Category Archives: Ask Chef Phyllis

Chicken and Broccoli Divan from Leftovers

When it comes to leftovers, it often seems that the husbands rather than the children don’t want to eat yesterday’s meal. (But as I’m fond of saying, this is the meat and potatoes of another post.) My dear readers, perhaps you’re old enough to remember that ladies’ luncheons in the 1960s always served chicken divan. […]

Chicken Cacciatore:
One Dish, No Fuss Cooking, Huntress-Style

Ask Chef Phyllis My family loves a good chicken dish. They demand chicken breasts, although my mother always bought whole chicken and used every part. I usually make chicken breasts in the slow cooker, and though it’s good, the breasts get too dry and lack flavor after six hours in the pot. I have a […]

Reflections on Baking:
How to Make a Dessert Out of Nothing at All

Here’s a novel idea: a sumptuous dessert from your already depleted pantry. And it’s easier than you ever imagined. Did your mom ever make fruit cobblers? Or perhaps a baked apple with cinnamon and raisins in the middle? Nothing is easier than a baked apple, and in my opinion, nothing appeals to the senses quite […]

Food in a Troubled World:
New England Clam or Fish Chowder from the Pantry or Freezer

Practice is “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.” What can you put into practice? If you are of Italian, French, or Greek ancestry, perhaps you were raised as I was, with your conversations revolving around food—good food, fresh from the garden, and the […]

Whipping Cream That’s Getting Old

Ask Chef Phyllis What can you tell me about whipping cream that I’ve already opened and has been in my fridge a little past its “best use” date? In this time of stay at home, I do not wish to waste anything. It smells fine, but it’s thicker than when I opened it. Can I […]

Pandemic Reflections and Quick Meals for
Canned Vegetables and Leftovers

I woke up Wednesday morning with the notion that all was well. But then in a New York minute, I remembered that I’m living through a pandemic—never before known by my generation or, for that matter, anyone I know. (My dad talked of the Great Depression, and to this day my memory of him hoarding […]

Turning Pantry Staples into Delicious Meals

This year of 2020 is a particularly difficult time in the world. Indeed, it’s a time of crisis. Just a few months ago, this hysterical news would have sounded like Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” did back in 1938. My friends, not knowing what the future holds touches all of us. We all need […]

A Simple Guide to the Art and Preparation of Paella

In a post from about six years ago, I wrote about feasting (and I do mean feasting) on paella at a restaurant called Trader Vic’s in Puerto Rico. It was a truly memorable and romantic evening in February. Back in early 1960s, many in-the-know New Yorkers would jet off to sunny Puerto Rico to escape […]

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 […]