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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Friday, November 25, 2011


Cooking Lessons

Give the gift of cooking lessons.

Give the greatest gift of all - learning how to cook for yourself and others especially in indifferent economic times. Cook at home and save tons of money and get to eat in a much healthier fashion.  Gift Certificates are available. Take the class along with your friend.

Cooking on the River is offering Special Recession Rates for individual and two person cooking lessons in the students own home (within a 30 mile radius). 

One hour lessons for 1-2 people:  $59.99
Two hour lesson for 1-2 people: $119.99
Three hour lesson for 1-2 people: $139.99

Includes all groceries necessary for the lesson. Does not include tolls and parking fees, if applicable.

Learn knife skills. Techniques. Specialties are Mediterranean, Tuscan, French, Indian, Jewish, Fish, Grains.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


One more Thanksgiving recipe:
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 (Trader Joe's). 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 combination of nuts (not peanut).

Sweet Potatoes - about 6 medium
Maple Syrup, preferably Grade B
Fresh ginger, peeled
Ground dried ginger
fresh nutmeg, grated
Compound maple/ginger butter - recipe below

Unsalted butter, room temperature

Organic Sweet Potatoes (or use Yams)
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Maple/Ginger Compound Butter:
Mix a softened stick of unsalted butter with about a 2 tablespoons maple syrup and about a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated. Mix well and place on some waxed paper or plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Place in refrigerator or freezer until needed.

Topping Crust:
1-1/2 cups of pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, optional

Rough grind of the pecans.
The sweet potatoes can either be peeled, boiled and mashed, or peeled and cut into wedges the long way. Use about half a potato per person or more to have leftovers.

Boil Potatoes
Boil then drain
If using mashed sweet 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 about a 1/2 cup of maple syrup and grated fresh ginger to taste, about 1 teaspoon ground dried ginger, about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt. Mix well and add in about four 1/4-inch slices of the Maple/Ginger Compound Butter.
Put potatoes through a food mill or mash really well.
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 compound butter pieces on top. Place into the 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.

Smear dish with plain butter.
Add mashed sweets to baking dish.
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. Put the topping over the wedges and press down to fill in the gaps. Put some maple butter pieces on top. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft (may be less time). Test with the point of a knife.
Cover with topping and pieces of compound butter.
The dish will freeze well and can be reheated!

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Monday, November 21, 2011



Everyone's calling and asking..."what should I make"...you would think that this was the first Thanksgiving. In some ways it is. Either you make everything exactly the same year after year or you want to have something new.

Some friends came by the other day for a paella. I had just purchased a paella pan and wanted to experiment a bit. To start I made a selection of tapas or appetizers. I didn't photograph while I was cooking -- too nerve racking. These are each mostly very simple but with lots of variety. For dessert I made a Chestnut Cake (Rose Levy Berenbaum) covered with a chocolate ganache. I served it with a Chestnut puree and some Rum Raisin ice cream. We drank lots of wine...and enjoyed a post prandial promenade around the block.

Here is the list and a few recipes and photographs:

Celery Root Remoulade
Melon, Artichoke and Hard Salami
Garlicky Mushrooms
Green Beans with Pine nuts
Sweet and Sour Beets
Spicy Oil-cured Black Olives

Celery Root Remoulade  
 serves 4-6

1 egg yolk
1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large celery root or 2 medium, peeled
2 tablespoons flat-leafed parsley, minced, optional

Whisk together the egg yolk and mustard. While whisking, pour in 1 teaspoon oil a few drops at a time to create a thick mixture. Continue whisking, adding oil in a thin stream
1 teaspoon at a time, until sauce is thick and creamy. Whisk in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt then cover with plastic warp and chill. Yes, this is mayonnaise.

Using a mandoline or a large knife, cut celery root into 1/8-inch thin slices. Stack 2-3 celery root slices and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch matchsticks. Repeat. Transfer julienned celery root and remaining lemon juice to a large bowl; toss to combine. Add reserved remoulade and toss. Cover salad; chill until celery root wilts slightly, about 30 minutes.

Garnish with parsley.

Sweet and Sour Red Beets

2 beets
about 2 tablespoons each  of sugar or honey, and white vinegar

Boil the beets in water to cover until they are soft enough to slip a fork into. Cover with ice water and peel the skin off. When cool enough to handle, dice into small cubes.

Mix the sugar and vinegar in a small bowl, taste. Mix until you get the right balance of sweet and sour then pour over the beets. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or put into a jar and leave for a couple of days.

Garlicky Mushrooms

1 package of white mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons minced parsley
salt and pepper

Rinse the mushrooms and cut the stems even with the bottom of the mushroom. If some are large, cut them in half. The mushrooms will shrink after cooking.

Pour the oil into a non-stick frying pan and heat. Add the mushrooms and toss gently. Add the garlic. Cook until the mushrooms cook through and release their liquids. Stir in the parsley. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

This can be refrigerated and reheated. Serve warm.

Melon, Artichokes and Hard Salami

1 cantaloupe melon, peeled, cut into large dice
frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's)
hard Salami (or artisanal chorizo), outside paper removed, diced small
olive oil
Dressing: 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar,
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, salt and pepper.

Use your own discretion as to how much you want to make. There should probably be a bit more melon than artichoke hearts, but combine how you like.

Heat the olive oil and add the artichoke hearts, saute until slightly browned. Cool.

Toss the melon, artichoke hearts and salami or chorizo together.

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar,  mustard, and salt and pepper, whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the melon mixture and toss well. Serve room temperature.

Green Beans and Pine Nuts

about 1 pound fresh green beans, topped and cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces, roughly
1 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika
1 tablespoon  olive or canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
mint and oregano, fresh if you have, or use dried, a few pinches of each, or to taste
Dressing: 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, salt and pepper

Boil the beans for about 5 minutes in salted boiling water then drain and run some cold water over them. They should still be crispy. Place in a bowl large enough to contain them.

Toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan until lightly browned then add the smoky paprika and add to the green beans.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pan and add the shallots then garlic to wilt. Add to the green beans along with the mint and oregano. Toss.

Mix the dressing but only add it right before you are going to serve the green beans. The acid in the vinegar will change their color. Mix the vinegar with the salt and pepper then whisk in the oil....you know: make a vinaigrette. [By the way, it's vin-ah-gret and not

Spiced Oil-cured Black Olives

1 jar oil-cured black olives
zest of half a lemon
a pinch of red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, if you have some
a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil

Mix all together.

I didn't serve this that night...but here is a nice cheese appetizer...that is very easy.

Easy Cheese Appetizer

1 log of plain goat cheese
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon z'atar and/ or fresh thyme, oregano, marjoram
Extra-virgin olive oil

Place the goat cheese, heavy cream and herbs into a food processor and blend until smooth. Into a ceramic serving bowl place a sprinkling of the fresh herbs on the bottom.
Scrape out the goat cheese mixture and smooth the top with a spoon. Sprinkle some more z'atar (or smoky paprika) and fresh herbs on top and drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with a crusty bread and/or raw vegetables.

Thursday, November 10, 2011



The day started off threatening to rain but did an about cloud and not only did the sun come out but the temperature went up to 67 degrees. This was great but it confused the bees. The bees surrounded me and all the pots and food as I did the demo. Apparently the bees are usually in their hives this time of year but any temperature above 50 brings them out. The problem is that there are no flowers and nothing for them to eat...so they came to my cooking demo!! They were rather frantic though and some of them died in the flames of the butane burners.

I made two dishes. A STONE SOUP, which is soup that is made from whatever anyone gives you. I went around to the vendors and asked for contributions. I also made a SAVORY AND SWEET APPLES ON TOAST.  Since I had no assistant there are no photographs but here are the recipes as I improvised them:


Canola or Olive oil
3-4 skinless chicken thighs, diced (Dines Farm)
1/2 red onion, small dice (R & G Produce)
2 carrots, medium dice (R&G)
2 celery stalks , medium dice (R&G)
1 large bunch of mushroom, chopped (Piopinno mushrooms - Madura Farms)
1 potato, peeled, medium dice (R&G)
1 sweet potato, peeled, medium dice (Taliaferro - organic)
1 tomato, peeled, deseeded, chopped (R&G)
1 small Napa Cabbage or Bok Choy, chopped (Taliaferro - organic)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (Taliaferro - organic)
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence (I brought it with me)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil and saute the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the onion, then the carrots and celery. Stir. Add the mushrooms, then the potatoes. Stir to saute. Then add the cabbage and parsley. Add a little more salt and pepper and the herbes de Provence. When it is all hot and steamy add enough water to cover all the vegetables by about one to two inches. Bring to a boil and simmer. That's it. Good vegetables/ingredients = Good soup.
Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Piopinno Mushrooms

Then I made something with apples. Here is what I did:


1/2 red onion, sliced (R&G)
2 sundried tomatoes, chopped small, with their oil (brought with me)
1 small Napa cabbage, chopped (Taliaferro Farms)

Saute the onion to caramelize, then add a bit more oil from the tomatoes and the tomatoes. Stir. Add the chopped cabbage and mix together until it wilts. Remove to a bowl.

2 Granny Smith apples, cored but not peeled and sliced into thin segments (Concklin Farm)
2-3 tablespoons raw honey (Rick @ Hummingbird Farms)
1 cup Doc's Hard Apple Cider (Warwick Winery)

Saute the apples in a little oil - whatever you have, or butter - until they are slightly cooked. Drizzle with a little bit of honey. Add the onion/cabbage mixture in with the apples. Pour the hard apple cider over it all and let it cook off.

Meanwhile, take a baguette and make some toast. I got the bread from Meredith Bakery and Panzarella Foods and used a Portuguese tin toaster I bought at the Museum of Modern Art. Don't be fooled by that, it's a very rustic tool made of a square of tin with some holes and a screen on top. Put it over a flame and it makes great toast. You have to watch it because it will burn quickly.

Also, got some nice cheese slivers from Valley Shepherd that we enjoyed on the toast.

Put the Apple mixture on top of the toast. Eat. Drink more Hard Apple Cider with it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Mushroom, Blue Cheese & Fennel Galette

This past Saturday I taught a small cooking class of six participants in a home kitchen. The day started off with a freak snow storm that was totally unexpected. All but one of the six arrived. The small river village that I live in, Piermont, was an exception as, for some unknown reason the storm spared this village though all around was covered with snow and people endured days of being without electricity. The menu for the class consisted of this galette, a Bouillabaisse, and a Plum Clafoutis. I had made the dough for the galette earlier and brought it with me. For some reason, the dough did not cook up well and fell apart like sand. Yesterday I made the same recipe and it was fine. As the instructor of this class, I was not happy. Two of the participants just couldn't stop chattering and this made it really difficult for the others to follow. I was not very skillful in getting them to quell and I almost could not teach. I never found a way to interrupt their conversation.  My experience proves that when I am in a situation that irritates me and I don't love the people, the food turns bad.

We also made a Bouillabaisse with fresh red snapper, sea bass, mussels, clams, squid, and head-on shrimp. It was accompanied with two types of Rouille to show that you can make Rouille, a saffron mayonaisse  mixture even from breadcrumbs and no eggs.

But the day got worse because the electricity went out just about the time we were going to make the Clafoutis, so that never happened. The recipe and photographs for that are in the previous post...so scroll down past the Thanksgiving menu and you will find it.

Then it got worse still as the home got it it's water from a well...so there was no water to do any clean-up and I had to take all the dirty pots and utensils home to clean.

The next day the sun come out.

Here is the recipe for the Galette, a rustic open type of pie, and some photos:

Savory Galette Dough
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
(or use 2 cups of all-purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 tablespoons ice water (water with ice cubes)

Place everything but the ice water into a food processor. Buzz/Pulse about six times until the pieces are distributed. Gradually add the ice water until the dough holds together. You may not need all the ice water, or, depending upon how dry the dough is, you might need a little, and I mean a little, more. Take out and place on a floured board. Pull and knead together gently. Form into a ball, then flatten into a disc about 1-inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

When ready to make the galettes, take out of the refrigerator and leave for about 15 minutes then roll into a circle about 1/8th of an inch thick. Trim the outer circle, if you like. The photo above shows how rustic it can be.

The Filling:
1 pound of mixed mushrooms
1/2 fresh fennel, shaved thin, tough parts cut off
Blue cheese, crumbled (extra-creamy Blue, Gorgonzola, etc.)
2-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 egg mixed with a tablespoon of water

Sauteed Mushrooms: Shiitake, Oyster, Paris

Sauteed fennel

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Choose a mixture of shiitake, oyster, white, crimini, and portabello mushrooms, or, if you are feeling very flush add some chanterelles, maitakes and other pricey wild mushrooms. Slice or break them up into thin bit-sized pieces then saute in batch in about 2 tablespoons of heated olive oil, add the shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme. Saute until the liquid begins to leave the mushrooms. Adding some salt will make the mushrooms weep out a bit. Don't add too much salt because the blue cheese you will add later is very salty. Add a few grinds of pepper.

In another pan, take the thin shaved pieces of fennel and saute them briefly in olive oil. Add some of the fennel fronds.

Preparing the Galette:

After you have rolled out the dough place some sauteed fennel in the center of the circle.

Then add the mushrooms:

Mix the crumbled blue cheese on top, or mix them in with the mushrooms. Leave about a 1-inch border. Turn the sides of the dough up and over the ingredients. Leave the center open. You are not enclosing the filling. Brush the turned up part with the egg mixture. Place on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment.
This is roughly what it should look like prior to baking.

Here it is cooked. I sprinkled a little bit of freshly ground pepper on the dough.

Bake until crispy, golden and bubbly. Remove and serve hot.
As you can see, a galette is a rustic pie. The irregularity and insouciance is part of its charm.