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, November 18, 2009

Cooking Demonstration                  
16 November 2009


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

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.

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.


¾ cup instant Polenta
3 cups water or stock
2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
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.


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)

     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.


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.


Pitted Dates
Strips of bacon

     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.


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