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Leite's Culinaria: Recipe Discussion, Links, & Previous Picks and Pans

March 2007 Cook"book" of the Month. Use this thread to discuss which recipes you are planning to try from Leite's Culinaria. Get tips from other hounds or list links to recipes you plan on trying. Maybe even search out other like-minded hounds and have a cook-off on the same recipe.

Leite's Culinaria: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/

Feel free to post short reviews of recipes you may have already tried in this thread (picks and pans), but full length recipes should be posted in the appropriate section thread.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. I surfed around on Leite's today and am very excited to try a number of recipes! It's hard to not get overwhelmed since their database is larger than a typical cookbook, so I've told myself to focus, focus, focus. I'm planning to mainly stick to the sections on James Beard House and Portuguese recipes.

    I plan on trying the famous chicken w/ 40 cloves of garlic, tarte flambe, caldo verde, and the Portuguese beans. Here are my questions:

    1. The chicken recipe doesn't call for first browning the chicken which bothers me. I'm worried that not browning will result in flabby, icky skin that doesn't look or taste very good. I'm so tempted to brown a little unless someone convinces me that I'd be doing a major disservice to the original recipe. Arguments pro or con?

    Recipe: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

    2. The tarte flambe calls for fromage blanc. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find that very easily so I'd like to arm myself w/ an adequate substitution. Suggestions?

    Here's what Cook's Thesaurus has to say on the matter:
    fromage blanc Pronunciation: froh-MAHZH BLAHN Notes: This usually has the consistency of thick yogurt. It's expensive and hard to find, but very tasty and relatively low in fat. It makes a great topping for desserts. Substitutes: quark (very similar) OR yogurt cheese OR buttermilk cheese OR blend equal parts cottage cheese and yogurt until smooth OR cream cheese whipped with cream

    Recipe: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

    3. What's a good substitute for Portuguese chourico or Spanish chorizo? I need to use some in the soup and beans dishes. Am leaning towards linguica. What about andouille?

    Thanks for helping to launch me off for this month's cookalong. If you'd made these recipes before, any feedback or advice appreciated! What's on the tentative menu for others?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      Wow I'm definitely trying the chicken/garlic recipe soon, as it looks fantastic. About the skin, I know what you mean. I frequently make a Claudia Roden recipe that uses a similar method and doesn't require browning first. I feel a visceral compulsion to brown anyway, and have done a couple of times. But when I did I found that because the chicken cooks in the moist environment, the skin turns out flabby and not so attractive regardless of whether I brown it first. But this recipe uses less liquid, so I'm not sure what it will do.

      1. re: Carb Lover

        While we're on the topic, for the 40 clove chicken, if halving the recipie (only two of us in the house...I like leftovers but 16 drumsticks is a bit much) is 20 clove chicken going to give the same effect? Just making sure I can do a straightfoward half recipie and not screw anything up.

        1. re: Carb Lover

          I know a lot of people like that 40 cloves of garlic chicken, but it was a complete miss for me due to the flabby skin issue you mention and I felt like the garlic flavor was completely underwhelming. I would not make it again, so I hope you have better luck! Complete waste of precious garlic for me! :-)

          I think linguica or andouille would be a fine sub. for chorizo.

          1. re: Katie Nell

            Was that from the recipe from our site? It's directly from his biography, and I remember speaking to Julia Child and her telling me how much she loved it. Hmm. One suggestion: Perhaps have your readers cut down on the oil. That is ALOT. (Then again, that was the '60s!)

            P.S. Thanks to everyone who voted for our site!

            1. re: David Leite

              David- I'm pretty certain that was the recipe I used, but it's been a while since I made it, so I could be wrong... it's been known to happen! Thanks for the suggestion, I'm sure that will be helpful to many cooks. All of us Chowhounds love your site- thanks for the feeback!

            2. re: Katie Nell

              Thanks for all the responses. I'm surprised to hear you didn't like the chicken, Katie, but I'm still eager to try it to see if "it's all that." My husband loves eating roasted garlic on bread so I'm going to throw in a good amount of garlic. I think I'm going to brown the chicken a little. I'm also going to cut down on the amount of chicken if it's just for the two of us, but in response to wawajb, I don't think I'm going to reduce all ingredients proportionally. I'm going to have to see how much liquid is in the pan and improvise as I go along. Per David's suggestion, I'll probably reduce the oil too. That is alot of oil!

              Now, any suggestions on the best substitution for fromage blanc for the tarte flambe? I've never eaten tarte flambe before so have no point of reference.

              1. re: Carb Lover

                Yeah, me too! Garlic is my middle name! Well, after Nell! :-) Maybe I need to try again...

                No idea on the fromage blanc- sorry!

          2. I've made the Korova cookies, which I wasn't initially that impressed by, but they really grew on me.

            1. I would just add, if you find a recipe that looks good, be sure to read the notes/reviews from the Testers. In full disclosure, I'm on the testing panel but I've found that some of our suggestions often make it into the final posted recipe page if we think a tweak or a substitution would work (it appears at the bottom with reviews, the recipes are posted as published). It also notes whether or not we think a complicated recipe is worth the trouble. Since some recipes don't make it to the site, either because of a flop or it's more work than it's worth, the ones that are there are most likely worth trying!

              1 Reply
              1. re: leanneabe

                And might I add, Leanne is a great tester!

              2. okay~how did I miss this? I love Leite's Culinaria. I have used it as a source for the last couple of years!

                1. Okay, this is overwhelming! I didn't really think it would be, but I think the problem is is that not one thing sounds bad to me on the site! Everything truly sounds good, I was even trying to find one thing that didn't this morning, and I can't! It's funny, most of the things I *really* want to try are more like condiments...

                  I really want to try the gravadlax, although I've put myself and my husband on a budget to start saving for a house, so if he can't buy the new fly rod he wants, I probably can't buy a salmon tail! Hhmmm... it's a dilemma!
                  http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...
                  I also want to attempt the pancetta recipe, I'm always intrigued by curing meats although I've never tried it. Never bought a pork belly either, has anyone made pancetta before? Anything to specifically look for in pork belly?
                  http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...
                  Crackers... I'm a sucker for homemade crackers! I actually might make these for a friend's party next weekend.
                  http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...
                  Wah! Why can't corn be in season right now?!? Will anyone be super mad at me if I try this corn chowder recipe with frozen corn?! :-) http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    Wow, your interests are ambitious this month, notably the pancetta! My responses:

                    1. A 2-lb. tail end of salmon shouldn't be too expensive. You HAVE to eat anyway, right? Plus when you're pinching pennies, you need a few homemade culinary luxuries such as gravlax.

                    2. I've never made pancetta before but I hope you do, so you can report back. The scary part for me is letting it cure outside of the fridge for those weeks. Pork belly is pretty cheap at Asian or Mexican markets. My question is...where does one find pink salt?

                    3. Those homemade crackers look great! Laura Werlin's cheese books are also great...

                    4. I won't get mad if you use frozen corn for your chowder. You don't need the cobs to make stock, so why not? It won't taste exactly the same w/o the corn "milk" but I'm sure it will be fine.

                    And you are right, too many things look appealing on the site.

                    1. re: Carb Lover

                      Ooh, yeah, pink salt could be a problem! Maybe I'll check with a local butcher? There is a place that is an exclusively Italian butcher, so that could be a good place.

                      CL- I was checking out that Sage Chicken recipe with Roasted Sweet Potatoes: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe... Weren't you thinking about making that a while back? Did you ever?

                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        Oh yeah, I made the sage chicken in Nov. 05 and here is the report w/ a photo:
                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/28082...

                        It was a very nice fall/winter roast chicken. And of course I made the accompanying sweet potatoes. I still like the Zuni and Marcella chickens better, but this was a nice change of pace...

                        1. re: Carb Lover

                          Okay, that's right... it was your pic I remembered, not the Leite's one- they should hire you! It sounds really good, but I haven't tried the Zuni or Marcella one so maybe I should start with those. (I researched pink salt today, and I guess you have to order it online, so I don't know if I'll be able to fit the pancetta in this month. I am going to check out "Charcuterie" from the library though- it definitely intrigues me.)

                  2. Has anyone besides me tried the Classic Provencale Daube (it's Yvonne Solva's) from a Food and Wine article if I remember correctly. It calls for cooking on three different days before serving. I can vouch for this as an absolutely superlative daube. I've tried acouple of other recipes and none touches this one (and yes, I did do the three day process to the letter!). Can be found by doing a search under daube on the Leite website.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gsElsbeth

                      This is one of my favorite daubes. I've been making it for years!

                    2. One thing to note about the site, there are lots of recips peppered everywhere, not just in the 'recipes' section. There are almost always recipes included in the articles, and they send out recipes in their newsletter. Here is the archive section in the newsletter!

                      http://www.leitesculinaria.com/newsle...

                      Hope everyone has as much fun with this cookbook of the month assignment as I did! (Report to come soon!

                      )

                      --Dommy!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Dommy

                        Dommy, thanks for pointing that out. All of those recipes that are sprinkled throughout the site SHOULD also be found in the recipe section. If you see one that isn't, please let us know. We'll take care of it pronto.

                        David

                      2. This is a great make-ahead brunch recipe that I'm made many times to great success. I'm always asked for the receipe. I use blueberries instead of raisins.

                        http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                        1. I really want an excuse to make the Spiced Cheese on Phyllo Crisps http://leitesculinaria.com/recipes/jb... but I'm not really sure what to make with it to make a meal out of it. I am really lacking inspiration this week, for some reason! Any thoughts? Any soup that you would think would go particularly well?

                          1. I think that those would go great with a bouillaibaisse!