Category Archives: Ask Chef Phyllis

Sumptuous Shrimp: Never Out of Season

Sumptuous Shrimp

Ask Chef Phyllis: I love all-you-can-eat shrimp and the shrimp festival at Red Lobster…I never miss an opportunity to get my fill. Though I should mention that the shrimp at these events are good but not great. Recently, my husband surprised me and took me to a little bistro that served shrimp in a wine-butter […]

Riso e Formaggio (Rice and Cheese Casserole)

Rice & Cheese Casserole

Ask Chef Phyllis: Several  years ago, we backpacked through Northern Italy. At local homes or in little specialty restaurants, it was easy to find nutritious vegetarian dishes. The one that lingers in my mind was Riso e Formaggio, a dish baked in a casserole and served hot or cold. It didn’t have broccoli or spinach […]

Substitution Chart for Today’s Cooks

Chocolate chip cookies

Ask Chef Phyllis: Years ago I had a refrigerator magnet that displayed equivalent amounts for baking, like 4 quarts equal 1 gallon and other basic information that most cooks know already. Now I’m looking for a different kind of substitution chart that has more up-to-date equivalents. For example, healthier swaps such as a better fat […]

Fabulous Fungi: Everything You Need to Know About Mushrooms


Ask Chef Phyllis: Recently on TV I heard that mushrooms are very good for you, but I don’t buy them often—mostly because I know very little about them. The supermarket had many different kinds but no information on how to use them. My experience with mushrooms is limited to sliced raw mushrooms on a spinach […]

St. Patrick’s Day Feast: Irish Pork Shoulder with Colcannon


Ask Chef Phyllis: My Irish-born “from the old country” grandmother never made corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy’s day. Why, it wasn’t even any kind of beef at all. It was an inexpensive piece of pork (which she called pork butt) slowly cooked with Irish whiskey for hours and served with boiled potatoes and […]

Chicken Breast Cacciatore: A Special 30-Minute Dinner

Chicken Cacciatore

Ask Chef Phyllis: This fall we became empty nesters, and because of that I sometimes work longer hours than I used to. I come home tired and want to get a nutritious and fast dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. I buy chicken breasts often—they’re a fast, easy, good protein—and I do […]

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Honey and Lime


Ask Chef Phyllis: I was lucky enough to be in Paris around Valentine’s Day. I stopped by a patisserie that featured many kinds of truffles. I tried a few of them, but my absolute favorite was a dark chocolate truffle with lime and honey. They were expensive but absolutely worth the price. Can truffles be […]

Chef’s Tips for New Orleans One-Pot Creole Gumbo

Creole Gumbo

Ask Chef Phyllis: I love New Orleans, but I’ve only gone to Mardi Gras once. I like Creole food too. Most of the restaurants have a specialty, so it’s hard to decide what to order. My husband and I tried the Muffaletta sandwich at one place as well as the gumbo from the famous Cochon […]

Getting the Most Out of Your Side of Beef: Chef’s Tips for Short Ribs

Short ribs

Ask Chef Phyllis: After purchasing a half side of beef last summer, I have very little of the better cuts like steak, filet mignon, and roast left by the end of the year. I saw your recipe for French Beef Stew on Facebook (I’m Jena’s friend) and decided to try it. The beef cubes were […]

Legendary Gingerbread Whole Wheat Pancakes


Ask Chef Phyllis: We stayed at the Pierre Hotel in New York City and ate the best gingerbread pancakes at their Café Pierre. Actually, they were the best pancakes we’ve ever had—hands down. I only get to travel to New York maybe once every year or two, so I’d like to have this recipe. Is […]

Chef’s Tips for Succulent Brined Pork Chops

Pork Chop

Ask Chef Phyllis: Everything I read or see these days is about brining—from the Thanksgiving turkey to pork and lamb for the grill. Well, I brined ½-inch thick pork chops before grilling them, and they were not only dry but pickled. I wanted juicy and flavorful. They were a lot of prep as well. After […]

Austrian Style Christmas Cheese Fondue


Ask Chef Phyllis: Every year just before Christmas Eve, I begin to think of my grandmother’s cheese fondue. I thought it was very special, and the memory brings joy to my heart. I’ve tried to duplicate it several times, but I wasn’t successful. It was an expensive experiment. Since then, I’ve purchased the supermarket Swiss fondue box […]

Chef’s Secret for Never Fail Prime Rib and Chateaubriand

Prime Rib

Ask Chef Phyllis: The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is very busy for me, but not for the obvious reasons. When the ski lodges open, everyone comes to our house for the Thanksgiving break. They also come for the school break between Christmas and New Year’s. Our family serves roast turkey for both Thanksgiving and […]

Turkey Breast with Fresh Orange-Cranberry Relish

Turkey breast

Ask Chef Phyllis: My family loves turkey. I make it for Thanksgiving and sometimes for Christmas dinner, and we happily feast on the leftovers for days. I often say that I’ll make it again soon. Sadly, I don’t, probably because the family doesn’t want a Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner—they think it’s just for the holidays. But […]