Psycho Cooker

Recipes + Travels + Reviews


Al Fresco Dining

What’s the perfect ending to a perfect spring day?  The perfect dinner, outside, of course.  What’s the perfect outside dinner?  Parmesan chicken topped with a simple salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette.  There’s really no witty story or commentary behind this recipe.  Last Sunday, I just happened to spend a lovely homework-free day in good company.  I literally forgot I was in grad school for they day, and as I rode this wave of contented delirium, this recipe popped in my head.  I saw Ina Garten make it for Mel Brooks on Barefoot Contessa a while back.  If it is good […]

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Albondigas Soup

I was working at the Palm Steakhouse, in Philadelphia, when I first ate albondigas soup.  When I was really unlucky, I had to write the specials on a chalkboard for everyone to see.  I have horrible handwriting, so my being delegated this task was not just a punishment for me, but for everyone else that had to look at it.  One day, the chef hands me a piece of paper with the specials on it.  I proceeded with my usual grumbling about the task at hand, until the soup of the day distracted me.  It was something magical called “Albondigas.”  […]

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Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

I think I have a gift for finding fabulous recipes.  I suppose “gift” might not be the right word, since it implies an innate talent, without practice or effort.  Given the amount of time I spend sifting through recipes, I suppose I can’t exactly classify my recipe-finding talent as naturally occurring.  Regardless of this silly semantic argument, I knew I had found a crowd-pleaser when I came across a recipe entitled “buffalo chicken mac and cheese.”  If this doesn’t make your stomach grumble, you must be my oldest brother, who won’t eat cheese, or someone who shouldn’t be reading this […]

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

The notion of “tuna noodle casserole” keeps finding its way to me.  First, it was a friend’s nostalgia about a roommate’s version of the recipe in college (Annie’s “Alfredo Style” mac and cheese, mixed with tuna, and topped with potato chips).  Then it was a feature recipe in March’s Bon Appétit (all gussied up with leeks, fresh dill, and béchamel sauce).  Additionally, I’ve been eating more tuna salad lately because I’m bored to death with my standby lunch of turkey sandwiches.  I know: tuna lacks glamour, and it tends to conjure up images of elderly couples splitting sandwiches on pumpernickel, […]

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Black Bean and Chorizo Soup with Quesadillas

Lately, I’ve been in a creative rut, both in the kitchen and in my life, in general.  Sometimes, it just seems like I’ve reached my limit in concocting creative ways to eat, or how to trick the kids I work with into doing what they need to do without being miserable.  Play-Doh only goes so far.  Lately, even my breakfasts and lunches seem like a drag, and I just feel cheated when I don’t enjoy a meal.  So much of the day is arduous, and a good meal can be so uplifting in the midst.  When the turkey wrap that […]

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Roasted Chicken

In the world of food, there is little more wholesome and comforting than a golden-brown, crispy-skinned, roasted chicken.  Even if you don’t eat the skin, you can’t possibly argue with such pure aesthetics.  Honestly, the wholesome perfection of this dish has kept me at bay for years, out of mere intimidation.  A whole, roasted chicken reminds me acutely of my childhood, and the perfectly browned birds my mom would pluck from the oven, like magic.  I wouldn’t dare tackle something so sacred, for fear that I would ruin it.  Last Sunday, I conquered this insecurity, and made my first roast […]

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Asparagus: A Sign of Spring

I believe that everyone has his or her own gauge of spring, and its impending promise.  I think it’s safe to say that increasing daylight is a universal point of reference for spring.  For many people, I think it also has something to do with baseball.  Personally, I keep an eye on the produce section, and when asparagus is abundant, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Although asparagus is available year round, the in-season springtime asparagus sets itself apart.  Its vivid green stalks are tender and slender, as opposed to woody and thick.  Additionally, the […]

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Mapo Tofu

People say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and my blogging hiatus has definitely increased my affinity for my corner of cyber space, and cooking, in general. People also say, “you want what you can’t have,” and during my functional break from my right hand, all I wanted to do was cook.  And I couldn’t.  So, as I started to see some progress with my burn, I began to plot.  Regardless of the diminishing pain, I knew the bandage would impede me from effective chopping, just as it impeded me from so many other things.  So I searched for a […]

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Greek Chicken for Dinner; Dessert in the ER

Oh, my poor, little blog has been so neglected this month.  I’m surprised it didn’t refuse my login ID and password out of spite.  I couldn’t have blamed it.  Sometimes, my real life bears precedence over my e-life, and this February has been one of those times.  I decided my blog needed some love, and I better pick an extra delicious recipe to write about in order to show my true affections for my sweet, little blog.  I chose Greek Chicken Thighs, which I found on my newest food obsession, TasteSpotting (world’s greatest website, I assure you).  The implicated chicken […]

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Chocolate Mousse

Based on the content of my blog, you may have inferred that I do not have much of a sweet tooth.  This inference is, indeed, correct.  If anything I have a “cheese tooth,” to the dismay of my oldest brother, who hates cheese, and is unable to make the majority of my recipes.  So far, I have only made empty promises to amend this for him.  Mind you, there are a few cheese-free recipes on here, but he objects to pivotal ingredients in those, as well.  His dislike of cheese is only the tip of the iceberg.  Back to the […]

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