Psycho Cooker

Recipes + Travels + Reviews


Vegetarian Chili with Tofu and Eggplant

This recipe tastes better than it looks and sounds.  It’s a simple vegetarian chili, that’s really satisfying, and if you skip the cheese, it can serve as hearty vegan meal.  I had something similar to this at a restaurant a few months back, and this is my rendition.  While tofu is not the most appealing ingredient, it adds a nice heft and texture to this chili.  I ate 2 small bowls of it, and I woke up still full in the morning.  You definitely don’t have to worry about going hungry with this as your dinner.  You can pick and […]

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Spicy Pan-Fried Noodles

I love noodles.  All noodles.  They are inexpensive, and a limitless blank canvas for a quick and delicious dinner.  Italian pasta is what I cook most frequently, but I gravitate towards noodles no matter what the cuisine.  I recently went to a Chinese market on a Sunday afternoon, to stock up on authentic Asian ingredients.  I was the only person in the market that wasn’t Chinese; one elderly woman seemed to think I was lost, as she was kindly trying to guide me towards the exit in the parking lot.  Yet, I emerged victorious with a variety of Chinese and […]

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Buttermilk-Brined Chicken

This is a re-figuring of Smitten Kitchen’s rendition of Nigella Lawson’s buttermilk chicken.  That’s kind of a mouthful, but the chicken is worth the confusion.  This is a simple recipe for succulent and flavorful roast chicken, as long as you are willing to plan things out a bit.  The most difficult step of this dinner is purchasing your ingredients the day before you want to eat.  Sometimes that’s impossible, but I found this to be pretty manageable on a Saturday afternoon, and I was so pleased with my dinner the following night.  When you get home from the grocery store, […]

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Squid, Chorizo, and Chickpea Stew

Since I am still in awe of the tender, meaty texture that results from slowly cooking squid, I decided to further explore this cooking method.  Not only is the texture perfectly toothsome,  but the requisite slow cooking doesn’t actually take long at all.  For squid, “slow cooking” translates to about 30-40 minutes.  Thus, this is truthfully a relatively quick cooking soup that can easily be served as a simple meal on its own, or it can be beefed up a bit with a side salad, or a little bit of orzo pasta mixed in. This hearty squid soup is flavored […]

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Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma

This recipe is a giant, delicious fake-out.  Considering this shawarma has “oven-roasted” in the recipe title, I am not trying to fool anyone; this is definitely a mock version of authentic chicken shawarma, which is a Middle Eastern style of cooking meat on a vertical spit.  Nonetheless, this recipe is a veritable flavor bomb, which happens to be easy to prepare, and fun to eat.  It is simply marinated boneless skinless chicken thighs that are roasted in a very hot oven, and served with various accompaniments. The flavor-packed marinade is the key to success.  I used the recipe from New […]

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Stuffed Calamari

I don’t have a ton of experience cooking calamari, but I know there are two cooking styles that yield a tender texture: cook it quickly over high heat (like flash frying), or cook it for a long time over low heat.  Well, that is what I have read; I’ve tried the first approach before, and the result was pretty rubbery.  So, when I found this recipe for stuffed calamari, simmered in tomato sauce, I was a bit skeptical.  Nonetheless, the recipe sounded too interesting to pass; I took my chances, and was pleasantly surprised. This recipe is made by stuffing […]

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Spicy Yucatan Shrimp

Is it still cold where you live?  Are you frustrated by on-going dreary weather?  Do you need a tiny food celebration to lift your spirits for any reason?  Yucatan Shrimp is the recipe for you.  This is a bright and spicy, peel-and-eat shrimp dish that will put a little bounce in your step.  There’s something festive about messy finger food, especially when it’s seafood.  If you’re looking for some festive seafood, with less mess, you could try these clams instead. I found this shrimp recipe on the New York Times Cooking website, although I made a few changes.  The basic […]

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Penna with Spicy Lamb Sauce

This is unique pasta dish can be on your dinner table in about 45 minutes or less, and it’s a nice riff on traditional meat sauce.  It’s called “spicy lamb sauce,” but depending on your preference, that can simply mean plenty of warm spices, but not necessarily heat.  The sauce is richly flavored with smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and a touch of cinnamon.  These spices give it a warm, smokey flavor that pairs well with the earthiness of the ground lamb.  When you start cooking, I recommend measuring the oil that the garlic and shallots are sauteed in.  If you […]

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Feta and Pine Nut Cheese Ball

This pine nut-crusted feta cheese ball is a great recipe to serve at your next party or get together.  It’s a tangy mix of cream cheese and feta, lightened up by fresh herbs, lemon zest, and fennel seeds.  Once the whole thing comes together and chills in the refrigerator, it is rolled in toasted pine nuts.  All that’s needed is some crackers, you have a great appetizer. It has retro appeal, but with an upgraded Mediterranean flavor.  It’s simple to assemble, and best done in advance, which is ideal for any party.  I actually brought it to a friend’s Thanksgiving […]

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Crispy Roasted Cod

Crispy, roasted cod is a quick and tasty dish that won’t weigh you down, or run up your grocery bill.  All this dish requires is mixing up a simple bread crumb mixture, piling it on top of cod fillets on a sheet pan, and throwing the whole thing in a hot oven.  Serve the fish with a salad and you have a complete, low stress dinner.  I put my cod fillets on a baking rack (per the original recipe), but this could easily done with just a sheet pan, lined with foil or parchment paper.  If your cod fillets have […]

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