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 sliced Korean steak on a rimmed baking sheet with a knife resting on the sheet and bowls of kimchi and daikon nearby.

Korean Steak

This isn’t quite bulgolgi, the classic Korean barbecue. But this little number is salty, sweet, and quite reminiscent of its longer-marinated inspiration.

  • (3)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 10 M
  • 8
Five half-moon pastries, Jamaican beef turnovers, on a stone plate, three bottles of beer

Jamaican Beef Turnovers

Patties. Pasties. Turnovers. Whatever you insist on calling these savory hand pies is of little consequence. It’s the taste that talks to us. And oh, do they. With a Jamaican accent, no less.

  • (2)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 12
A jar of quick red chile adobo sauce with the lid and a spoon resting beside it.

Adobo Sauce

Perhaps best known as the earthy sauce bathing canned chipotle peppers, this Mexican staple is actually ridiculously versatile. And easy to make at home. Here’s how.

  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • 14
A white plate with a piece of pan-seared Moroccan salmon on a bed of orange slices, red onion, and greens with three black olives on the side.

Pan-Seared Moroccan Salmon

These sexy salmon fillets have got “come hither” appeal in spades thanks to a citrusy lilt and a beguiling blend of spices.

  • (4)
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • 15
Pad Thai noodles, crunchy noodles. cucumber, bean sprouts, and lime wedges in a bowl, a bottle of chile-vinegar

Authentic Pad Thai

Unspeakably more nuanced than takeout Thai, these stir-fried noodles boast a sigh-inducing balance of salty, sour, and sweet. In other words, it’s the real deal.

  • (1)
  • 35 M
  • 1 H
  • 10
A brown bowl filled with ginger and carrot stir-fry on a wooden mat.

Ginger and Carrot Stir-Fry

There’s nothing wallflowerish about this stir-fry, not with its gingery zing of tongue-tingling, sinus-clearing, tummy-settling ginger. Nothing at all.

  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • 2
A shallow white dish filled with coffee creme brulee, with a spoon resting inside.

Coffee Crème Brûlée

“I’ve actually had friends lift their gratin dish and lick it clean—right at the table!” says David Lebovitz. We’ll have one of those. Actually, we’ll have two.

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H
  • 10
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.

  • (4)
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • 14
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)
  • 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.

  • (5)
  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • 16
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.

  • (1)
  • 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.

  • (7)
  • 15 M
  • 50 M
  • 53