Sweet Potato Pie

Tis almost the season (though you wouldn’t know it in SF with our 80 degree temps this week!) This was a Leite’s evaluation recipe so I can’t share the amazing recipe just yet.


Recipe Testing – Rugelach

Today we decided to make brunch for one of Alex’s high school friends. Since it’s been at least four years since we’ve strayed from scrambled eggs or cereal at home for breakfast, we kind of went overboard. When Alex learned that I was only serving sliced cantaloupe, rugelach, and pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes, he offered to make scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes and basil. Needless to say, we haven’t eaten lunch and aren’t all that excited about any kind of dinner tonight.

I chose to make a batch of rugelach for this cycle of recipe evaluations. I had my choice of raisin, apricot, or chocolate filling. I chose the raisins. They were plumped with water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon over low heat and then ground up with walnuts and a bit of rum.

I haven’t done much experimenting with pastry and was pleased that I didn’t mess them up! (I don’t have a great track record with pie crusts.) I rolled the dough into a rectangle-ish shape and smothered the filling from end to end. Then you roll it up lengthwise and slice it into smaller pieces. The filling oozed out out of the sides and looked gorgeous.


While only a small feat, it is the exact reason I was so eager to become a Leite’s tester. Trying and evaluating new recipes and techniques gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to try things that I might not be inclined to make in my everyday life. This recipe was a huge win and I hope to be able to share it soon. Or just invite me to brunch!

Recipe Testing Winner – Moroccan-Spiced Roast Chicken

I’ve been patiently waiting for this recipe to pop up on the Leite’s website. Today was the day! I first tested the recipe back in July and have since made it twice. It’s one of those dishes where even the skinniest person at the table will ask for seconds. And the leftovers make a fantastic chicken stock. In fact, I used it as the base in my Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup last week and in a Pasta Fagioli dish last night. Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

Recipe Testing Winner – Almond and Coconut Granola

I’m not a huge granola fan but Alex is. And since it’s his birthday this week and we’re going backpacking this weekend, I figured it was a nice excuse to make some from scratch. A friend suggested that I try eating granola and powdered milk for breakfast while backpacking since it has more calories and will keep me going longer than my usual instant oatmeal.

I prefer to make granola at home rather than buying it in the store because it allows me to control the salt and sugar content as well as to customize the nuts and dried fruit to my liking. It’s also significantly cheaper. For this batch, I followed a simple Leite’s recipe that I evaluated and enjoyed about a month ago. The golden colors remind me of autumn which now that it’s already August, really isn’t that far away. Bring on the butternut!

Recipe Testing – Moroccan Roast Chicken

I made what was probably my favorite evaluation recipe so far on Monday night. It was a heavily spiced roast chicken with cauliflower, butternut squash, and red onion. What I loved most about the recipe was that you don’t put the vegetables in with the chicken until it’s nearly done. This was a great tip for me because mine are almost always too soft by the time the chicken is cooked. I’m confident this one will make the Leite’s website so stay tuned for the recipe. In the meantime, enjoy the photos. My friend Marion is in town from France and she is never more than a few feet away from her camera. Other goodies we have made together this week: Beet Salad with Feta, Orange, and Mint, a slight twist on my favorite cookies, and homemade lemonade from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook. The kitchen has been messy but we’ve had a blast!

Recipe Testing – Grilled Cheese

Last night, we made grilled cheese for dinner. It wasn’t just any run of the mill grilled cheese- it was a recipe from a place in San Francisco that makes a life-changing sandwich. If you’ve been to the Ferry Building, you know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered their recipe in this weeks evaluation list!

Here are a couple of photos from our grilled cheese adventure. I’ll post the recipe when (yes, I’m *that* confident) it posts to the LC website!

Four types of cheese and lots of butter

Final product

Recipe Testing (Mafe’)

Update: The recipe made it through testing! It’s up on the Leite’s site here.

I am on my second round of recipe testing for Leite’s Culinaria and am happy to say that my latest dish was absolutely delightful! I made a mafe’, a West African stew with meat simmered in a sauce that is thickened with peanut butter and has a sweet-salty flavor.  Traditionally, you can use lamb, mutton, beef, or chicken but the peanut sauce is what truly defines the mafe’. I opted for lamb tonight since I knew Alex would like it (and I’m slowly becoming a fan of lamb myself after a delicious ravioli we had at Cantinetta last weekend). I added butternut squash, cabbage, parsnips, and potatoes to the stew before adding natural, smooth peanut butter to the final product. Wow. I hope this makes it to the website so that I can share the recipe with you! In the meantime, do a Google search for “lamb mafe” and let me know what you come up with.