Award-winning Chef Phyllis Segura has cooked for people in all walks of life both in the U.S. and E.U. After entertaining and cooking for many years in her own residence she decided to cook for others.

Chef Phyllis had previous careers as a magazine founder, textile designer and painter. 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 Chef Phyllis cooks daily fare for private clients and instructs and offers cooking demonstrations regularly. She specializes in weekday meals, small elegant dinner parties, and intimate dinners - plated or buffet, and cooking lessons. As of September 2013 she is offering cooking classes in her home kitchen (and cookbook library) in Spencertown, NY- Columbia County.

The chef prepares a wide variety of cuisines. (Whereas a restaurant chef might have a specialty that is served daily, a Personal Chef applies their skills to the requirements and tastes of their clients.)

Vegetarian, Vegan, Macrobiotic, Kosher, grain-free, dairy-free, blood type, diabetic and other special diets are available. Chef prefers to use organic, pesticide and antibiotic free, and local products as much as possible. Consultations with nutritionists are recommended for special needs.

Chef Phyllis has been cooking for special people since 2000. References and a rate sheet are available.

Send her an email: info@cookingontheriver.com

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Sunday, August 24, 2014


Greetings. After an imposed move out of Spencertown, NY and a journey to Nova Scotia (details to come) I have settled in Saugerties, NY along the Esopus Creek. Do I change the name of Cooking on the River to Cooking on the Creek? Maybe so. Fresh start and all of that.

There are actually picnic benches and grilling pits in the Waterfront Park. I could begin some classes there until it gets too cold and windy. That could be fun.

The possibility of holding cooking classes in my home kitchen is gone. I did enjoy doing it but finding a suitable location has been a deterrent. Right now I have to think about what the next steps will be. I am certainly going to continue working on my cookbook that shows you how to use the principles of meditation in the preparation of food. Further work as a personal and private chef in this area: Saugerties/Woodstock/Kingston is a possibility. Reminds me that I need to change the information on my web page. So many details.

Next week I will post some photos from the Saugerties Farm Market as I try to settle in to my new home location...along the creek. I'll be making a Summer Berry Pudding to bring to a gathering in Woodstock. It's one of those super unctuous things and it's the right moment for making it. I'll be gathering strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week...well from the store.

If you have friends in this area have them join this blog.

Tonight and tomorrow night the Arm of the Sea puppet theater is performing in the park. I've got a great seat from my window. The crickets and frogs have been giving them some audible competition. The puppets and sets are sensational.

Monday, January 27, 2014



I learned to make Ribollita when I was studying in Florence. It’s a Tuscan soup. The name means reboiled. Usually some day old bread is added when it’s reboiled and then baked in the oven. I just made an approximation today. Maybe tomorrow I will add some bread. This soup does not take long to make as it’s done as soon as the vegetables are cooked. Usually I make this totally vegetarian but I’d made some beef stock the other day so I used it in this soup.

The weather outside is frightful but after eating this soup I feel happy inside and well nourished.


Olive oil
2 carrots, small dice
2-3 stalks celery with leaves, small dice
1 shallot, small dice
1 small red onion, small dice
1 large garlic clove, small dice
2 cups sliced cabbage, any kind
1 carrot, cut in coins
1-1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 quart stock or water
1 stalk rosemary, leaves chopped
3-4 stems fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 potato with skin, large cubes
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
3-4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
black pepper from a mill
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a medium sized soup pot, heat. 

Add the carrots, celery, shallot and onion and sauté until the vegetables are softened but not browned, adding a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. 

Add the garlic, sauté 3 minutes. 

Add the cabbage, sauté 5 minutes. 

Pour in the crushed tomatoes and stock. Add another pinch of salt and pepper. 

Add the herbs: rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. 

Let the soup cook for about 5 minutes, then add the potato. Let cook for 3 minutes then stir in the kale. 

Put half the cannellini beans in a bowl with a little bit of water and puree either with an immersion blender or standing blender. Stir the puree into the soup. 

When everything is cooked through add the rest of the whole cannellini beans and chickpeas. 

Bring to a boil and stir in the parsley. 

Taste to see if you need to add another pinch or two of salt and pepper. 

Put into bowls to serve and sprinkle with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

[The next class at The Red Door Cooking Workshop and Library in Spencertown, NY is on February 11th. We will be making Gratins. Go to www.reddoorcookingworkshop.blogspot.com for a complete listing. I look forward to hosting you.]

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Corn Pudding For Your Thanksgiving 2013


1 package frozen white peg corn, or fresh yellow corn*
1-1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk, or whole cow's milk
2 whole roasted garlic bulbs**
3 whole eggs
1 yolk
2T melted ghee, cooled

Preheat oven to 350F

Process all ingredients. Bake in a greased dish until slightly brown on top and custard is set. About 30 minutes.

*Avoid using genetically-modified varieties.

**To roast garlic: Cut the top off whole bulb exposing the separate cloves in configuration. Observe and admire the cluster. Place into a sheet of aluminum foil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle olive oil on top. Close packet by crinkling the foil together. Place in oven for about 30 minutes. To use in the recipe: cool briefly and squeeze the melted garlic out of the bulb into the rest of the ingredients. Breath in the aromas.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

scroll down for the schedule.

This is the blog for Phyllis Segura as well.
I will be posting more recipes here but I will leave the schedule at
the above blog. The way that blogs work, as I am sure you know, is
that you put the most recent information at the top. If I do that you
won't be able to find the cooking workshop schedule easily.

Come join me in a cooking class really soon. I look forward to meeting
you and having fun in the kitchen.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


826 State Route 203 #4, Spencertown, NY 12165


Welcome to The Red Door. Come back to home cooking and eating unprocessed foods. Join Chef Instructor Phyllis Segura:

Farmer’s Markets are available until the end of October.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8 – 6 to 8PM SAVING SUMMER’S BOUNTY-1   Brandied Fruits, Eggplant and Butternut Squash Caponata, Preserved Lemons.  Saving tomatoes. Putting sunshine in a jar.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13 - 3 to 5 PM  ALL-VEGETABLES  Cannellini Beans with garlic and sage; Yellow Lentils and Chickpeas with onion, mustard, turmeric and lemon juice; Green Beans with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley; Grilled Eggplant with sumac, mint, parsley, olive oil.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22 - 6 to 8 PM  SAVING SUMMER’S BOUNTY-2   Techniques of pickling and fermenting: cucumbers, beets, cabbage. Dehydrating and Freezing.  Compound butters.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 273 to 5 PM  CHICKEN AND DUCK  Lyon-style Chicken and Vinegar, Duck with Spice Dust and Cherry Sauce

Daylight savings time begins on Nov 3rd.  Thanksgiving is Thursday, Nov 28 and Hanukah begins Wednesday, Nov 27.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6 –6 to 8 PM  CHINESE TAKE-OUT & STIR-FRYING  We will make dishes you can make at home better than take-out. Kung Pao Chicken, Tomato Beef. Greens

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 93 to 5 PM   MOROCCAN-INSPIRED & TAGINES   Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemon, Chermoula Sauce

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 126 to 8 PM    SAVORY & SWEET CREPES   Crepes are simple to make and can be frozen. We’ll make the classic Crepe Suzettes, as well as Savory Crepes with Artichoke and Spinach, and Sweet Crepes with Banana and Nutella, Strawberry fillings.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 173 TO 5:30 PM   THE CONTEMPLATIVE KITCHEN  Applying principles of meditation to the preparation of food. Various steamed Dumplings: Momos.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 266 to 8 PM   POTATO, ZUCCHINI OR CARROT PANCAKES  We’ll be frying, tasting and freezing these.

Dec 21st - First Day of Winter.  New Classes begin in January 2014.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3 - 6 to 8:30 PM  CLASSIC APPETIZERS  Bagna Cauda, Blini, Pissaladiere, Fried Mozzarella Balls with Prosciutto

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto, Winter Salad with Poppyseed Vinaigrette, Marscarpone Stuffed Poached Pears


Classic Ribollita, Black Bean, and Chicken Egg Drop.  A class can be added for creating Basic Stocks.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20 - 6 to 8 PM COOKING WITH BEER  Beer and Cream Scalloped Potatoes, Beef Carbonade, Beer and Cheddar Soup

·       All classes are geared to the students level. Classes are limited to 4 people. Once a class is full an additional date can be added if there are 4 people. Advanced classes can be scheduled. Teens welcome.

·       All times are suggestions and can be custom altered. For private groups of four a specific date can be arranged.

·       Class fees for 3-4 are $45, plus a $5 supply fee, per person, unless otherwise indicated. Bring a knife and apron.

·       Private classes are available for 1 or 2 people. Class fee is $70, plus a $5 supply fee, per person.

·       All classes include take home recipes and eating what you made! The library is on the premises.
Be entertained! Cook, laugh and learn together!

REGISTER: 518-392-1947/845-653-1145
email: phylseg@gmail.com


826 State Route 203, #4, Spencertown, NY 12165

Saturday, August 03, 2013


It's blueberry season around here. You can even pick your own. I'm going to give it a try but either early in the morning or after the sun peaks. Meanwhile, I purchased a quart or more already picked. Made an experiment with Blueberry Custard pie last night. Decided to make two - double the fun. And needed to try out my new oven to see how even and hot it gets. I'm also trying to work out the choreography in this kitchen; it takes a while to get your moves right.

I'm going to give you the recipe for the pie but only if you ask. Why? Because I'm too lazy right now and I'm waiting for some friends to come by and eat the pie and I've got to make some tea. IF YOU WOULD LIKE THIS RECIPE WRITE SOMETHING IN THE COMMENTS AND I WILL RESPOND.

Without being specific, I made a crust the usual way, flour, butter, bit of water. I bought salted butter in error and it might have helped frankly because the crust is about the flakiest I've ever made.

I used about a quart and more of blueberries. It looked like a lot in the bowl but once I put them into the pie shell it was only one layer, which turned out to be enough.

I sprinkled the blueberries with a bit of flour and arrowroot powder. By a bit I mean about a tablespoon full.

Then I prepared a custard with creme fraiche, sugar (the white stuff), an egg, well 2 eggs since I was making two, and also about a tablespoon of toasted and ground up almonds and hazelnuts, plus a capful of vanilla extract. I make my own vanilla extract with vanilla strips and vodka. It takes about 3 months but after that you just pour in more vodka. Mix well.

Roll out the pie dough really thin. Really. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bottom of the pie in the oven, having pricked it with a fork in several places, and bake for about 8 minutes. Take out and put on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Roll out some of the dough meanwhile and cut into strips.

Then put the blueberries in, spread them around, pour the custard over. Cross-hatch the strips over the top of the pie. I also put some around the edge...you'll see in the photo. I baked it over 30 minutes...until golden as it appears. The blueberries and the custard mingled together to form a whole.

The thing that is interesting, and surprising to me, about this pie is that the bottom crust is crispy. It might be because of being so thin. I tasted it after it cooled and then again in the morning thinking it would be soggy, but it was still crispy. So no more guey cornstarchy gloppy pie!

Here are the photos:

Here is the recipe:
Blueberry Custard Pie

Pre-heat oven to 400° F.

Pie Crust
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 sticks salted butter, cold and cut into pieces
3-6 tablespoons ice cold water

Place the flour in a food processor and buzz a couple of times. Add the butter and buzz until just flaky. Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time. If the flour is dry you will need
all 6 tablespoons. Take out on to a floured board. The dough should be slightly most and
pliable. Knead together and mound into a disc about 6 inches by 1-1/2 inches high. Wrap in plastic or waxed paper and put into the freezer for about 10 minutes or the refrigerator up to overnight.

Roll out the rest of the dough and cut strips with a zig-zag cutter or a knife.

The Filling

2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

Wash the blueberries and put into a bowl. Toss with the flour and arrowroot.

The Custard

1/3 cup crème fraiche
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon hazelnuts
1 tablespoon almonds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
Heavy Cream or 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Toast the nuts. You can use a cast-iron pan. Put them into a coffee grinder reserved for everything but coffee. Or if you have ground nuts, use them. Grind to a powder or paste.
Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk.

Take the pie dough out of the freezer and place on a flour sprinkled surface. Divide in half. Roll out to a very thin circle large enough for your pie pan. Place into the pie pan by rolling it up on the rolling pin and then unrolling it into the pan. Press down the sides and prick the bottom with a fork in several places. Place into the preheated oven on a sheet pan and back about 8-10 minutes. Take out and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.

Put the blueberries into the pre-baked shell. Pour the custard over. Place the dough strips across the top in a lattice and place some strips around the circumference of the pie, pressing down so that they stick. Brush some cream or an egg mixed with water over the dough.

Place in the middle of the oven on a sheet pan. Bake about 40 minutes or until the dough is golden and the custard and berries have set.

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