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Feb 28, 2007 05:46 PM

Leite's Culinaria: Entrees

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

Leite's Culinaria:

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  1. Pork Chops with Vinegar and Sweet Peppers by Cook's Illustrated
    Skillet-Roasted Shrimp by Andrea Froncillo

    But not in the same meal...

    I loved the pork chop recipe for how simple it was to throw everything together (it was a fairly quick meal to prepare, too). I think I was on a balsamic vinegar kick at the time I made it, which went well with the peppers. Mmmm... add a hunk of crusty bread and you're good to go! It was the first time I brined anything, so I was a little scared I would mess it up. But I didn't! You always hear that anchovies in sauces disappear but add great flavor (because people don't like anchovies) and they really do... chopped up and simmered into a sauce, they blend in and you'd never be able to identify them. Timing for cooking was just about as the recipe lists.

    The shrimp is like a fancy (but messy) version of peel-n-eat shrimp. It makes for a great communal meal (with more crusty bread!), but with garlic (I now use fresh smushed garlic in place of the garlic powder) and butter how could you go wrong? Too bad we're getting into diet season because shrimp dipped in butter sounds really good right now.

    1. I made the Chicken Marbella. Honestly I wasn't all that impressed. I thought it was too vinegar-y tasting and even though I had halved the prunes there were still too many. The leftovers never got eaten :(


      6 Replies
      1. re: daily_unadventures

        I recently made this dish since I read how many people here like it. Sheila Lukins used her recipe for Chef on a Shoestring. It is just okay for me. I love vinegar so that was not the problem to me. I just didn't find the overall items meld. In fairness I only marinated it on the counter for a couple of hours and not overnight. I would not avoid the leftovers though. But I do a Moroccan Chicken braise that uses prunes and it is a much more delicious dish to me. I can see this as an easy dish in bulk since you pop it in the oven in tray's. The 2 people I cooked for thought it was pretty good.

        1. re: daily_unadventures

          I've made a dish similar to this but it used a mix of prunes and dried apricots and I don't remember olives in it... I think the addition of apricots cut down on the prune-heavy part and it blended into the vinegar-based sauce nicely. Sorry the Chicken Marbella didn't work for you!

          1. re: leanneabe

            Thanks for the tips. I did marinate it over night - but I suspect it was just a set of flavors that didn't do it for me. It just wasn't fabulous - not inedible or anything :)


            1. re: leanneabe

              Apricots would make a nice addition. I make the dish a little different every time I make it. It is a real easy dish to tinker with. I think the dish is about finding the right balance of sweet and briny.

            2. re: daily_unadventures


              So sorry you didn't like the recipe. I really enjoyed it when I made it. Let me ask you: Did the recipe "work," in the sense that everything flowed properly, and the method was accurate? It always bothers me when someone doesn't like one of our recipes, but I always try to separate personal preference from a recipe that doesn't work.

              1. re: David Leite

                It was personal preference - but I believe that is also important when reviewing recipes as well. Did you like it you know? I would say yes it worked. I served it to four people and the conclusions were generally that it was fine but not great.

                It won't stop me from trying more of your recipes :)


            3. Made the Chicken Piccatta last night. It was yummy, one of my husbands favorites... he's crazy for capers. The recipe doesn't make a lot of sauce - just enough to coat the chicken with its lush lemony goodness (and that's the way I like it). This will be my "go to" recipe for piccatta.

              1. I made the Kung Pao Chicken tonight for dinner. It was Excellent! At first I was a little aprehensive with her use of Sichuan peppercorns as she keeps them whole and most other recipes I've seen calls for finely ground but it turned out perfect. I always used Cook's Illustrated's recipe for Kung Pao but not any more. This is far superior..

                4 Replies
                1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                  Good to hear! It's on the list here too! :)


                  1. re: Dommy

                    Oh! That sounds great, was it really spicy?

                    1. re: daily_unadventures

                      Well I used her minimum of 10 dried chiles. I'm not really sure what kind they were, they were just in the misc. dried chile selection in my cupboard. They were just the small Asian variety I guess haha..It was perfectly spiced, but I think next time I will put in more to push the boundary a bit. I guess it really depends on what peppers you are using. The numbing factor from the Sichuan peppercorns was great. My knife skills are not that great so I didn't get quite the uniform dice that history dictates but I don't think it mattered much.

                    2. re: Dommy

                      So we made this a couple of nights ago... It was delish and makes me want to make more and more asian dishes. :)

                      So I started with the Chiles. I used a dried Mexican Puya Chile:


                      I then started toasting with the Schuwan Peppercorns... the smell was intoxicating!


                      I added the marinated chicken. Great flavor in the chicken...

                      And then added the sauce and peanuts!


                      We served it over brown rice and with a spicy mushroom soup (Diana Kennedy recipe). Not as good as the Kung Pao I've had at Oriental Pearl and other Schuwan places, but still REALLY tasty. The only complaint SO had was that there was not enough sauce... but he grew up eating Chinese Food in Boston, so I let comments like that slide... :



                  2. I made Madhur Jaffrey's Paalag Gosht from Curries and Kebabs this afternoon. it is finished and I am letting it coast until we are ready eat. It is very good. I noticed someone's review on the recipe at the site who complained it was not worth the effort but I disagree and did not find the recipe arduous at all. I did use my food processor for the onions and spinach and bought boned and cut up lamb from my butcher. What took the longest was getting the onions browned and crisp. The recipe called for 1 lb. of spinach and the bag I bought was 10.5 oz. after adding about half of the spinach to the dish i realized that was plenty and reserved the rest. Will sprinkle a bit on each serving so it looks more like the photo. Make it again? Oh yes.

                    The reviewer suggested that the dish needs cardammon and cloves. I did add a bit of each and will do that in the future.