Category Archives: Ask Chef Phyllis

The Mediterranean Lifestyle:
Salsa al Pomodoro

This post is about a treasured recipe: the best pomodoro sauce ever! Pomodoro translates to “golden apple,” although we know it is the Italian word for tomato. This sauce, which is everywhere, really is the golden apple of Italy. (Word origins do fascinate me.) My family has enjoyed this recipe for generations on traditionally lazy […]

American Goulash for the Slow Cooker

Ask Chef Phyllis It seems like just yesterday it was New Year’s Day, but as I glance at the calendar, I see that we’re already at the end of February! Any time now, these slow, bitterly cold, never-enough-sunlight days will be coming to an end. However, though spring is just around the corner, winter is […]

It’s About Time (for Carol Anne’s Warm Artichoke Dip)

Now that we’re already into the second month of 2020, perhaps it’s about time that I write one of my “that’s-the-makings-of-yet-another-post” post, as I’m fond of saying. (My regular readers surely know what I’m talking about—and any new readers will know soon enough!) There may be many of these over the coming year, but for […]

Halibut and Other Seafood of the Pacific Northwest

Ask Chef Phyllis It’s the time of year that my husband goes fishing in British Columbia with his buddies. He comes home with great fish, but I’m tired of making and eating it the same old way. I usually dip it in pancake and beer batter and fry it. I’m thinking that deep-fat frying isn’t […]

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 […]