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, August 17, 2012


Caponata is more familiar as a dish made with eggplant. Here eggplant is used instead of the eggplant  try substituting butternut squash in the autumn. Using different seasonal vegetables keeps the tastebuds awake and surprised. This is simply a mouth-watering vegetable medley soaked in flavor. Taste at the finish to get the right balance of sweet and sour. Good as a starter with a crusty bread, or as a side dish.

2  red onions, peeled, quartered and sliced
½ - 3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 can tomato puree or peeled and seeded whole tomatoes
1⁄2 cup dry red wine
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 butternut squash, or 2 eggplants, ½-1 inch cubes
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 head celery, stalks separated and peeled, large dice
1⁄2 pound pitted green olives
1-2 tablespoons capers, preferably the salted capers, well rinsed
1⁄2 cup parsley, chopped
1⁄4-1/2 cup pine nuts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Saute, quartered and sliced onion in olive oil in a large thick bottomed saucepan. Add the tomatoes or tomato puree, wine and sugar. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, and stir occasionally.

Peel, seed and dice the squash or eggplant.  I left the peel on the eggplant.

Stir the vinegar into the saucepan, stir and scrape up from the bottom of the pan.

Add the eggplant or squash. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir to coat the squash with the sauce.

Blanch the diced celery (it is really important to peel the celery) in boiling water then drain and dip into ice water. Add to the mixture. 
Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. The eggplant should be soft and silky and cooked through.

Chop the olives, or just break them up with with your fingers. Stir in the capers, parsley, olives, and pine nuts for final five minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning. Add more vinegar or sugar if necessary. If you taste this immediately after it is made the vinegar will be the top note, if you let it rest for a day or two it will smooth out and loose it's bite.
Let the mixture sit and cool off the stove. This Caponata is better the next day. 
Remove from the saucepan and place in a jar or covered serving containers.

Serve room temperature with an additional flurry of salt and pepper, a drizzle of very good 
quality extra virgin olive oil, maybe some torn and tossed genoa basil leaves and several 
slices of crusty bread.

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