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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Sunday, November 29, 2009

SWEET POTATOES WITH MAPLE SYRUP AND GINGER WITH A PECAN CRUST

This is a silky sweet and chunky dish that has very satisfying textures of soft and crunchy. While the compound butter is optional it certainly is recommended as it ups the taste a good deal, but if you don’t opt to use it then unsalted butter will do fine. Also recommended is somewhat hard to find Grade B Maple Syrup. It has a stronger maple flavor than Grade A so I prefer to use it. Make sure you put enough crust over the top as no matter how much you put, within reason, it won’t be too much. Though pecans are used here you can use any nut and even a combination of nuts.

Sweet Potatoes
Maple Syrup, preferably Grade B
Fresh ginger, peeled
Ground dried ginger
Fresh nutmeg, grated
Compound maple/ginger butter
Unsalted butter
Salt


To Make the Maple/Ginger Compound Butter:
Mix a softened stick of unsalted butter with about a ¼ cup of maple syrup and about 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated. Mix well and place on some wax paper or plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Place in refrigerator or freezer until needed.

The sweet potatoes can either be peeled, boiled and mashed, or peeled and cut into wedges the long way.

If using mashed potatoes then boil them in a pot with water to barely cover. Cook until soft, then drain well. Put them through a food mill or mash really well. Place into a bowl. Pour over with about ½ cup of maple syrup and grated fresh ginger to taste, about 1 teaspoon of ground dried ginger, about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of grated fresh nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt. Mix well and mix in about four slices of the maple/ginger compound butter.

 Smear some butter in a baking dish and add the seasoned sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the topping on to the sweet potatoes and smooth and press down to cover evenly. Put some  maple/ginger butter pieces on top. Place into a 400 degree F. oven and bake about 20-30 minutes for the dish to heat through and the topping to melt. The dish will start to bubble Take out and let set about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

If using the peeled wedges of sweet potatoes, do not cook them first. Pour the maple syrup, ginger, nutmeg and compound maple/ginger butter and salt over the wedges and toss well. Butter the dish and put in the seasoned sweet potatoes. Put the topping over the wedges and press down to fill in the gaps. Put some maple/ginger butter pieces on top. Bake at 400 F for about 40-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Test with the point of a knife.

Topping Crust:
1-1-1/2 cups of pecans
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup fresh cranberries, optional
salt

Put all the ingredients, except the salt, into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is ground into chunks.
Don’t puree.

Sprinkle the topping on to the sweet potatoes and smooth and press down to cover evenly. Put some compound butter pieces on top and sprinkle a small amount of salt. Place into a 400 degree oven and bake about 20-30 minutes for the dish to heat through and the topping to melt. The dish starts to bubble Take out and let set about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

This dish will freeze well and can be reheated.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

APPETIZER RECIPES
Cooking Demonstration                  
16 November 2009

APPETIZERS

Menu:
Mushroom Cigars, Pissaladiere Puffs, Spring Rolls, Shrimp in Cucumber Cups, Polenta Rounds with Toppings, Dates wrapped with Bacon


MUSHROOM CIGARS
These little dainties have been served over the decades with style, even in the Kennedy White House by Chef Rene Verdon. So don’t be shy about presenting them to your guests. The white bread dissolves into a crispy crust that surrounds the creamy mushroom mixture. I like to use just the mushroom caps here and save the stems for something else; it makes the mushroom taste more dense. Using the stems alone would make a very lightly flavored mushroom mixture. But you can do what you want. Freedom of mushrooms for all!

½ to 1 pound , mushrooms, caps only (cremini, white, portabello, shiitake, or a combination), finely chopped
1 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 tablespoons flour
¼ to1 cup light cream
2 teaspoons chives, cut small
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne
12/ teaspoon curry powder, optional
1 loaf sliced white bread, Wonder bread (yeah, really)

     Sauté 1/2 lb. chopped mushroom caps in butter/olive oil, or use all butter - hey, it’s the holidays and the ER needs some biz... Blend in 3 tablespoons of flour, a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt and a dash of cayenne. Stir in some of the light cream. The mixture should look like a thick cream of mushroom soup at this point. Cook until thick. Add 2 teaspoons minced chives (if you don’t have chives use the green parts of scallions chopped fine) and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Taste for salt and pepper. Cool.
     Remove crusts from 1 large loaf of sliced white bread and spread with a little softened butter. Roll slices thin with a rolling pin.  Spread with about a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture - starting about 1 inch from the edge - and roll up. Fasten the ends with toothpicks, if you like, I don’t find it necessary. Pack and freeze or proceed to bake. To serve, defrost if frozen, cut each roll in half, brush with melted butter, place on a baking sheet and toast in 400 degree oven until golden and crispy.

PISSALADIERE PUFFS
Usually this French Provence speciality is made open-faced with toppings, like pizza. Here, I have changed the approach to put the ingredients inside the pastry triangles. You can also make small ones the open-faced way but then you need to create a pretty grid with the anchovies and put the olives inside the grid. Time and personal preferences rule here.

2-3 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dry or herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon sugar
pitted green or black olives (Kalamata, Nicoise or other), lightly chopped
anchovies, lightly chopped
1 package frozen puff pastry
parsley, chopped (optional)

     Sauté the onion and garlic with the bay leaf and herbs on low-medium heat in olive oil for 1 hour or more, or until it is well caramelized, and the volume is reduced to about one-third. The mixture should be a pale golden color and be like a marmalade. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and cook another 5-10 minutes. Add the anchovies to melt in. Add the olives and some more herbs and chopped parsley, and black pepper.
     Roll out the puff pastry and cut into small rectangles (3-inches or 2-inches), or triangles. With a perforated spoon put some of the onion mixture on one side of the pastry. Pinch the sides together well. Poke the top with a fork. Brush with an egg wash of one egg mixed with about a tablespoon of water. Place on a sheet pan and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
Note: These cannot be frozen because the puff pastry has already been frozen and defrosted and cannot be frozen again prior to baking.


POLENTA ROUNDS WITH TOPPINGS

¾ cup instant Polenta
3 cups water or stock
2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
Toppings:
Roasted red pepper, Feta cheese, olives, tapenade, pesto. Use whatever you like here: sautéed mushrooms, artichokes, etc.

     Cook the polenta according to the instructions on the package. You can also use non-instant polenta here and follow instructions. It will take about 30 minutes or more to cook. Oil an 8x12 pan and spread the cooked, hot polenta into it. Cool. It will solidify. Turn out onto your cutting board and cut into rounds with a 1-1/2 inch, or smaller, cutter. You can fry the rounds in a bit of olive oil to warm them up prior to serving. Add your favorite toppings. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with some grated Parmesan, freshly ground pepper and minced parsley. Maybe a drizzle of good olive oil too. (I tend to put all the polenta rounds onto a platter, then sprinkle the toppings helter-skelter on top. But you can carefully put the toppings onto each round individually.) This recipe can also be doubled.


SPRING ROLLS

Egg roll wrappers - a whole package
4 dried Chinese mushrooms
garlic, chopped
ginger, grated
extra-firm tofu, chopped or diced,
carrot, julienned or finely grated
scallions, chopped
water chestnuts, chopped
Napa cabbage, shredded
Soy sauce
Salt and white pepper
Sugar (optional)
Cornstarch

     Saute  the tofu in some oil, then add a splach of soy sauce and set aside. Sauté a mixture of the vegetables together in a bit of oil. Add some soy sauce, salt and pepper, sugar, and the cooked tofu. Stir and set aside.
     Pour boiling water over the mushrooms, if using, and let set for about 20 minutes to soften. Discard the stems and cut up into small pieces. In a bowl mix about 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoon of water into a slurry.
     Use 2 wrappers for each spring roll, one on top of the other. Cover the still unused ones with a damp towel. Cut the large wrapper into 4 squares. Brush the edges with the cornstarch mixture, using a brush or your clean finger.
     Put about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center. The square should have the corner facing you. Roll up, folding in the side: fold the bottom point up, then tuck in each side being careful not to allow any holes, then roll to close. Keep the spring rolls dry or they will splatter when putting into the oil.   Fill up a deep pan about one-third full with oil at 350 degrees. Fry the Spring rolls, about four at a time, for 3 minutes or until golden. Use caution as they cook rather quickly. Drain on paper towels. Eat hot, with a sweet fruity sauce.

SHRIMP CUPS

Small shrimps or cut up large ones, cooked and cooled
Garlic, parsley, lemon zest, olive oil
Baby tomatoes
Parsley and/or basil
Cucumbers, without wax
Salt and pepper

     Marinate the shrimp with the garlic, parsley, lemon zest, olive oil and some salt and pepper, for about 20 minutes. Cut the baby tomatoes in half and mix with some of the herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper, then leave to marinate also about 20 minutes.
     Cut the cucumbers with a zig-zag design or leave them straight. They should be about one and a half inches high. Scoop out the seeds to make little cups. Fill the cups with the shrimp mixture and top with some of the tomato mixture. Arrange nicely on a platter. Drizzle some more olive oil over, if you like.

DATES WITH BACON

Pitted Dates
Strips of bacon
Toothpicks

     Wrap the pitted dates with some bacon. Broil in oven until the bacon is crisp. These can be put on top of toasted bread rounds that have been spread with some chutney of your favorite flavor, or simply insert a toothpick and serve. Some people like to stuff the dates with walnuts or almonds. Cream cheese or goat cheese would be nice too.

.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

COOKING DEMONSTRATION
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16TH, 2009
NANUET LIBRARY 7-9PM
NANUET, NY

I will be demonstrating some Appetizers:
Mushroom Rolls or Cigars - This is a tried and true recipe. These were even served in the Kennedy White House by Chef Rene Verdon
Spring Rolls - These particular ones use tofu, or bean curd as it used to be called, napa cabbage, water chestnuts, scallions, garlic and ginger. Maybe some chinese mushrooms.
Polenta Rounds - Just make some (non-instant) polenta, cut into rounds, and top with something savory like: roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, olives, tapenade, pesto, marinated artichokes, etc. Whatever you like.
Pissaladiere - Usually served in a flatbread style. Here I have morphed them into small triangles of puff pastry with the onions, anchovies, herbes de Provence, and olives inside the packet. Not southern France, but southern New York.
Shrimp Cucumber Cups - marinated some shrimp in garlic, lemon zest, parsley and olive oil. Marinate some little cut tomatoes with a similar mixture. Cut up the cucumbers zigzag style, scoop out the insides and fill first with the shrimp topped with the tomatoes.
Dates with Bacon - Roll some bacon around a pitted date and broil. Stick in a toothpick or put on top of some thin bread ovals or rounds with a smear of...I don't know....some chutney perhaps.

Recipes supplied.
THE LAST DINNER PARTY
I posted the menu and had every intention of taking photographs but....I get so involved with making and plating the food that I have a hard time thinking about setting up a shot! I want the food to go out and either be hot or cold. I heard that some of the guests took photographs and if I get some I will post them. Meanwhile, the dinner went well and everyone seemed happy. I even enjoyed the 2 hour drive home!


A bowl of vegetables that were later roasted.


The lemony quinoa stuffed artichokes.


Here are some comments from the client:


We had a SUPER dinner, thank you very much! 
 
I've been telling everyone who will listen & I can only hope that you will get additional opportunities to share your excellent skills with other happy foodies.  The meal met & exceeded all my expectations.  It was allergy-safe, delectable, beautiful & delicious.  It looked wonderful & tasted even better than it looked.  We enjoyed the meal on the 7th & fought over the leftovers on the 8th.  The people who were lucky enough to share the food we brought home, added their happy approval of every morsel we reluctantly shared after the fact. 
...please accept my heartfelt thanks for putting your special touch on a very successful birthday weekend.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS

I am remiss in that I have not been posting half the things I do. Did you know that I have been performing regular monthly cooking demonstrations at the Nanuet Public Library - yes, in Nanuet. Last month I made some ravioli from scratch filled with butternut squash and bathed in a brown butter sage sauce. Everyone had a chance to make some and eat some.

In September I made Steamed Dumplings with a soy and sesame dipping sauce, and steamed fish with a ginger sauce. I used the three-tiered steamer to cook everything. There is a recipe elsewhere on this blog for the Dumplings, called Momos.

This month, November 16th 2009, I will be demonstrating some Appetizers. Don't know which ones yet. It is quite a challenge to do this there as there is no kitchen facility. I bring butane burners and set up some tables with cutting boards and after a few minutes everyone thinks they are in a kitchen, or so they have said.

Everyone gets a copy of the recipes. I you would like any recipes just send me a message.

I will try to remember to start posting these things again. Duh.
DINNER PARTY
I am getting ready for a dinner party for 9 on Saturday. It's a 60th birthday dinner for a woman whose daughter has lots of allergies and the decision was to accommodate the daughter. A lot more allergies and dislikes of this and that showed up while assembling the menu. It's all workable. I will try and take some photographs but frequently I get too busy to do that...

It's now a week later and the dinner went off well. The people were really nice and seemed to be enjoying each others company and having a good time.

Here is the menu:

Hors d'oeuvres:
Butternut Squash Bites with Arugula Pesto/ Grilled and Marinated Baby Eggplants/ Bell Pepper, Goat cheese and Prosciutto Pinwheels
/Cranberry Bean Puree with Celery
Salad:
Composed Salad of Mesclun, Frisee, Radicchio, Avocado, Slow-cooked Tomatoes, Fennel/Citrus Vinaigrette

Starter:
Lemony Quinoa stuffed Artichokes

Entree:
Chicken Marbella (clients choice), Diced Roasted Vegetables (Cauliflower, Parsnips, Potatoes, Celery Root, Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, Sweet Potato with Leek Crisps)

Palate Cleanser:
Pear and Ginger Granita

Cheeses:
Artisanal Rocky Sage Goat

Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog -Goat
Rosey Goat with Rosemary/Spain
Sotto il Fieno - Sheep
Istara - Sheep
with Tomato-Apple Chutney and Forest Honey