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Feb 28, 2007 05:47 PM

Leite's Culinaria: Salads, Sides, and Breads

March 2007 Cook"book" of the Month: Leite's Culinaria. Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the sections on salads, sides, and breads 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. Okay, I admit, I’ve been a slacker lately with this whole Cookbook of the month thing. So much so that last month I actually did a recipe that I thought was in the book but turned out not to be! ARGH!! But that’s another post… so let’s purge that negative energy and now start on something that is totally positive and makes me happy… Mashed Stuff!!

    Yes… you know what I’m talking about… Mashed ‘stuff’. I was one of those kids that love to MIX everything in her plate into a mountain and then shovel it all in. To this day, one of my favorite cuisines is Middle Eastern because they often thrown a roasted tomato which I then MASH right into my rice. Happy… happy…

    And so when I decided to take this Cookbook of the Month assignment SERIOUSLY. And I decided to make a meal (Meat, Starch, Green), the first recipe that called out to me was Whipped Root Vegetables, the mashing of not one… not two… but THREE absolutely YUMMY veggies!! So first stop… Farmer’s Market!!!!

    Talk about Happy! Happy!… this recipe called for about equal amounts of Parsnips and Potatos with a WEE bit less Turnip… You cube all and boil in salted water (I love to use Sea salt for this) until VERY tender.

    Once somewhat cooled and drained, you place all the yummy cubes into a stand mixer with a whipping attachment. In all honestly, I was a little worried about this, I’ve always heard that whipping potatoes could lead to them getting gummy (BLEH!) and further, incase I didn’t make the point clear enough, I LOVE to mash. But in effort for this project, I whipped it. And did it VERY carefully… until the cubes were broken up and well mixed…

    And then the best part… What I would MASH into my mixture! And since this was a special once a month thing… I decided to go all out, the recipe called for 1 stick of butter… and it just so happened I had one stick of Kerry Gold in my Fridge… yes, the good stuff….

    It just BLENDED In perfectly with all the veggies, so did the other ingredients, the Sour Cream to even out the flavors, the salt and pepper and of course the hint of nutmeg, which really did make a difference…

    And with one final WHIP!! It was done… Not the slightest bit gummy, but all sorts of YUM-MEEEEEEE!!!! It was even better than I hoped it would be. Very light, not all heavy like some mashed spuds, but still very flavorful (Although it wasn’t all the butter, but sure darn helped! LOL!). No doubt, this WILL be the recipe for Mashed ‘Stuff’, I make for Thanksgiving… and for any other day I can work it into the meal! Thanks David…

    and now on to the Greens…


    1 Reply
    1. re: Dommy

      Made the mash last night based on your post and you're absolutely right, so GOOD!

    2. Growning up as good chowhound, I wasn’t a fussy eater as a kid. My mother loved to make new recipes, and I loved to help and above all, TRY them. Veggies, Meats, Grains… Food was no problem! Drinks on the other hand…

      I can’t stand milk. To this day, BLEH with milk. I’ve had “good” milk, we spend a small fortune every month buying glass bottle milk from a local dairy (P. is a milk FIEND!) for me it’s a taste and texture thing… And so, when I began to reject milk as a young child, my mother fell into a panic…

      She was constantly on me… You need to drink more milk. No. Your gonna fall one of these days and break a hip! I don’t think so… Your hair will be prettier… Meh…

      And so one day, after a visit to the Dr. she came home with a bag full of Brocolli… No serious… A BAG… It turns out she had expressed her fears about my impending osteoporosis to her doctor, who told her not to worry, that as long as I was eating a diet with lots of good veggies and minerals then I’d be fine. He gave Broccolli as a good example of something that had calcium in it. And when she went to the market after the appt. it was on sale… and so began my love for green leafies…

      Which brings us (Finally!) to my next Cookbook of the Month recipe…. Wilted Greens. Aside from my obvious lust for greens, I choose this recipe because it had one unique twist… it called for Wine! YUM! I’ve never had wine with my greens (I usually just sautee them up with butter and garlic, or when I’m feeling real devilish, a slice of bacon!) so I was intrigued to how it would effect their flavor…

      The recipe calls for any greens, but for me, I’m currently obessed with cavolo negro… black Kale.

      Not exactly as instructed, I sliced the Kale with a knife, but in long pieces, about an inch. Then I went into my wine rack and picked out something I thought would go well with the rest of the dinner… and choice a Pinot Grigio, not to dry, but not sweet. Just crisp and flavorful enough for this dish and dinner as a whole…

      There is actually not much else to the recipe, I sliced some shallots and garlic and let them cook a little bit in butter, then tossed in the Kale and the wine. I let it steam for 5 minutes as the recipe recommended, although with tough Kale, I felt like I should have let it a little longer…

      And I was right… it came out a BIT underdone. Nothing too terrible, but I did wish I had given them another minute or two. I will admit though, I did not de-stem the Kale (Although I also didn’t cook the tough end bits) which David recommended in response to a soup post. Next time, I will for sure do that…

      As for the flavor… It was okay. I found the wine sadly didn’t add anything. I am thinking perhaps maybe because the Kale flavor is so strong on it’s own, which if fine by me, because the following morning when SO had his glass of milk, I went for the left overs and had myself a bowl of Calcium rich Kale! :D

      Next post… The dinner FINALLY comes together! Spicy Meatballs!


      1. Salata Kudsiyeh (Jerusalem Salad)
        May Bsisu from "The Arab Table"

        This was a winner. Served it as a side dish to a chicken recipe, and the leftover dressing made a good lemony dip too. A very simple dressing elevated by the tahini. We both loved this, and I'm adding it to my repertoire of salads to bring to BBQs or pot-lucks, and you can easily add grilled shrimp, chicken, etc to make it a meal. Couldn't be easier - I chopped two seeded tomatoes, a head of Romaine, 3 scallions, half a European cucumber, and half a green bell pepper. Just before serving, all this is tossed with a dressing of Tahini, EVOO, lemon juice, white vinegar, and salt and pepper. Simple but very tasty. Will definitely make again.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Rubee

          Ooo!! This sounds wonderful!! I will have to make this summer for sure! :)


        2. Muhammara
          (Red Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses-and-Walnut Dip)
          by Paula Wolfert from The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean

          I made this, along with hummus and pita chips brushed with olive oil and zatar, as an appetizer for a meal last night using some Roden recipes from the "Arabesque" thread.

          Came out great - texture from the walnuts, sweetness from the roasted peppers, and the tang from the pomegranate molasses. I roasted four red bell peppers, and pureed them with aleppo pepper, walnuts, Wheat Thins (for the wheat crackers), lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, olive oil, salt, and a bit of sugar. Chilled it overnight. I served it sprinkled with some sumac. Loved it, and it's even better today. This is my first attempt at making muhammara at home, I usually buy an excellent version from a place called Sultan's Kitchen locally. Once you roast the peppers, the rest is easy. Definite keeper.