Category Archives: Ask Chef Phyllis

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, […]

Chocolate Sea Salt Nut Squares or Clusters

Ask Chef Phyllis: It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and although this is supposed to be a holiday for sweethearts, I always celebrate it with the children and some lady friends too. I send little heart candies and homemade chocolates or treats with a cute little Valentine’s card. I know when I get something like this, I […]

January Is National Slow Cooker Month—Who Knew?

Crock Pots and slow cookers came to the table a long time ago. They have a history, and I know you’ve used and loved one or the other. Now the newest craze is the Instant Pot, a pressure cooker that boasts seven functions in a single appliance (or even eight, depending on the model). While […]

Any Time of Year Cheeseballs

Ask Chef Phyllis: You’d never guess that one of the most frequently asked holiday questions people ask me (and also the second most asked question of all, right after ideas for skinless boneless chicken breasts) is about…cheeseballs. That’s why I’m writing this day about a seriously good cheeseball recipe with a decidedly different twist. Years […]

Gluten-Free Chicken Parmigiano for a Crowd

Ask Chef Phyllis: I was at a class (kind of a party) where you were teaching cheese-making. I didn’t think about it until now, but you made dinner for the class using the cheese we’d just made. You prepared the meal while teaching the class and made it look easy. The lunch was Chicken Parmesan […]

Christmas Traditions and an Easy Gift Recipe

Ask Chef Phyllis: It’s been awhile since I made homemade gifts, such as scented pine cones, zucchini-nut breads, and salted nuts, for Christmas. But I’m really finding that gift-giving has gotten out of hand. It’s frustrating and loses meaning. I’d like a good recipe for salty or spicy-sweet nuts to put in a glass jar […]

Breads of the World: The Sally Lunn, an American Colonial Bread

Ask Chef Phyllis: It was interesting to see other bread recipes on your website. I love bread, and I liked the recipe for Portuguese sweet bread, which is famous in the Boston area. But I noticed not a mention of many other American breads. Have you ever heard of a Sally Lunn? My grandmother, who […]

Quick Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna: Alternatives for Vegetarians

Ask Chef Phyllis At Christmastime, I make a huge three-cheese, three-meat lasagna. I admit that it’s a lot of work to prepare, but when all done, it’s done. Put it in the oven, relax with my guests and family, and pour a glass of wine is all I want to do. An antipasto is an […]

Funeral Potatoes: The Next Chapter in My Life, Widowhood

The description of a new TV show says, “Friendship isn’t a big thing, it’s a million little things.” Well…yes. You can say the same thing about a life, and a marriage. But I wish to mention here that there’s so little information about the third stage of a girl’s life, widowhood, that I decided to […]

Thought You Didn’t Like Lentils? Try Savory Chicken and Lentils

How about a recipe for savory chicken and lentils in a mouthwatering wine-mushroom sauce? Did I get your attention? I’m the first to admit that a plate of lentils didn’t used to thrill me. Post-WWII, my mother made rather plain lentil soup/porridge at least once a week. Though my taste buds have since become much […]

Adobo Pork: The Latin American Favorite

Before I begin this story, I should tell you that I wrote a previous blog post about a Cuban Pork recipe that I discovered during a trip to Puerto Rico many years ago. It was February, and New York City in winter is a dreary affair. So my husband and I, being young and adventurous, […]

Pollo alla Marengo: Napoleon and the Real Story of Chicken Marengo

Ask Chef Phyllis So many stories are told of the dish prepared for Napoleon in celebration of his victory against the Austrians at the Battle at Marengo in June 1800. Legend or food history? Here’s the real lowdown! Though the French were victorious in the battle, as luck would have it, their food carts had […]