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 rectangular blueberry mascarpone tart with one slice cut from the end and a bowl of blueberries on the side.

Blueberry Mascarpone Tart

Quite possibly the best mingling of blueberries, lemon, mascarpone cheese, and pastry to ever grace a dessert table. We swear it’s going to make you a legend among friends.

  • Quick Glance
  • 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.

Two spoons with homemade harissa on them on a cracked enamel surface.

Homemade Harissa

In the words of one of our recipe testers, “If this sauce is what Moroccan food is all about, then I’m all in.” Us, too.

  • Quick Glance
  • 0
Four quarters of a grilled cheese with everything sandwich lined up next to each other.

Grilled Cheese with Everything

This came into existence when a line cook wondered what would happen if he put literally everything on a sandwich. Something spectacular ensued.

  • Quick Glance
  • 0
A bowl of homemade yellow mustard next to a wooden spoon filled with mustard seeds.

Homemade Yellow Mustard

Why make your own mustard? Because you can. And if that’s not reason enough, there’s no comparison between this and the store-bought stuff. Enough said.

Two copper glasses filled with mint julep with straws sticking out from them and mint leaves scattered around.

Mint Julep

We’re thinking about petitioning for the word “julep” to officially function as a verb as well as a noun. Julep us!

  • Quick Glance
  • 5
Shredded slow cooker pulled pork in a metal dish.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

“Simple.” “Sloppy and delicious.” “No-fuss.” ‘WOW!” That’s what folks are saying about this easy peasy, hands-off pulled pork.

  • (2)
  • 6
A punch bowl and several glasses filled with strawberry sangria, whole strawberries, and orange wheels.

Strawberry Sangria

Anyone else ready for another weekend? If so, we’ve got an especially seasonal riff on the sultry Spanish sipper that’ll get everyone in the mood…for what, you tell us.

  • (1)
  • 2