Category Archives: Ask Chef Phyllis

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 […]

Fresh Mozzarella and Its Many Uses

Ask Chef Phyllis I know from your book, Udderly Cultured, that caprese salad and pizza are your first choices for fresh mozzarella. Can I put the fresh cheese I make in a casserole? Are there other uses for fresh mozzarella, which melts so well? Summer is coming, and life should be easier. To me, that […]

Stuffed Cabbage: Slow Cooker Comfort Food

Ask Chef Phyllis I haven’t made stuffed cabbage in a long time, even though my family has been asking for it lately. It takes more than 2½ hours in the oven, plus maybe another hour preparing the cabbage leaves. Besides that, I only remember making it with canned tomato soup, which gave it an almost […]

The Lowdown on Truffles: How to Make Mock Truffles

Ask Chef Phyllis: I recently watched celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck stop by Late Night with Stephen Colbert. He  presented a very expensive gift to the host—a tiny truffle that was worth $300! Colbert smelled it and took a bite, but he didn’t seem to enjoy the taste (although he did like the aroma). Even for […]

A Mother’s Day Pancake Anyone Can Make

Ask Chef Phyllis: I need something special that kids (ages eight, ten, and twelve) can help prepare on Mother’s Day for our mom. She loves pancakes, but I don’t think I can manage frying all those pancakes without help. Is there a big pancake that’s easy and special too? Any suggestions? —Mariead Q. from Cambridge, […]

The Ultimate Waldorf Chicken Salad: A Great Memory

A lady friend came to my house for lunch last week. I was serving my version of Waldorf Chicken Salad (a recipe inspired by the nearly forgotten and long-closed Schrafft’s restaurants in New York City). When she spotted what I was serving, Julie commented that my chicken salad was the best and asked me to […]

For the Busy Family: Slow Cooker Chicken in Milk (Actually, I Use Cream!)

Ask Chef Phyllis: I’m not in the habit of using just chicken breasts or parts and need to find a good recipe for whole chicken. I know how to cut it up, if need be. I’ve heard of a chicken in milk recipe from a neighbor and had something like it in Spain, but the […]

Portuguese Sweet Bread for Easter

Ask Chef Phyllis:  Back in the day, before the supermarket took over every mom-and-pop shop, our town, Assonet (just a few miles from Fall River) had a real bake shop. They sold filozes on Sunday morning and cookies at Christmastime, but what I remember most of all was the Portuguese sweet bread I could get […]

Quick Weeknight Dinners: Pork Tenderloins

I’ve been trying to make dinners that are quick and tasty. With two teenage boys always having to go somewhere in a hurry after school or after dinner, I need nutritious, quick meals. (By the way, these guys are always famished, and they love Mexican food.) In the past I’ve made chicken cutlets, chicken tenders, […]