Melissa Maedgen, Recipe Tester

A list of all the recipes Melissa Maedgen has tested.

Melissa Maedgen

Melissa Maedgen owes her passion for cooking and gardening to her parents. Like her mom and dad, she’s fond of improvisational cooking with a focus on fresh produce from her garden or from local farmers. She enjoys cooking outdoors, sometimes in a particularly rustic manner—she once roasted a goat on a spit (actually just a piece of rebar) over a fire in a field in Texas. Maedgen was raised to be a DIYer, so she often makes her own tofu or beer. She’s been following Leite’s Culinaria since 2001, when she was studying Portuguese and developed an interest in Brazilian and Portuguese food. She became a tester in 2009 and loves that she gets to cook foods she might not otherwise make.

A cast-iron baking dish filled with fennel baked in cream on a wooden board.

Fennel Baked in Cream

Fennel turns meltingly tender and oh so sweet when slowly, slowly, slowly braised in cream, cheese, and butter. One more reason to be enamored with the holidays.

  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • 12
A white bowl of wild rice, roasted chestnuts, and cranberries with a gold spoon resting inside.

Wild Rice with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries

This Christmas and Thanksgiving dish of wild rice is combined with freshly roasted chestnuts, cranberries, and apricots then baked in the oven. The sweet and savory notes hit just the right spot with guests.

  • 1 H, 15 M
  • 3 H
  • 2
A white oval serving plate partly filled with pasta alla Norma with a spoon resting on the plate.

Pasta alla Norma

We’ve tasted a lot of pasta alla Norma recipes in our day, and we gotta say, after trying this one, we’re calling it quits on our search for the perfect recipe. Because this is it.

  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • 14
Baked spiced pecans on a sheet of parchment that is resting on a wooden serving board.

Spiced Pecans

“Super easy.” “Great with beer.” “Disappear fast.” “Yummy!” That’s what folks are saying about this recipe that’s a little sticky, a little sweet, a little spicy, and incredibly stunning.

  • 10 M
  • 40 M
  • 2
A cast iron skillet filled with cooked sweet potato cornbread topped with two pats of butter, resting on a old blue wooden chair with a dish of butter beside it.

Sweet Potato Cornbread

We could blather on and on and on about this surprising and stunning (and stealthy healthy) riff on a Southern classic that everyone is swearing is the best cornbread they’ve ever had. But you best experience it for yourself.

  • 15 M
  • 50 M
  • 53
A metal platter holding five grilled portobello mushrooms, topped with garlic rosemary butter.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

These grilled portobello mushrooms are topped with butter, garlic, rosemary, and soy sauce for an incredible and indescribable umami savoriness.

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 30 M
  • 0
Four adobo marinated pork chops and several lime halves, some squeezed, on a wooden chopping block.

Adobo Marinated Pork Chops

We teach you how to make your own homemade adobo and then wield it to make your weeknight meals exponentially more enticing.

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 0
Three bottles of store bought Sriracha sauce.

Homemade Sriracha Sauce

The traditional and incendiary Thai condiment has incited quite the following. Here’s how to save yourself a trip to your local Asian market.

  • 5 M
  • 7 D
  • 58
Several halves of tomato Provençal on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Tomatoes Provençal

Is there anything as sweetly satisfying as heirloom tomatoes eaten raw over the sink? Probably not. But when you tire of that, there’s always this deeply satiating tactic.

  • 10 M
  • 40 M
  • 14
A stack of johnnycakes on a white plate topped syrup and butter.

Johnnycakes

Make no mistake, pancakes they are not. Johnnycakes are lighter and crunchier and grittier and arguably best drenched in butter and maple syrup.

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 45 M
  • 2
A spinach tomato mushroom burger between two toasted bun halves on a brown plate.

Spinach, Tomato, and Mushroom Burger

“A keeper.” That’s what people are saying about this portobello mushroom burger piled high with garlicky spinach and marinated tomatoes.

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • 0
A red woven basket with a pile of buttermilk onion rings

Buttermilk Onion Rings

Crisp on the outside, sweet and tender on the inside, these buttermilk onion rings are going to ruin all over onion rings for you.

  • 30 M
  • 40 M
  • 4