Category Archives: Ask Chef Phyllis

Sauce Garibaldi:
The Tricolored Sauce of Italy’s Unification

I could have just as easily titled this blog post “Why No One Turns Down a Dinner Invitation in Italy.” That’s right—no matter the hour, no one in their right mind would turn down a dinner invitation in Italy. In fact, my son Billy tells me that it would an insult to do so. During […]

Leftover Solutions:
White Meat Turkey

Ask Chef Phyllis This is the time of year I start thinking about turkey. I roast a large bird for our family (about 22–25 pounds), because they enjoy seeing a whole bird on the table, like a picture postcard. However, they don’t really enjoy the drumsticks and other dark meat, which we sometimes save for […]

Chickpeas and Their Uses

Ask Check Phyllis It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with chickpeas. But last week at a party, the hostess served not only hummus as the appetizer but also a chickpea soup. She said was an old seafood recipe from Tuscany. Can you shed some info on this delicious soup? It was a […]

The Lowdown on Tree Nuts and an Exceptional Pesto from Genoa

Ask Chef Phyllis I was gifted a tin with all kinds of nuts in it. I left it on a shelf in my pantry and forgot about it for many months. When I finally opened the tin, the nuts looked okay but most tasted nasty. The almonds were okay, but the pecans and pine nuts […]

Gluten-Free Pate a Choux for Cream Puffs

Ask Chef Phyllis No sooner had I finished my post on gluten-free pastry cream than I received a phone call about gluten-free dough…for cream puffs and eclairs. As you know, you can make both with the same dough (called pate a choux, or choux pastry). And since it has no sugar, you can make a […]

Pastry Cream (English, French and Italian)

Ask Chef Phyllis I need a recipe for a good, no-fail pastry cream for the Napoleons and creampuffs that, after many attempts, I’ve finally mastered with rice flour substituted for the wheat flour. But the pastry cream also has to be gluten free and fool proof. Is this too big an order? I have a […]

The Most Famous Sandwich at Quinn’s Inn

Once upon a time in New York City (which will always be my town), there was a little place in Queens called College Point—known by residents as the first town over the Whitestone Bridge. College Point is where I owned and ran a bar and grill with a name that may be a bit cutesy […]

Thai Beef Stir Fry Made Easy

Ask Chef Phyllis: I like Thai food and eat out at my favorite restaurant when I can. I live in Louisiana where seafood is abundant. I’m interested in a beef dish that is delicious and tender. Beef is my new favorite meat, but I’m not sure this dish will be easy to duplicate at home […]

Pate de Foie Gras in the Sky:
An Elegant, Bygone Time in Air Travel

After sitting for four-plus hours in a plane as it taxied from one runway to another at Denver International (due to inclement weather), it occurred to me that air travel isn’t the same animal as it used to be. My own thoughts—I’m bored out of my mind. We’ll never take off. It’s only a seventy-minute […]

Slow Cooker Summer:
Italian Beef in the Slow Cooker

Ask Chef Phyllis: It’s come to my attention after some reader emails that most of you think the slow cooker is a strictly wintertime vessel. After all, nothing sounds better on those cold winter mornings than coming home to chili con carne or a thick, hearty split pea soup. But to say that the slow […]

Safe Summertime Salads

Ask Chef Phyllis: Summer is nearly here, and I love cold, creamy, mayonnaise-based potato and macaroni salads when we go to the beach or on a picnic. But everyone says that it’s unsafe to keep them in a cooler for too long. Is this true? Do you have ideas that will make me feel better […]

What Makes Someone Who Cooks a Good Cook?

Ask Chef Phyllis A friend and I were talking about this the other day. My oh my—we had the same recipe for a church function, and we both followed it precisely. But mine was a disaster while hers was so good. I don’t enjoy cooking, and perhaps I fail at it because for me it’s […]

The Long and Short on Noodles

Ask Chef Phyllis I’m confused about noodles—egg noodles, no-yolk noodles, soba noodles, udon, ramen, rice noodles? There are even restaurants called “Noodles” to further confuse me. Are there any noodles that are wheat-free or gluten-free for sure? It seems to me that cooking noodles at home should be easy. Mine don’t taste as good as […]

Chapter Two: A Widow’s Time of Adjustment (and a Quiche Lorraine)

This may sound cliched, but there are some journeys you have to go on alone. Widowhood is one of them. And if you think widowhood isn’t easy, neither is chapter two: the Time of Adjustment. In my personal life experience, there’s never been a time when I’ve learned so much. What if I told you […]

Baking with Less Sugar—and More Vegetables

Ask Chef Phyllis: All I’ve been reading about—and hearing about on food TV shows—is that we should eat less sugar and cut out all artificial sweeteners. The new sugar-free products I don’t understand. I drank Diet Coke for years thinking it was good. What can I do to begin making healthy choices in my life? […]

Cauliflower That Kids Will Eat

Ask Chef Phyllis: It’s popular today to make pizza crust out of cauliflower rice, and I’ve seen it for sale in the produce section of my supermarket. I’ve tried sneaking vegetables into many of my children’s favorite foods, such as mac and cheese, with some success. Though cauliflower rice worked, cauliflower pizza crust didn’t fool […]

It’s All About the Frittata

Ask Chef Phyllis Our neighbors stopped by recently around lunchtime, and all I had in the house was eggs. I know that frittatas are so popular today, but what proportions make a good one? What kind of pan is best? My guests said that a cast-iron skillet is a good choice. Can you help? —Christine […]

Deviled Pork Chops with Simply Delicious Spicy Greens

Ask Chef Phyllis: Many years ago, my grandmother and great-aunt Theodora made a southern dish they called Deviled Autumn Pork Chops, For lack of more information, I know they used spicy mustard (maybe even more than one kind), country ham, and collard or mustard greens in it. In late autumn, when the pigs were slaughtered, […]