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Leite's Culinaria: Hors d'oeuvres and Appetizers

March 2007 Cook"book" of the Month: Leite's Culinaria. Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the sections on hors d'oeuvres and appetizers here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

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

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.

Thanks for participating.

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  1. I heartily recommend the Mahogany Wings recipe as a party appetizer. The flavoring is hoisin/teriyaki style...The wings were deliciously sticky and savory, well caramelized, and the recipe multiplies well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: celeste

      where is this recipe? i would like to try it. thank you.

    2. Do make the Cheddar Chive Gougeres! And try to resist "testing" one... you'll end up testing "just one more" and have to make another batch.

      Make sure it's the recipe by Tori Ritchie... there's another recipe on the site but it doesn't come out the same (mine were flatter and not as tasty).

      2 Replies
      1. re: leanneabe

        Thanks for the rec! Reading all the fervent reviews, I must add these to my to-make list. Do you take them straight out of the oven when done or do you leave in for an hour w/ door ajar? Does it matter?

        Is the other gougeres recipe you were referring to from Judy Rodgers of Zuni?

        1. re: Carb Lover

          If I'm serving them the day I make them, I'll take them out of the oven. If I'm going to store them for a day or so, I leave them in, oven off, door open, just to get them a little drier before storing.

          I don't know if the Zuni recipe is the one that didn't work for me. But I can tell you I've made Tori's recipe many times and she's never failed me!

      2. Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup) by John Villa, adapted by Irene Sax

        I made this last night and followed the recipe closely, although I substituted linguica for the chourico. The amounts called for worked perfectly, resulting in a soup w/ great balance and consistency. Recipe says it makes 6-8 servings but I’d say more like 8-10; it’s a big potful of hearty soup.

        I used good Spanish olive oil that gave it a slightly nutty undertone, russet potatoes, and organic kale. I really love kale, although I’ve mostly prepared it by wilting; it is really wonderful in soup. I pureed the onion, potato, sausage mixture w/ my immersion blender (alot easier than moving all the hot soup to a food processor) and intentionally left some chunks for textural interest.

        Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite soups of all time!! I love a good homemade soup and this one was so deeply comforting and distinctive while being very easy to put together. The lacey texture of the kale chiffonade against the creamy potato base was delightful. The sausage seasoning infused the entire soup and gave it a warm glow. While it had a homey character to it, I was surprised at how elegant it looked when plated (see photos below). The vibrant green, red, and golden colors made me immediately think “Christmas,” so I may have to add it to my Christmas menu this year. Served with some crusty bread, this made for a simple supper last night.

        Highly recommended for kale or soup enthusiasts!


        2 Replies
        1. re: Carb Lover

          "Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite soups of all time!!"- Wow! That's high praise! There's not much to it, so I might have to give it a try too- my husband loves chorizo.

          1. re: Carb Lover

            I also made this and it was great. I used wonderful chorizo and boy, does that flavor infuse the soup. Nothing like a good cured meat to eat with veggies. What I especially liked was the ease of this soup. It's hearty but doesn't take all day to cook.

          2. Carb Lover,

            For a really elegant look, remove the ribs form the leaves, roll up the leaves in a tight cigar shape, and cut crosswise into filament-thin slices. It's beautiful and a bit etheral.

            2 Replies
            1. re: David Leite

              Thanks, David. I tried to avoid the ribs while slicing down, but next time I'll actually remove all of them before chiffonading. I didn't think to roll up the leaves (like in a true chiffonade) before slicing, so I'll def. do that next time for more thin and even ribbons.

              Do you like the potato base pureed smooth or do you leave some chunks? I may have to try your Azorean kale and potato soup too...oh, and the chourico frittata looks great!

              1. re: Carb Lover


                I love the puréed version. It's smoother, more luxurious. My version is actually a kale and bean soup, a rustic island dish. My mom made it all the time when I was growing up. I love it!

            2. I made the Stilton Pinwhells with Walnuts and Honey this weekend.


              They really make a great make-ahead elegant hors d'oeurves - you roll the stilton/cream cheese mixture in puff pastry, freeze the roll, then just slice off pieces and stick a piece of walnut on them before popping in the oven for 10 minutes. I drizzled lavender honey on them and a party full of people loved them.

              1. Codfish fritters: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                These were the first things I ever deep-fried :) Really simple, straightforward, and yummy. I was taking them to a party, and they got soggy along the way, but then I stuck them in a 250 oven for a few minutes, and they crisped right up again.

                1. Mohogany Wings http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                  I decided to make these last night..they are marinating as I type. The only extra ingredient I added was a bit of shiracchi sauce (however spelled). My original copy of this recipe from the website awhile ago called for "chili" in the explanation..Last night I used this copy of the recipe and noticed no "chili" in the list of ingredients..So I just added some for a little kick. Other than that the recipe was easy to prepare obviously..I will report back after dinner tonight.
                  I checked the website today and found the copy now does NOT include "chili" in the explanation. Only thing I find confusing in the description is the reference to Peking Sauce..Does adding the garlic to the recipe make this Peking Sauce??? I'm a little confused with this recipe description. Other than that looks good and we can't wait to try them..I'm on a quest to find a good and different recipe for an upcoming poker night.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: flipkeat

                    We had the Mahogany Wings tonight for dinner. I was sadly disappointed. First of all the wings did not cook crisp enough even at 400 degrees after 30 mins...I turned them over after 30 mins kept basting but they didn't crisp up as described..I then had to put them under the broiler for a few mins....still they didn't get crispy at all. I plated them and once again was disappointed in the flavour. Even adding the zip of Shiracchi sauce didn't give them enough kick for us..The colour was gorgeous and they looked awesome..however, disappointed in the texture category as well as lacking in taste. I am not often disappointed in the recipes I choose to try but this particular recipe IMHO
                    did disappoint..I would not try it again...I have many other wing recipes far better than this particular one.

                    1. re: flipkeat

                      Sorry to hear you did not like them. Myself and a large party full of guests loved them. I did not expect nor want them to be spicy at all though.

                      I wouldn't say they get "crispy" but mine certainly were very well caramelized, which made for an appealing chewiness on the outside.

                  2. Cheddar-Parmesan Crackers http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe... and
                    Spicy Swiss Potato Soup http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                    The crackers were awesome! I thought I had cheddar but I didn't, so I used Gruyere instead, and I decided to add a bit of rosemary too. These were really easy and super tasty, and I will definitely make these again. I've always wanted to make crackers, but just never got around to it for some reason- so much fun! I love that you can freeze the dough too.

                    Sad to say that we didn't like the soup. The appeal for me was the simple ingredients, but it ended up tasting too simple for me too. I don't know if my ricer rices too fine, but the potatoes completely disintegrated in the soup, and I should have slowly added the liquid but I added it all at once which made for an extremely thin soup. Tried to doctor it up to no avail. I will not make this again. :-( Still loved the crackers though!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      Thanks for the report, Katie. I must try those crackers!! Too bad about that soup. I glanced over the recipe and 6 cups of total liquid for 1.5 lbs. (2 med.) potatoes does sound like it would make for a thin soup.

                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        The pile of potatoes after I riced them was huge, so I was amazed that they disappeared so easily! You couldn't even tell that there were potatoes in it.

                      2. re: Katie Nell

                        thanks for the report, Katie. those crackers look great!

                        can i ask a stupid question though? does the dry mustard refer to powdered ground mustard seeds? i feel silly for even asking, but i can imagine lots of other possibilities.

                        1. re: rose water

                          Yes, it does, and I forgot to mention that I didn't use it! Caught again not following a recipe!! Actually, I was shocked that I *didn't* have any, but I had to just do without it. One thing I wanted to note was that I froze them on Friday, and then baked that batch on Saturday evening and the cayenne had intensified in just that short amount of time in the freezer- I liked it even better!

                        2. re: Katie Nell

                          I got around to making these crackers last weekend and they were, well, like crack! Highly addictive savory morsels. I've never made crackers before, but these were so easy to put together in the food processor. It was like making a cross between pie dough and shortbread cookies.

                          I too used gruyere (since I was in the mood for it over cheddar) and decided to add a little paprika in. I chilled the log overnight before baking, and the recipe worked out beautifully. They smelled insanely good, so much so that husband threatened to eat all of them before our guests arrived that evening. I fended him off by feeding him the "bad" ones. The gruyere-parmesan combo was fantastic, and the cayenne gave them some sass. I wanted small crackers, so I actually got about double the quantity of what the recipe says. Size is completely adjustable.

                          The only little problem was that I wasn't sure how to store them and decided to put them in a plastic baggie until service. They seemed to lose some of their crispiness so next time I would either leave them out or refresh in the oven. Definitely a keeper of a recipe (so easy but homemade crackers impress the guests) and endless variations await...

                          Photo of them cooling:

                          1. re: Carb Lover

                            Gorgeous, thank you! Katie and CL, what did you serve them with? The recipe suggests apple pear butter, and I'm curious what you did. I'm excited to make these; you've both inspired me.

                            1. re: rose water

                              Thanks, rose water. I didn't like the sound of the fruit butter w/ these crackers and decided to use them in a small antipasto platter that also included prosciutto and mild picholine olives. Everything was fairly salty and intensely flavored, but they were just meant to be light nibbles before dinner. Served w/ a refreshing prosecco, I thought it all worked fine. BTW, four of us finished all the crackers! Addictive, I tell you!

                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                You guys starting trouble again : )

                                I've never made crackers. Do you think the dough could be made ahead and frozen? If not, and I wasn't able to re-heat for a dinner party (teeny kitchen, one oven), how far ahead in advance could I make them and still have them stay crispy?

                                Thanks so much!

                                1. re: Rubee

                                  If cheese and carbs are involved, you know you can find me causing "trouble."

                                  I'm not a freezer food expert, but my guts say that yes, you can freeze the log. You can probably slice while frozen (which will probably make it easier to hold their round shape) and bake right after. As far as how far in advance, if I were to do again, I'd probably just make them a couple hours ahead of time and keep them out after cooling. If you want to make them further in advance, then I think refreshing on low heat in the oven would help revive their crispiness.

                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                    Yep, the first time around, I baked from the refrigerated dough, but the second time around, I baked from frozen. Worked like a charm! They are so good, and I cannot wait to play around with other variations.

                        3. Spiced Pork Meatballs with Guacamole (oddly, under the "Mostly Chicken" section of Appetizers):


                          I was a bit underwhelmed, but thought that these were pretty good and might be nice served at a party with some tweaking, although they were best eaten hot. The recipe is a bit vague, however, "1 red chili" for the pork, "1 chili" for the guacamole. In addition to the chili, grated ginger (didn't have any - used galangal), parsley, cilantro, thyme, Dijon, and lemon zest is added to the ground pork. I halved the recipe and ingredients except for the full amount of parsley and cilantro and used a whole red Thai bird chili. Next time I would use the full amount of the ingredients and more chili pepper, though I did pick up the nice citrus notes of the grated lemon zest (half a lemon) which I liked. The guac calls for the juice of one lime per avocado, which I thought was too much. I used two avocados and a little less than the juice of one lime. Since the meatballs weren't as spicy as I was hoping, I used one whole minced jalapeno to add heat to the guacamole. Served together, it was a nice combination.

                          1. Mushroom Strudel
                            by Antonio Carluccio from "The Complete Mushroom Book"


                            I love anything in phyllo dough and this made a nice dinner last night. The directions are a bit odd though - "Brush 1 sheet on both sides with melted butter, then place it on top of another sheet". A much harder way of saying "brush a phyllo sheet with butter, top it with another, repeat". The recipes calls for sauteeing wild mushrooms in butter with a minced onion, dry sherry, nutmeg, and marjoram. I used half sliced baby portabellas and half sliced buttom mushrooms with fresh nutmeg and thyme. I also added a couple of cloves of garlic, and mixed in the cheese, then added the flour, and let cool. The recipe says to set up all four stacks of phyllo before filling and rolling, which I thought was really cumbersome (besides the fact that I have a small galley kitchen and no counterspace). I made them one at a time, then covered with a damp kitchen towel until I had made all four. I was going to serve it with the Caesar salad from the same site, but we decided a nice bottle of chardonnay was a great side dish ; )

                            Oops. Forgot the pic so I'll link below:

                            1 Reply
                            1. Spiced Cheese w/ Phyllo Crisps http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                              I was amazed at how good these were! And really easy too- I was fretting about the phyllo tearing, but it doesn't really matter since you layer it and then cut it into squares, so once I got over that, it was easy! I was amazed, because as I was making them, I was like, "OMG, that's a lot of paprika", "OMG, that's a lot of chili powder", but the end result was not overpowering and was really, really great. I served these with Autumn Minestrone from GretchenS (Thanks Gretchen!) http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32723... The soup was also excellent- I didn't use fennel because I don't normally like it cooked. Had to spice it up with some Tapatio too!