for the special price of $120 for 100. No delivery - you pick up. Then it's one oily day for me. I fry'em then freeze'em right away. They stay fresh for about 3 months, or more if they are vacuum packed. All you have to do is heat them frozen in a hot - 450 degree oven - for about 5-8 minutes and you'll think you just made them - that is - your guests will think so.

They taste great just as they are with a little salt - OR - with applesauce, sour cream, caramelized onions, caviar, smoked salmon...whatever you want.

Here is the recipe, in case you want to make your own (!)

POTATO PANCAKES RECIPE - LATKES
makes about 60

5-7 pounds potatoes, combine Russets and Eastern
1 large Vidalia or yellow onion
3 large eggs
½ cup cake matzo meal, matzo meal, or unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ potato starch
Salt
2 bottles grapeseed oil and/or peanut oil or canola oil

Prepare a cookie or sheet pan to drain the pancakes after they are fried, with a couple of layers of newspapers and/or paper towels.

Wash and peel the potatoes taking out the ‘eyes’. You can leave the peel on, if you like. I don’t. Cut the potatoes small enough to fit into the feeding tube of your processor. Reserve the peeled potatoes in a bowl of cold water.

Process the onions and potatoes with the grater blade. First put in a bit of onion through then the potatoes until the processor bowl is filled; remove to a bowl. Continue grating with the rest of the onions and potatoes.

After everything is grated remove the grater blade and put in the rotator blade for fine processing. Put the grated potato/onion mixture back into the bowl of the processor and pulse to fine grate. Put the fine grated potatoes into a fine sieve over a bowl. Drain and push out as much liquid as possible. Reserve the potato starch at the bottom and discard the rest of the liquid.

Mix in the matzo meal, additional potato starch, eggs and salt. Combine very well. Let rest about 30 minutes.

Pour the oil into two frying pans to at least 1-inch. It is important to submerge the pancake rather than using a little oil, use a lot. Contrary to ordinary logic (if there is such a thing) the more oil the pancakes cook in the less oil goes into the pancake itself. Strange but true.  Use either all grapeseed oil or a combination of peanut or canola and grapeseed oil. Heat the oil to very hot. Test by putting a small amount of the potato mixture into each pan. When it sizzles madly, it’s hot enough to start making the pancakes.

Using a tablespoon, put a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture into the pans. Smooth it out gently but don’t press down. The pancakes should be about 2” x 3”, roughly. Turn after you see the edges turn golden. When golden on both sides, take out and drain on the prepared draining sheets. Sprinkle some salt on the hot pancakes.

Either serve right away with selected condiments: sour cream, yogurt, sugar, or applesauce. Some people like them sweet, others not. If made a bit smaller they make a good base for serving smoked salmon and caviar.

To freeze: once a batch is drained and cooled put them directly on to another baking or cookie sheet and put into the freezer. Once they are frozen put them into plastic bags or use your vacuum sealer to store.
To reheat: preheat oven to 450 degrees, put the desired quantity of pancakes on a baking sheet and heat about 7-8 minutes.






THANKSGIVING 2007
Here is my personal menu from this past Thanksgiving. It's followed by recipes for some of the foods. I'll post some photos later in the week.


Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade
Smoked Salmon Mousse
Herb marinated Olives
Homemade Olive Oil Crackers

Fresh Pea Potage

Ballotine of Turkey
with sausage, chestnut, sage, pistachio stuffing

Puree of Sweet Potatoes with coconut & maple syrup
Gratin of Potatoes & Mushrooms with Blue cheese
Roasted Root Vegetables
(carrots, celery root, rutabaga, chioggia beets)
with thyme & rosemary
Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Garlic Butter
Fresh Berry Gelatin
Cornbread with Cranberries & Walnuts
Cranberry Sauce a la Maldovan

French Apple Tart
Pumpkin Pie
Ice Cream, Whipped Cream
Fresh Fruits

Assorted Wines & Bubblies
Apple Cider
Seltzer

Tea, coffee

BERRY GELATIN

Not your mother's Jello...

3 cups water
4 bags of assorted herbal teas containing fruit flavors
1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
1/3 cup fruit syrup
(from jarred fruit such as black currants in syrup)
1 ounce unflavored gelatin
½ pint blueberries
½ pint raspberries
1 - 4 cup mold

Boil 3 cups of water. Put all the teabags in a bowl and pour the water over them. Steep for 20 minutes. Remove the bags. Stir in the honey or agave nectar, fruit syrup. Pour ½ cup water in a small bowl and stir in the gelatin and leave to thicken. Add the gelatin to the tea and stir to blend. Pick over the berries and rinse. Rinse a 4-cup mold and place it in a large bowl with ice cubes. Ladle about ½ cup of the tea into the mold and let it set. Scatter some berries. Ladle another cup of tea and let it set. Keep layering until all the tea and berries are used up. Remove from the ice and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Leave until sets - about 2 hours or overnight. Unmold by lowering the bottom into hot water and let stand 1-2 minutes than invert onto a platter. Decorate with fresh berries or mint leaves.

MAPLE PECAN OR WALNUT CORNBREAD

1 cup flour- self-rising unbleached, unbleached white or spelt
1 cup stoneground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder* - eliminate if using self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tablespoons brown sugar or sucanat
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup real maple syrup
¾ cup buttermilk, apple cider or orange juice
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
¼ teaspoon real vanilla
1 orange, zest only
½ cup or more, cranberries, optional
½ cup roasted corn, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir together the margarine and brown sugar. Add eggs. Stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup and either the buttermilk, cider or orange juice. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Fold in the nuts and berries, if using. Mix well but don’t overmix. Pour into a prepared loaf pan or a silicone loaf pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake on middle shelf 45-50 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

* make your own baking powder: 1 teaspoon cream of tartar to ½ teaspoon baking soda.

BALLOTINE OF TURKEY WITH SAUSAGE, CHESTNUTS, PISTACHIOS & SAGE

1 - 12 to 14 pound fresh Turkey, deboned
1 pound pork or turkey sausage, out of casing
fennel seeds
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 egg whites
2-3 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2-3 stalks celery, medium chop
1 yellow onion, medium chop
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
6-7 whole peeled chestnuts (from jar)
fresh sage leaves

I deboned this turkey myself. I practiced first on deboning a chicken. The turkey was a bit more difficult since it has lots of sinew that holds the flesh to the bone. But it wasn't hard to do. It helped to watch a DVD of the master, Jacques Pepin, deboning a chicken. He says you should be able to do it in ten minutes. Good luck. It's worth trying to do.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Stufing: Saute the celery and onions, poultry seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper until translucent but not brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a bowl put the sausage meat, bread crumbs, beaten egg whites, pistachios, salt and pepper, chopped sage leaves; add the sautéed mixture and combine well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to stuff the turkey.

(Alternately, lightly sauté all the stuffing ingredients together, except the egg whites, cool and mix in the beaten whites. Then hold in a cool place.)

Lay the turkey breast skin side down on a work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place sage leaves underneath the skin. Place the stuffing in the middle and spread some out to the sides. Place the chestnuts down the center in a row. Roll it up by placing one side then the other towards the center. Tie it together with butcher’s twine. Place sprigs of sage on the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush on olive oil. Place the rolled turkey on a well-oiled rack in a roasting pan. Baste with dry white wine poured over. Then baste about every 20 minutes. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees - about 2-1/2-3 hours. Take out and let rest in a platter about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the gravy:

Broth ingredients:
Roasted turkey bones
Giblets
2 large carrots, cut in chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in chunks
1 onion, studded with 5-6 cloves
2-3 bay leaves
parsley stems
green parts of leeks
sage stems
6-7 whole peppercorns
2 cups white wine

Put the bones and giblets in a pot then add enough water to cover by about 2 fingers. Bring to a boil; then skim. Add the vegetables and wine, bring to a boil again; then simmer. Let simmer for several hours, covered. Can leave overnight and bring to a boil and simmer again in the morning. Strain well and put the broth into a clean sauce pan. Keep warm.

Gravy:

Take the roasting pan and remove all but about 2 tablespoons of fat. Place over two top burners and pour in about a cup of white wine. Heat and scrape the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan. Add about a ¼ cup of Wondra flour and stir to dissolve and thicken. Add the strained broth by the cupful until the desired quantity and thickness is reached. Strain and put into a gravy server.

Remove the strings from the turkey roll and slice in large slices about one-inch thick. Place on a platter. Nap with some of the gravy and decorate the platter with greens, grapes, and whatever you fancy.

Serve room temperature with the hot gravy.



SWEET POTATO OR YAM PUREE WITH COCONUT & MAPLE SYRUP

8 large sweet potatoes, mixed varieties are okay, white and orange
1 can coconut milk, don’t shake
1 cup maple syrup
nutmeg
cinnamon, optional
sea salt

Preheat oven 400 degrees

Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. Boil some water, add about a tablespoon of salt and the potatoes. Boil about 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain. Cool. Put through a ricer to puree. Add the coconut fat that sits on the top of the can and stir well, add the coconut milk and maple syrup. Grate a little fresh nutmeg into the mixture. Put into a gratin dish and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

Bake about 20 minutes until heated through. Serve hot.

POTATO & MUSHROOM GRATIN

4 Portabello mushrooms, stems and outer peel removed
1 pound Cremini mushrooms, stems removed
½ ounce dried mushrooms
8 potatoes - russets or Yukon gold
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3-4 ounces Blue Cheese
2-1/2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ ounce Parmigiano cheese, grated
Wondra flour
Breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Put the dried mushrooms into a small bowl with boiling water and let sit to rehydrate, then drain and chop them. Clean the Portabello and Cremini mushrooms and slice them. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the mushrooms to sauté until their liquid is gone.

2. Peel, then thin slice the potatoes using a mandoline. Place them in water to cover.

3. Prepare a gratin dish by smearing a little of the butter inside. Layer one third of the potatoes on the bottom, sprinkle with some Wondra flour, small pieces of blue cheese and butter, salt and pepper, dried thyme, and half the mushrooms; then repeat and top with a layer of potatoes. Pour the cream mixture on top. Sprinkle with parmigiano and cover with breadcrumbs and a few more small pieces of butter.

Bake about 40-50 minutes. Serve hot.
TOMATO TAPENADE

(adapted from Silver Palate cookbook)

1-8 ounce jar sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and reserve oil
4 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
12 anchovies, drained - optional
sea salt
black pepper
3-4 tablespoons parsley

Put all the ingredients except the parsley into a food processor and add about
4 tablespoons of the sundried tomato oil. Pulse until well chopped. Scrap down as necessary. Put into a crock and refrigerate at least one hour. Serve room temperature.
Garnish with parsley.
SALMON MOUSSE

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin*
4 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons finely grated onion
1 tablespoon drained and rinsed capers
2-3 dashes Tabasco
fresh dill, optional

Sprinkle the gelatin over 3 tablespoons of warm water in a bowl; stir to soften. Keep out a few pieces of the smoked salmon. Put everything else into a food processor and process to combine. Stir in the reserved smoked salmon pieces. Pour into a small bowls, ramekins or a pate mold.
Cover with plastic wrap without touching the mousse. Refrigerate to chill and firm for about 2 hours and up to overnight.

*from a ¼ ounce envelope