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

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

THE GRAND AIOLI

 THE VERY GRANDISSIMO AIOLI

THE AIOLI IS ON THE UPPER RIGHT

All summer, or so it seems, I have been thinking about making a "grand aioli" and finally got to do it last night as the long, hot summer has been winding down. I have been surprised by the amount of people who do not know what this is. It is a large array of freshly steamed or lightly boiled vegetables, some beans, of the season, with additions of white fish, like cod, and sometimes mussels and/or small octopus. All these things act simply as a delivery system for AIOLI, which is a garlicky mayonnaise, preferably made fresh.

I gathered my vegetable ingredients: fingerling potatoes from the farmer's market, green beans (not haricot vert, tho you could,  but whopping big fingers of green), large carrots (not baby carrots or newly pulled thin ones and certainly not those things called baby carrots you can buy in packages), a hefty cauliflower, a fennel bulb with fronds, small zucchini (the only kind I like because of fewer seeds).

Then I made some dried chickpeas in the pressure cooker that only took about 40 minutes. And they are oh-so-much-better than the canned variety. Though the canned ones, once rinsed and drained, are fine and I use them all the time, still when you do make some fresh you can taste the difference. I drained them and added extra-virgin olive oil, pimenton, salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I also chopped up some of the fennel fronds and tossed them in. Stir well. Pile on.

 I purchased some fresh cod.

First I made the Aioli. Alas, I must admit that I used the food processor. Though I have many mortar and pestle sets there was just not one large enough to do this task. I keep promising myself to make a trip to NYC Chinatown to purchase one of those large Thai sets...


THE AIOLI
3-6 large cloves of organic garlic, minced (not the stuff imported from China, okay?)
3 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Salt

With the processor running, drop the minced garlic in through the feeding tube. Add the 3 yolks, quickly followed by the lemon juice. Keep the processor running and slowly, slowly drizzle in the oil until it is all used. You should have a thick emulsion with a beautiful yellow and slightly green color. Stir in some salt. If you think it's too thick turn the processor on again and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of water. Check it. Taste it. See if it needs more lemon juice or water or salt. Take out and put into a non-reactive container, like glass or ceramic. Cover and refrigerate.


When you are ready to cook the vegetables. Put the potatoes into a large pot and add a little salt and enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. (Since all that is required is to boil all the vegetables to the perfect doneness your task and attention is well-defined.) Remove the potatoes to a platter when done.  (I like to slice them in half to serve.) Next, add the carrots, I have cut these fat ones on a very diagonal slant. Cook about 3-5 minutes. Done. Take out with a perforated spoon. Put on platter. Then the green beans, after they have been tipped and tailed. Cook until perfectly crisp and not toothy. Then the zucchini, cut in wide sections, for about 2 minutes - just a quick bath. The fennel that has been quartered will only take another 2 minutes. The cauliflower that has been cut into flowerettes to be submerged and cooked for 2-3 minutes. Don't make it too soft. Attention must be paid. What else, did I forget something? The choice of vegetables is really up to you. Maybe a sliced sweet potato would be nice...or save that for the autumn grand aioli...

The cod needs to be salted the day before. Rinse and dry. Then salt on both sides. Place in a bag and leave for 24 hours. When ready to cook it, rinse again and dry. To poach you can either use all white wine, or, as I did, about 1 cup of white wine and the rest water. Use a wide pan and cut the cod to fit. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that you don't see any more bubbles and slide the cod in to cook. The poaching liquid should cover the fish. Cook about 5 minutes.

THE PLATE

Everything should be warm, room temperature, not hot. If you have one large platter it's nice to arrange everything on it. I don't have one so I used an assortment of deep vessels. It's colorful and very lavish. Have a good white wine and maybe a warm crusty bread.  Everything should be clean and well-arranged. For color you can toss on some smiggens of chopped parsley and black olives.

Sit yourself down and gawk at the beauty presented before you. Enjoy this well because you have now figured out how to eat lots of vegetables and love every bite. It's soooo healthy. But please don't smear any of that Aioli on your face though you might well be tempted; it's so good.

Bon Bon Appetit!
Le plat du jour.



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