Helen Doberstein, Recipe Tester

A list of all the recipes Helen Doberstein has tested.

Helen Doberstein, Leite's Culinaria Recipe Tester

Helen was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and has lived in the “GTA” (Greater Toronto Area) all of her life. Her earliest memories of food were typical of the English/Irish cooking of the day, which in Helen’s words meant “gray vegetables, potatoes, and well-done meats, sometimes with a token salad.” Fancy wasn’t on the menu growing up. Helen’s mom had taught her the basics so she wouldn’t starve, but the kitchen was always her mother’s domain. Intruders were welcome—to do the dishes.

As newlyweds, Helen and her husband became involved in round-robin dinner parties, which encouraged Helen to expand her cooking skills. Her most memorable dinner party involved a chocolate fondue that had so much kirsch in it she had to make coffee as everyone waited for cabs so they could get home safely. No one was given a choice to drive home after that dessert. (Helen deemed the night a huge success.) Not long after that, she started watching Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. In terms of cooking, she was hooked. Around the same time, Helen started collecting cookbooks and trying more and more new recipes and techniques in the kitchen. Soon everything was fair game.

Fortunately, when it comes to food, Helen’s family and friends are happy to try most anything that she’s prepared. The Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Stuffed Squash wowed her husband. Helen’s mother is extremely fond of the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. The guys at the curling club loved the Duck Prosciutto and Bacon Jam.  And Helen? She’ll tell you that her favorite recipe is the Smoked Salmon Pizza. No, it’s the Sunday Roast Beef. Hmmm, it’s probably the Chilaquiles. Actually, like most of us, she’s not able to choose just one.

Helen and her husband now live in Churchill, Ontario, a quiet village an hour north of Toronto. They have three grown children, an 8-year-old granddaughter, 2-year-old grandson and a 4 legged furry rescue who had decided she is not a dog but a princess. Helen has worked for three of the major Canadian banks, as well as with her husband at his business in Toronto, and is currently an office administrator for the Lisbon Group in Bradford. She’s also spent many years teaching ceramics in the evenings, practicing archery, and making jewelry. She previously tested recipes for America’s Test Kitchen and when her tenure there was done, she discovered Leite’s. “I can’t imagine doing this for anyone else now,” she says. “I love the sense of community here and look forward to many more years of happy testing.”

A toasted classic tuna melt on a wooden board with a dish of ketchup next to it.

Classic Tuna Melt

Because yes, a properly constructed tuna melt is reason to get pretty darn excited. This exquisite specimen makes a pretty compelling argument.

  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • 2
A cooked pork loin roast, tied and salted, set on a wire rack in a baking sheet

Pork Loin Roast

Just like what your grandma would put on the table for Sunday night supper. (Don’t you love how food instantly transports you through time?!)

  • (12)
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 35 M
  • 65
A large bowl filled with grilled panzanella, with cherry tomatoes, torn bread, and basil leaves.

Grilled Panzanella Salad

This brashly untraditional panzanella grills the bread so you can dispense with waiting for stale bread. Still frugal. Still stunning. Still more than the sum of its parts.

  • (3)
  • 20 M
  • 45 M
  • 14
A piece of egg shop fried chicken on a white plate with a drizzle of honey on top and a fork beside it.

Egg Shop Fried Chicken

For years, Egg Shop’s fried chicken has been the talk of New York City. It’s crunchy, juicy, salty, spicy, honey-frizzled fried chicken amazingness. And here’s how you can make it.

  • (1)
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • 1 D, 2 H
  • 2
Two jars of pickled shrimp on a wooden cutting board.

Pickled Shrimp

A Southern classic, pickled shrimp are subtly flavored with herbs and spices in a nuanced way. So much so you’ll be wondering where these have been your entire life.

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 8 H, 40 M
  • 0
A person mashing avocado into a bowl of easy guacamole on a table with salt, avocado, cilantro, lime, and chiles.

Easy Guacamole

Easy as heck, this guacamole takes a minimalistic approach that keeps ingredients to the essentials yet doesn’t disappoint. Sorta tricky to come by that these days. And yet here we are.

  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • 14
A rack of barbecue beef ribs, with four sliced off the end.

Barbecue Beef Ribs

Minimal effort. Maximum return. These ribs seem like they were tended all night and day in the smoker. Yet mandate barely any effort with a slow spell in the oven or on the grill.

  • (2)
  • 30 M
  • 1 D, 3 H
  • 14
Six chicken caesar salad skewers on a white plate with leaves of red and green romaine and two lemon wedges.

Chicken Caesar Salad Skewers

These subtly flavored chicken skewers deconstruct the classic into separate, simple, spectacular components in weeknight-friendly fashion.

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 55 M
  • 0
A couple slices of plum-blueberry upside-down cake on a white plate with a knife resting on the edge of the plate.

Plum-Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

This purple-stained cake—er, what’s left of it—calls for just old-fashioned goodness and the season’s most compelling fruits. Got milk?

  • (2)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 11
Skewers of thinly sliced Thai-style grilled pork skewers on a metal tray in a street food vendor's cart

Thai-Style Grilled Pork Skewers ~ Moo Yang

We can certainly understand why street food catapulted into trendiness. Assuming, that is, it all tastes as soulful as these skewers that are hawked on seemingly every street in Thailand.

  • (5)
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 40 M
  • 19