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 15, 2010

A motto on the workbench in the kitchen at el Bulli workshop in Barcelona translates as:

"The lover of Cap Norfeo says:
"Pea, feather, boat.'
The voice answers:
"Tongue, tongue, tongue."
The lover responds:
"Turnip, raspberry, truffle."
At last, the taste buds open!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


CALL BOCES: 845-348-3500











See this stuff? It's jars of herbs that have been washed, dried and pulsed in a food processor with some oil. The one with Basil is called PESTO but this one has no nuts or cheese added. Those can be added later. You can use any of these to add to dishes as you like. Putting the herbs in oil also preserves them. I keep them in the fridge and use until they get moldy. The slightest sign of mold and I toss them out. Here we have Cilantro, Parsley and Basil that have been treated in this manner. I also grow Shiso leaves, or what is called Perilla. They are most commonly used with Sushi but they can also be added to salad or smeared on cooked fish, or whatever imaginative use you may imagine.

Next is a dish I made from whatever was around. I had some eggplant, a strange cheese called Provolone-Mozzarella, left-over lamb balls, a jar of Lidia's Marinara sauce (it's really good and not very salty like a lot of jarred tomato sauces...hurrah Lidia!), the pastes as above, Parmigiano cheese, and olive oil. By the time I thought of posting this dish I had already eaten most of it. So excuse a rather messy photo with poor lighting, etc. Pretty bad, huh?

The big issue with eggplant is how do you cook it without 'so much oil'....Okay, you can slice and bake, slice and steam. When you bake you do need a bit of oil. You can do the usual slice and salt, let sweat for about 30 minutes, rinse and dry with paper towels or with a kitchen towel. What I did was to do the slice and sweat routine, then I sprinkled the eggplant with Wondra flour and grilled them in a cast iron frying pan. I stuck some holes through the slices with a fork to make sure they cooked through. Eggplant does not need a lot of cooking. Just get it slightly grilled and toasty on the outside.

Then I poured some of Lidia's Marinara on the bottom of a small rectangular dish, made a layer of the grilled eggplant, added some grated Provolone/Mozzarella, a layer of the sliced lamb balls, some grated parmigiano, a dab here and there of parsley paste and basil paste, more Marinara, another layer of eggplant, and so on...top with the Marinara, and both cheeses. I think I put a  layer of breadcrumbs on top too...yes, I did. And sprinkled the top with one teaspoon of extra-virgin oo. Put into a  350 degree oven on top of a sheet pan, and bake until bubbly and a little bit browned on the top.

Take out. Cool a little. Gobble up. Your dish isn't going to look any nicer than mine but with any luck it will taste just a good. Instead of the lamb balls, use whatever you have....mushrooms sauteed, grilled artichokes,  leftover potatoes, Bob's your uncle.....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The other day I browsed the fish counter at my local supermarket and there, much to my surprise, was Blowfish for sale. It is one of my favorites from childhood. I remember my grandmother preparing this fish and how delicious it was. Just like chicken. Of course I thought everything she made was delicious and I don't doubt at all that it was. Searching my memory bank for how she prepared it, I zoned right in. Flour and egg was all she used. And then the fish were fried. I don't eat much fish but I couldn't resist these even at $14.99 per pound. They tasted just as good cold the next day. These were undoubtedly an inexpensive fish when my grandmother purchased them. Everything that was once cheap is now expensive. So when you are told to eat like your grandparents, remember that. But today I did and I had enough to give to a friend. These are not in the market often but when they are there you might want to give them a try. I friend them with an egg batter but you could just saute them with a little bit of oil, salt and pepper.

A bit about Blowfish. It is also called Fugu in Japan. People might remember that as the 'poisonous fish.' But there are 25 species worldwide and the one in my supermarket was probably the kind that can be found off the coastline of New Jersey, yes NJ, and the Carolina's seawater. They are probably Northern Puffers or Sea Squab and they are not poisonous.

 Here are photos of their preparation:

The raw Blowfish in water.

Cut off the whatever it's called on the top and bottom...
Cut off the fins on both sides.

The cleaned fish.
Dip the fish in all-purpose flour that has some salt and pepper added.
Dip in beaten egg.

Dip a second time in flour. And a second time in the egg.

Have a frying pan ready with a thin layer of oil, preferably Grapeseed oil. Don't crowd the frying pan. You can make several batches. Place the double-dipped fish into the hot oil and fry until golden, turn over and fry on the other side until golden. Remove to a plate with some paper toweling. Sprinkle the fish with salt. EAT. or refrigerate to eat cold. There is a center bone but sometimes a few side bones. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


2010 and what a hot summer we are having. Everyone is in meltdown, especially chefs in their hot kitchens.  I did a dinner party buffet this weekend and had to change my clothes three times as they were soaked. I was so hot that my skin tingled.  Everyone on my clients guest list showed up - maybe 25 people. Here is the menu and details to follow:

GRILLED VEGETABLES: Eggplant, Zucchini, Patty Pan Squash, Corn

    I don't know if that sounds like a lot to you but for one person to make, with no sous chef, it took a few days. Every dish had details, details. Recipes follow. Oh, photos? Once again, too much to do to think about the photos. All the salads were served in very large oval white bowls. The grilled vegetables and ribs were served in platters that were long with both sides coming to a sharp point. If I can think of what that shape is called, I'll let you know.


    1 package dried cannellini beans
    1/2 lb. fregola*
    2 lbs. shrimp, heads on
    1 lb. large shrimp, with shells
    2-3 florentine fennel bulbs
    1 jar pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
    1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted
    1 teaspoon red peppercorns, toasted
    1 cup chopped parsley
    1 lemon
    Old Bay Seasoning

    1/4 cup, sherry vinegar and balsamic vinegar combined
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1-2 garlic cloves, minced
    3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    salt and pepper
    Make the dressing in a jar. Add the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and shake or whisk well, then add the oil. Shake or whisk well. Set aside.

    *Fregola is a Sardinian pasta with saffron and cooks into small, about 1/4-inch, balls. They are a little bit expensive and will run you about $7-9 per pound. I cook them in a tasty shrimp broth. They add an interesting texture and taste.

    For the beans there are some additional ingredients, follow along. Wash the beans in cold water, removing any bad ones or stones. Cover with water by about 3 inches and bring to a boil. Once the beans boil, turn off the heat and let them sit for about one hour. Drain and add more water plus some aromatic ingredients like: rosemary, onion, carrots, bay leaves, garlic, all roughly cut. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes or until done. Don't let them cook to the point that the skins are breaking. Taste occasionally for doneness. Drain and cool. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

    Peel the shrimp and slice them down the back, removing any black matter, until almost cut through. Cutting them this way will make the shrimp curl up nicely.  Put the shells into a separate saucepan. You are going to poach the shrimp in one pot and make a shrimp broth in another pot. You will use the shrimp broth to cook the fregola.  To about a gallon of water, add a slice or two of lemon and about two dashes of Old Bay seasoning. Bring to a boil and add the raw shrimp. Cook for about 5 minutes. Place into an ice bath to immediately stop the cooking. Refrigerate.

    To the shrimp shells in the other saucepan add some cut up onion, 2 carrots, 1 tomato, and some parsley or parsley stems, a few peppercorn, about 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer about 25 minutes. Drain the broth through a colander; squeeze to get the juices out. Discard the ingredients and keep the broth. Add the fregola to the simmering broth. If there is not about one gallon of broth, add some more water. The fregola absorb a lot of liquid when they cook. They will take longer than you think to cook - maybe 30 minutes - just keep tasting them until they are al dente. Then drain and cool.

    Clean the fronds and outer tough leaves off the fennel. I purchased the fennel at the farmers' market and those are different than the round ones you can get in a supermarket. You can use either but if you can find the Florentine fennels that are more flat, definitely get some. I only used about 2 or 3. If purchasing a large fennel or anise from the supermarket just get one. After cleaning, slice from the top to the core in very thin slices. Then saute them in a bit of olive oil until they get some color. Remove and cut into small pieces.

    Everything in this recipe is cut about the size of the beans. Cut the shrimp into about 3 or 4 pieces. To assemble: combine the fregola, beans, shrimp, fennel, parsley and olives. Toss with your clean hands.  Toss in the fennel seeds and red peppercorns, if using. Then add some dressing. Add the dressing in small increments because you don't want to drown the ingredients, though the beans will absorb a lot of the liquid.  Keep adding dressing and tasting until it tastes close to what you like. Add more salt or pepper, to taste. Then chill and let the flavors combine. Put all into a serving bowl and sprinkle some chopped parsley on top. Chopping some of the fennel fronds would be nice too. Up to you. This is a very nice salad. You can eliminate the shrimp altogether for a vegetarian version. Then you would cook the fregola in a tasty vegetable broth.


    3 bell peppers of any color, red, green, yellow, orange, roasted, peeled, deseeded & diced
    2-3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded & diced - or just diced - up to you
    2 avocados, diced
    1/2 red onion, diced
    1 small jicama, peeled & diced
    3 tomatillos, flame roasted, paper removed, diced
    2 corn cobs, roasted & kernels removed
    1 iceberg and/or romaine lettuce, chopped
    4 skinless chicken breasts
    6 corn tortillas
    1 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
    5-6 limes, juiced
    canola oil
    1-2 garlic cloves
    1 jalapeno, with or without seeds, minced
    cider vinegar
    orange juice
    Mexican oregano, if available, or other kind
    Smoky paprika
    salt and pepper

    Clean and marinate the chicken breasts.Butterfly some of the thick pieces so that there is an overall equal thickness in all the breasts. You can also cut them in half to make same-sized pieces.

    Marinade: lime juice, canola oil, minced garlic, minced jalapeno, oregano, salt.
    Place all the ingredients in a blender and buzz.

    Place the chicken into a plastic bag and pour the marinade over. Squish around until the chicken is covered. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 4 hours. When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Then light up your grill and grill the chicken over a low heat until done. Place into a container to rest about 10 minutes. I made the chicken the day before and refrigerated it. I diced the chicken first. The marinade, after being in the blender, gets thick and looks like a pale green yogurt. It coats the chicken nicely and I didn't bother scraping it off before grilling.

    Take the corn tortillas and cut them into 1/4 inch strips about 2 inches long. Pour some canola oil into a frying pan - about 2 inches - and fry the tortilla strips until lightly colored. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt and some smoky paprika, if you have any. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

    All the other ingredients should be diced and ready to assemble. Into a large salad bowl add the peppers, tomatoes, avocados, red onion, jicama , tomatillos, corn kernels. Add the chopped  lettuces, and the chicken. Now here is the dressing:

    Into a blender put: 1 cup chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1/4 cup lime juice or lime/orange juice mixed, 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 3/4 cup canola oil or a combination of canola and olive oil, salt and pepper. Buzz until combined.

    Just before ready to serve, mix some of the dressing into the salad. Don't pour the entire amount of dressing over the salad. Pour some dressing, then mix it in and taste it. Add more to taste. Add some more salt and pepper, perhaps. You can also marinate the salad ingredients in the dressing (before adding the lettuce) for about 15 minutes which gives the flavors a chance to blend. Just don't drown them in dressing; a light coating is best. Then add the lettuces and toss well. Be careful with the avocado as it tends to mush, so toss lightly with your hands.

    Garnish the top with the fried tortilla strips and some cilantro leaves.

    I know that I have not put quantities for some of the ingredients. It's not like you have never made a salad before, just use your previous knowledge and judgment. This is a really good salad but it doesn't like to sit around too long.


    Skirt steak, or flank steak
    Salad Greens
    1 bunch Mint, torn leaves, or to taste
    1 cup Cilantro torn leaves, or to taste
    1/2 cup Basil, or Thai Basil, leaves torn, or to taste
    1/4 -1/2 cup minced red onion or scallions
    2 Cucumbers, preferably Persian or Kirby, peeled, seeded, diced
    3 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
    1/2 pound, Snow peas, blanched, sliced in half diagonally, optional
    1/2 can hearts of palm, rinsed and sliced thin, optional

    1 Thai chili or long red chili, minced
    1 cup lime juice
    1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
    2 tablespoons sugar, or less
    1/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    Whisk all the ingredients together, then taste. It should taste a little bit strong but not a lot. Once you pour some on the salad the taste will mellow. This makes a lot of dressing and you will not use it all. Put the remainder into a glass jar and refrigerate.

    Rub a little bit of oil on the the skirt steak and grill it in the usual way, preferably with a charcoal grill. You can also use an indoor grill pan. It's all good. Grill to the degree you like, preferably a bit pink. Remove and let sit on a plate about 10 minutes. When ready to serve, slice the steak in thin slices on an angle. Toss with some of the dressing, adding the juices that have accumulated in the plate..

    Into a large salad bowl put the salad greens, mint, cilantro, basil, red onion, cucumber, tomato, hearts of palm, snow peas, and toss with some of the dressing. Do not drown in dressing. Toss with your hands. This takes quite a bit of salad greens. Place the steak on top of the salad and serve.

    So that is three salads to play around with this summer! If you want the recipe for the Summer Berry Pudding, and who wouldn't? You can ask.

    Monday, July 05, 2010

    Hash it Out.

    Depending upon the quality of what most call “leftovers,” you can most certainly make a terrific Hash. By quality I mean, not too old and not too mixed in with other ingredients already. For instance, if you happen to have some previously cooked corn, potatoes, steamed vegetables of any sort, some meat tidbits (though not necessary) like a few shrimp, a piece of a duck breast, a cold hamburger, you can make a great Hash just by combining those ingredients with some fresh, new ingredients, some seasonings, water, and a bit of oil.

    No quantities are offered here and quantity doesn’t really matter; you cut up and put in whatever you have. Put a small quantity of oil in a pre-heated pan…any pan will do…a cast-iron pan is usually what I use but if I have lots of ingredients I’ll choose something larger. If you have a piece or two of an onion, cut it up and put it in. Take that corn cob and remove the kernels and put them in. Some scallions floating around in the vegetable drawer? Remove some of their ‘old’ sections, cut them up and add. Got a red, green, yellow, any color pepper? Cut it up in small pieces. Leftover shrimp? Cut them about the same size as everything else.

    Whatever you have - a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It will all go together in the end. Here is your chance to experiment and be creative. Nothing cooks for very long since it has already been cooked, for the most part. Got some frozen artichokes, peas, etc.? Put some in. All those little bits go in. Do a “strip search” of your refrigerator. Nothing too wrinkled or, forbid, moldy.

    After you have cut up and put into the pan all the lost morsels of the cold kind, find some fresh uncooked vegetables, like a carrot, wash it and cut it up too. It should  all be simmering together gently. Now for the seasonings. What have you got? If you’re very chef-y you might have some Vadouvan. If not, you like curry? Toss some in. You like cumin? Put in a pinch or two. Let the spices warm up some. Hot sauce? You get the idea? Something old, and something new. Nothing borrowed, and nothing blue.

    Don’t forget the liquid. If you don’t have anything else, and even if you do, add some water. All the ingredients will make a nice sauce. If the liquid boils off, add some more. You don’t want to have a dry Hash.  Top the entire Hash off with some fresh herbs, like parsley, if you have some, if not, don’t.

    You can call this “Review of the Week.” Sit back and enjoy. Contemplate that you will never have that exact combination again. If you are sharing it and the other person asks for the recipe….another chance to be creative.


    On Tuesday, July 13th, I will be performing a cooking demonstration from 1 to 3 PM at the Suffern Library...in Suffern, NY. On the menu will be Cold Gazpacho Soup, Corn Fritters and a Berry Sorbet. They request that you register.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Serves 8


    This recipe calls for a bit of rosemary sugar that is made by simply grinding fresh rosemary and sugar together to get a fragrant blend. Use a clean coffee grinder that is used for spices only or your food processor. Although only about a tablespoon or so is needed, to get a good blend you’ll need to do a slightly larger batch. The remainder can be used on toast or mixed into hot oatmeal or a good pound cake recipe.
     This dough recipe makes enough for two galettes. You can freeze half the dough for later use if you’d like. I used Fuji apples but choose your favorite baking variety. Keep in mind that sugar levels vary greatly in fruit, so always taste the fruit to gauge the desired level of sweetness. You’ll often see that my recipes include the phrase “to taste” to accommodate personal preferences. So taste, taste, taste.

    Galette Dough
    2 cup All-Purpose flour
    1 tablespoon organic sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    6 oz. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
    1/2 cup cold water

    4 apples
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    2 tablespoon sugar
    1-1/2 tablespoons rosemary sugar

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    sugar to sprinkle

    To prepare galette dough, whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl to combine. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have mostly small pieces the size of tiny peas and some just a bit larger. You can use a food processor to do this.  Be sure each piece of butter is coated with flour. Add the cold water and pulse gently  until the dough just starts to come together. Gather the dough on a work surface. Use a pastry scraper or metal spatula to fold the dough back onto itself and gently pat down with your hands into a loose disc. Repeat this process again once or twice until the dough looks like it’s coming together. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Gather tightly and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

    When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove from the refrigerator and rest it on a lightly floured board for a few minutes so it can soften just a bit to prevent cracking. Then roll the dough out to a 14” circle about 1/8”thick, moving the dough after each roll and keeping the board lightly floured as needed. When you have the desired shape, lift the pastry onto a parchment covered pizza pan or baking sheet. Chill for about a half hour.

    Prepare rosemary sugar by grinding about 15 coarsely chopped rosemary leaves and about 3 T granulated sugar together in a clean spice grinder or a food processor. The rosemary should be as finely ground as possible. Set aside.

    Squeeze juice of half a lemon into a large bowl. Peel, core and slice apples into thin wedges. Toss in lemon juice and sprinkle with 2  tablespoons of plain sugar. Toss thoroughly to coat all the apple slices.

    Remove prepared galette dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle about 1-1/2 tablespoons rosemary sugar evenly across the bottom, leaving about a 1 1/2” border all the way around. Arrange or scatter sliced apples on top of rosemary sugar as you wish. Now start to lift and gather the dough up and on top of the fruit, being careful not to create any cracks. Work with both hands, pressing gently to keep the dough in place. If any crack occur fill them by wetting your fingers with a bit of water and pulling the dough together. Chill for one hour.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the border of dough and the fruit with melted butter and dust the dough and the fruit with a generous sprinkle of rosemary sugar. Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes, until the dough is crisp and browned. Cool on a wire rack to keep the bottom of the galette crisp.

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    Please send me photographs of the inside of your refrigerator.

    Thursday, June 03, 2010

    I love you blog and I'm sorry I forget about you so often.

    Check me out this Saturday, June 5th,  when I will be doing an improvisational cooking demonstration at the Palisades Farmers Market at 11AM.  The local Rockland Health Department said I (and others) need to pay them $45 for a permit in order for people to be allowed to sample the food. Hey, do you really think $45 keeps people from getting sick. This is especially odd since everyone will see exactly what is being prepared right before their eyes. The rules on these things get stranger all the time. I've been cooking for over ten years and have approval and a permit, no charge, from the Department of Agriculture to make baked goods in my very own kitchen. Oh well, such is such.  I'll be there cooking anyway and about the tasting I just can't say...... There is a great article in the Dining Section of the NY Times about people making food to sell. You gotta read it.

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    This past week I went to MOMA to see the various exhibits (Marina Abramovich, William Kentridge, and Cartier-Bresson) and stopped into Cafe 2 for a snack.  Here is a picture of the three appetizers chosen from the Antipasto List: Fregola Salad which had a nice creamy lemony mayonnaise with olives, zucchini and baby tomatoes; Grilled Artichoke on sauteed spinach (the artichoke was not grilled as far as I could tell) and there is some baby arugula on top; Calamari salad with black chickpeas and a tomato sauce. Everything tasted very good. Only cost $10.

    This spring I taught a Continuing Ed class at a West Nyack venue called BOCES. We had twelve participants and made a lot of food. It was a great bunch of people and hopefully they got to take away some useful tips and techniques. Here are some photos (I've tried to add captions but there is something about this system that has me unable to do so. I'll try again another day.):
    The Class
    Coconut Shrimp with Apricot-Dijon Sauce

    Sunday, April 25, 2010


    Around mid-April I did a cooking demonstration using Artichokes. On the menu was an Artichoke Tapenade; a steamed artichoke with an aioli sauce; braised baby artichokes  with bacon, baby yukon gold potatoes and rosemary; crispy fried baby artichokes with fried capers, parsley and lemon; and a raw artichoke salad with balsamic and extra-virgin olive oil, over baby arugula with shaved parmesan.  Of course I never managed to take any photos....sorry. There are so many delicious artichoke recipes.

    The most daunting aspect of artichokes, for most people, is their preparation and grooming. Since the artichoke is a thistle it has thorns at the tips of its leaves. Cut off the tips with scissors creating a graduated appearance or use a sharp knife and cut straight across. Always rub the cut parts with lemon to prevent discoloration. Snap off two or three layers of the large outer leaves. Then, using a paring knife, cut away the dark green parts at the bottom stem end. Either scape out the center choke before or after cooking.

    For baby artichokes, pull off the leaves until the yellow leaves are visible. Then trim the tips. Don't worry about the chokes as they haven't been formed yet. If you slice them paper thin and toss with a bit of a balsamic vinaigrette, you can easily eat them raw as part of a salad.

    Use the baby artichokes, sliced in quarters, to fry until crispy. Add some drained and dried capers, and parsley leaves. They will all crisp up nicely. Drain on some paper and toss with salt and squeezes of fresh lemon. Eat immediately.

    The tapenade or pesto can be made with steamed artichokes or use them from a jar that has the artichokes in water. Drain well. Into a processor add the artichokes, some chopped garlic, a nut - either toasted almonds or pine nuts, chopped parsley,  parmesan cheese, lemon juice and olive oil.  Use your imagination and taste here. A good one is also made with artichokes, kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, garlic, lemon and olive oil. Salt and pepper.

    If you like steamed artichokes, trim and groom them well, and put into a steamer stem side up and steam until soft. This takes from 25-35 minutes. But check before because you don't want the artichoke mushy.

    Most people, when you say the word artichoke, immediately think: stuffed artichoke. They are very good that way but it's not the only way to eat them.  You can make a nice breadcrumb or potato based stuffing, remove the choke, and stuff the center and sneak some stuffing between the leaves. Place in a saucepan tightly bunched, pour in a little white wine and and some extra-virgin, cover and let cook until soft. If you like you can partially steam the artichoke before adding the stuffing.

    Here is a list of other ways to prepare to artichokes:
    braised with black-eyed peas and spinach
    stuff lamb with a honey tomato sauce
    with chicken, mushrooms and fennel
    jewish style
    with lamb shanks
    and mushroom bread pudding
    sauteed with garlic, onion and parsley
    roasted with potatoes
    braised a la Barigoule
    a la Grecque
    Hearts with pureed peas
    filled with artichoke souffle
    bacon wrapped
    stuff ravioli

    There is even a way to prepare a stuff artichoke using a microwave. Check with a Barbara Kafka recipe and be brave. I tried it, and as usual I have no luck or knowledge of cooking with a microwave. But if you are one of the people who cooks everything in a microwave give it a try. I only got a burnt thistle with melted plastic.

    Artichokes are cleansing and are packed with iron. Oh, and don't forget a simple steamed artichoke with a garlic-y vinaigrette. The first time I ever tasted an Artichoke was at Elaine's Restaurant in New York City. I've got to get back there soon because I hear that they now serve it with the heart cut out for you and the leaves separated in a circle around the heart. Sounds too good to be true.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2010

    An article from today's NY Times about photographing the food you eat.

    My class GREAT HORS D'OEUVRE AND APPETIZERS begins tonight April 7th, at BOCES Nyack for 3 sessions. The class is full with 12 people and some on the waiting list. Tonight, time-permitting, we will be preparing:  Pissaladiere, Tuna Tartare on Wonton Crisps, Mushroom Cigars, Asparagus in Puff Pastry, and Shrimp stuffed Piquillo Peppers. If I'm not too crazed I will try and take some photos...but you know I get too busy and often forget to do so.

    Next Thursday, April 15th, I will be doing a cooking demonstration at the Nanuet Public Library from 7 to 9 PM in the Main Conference Room. This is the first in a three-part series. I will be demonstrating ARTICHOKES, prepared three different ways. These demonstrations are always free to the public and anyone can attend. You get to taste the food at the end!

    Tuesday, April 06, 2010


    Recently I got a phone call from a past client who had hired me to cook for her mother, Gladys. At that time I made about 20 meals for her to put in her freezer, and then I came back about a month later for a new menu. I think we did this about three times. This time her three children wanted to have about a week's worth of food since Gladys was eating even less than before. She had recent knee surgery and they wanted to help her out. I hadn't seen Gladys since then, about four years ago, and we had a nice reunion. Here is a picture of Gladys for which she kindly submitted just to oblige me:

    Hi Gladys, You're looking great!

    Here are a few of the things I cooked for her. One or two recipes will follow.

    These are some lamb meatballs that have been baked in the oven.
    They are made with ground lamb, grated onion, breadcrumbs, oregano, parsley,  lemon zest, chopped garlic, and egg. You can also add some chopped mint and ground allspice. 
    Salt and pepper, too.

    Next three pictures are the vegetables that have been stir-fried, then with the lamb balls added, and then the Avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce used to combine everything together.

    Zucchini, carrots, green beans, fresh artichokes.

    Gladys also requested some Stuffed Peppers, Oven-fried Sweet Potatoes, Crabcakes, Creamed Spinach, Yukon mashed potatoes, Roasted Artichokes, Grilled Asparagus, Carrots and Potatoes, Chicken Piccata, Roasted Vegetable Soup with Barley,  Roasted Lamb and Chickpeas in Tomato Sauce.
    The stuffed peppers before roasting. They had a tomato sauce poured over them.

    Crabcakes with Roasted Vegetables



    Recently I was asked to prepare some meals for Gladys by her three children. They had hired me to cook for her about three or four years ago. At that time I made 20 meals that she froze and about a month later did it again, and once more after that.  I hadn't seen Gladys since then until I got a call from her daughter who wanted to know if I was 'still around.' She joined with her siblings to get some meals for Gladys who had recently had knee surgery. Gladys could definitely stand putting on a few extra pounds. Some of us might wish that was our problem.

    Here is a picture of Gladys who generously posed

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010


    1-2 pieces of matzo, broken into pieces
    2 eggs
    pinch of salt
    water or milk
    Confectioners Sugar, optional
    Jam, optional
    Additional salt, optional

    Break the matzo into a bowl and cover with either water or milk. Let the liquid soak through the matzo then drain and squeeze out. Add 2 eggs and beat together, oh yes, and a pinch of salt. Put some butter into a frying pan to melt until the foam stops. Add the matzo-egg mixture. Pat down with a fork. Cook until the bottom is golden. Take a plate that fits over the frying pan and turn the matzo brei into it, return to pan with the uncooked side down. Cook until the bottom is cooked through. Slide onto a fresh plate.
    Serves 1.

    Double or triple the recipe and the size of the pan for a bigger Matzo Brei. I used a pan that could hold two or three servings so mine was very thin. It's also good to have a thick Matzo Brei, in which case you would use a smaller pan or make more batter and use the larger pan. Are you still with me?

    Serve either sweet with the confectioners' sugar and/or jam, or salty with the salt. Either way you've got to eat one every year around this time. Then put it away until next year when the craving starts. If you eat a lot of this your stomach might let you know you have overdone it. Join the crowd.


    This braised dish fell together, almost by itself, just from what was in the pantry and fridge. I love the way eggplant melts down to taste and feel very meaty. The addition here of the fennel, instead of celery, adds a bit more flavor interest. You can spice it up with the jalapeno and red pepper flakes if you must, and I must, but it tastes good without them. just a touch of sweetener removes any possible bitterness. I don't know a good substitute for the Zatar and it is a major component here so well worth locating - try Fairway and Kalustyans or any Middle Eastern grocery. Some friends had raved about Trader Joe's frozen artichoke pieces so I bought some. Right they are. Sometimes frozen artichoke hearts still have tough outer leaves but these do not. A few squirts of lemon and a dash of finishing salt add mouth-watering appeal. It's not a pretty dish - very dark - so you will need to garnish it well. Worth the effort.

    ©2010 Phyllis Segura

    2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large yellow onion, large dice
    1 medium eggplant, large dice
    1 fennel bulb, large dice
    leafy part of fennel tops, chopped
    10-12 artichoke pieces, Trader Joe’s frozen artichokes
    2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
    ½ cup diced sundried tomatoes in oil
    3-4 tablespoon flat-leafed parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
    1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced (optional)
    2 teaspoons Syrian Zatar
    red pepper flakes
    honey or agave nectar
    sea salt
    fresh lemon juice

    Saute the onion in the heated olive oil. Add the eggplant and fennel with some of the chopped leafy part of the tops, then the garlic pieces. Add the sundried tomatoes and some of the oil, and all of the artichokes. Stir and toss to get all the pieces amalgamated, oiled and heated. Stir in a sprinkle of the Zatar and few red pepper flakes, the chopped parsley, and a squirt or two of honey or agave nectar, your choice. Add a pinch of salt. Stir well for about 2-3 minutes.

    Add about ¼ cup of water then lower the heat and cover to let the vegetables steam briefly. Either continue cooking slowly on top of the stove or place in a
    300˚F. oven well covered for about 1-1-1/2 hours to braise slowly.

    Taste and season.

    Serve hot or room temperature with a squirt or two of fresh lemon juice and some freshly chopped parsley.

    *Juggle: rearrange adroitly

    This is what Eggplant Juggle looks like with a wreath of parsley and lemon.

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    GO TO www.amorebakedgoods.blogspot.com to see the Cookie Class photos.
    Sign Jamie Oliver's petition

    He might even make a difference! Congress passed 4 billion towards school food programs for a ten year period. Compare that with 7 billion and more a month in Afganistan and Iraq.

    Next posting will be about the Cookie Class that just completed. And, if you go to www.amorebakedgoods.blogspot.com find images of cookies. Soon to come will be more Passover cookies. You still have time to order some, especially The Zip.


    Monday, March 01, 2010

    We're in the news:


    by Rosamond Cleary

    Phyllis Segura is a personal chef who specializes in entertainment cooking. You could say her office is your kitchen.

    While dinner parties are a forte, Chef Segura will also come to your home and whip up as many as 20 meals, which she calls her Five by Four plan. That’s enough food for a family of four for five nights, which can be put into a freezer and pulled out ready to warm and eat.

    Chef Segura will work with the client to establish a menu, then shop, prepare, cook, serve and clean up — right in your home.

    Segura was in the textile design and art world for years before deciding to try to put her skills and knowledge of herbs, cooking and entertaining to better use as Cooking on the River. She trained with chefs in Europe and the U.S.

    “I’m a great gift,” says Segura. People are giving her service as gifts for spouses birthdays, new moms, people who are just getting out of the hospital and might not be able to cook for themselves for a while as well as for special occasions. She will come to your home for private cooking classes.

    Last year Segura started Amore Baked Goods since her clients were all raving about her custom made oat-based cookies that are also available gluten-free and refined sugar-free.

    Segura calls one of her special event services “Girls or Guys Night In.” Instead of having the gang all go out somewhere, the ladies (and guys) can have their special night right at home, with none of the work.

    Segura said she has been doing some work for charitable organizations and that as word of her service spreads, she’s been able to serve an area from the lower Hudson River all the way up to Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Tarrytown and New York City. Segura also performs regular cooking demonstrations in local Rockland County libraries and teaches at BOCES in Nyack.

    Chef Segura has a Web site for her service —www.cookingontheriver.com— and blog —www.cookingontheriver.blogspot.com  — or people interested in her services can call 845-365-0042.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010


    12/10/1942 - 2/9/2010

    I've gotten rather carried away baking cookies these past few days. I ran over to Restaurant Depot and stocked up on butter. Had a little help from my friend Larry, who insisted upon paying for it all. Thanks, Larry!

    I made lemon hearts with lemon glaze, chocolate spritz cookies that I dipped in chocolate glaze then sandwiched them together with apricot jam, chocolate chip oatmeal, macadamia and coconut oatmeal, chocolate-orange hearts with chocolate-orange glaze, brownies. 

    Someone is going to eat all of them. Though, to me, this is more of an 'art project'. 
     Buttah! Buttah! Buttah! BUTT. Whoops. Buttah, buttah.

    To order go to : www.amorebakedgoods.blogspot.com

    Monday, February 01, 2010


    A few days ago I went to my friend Sam Weinreb's apartment to learn how to make tofu. Sam has been making tofu for years as LOCAL TOFU. He is now semi-retired and wants to teach people how to make tofu in their homes. This is something I have always wanted to know how to do and now I know how. A few days later I made some by myself at home. One of the by-products of tofu making is Okara which is essentially the ground up soy beans that have been squeezed out to make the initial soy milk from which tofu is made. Okara is used in a lot of ways and one way is in the making of soy burgers. I came up with my own recipe for a soy burger and think it is really good tasting. If you want to know how to make tofu send a message and I will post the process. Scroll down for the recipe for my soy burger.

    Sam's back while he is grinding the soy beans.
    Here is what Sam's tofu looks like in a package. It is not made in his home.
    Here is what the curds of tofu look like freshly made. You can still see the whey in the pot.
    Okara (close up)
    Here is the tofu I made after it was pressed it a bit.


    It is recommended to toast the Okara in order to dry it out. So spread it out on a sheet pan and put it into a 350  F. oven for about 20 minutes. Move the Okara around after about 10 minutes. Don't brown it. The flaxseeds should be freshly ground. They also serve as a substitute for eggs once liquid is added. There is no wheat in this mixture. It is also vegan.

    1 red onion, thinly sliced
    2 carrots, grated
    2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    grapeseed oil
    2 cups Okara, toasted
    1/2 cup walnuts
    1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, ground
    1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground
    1/4 cup flaxseeds, ground
    1/4 cup oat flour
    1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
    1 teaspoon turmeric, freshly ground, or 1/2 teaspoon powdered
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 tablespoon Black Soy sauce
    olive oil spray

     Put about 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil into a frying pan, warm then saute the onion, carrots and garlic until soft. Season and put into a food processor.

    Add all the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until finely ground.  Add water to the mixture so that it is moist and holds together. I used about 1/2 cup of water but the mixture could use some more. Take out of the processor and place into a bowl. Knead together well with your hands. You can cover it at this point and let it rest about 20 minutes, or proceed immediately. Letting it rest will bring out the flavors.

      Form the mixture into patties about the size of a hamburger. They hold together pretty well. Place all the patties on to an oiled sheet pan.  Lightly spray the tops. Place into a preheated 350F. degree oven for 20 minutes turning them over after 10 minutes. They are ready to eat. You can refrigerate them and warm them up in a lightly oiled frying pan for about 10 minutes or your favorite way of warming a soy burger. Makes 4-5 soy burgers.

    Here is what it looks like on some whole grain bread with ketchup, red onion & lettuce.

    Sliced in half. Looks just like meat! REALLY DELICIOUS!


    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Cooking on the River

    This from a lesson I gave several weeks ago and just getting to writing about it now. People tend to get freaked out about fish if I can be colloquial here... They say fish comes out 'dry.' Or they overcook it. Yes, that WILL make it dry. Or they avoid cooking it altogether.  I'll admit to having had similar concerns. Fish is delicate but also firm. One of my favorite ways to cook fish is to steam it. No more problem with dryness. Do you have a steamer? Just that metal thing that folds up, eh? Well, if you absolutely have to, but don't forget that you will have to cut up the fish to fit around the sides of the circle. Not the best solution. Bamboo baskets with lids are made for the purpose of steaming. You need to line the baskets with something, like cabbage leaves, or you can steam on a plate inserted into the bamboo steamer. Or, if you have a wok, you can place something like a tin can (empty) on the bottom, then place what you are steaming in a plate on top of the can, cover and steam. Or, get a cake rack you can place in the wok. There are also the three-tiered steamers that I like the best and can be found in some Thai groceries; they're inexpensive and made out of aluminum. Or, be inventive - sometimes that's the best way to go - use what you have. Take the challenge.

    This is simple and delectable. Enjoy it with some stir-fried bok choy and garlic slivers, and freshly steamed Jasmine rice.  Or a boiled potato that has been boiled in soy sauce and dashi...oh, yes.

    1 to 2 pounds of a fresh whole fish or fillets (mostly white-fleshed fish)
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    2 Tablespoons rice wine or sherry (Shaoxing, Sake)

    Make certain that the fish you purchase can fit in the steamer you have or trim it to fit.
    Smear the fish with wine and salt and let sit 5 minutes. Place the fish on a plate and place in the steamer that has water boiling gently at its bottom. Steam the fish on the plate until done which should be about 7 to 12 minutes, maybe a little more. If you are using fillets you can easily see that the fish is now opaque. Done. While it's steaming you can make the sauce or make it before steaming. Up to you.

    1 Tablespoon roasted sesame oil mixed with
    2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (grapeseed, sunflower, olive)
    1/4 cup, or to taste, fresh ginger, peeled then finely julienned
    1/4 cup scallions (about 3), groomed white and green parts, finely julienned
    3 Tablespoons  good quality soy sauce
    1/2 teaspoon sugar, or any sweetener (not artificial though)
    2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
    Garnish: cilantro leaves, chopped

    Heat the oils to hot in a small saucepan or frying pan add the ginger and stir fry briefly, add the scallions and continue heating, about 5 seconds. Turn off the heat. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Keep the sauce hot. When the fish is ready pour it over the fish. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and/or raw scallions.

    Now that was fairly simple to accomplish. Let's try another one. The lesson included baking a whole fish in a piperade (pea-purr-ahd).  A piperade is a combination of bell peppers, tomatoes, onions. A piperade is most frequently mixed with eggs. Here we make the piperade, pour it over the whole fish, and bake it. You can add some almost-done boiled potatoes to the pan.


    2 onions, thinly sliced, about 3 cups
    1/4 cup olive oil 
    2 green bell peppers or poblanos, gutted and cut in strips
    4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
    2 tomatoes, peeled and deseeded, coarsely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon, or to taste, sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon, freshly ground black pepper or Aleppo pepper
    1/2  ground cayenne pepper, optional
    pinch sugar
    1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    4 fillets with skin, or a whole fish, cleaned
    parsley, 4 stems

    Preheat 450 F. degree oven. 
    Use a mandoline to slice the onions. Warm the olive oil and add the onions, peppers and garlic to cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.Stir in  the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar. Cover and reduce the heat. Stir occasionally until all the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Taste the piperade for seasoning.

     If you are using a whole fish make three angled cuts on each side. Coat the fish with some olive oil, salt and pepper, outside and inside. Stuff some parsley stems into the fish and maybe a few slivers of garlic, too. Take a ceramic or metal baking pan, smear a little oil where you are going to place the fish, then place the whole fish, or the fillets skin side down, in the pan. Smother it with the piperade. Place into the hot oven and bake about 15 minutes. Take out and check for doneness. Remove the parsley from the fish.  Place the fish on a warmed platter and spoon the piperade over it. Garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.  Serve hot.

    If you don't want to cook the fish in an oven then use a nonstick pan with warm oil. Place the fish in the pan and cook until the skin is crisp and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Turn it over and cook until it is opaque, about another 2 minutes. Place the piperade in the center of a warmed platter. Lay the fish on top. Garnish and serve.

    Whoopie! Dinner! I know you want a picture. And I want to prepare this again. If anyone does make this dish do me a favor  take a picture and send it to me.

    Okay, one more for now. 


    This dish consists of slightly sauteed ingredients, some liquids, and then put into a parchment or aluminum pouch and sealed. you can make the pouches in advance then refrigerate them. Bake in the oven  on a sheet pan for about 10-15 minutes. Take out the pouches and place on a warmed platter. let each person open their own pouch so they can experience the waft of steamy aromas. What you add to the pouch is your own choice. The list here contains just suggestions.

    Preheat the oven for 400 F.

    Salmon or other filleted fish
    Carrot, cut julienne strips or tournee, lightly sauteed
    Turnip, cut julienne strips or tournee
    Green peas
    Snow peas, strings removed, lightly sauteed
    Roasted garlic or garlic slivers
    Chopped shallots, slightly sauteed
    Tofu, cubed, or cubed and grilled
    Scallions, 2-inch pieces, slightly sauteed
    Potato, peeled, cubed and blanched
    Fish broth, white wine or sake
    Soy sauce
    Basil or thyme or parsley leaves, whole or chopped
    Lime or lemon juice and zest
    Thin slices of citrus
    Oil or unsalted butter
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    Take a combination of ingredients, not too much, not too little, add some liquid and some fat, salt and pepper each element. Cut the parchment in a heart shape  or use a sheet of aluminum foil. Put your selection of ingredients on one side and seal well (according to your instructors instructions). You can refrigerate them at this point. Take them out of the refrigerator and pop into the oven about 15 minutes before you want to serve them. Place on a sheet pan and bake about 10-12 minutes. The parchment should puff up. Serve in the pouch.

    We made a few more things but I'm tired and hungry now and, besides I am not going to give you all my fish recipes. And President Obama is giving his State of the Fish Fry speech tonight. So later.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010


     Get ready for Valentine's Day 
    with a bit of Erotic Food Lore

    I didn't make this up, really.

    Oysters: documented as aphrodisiac by Romans. Resemble genitals.
    Avocado: “Ahuacuati” trans.: testicles tree. Resembles genitals.
    Almond: passion and fertility. Aroma said to excite women.
    Prawns: Shellfish considered aphrodisiac
    Walnuts: Romans again - threw walnuts at weddings - believed they held powers of fertility
    Garlic: healing aid and stimulant. Dedicated to Ceres - goddess of fertility
    Truffles: Stimulate and sensitize the skin to touch
    Pomegranate: the love apple
    Honey: Guards against sterility and impotence and stimulates and strengthens
    Ginger: Oil enlivens and stimulates body and mind
    Aniseed: Greeks and Romans believed it had special powers. 
    Sucking on seed increases desire.
    Celery Seed: Stimulates pituitary gland and releases good scent
    Asparagus: Phallic shape
    Arugula: added to grated orchid bulbs and parsnip.
    Vanilla: Scent increases lust, especially with chocolate
    Pine Nuts: Rich in Zinc. Used in love potions
    Saffron: stimulates erogenous zones, excess causes uncontrollable laughter
    Chocolate:  the king of aphrodisiacs. “Nourishment of the gods”
    Gold: Stimulant and fortifier
    Strawberries and Raspberries: invite love. Described as erotic ‘fruit nipples’
    Bananas: erotic shape and erotic energy. Rich in B vitamins for sex hormones.
    Basil: stimulates sex drive and boosts fertility. Sense of well being.
    Carrots: Phallus shape. Aids seduction.
    Coffee: Coffee beans stimulate body and mind
    Coriander seed: stimulant
    Liquorice: Women’s aphrodisiac
    Mustard: stimulating effect on sexual glands
    Nutmeg: seed , stimulates
    Pineapple: rich in Vit C., potent with rum and honey
    And sometimes Artichokes, Olives and Mushrooms