When Costco Gives You Croissants, Make Croque Monsieur Casserole

David Leite recounts the circumstance and memories that conspired to help him create a magnificently rich croque monsieur casserole.

A person holding a finished croque monsieur casserole.

The croque monsieur. My first real one (real in the sense of in France, in Paris to be specific) was at a little wedge of a bistro in the ninth arrondissement about 30 years ago. The pulse of new love, years of near fat-free dieting, and the swirl of Parisian life held hands and duped the neurons in the pleasure center of my brain to elevate this humble sandwich–this particular humble sandwich–to the perfect example of a bistro bite. The UR-bistro bite. The one against which all other bites are measured. Read more “When Costco Gives You Croissants, Make Croque Monsieur Casserole” »

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

: mana5280

If you’ve visited Leite’s Culinaria even a few times, chances are you’ve discovered I’m known as Fatty Daddy. It’s a nickname I carry with pride–not so much as a nod to my porkly padding but rather for the affection with which it’s uttered by my worshipful staff. [Editor’s Note: Huh?!]

What you most likely don’t know is that for a tiny flock of folks, I’m known simply as Sugar Daddy.

Like all sugar daddies worth their bankrolls, I adhere to a clear-cut arrangement: I willingly pay for homes, take care of bills, and finance endless meals. In exchange, my little chickies are required to delight me, thrill me, charm me. Read more “How to Make Hummingbird Nectar” »

Lasagne Bolognese

A metal casserole dish filled with a cooked lasagna Bolognese, with three forks and a stack of plates beside it.

I’ve always looked upon making my own pasta as a virtuous endeavor. Like tithing, volunteering, or rotating my tires on a regular basis. So when I told The One I was going to make Giuliano’s lasagne with homemade noodles, he gave me a very impressed nod of the head. I liked that. He was even more intrigued when I hauled out all my new KitchenAid rollers and cutters along with a ruler, broomstick, and 00 flour. Clearly I meant business.

This recipe is a cinch to follow. Guiliano writes that you can make it over two days, but if you’re organized (which I’m not), you can make in an afternoon—which I did. My only problem was that I had to stop rolling the dough two settings before the narrowest setting that the recipe specified because the dough was stretching too thin. Thinking I perhaps made a mistake and had already rolled it into pasta oblivion (after all, I was picturing those hefty-hefty, thick-as-plywood lasagna noodles of days gone by), I posted a picture on Facebook in the hopes of getting feedback. And who should reply? None other than the doyen of Italian cooking—Marcella Hazan. She wrote, “Nice touch David, to lay out the pasta on checked fabric to display its transparency. Homemade egg pasta is at the top of the pasta pyramid, and homemade lasagne alla Bolognese commands the very peak. Why have so few refused to make that ascent? Congrats, D.L.” As you can imagine, I was practically vibrating with pride. Read more “Lasagne Bolognese” »