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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Monday, March 13, 2017


Poppyseed filled Hamantashen - one with and one without
 [Recipe alert: I posted an earlier version of this recipe some time back. This is the 2017 updated version. Mostly it relates with the manner in which the poppyseed filling is made. This is an easier version.]

This is one of those Jewish pastries made for a particular holiday, Purim. But nowadays you can find them everyday on the pastry shelves, even in your local supermarket. They are sometimes filled with prune or apricot pastes as well as the poppy seeds.

Purim and St. Patrick’s Day are very close together. One year I made Corned Beef and Cabbage and served Hamantashen for dessert. I like to use special foods to mark times of the year. It’s the ritualistic in me. Foods that are made once a year seem to mark certain times and help to create a memory of continuity and harmony.

Poppy seeds, a tiny seed, come both in black and white.  The black ones are used here.

This particular version is not too sweet. If you like to have them sweeter, add some more of that sweet stuff...sugar...to the dough and the filling, if you must. Remember though, that you are going to dust them with confectioner’s sugar later.

makes 36-40 cookies

Almond Dough

Mix together in a bowl:
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pulverized almonds (Trader Joe's ground almonds)

In another bowl (of a mixer, preferably), beat together until smooth:
1 cup or less of sugar
1 stick unsalted butter

Then add:
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract

Add dry (the flour mixture) to wet (the butter/sugar mixture). Mix until it forms a ball then take out on to a lightly floured surface. (I tried making this in a food processor. It’s possible. Add the dry ingredients, then the zest, eggs, add some orange juice if  too thick) Knead lightly until it holds together and is smooth and pliant, not stiff. Divide the dough into four sections. You can refrigerate it covered up to 24 hours. You can also use it right away. On a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll each section to about ¼-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter with a scalloped or straight edge, cut rounds in the dough. Pick up the scraps and knead them together, put aside.

Working one at a time, moisten the edge of the circle, using your finger, with a bit of water (put some in a small dish) so that the dough holds together. Put a full teaspoon of filling in the center. Pull up one arc of the circle into another, pinching the ends together, then pull up the third arc and pinch those ends together well. You don’t want them to open up when baked.  Leave an opening in the center where you can see the filling. You will have made a triangular shape with an open center. See photo.

Place on a sheet pan that is covered with parchment paper. Repeat with each circle. Roll out the other three sections of dough in the same manner. Knead the scraps from each section and keep re-rolling until most of the dough has been used.

Brush each hamantashen with the egg glaze. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, checking after 15 minutes, until slightly golden. Cool. Place on a grate to cool. Store in a closed container. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar to serve.

Egg glaze:
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream or water

Prune filling:
2 cups prune butter
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon orange zest
1-2 tablespoons orange juice or orange flower water
Mix until a smooth, soft paste.

Poppy Seed Filling:
3/4 cup poppy seeds
1 tablespoon, chia seeds (optional)
½ cup almond milk or orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup brown sugar
grated zest of ½ orange
juice of ½ lemon
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2/3 cup raisins, chopped
½ tablespoon brandy
½ tablespoon Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grind the poppy and chia seeds in a spice grinder in batches. Heat the seeds with the milk or orange juice. Add the other ingredients then cook it down with medium-heat until it becomes a thick paste. Cool. Can be made and refrigerated, covered, the day before. Serve sprinkled with confctioners sugar.

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