Psycho Cooker

Recipes + Travels + Reviews


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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Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce

You think you don’t like anchovies, but you’re wrong.  Perhaps you are averse to popping a whole, pungent, furry little fish in your mouth (those are actually tiny edible bones).  That texture isn’t for everyone, but on the other hand, those little suckers will dissolve when cooked in oil, and they can lend an unparalleled depth of flavor to the backbone of a dish.  You can even purchase anchovy paste, and that dissolving work is essentially already complete.  That’s exactly what I used in this dish, and I love the edge of complexity the anchovy paste can add to a […]

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Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata is a simple Italian dish, consisting of sautéed chicken cutlets with a lemon-caper sauce.  The flavors are clean and bright.  It doesn’t have garlic in it, or anything spicy, and it frankly doesn’t need it.  Some people like to add butter to the sauce at the end, but I don’t think it’s necessary.  There is plenty of olive oil, which adds richness.  First, chicken cutlets are dredged in flour and browned in a sauté pan.  Don’t be shy here: make sure you get some good color on the chicken.  When all of the chicken has been effectively browned, […]

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Chicken Tagine with Fennel and Olives

If you are a loyal reader (which, of course, you are), you may remember a slightly disastrous encounter with a recipe for chicken sausage with fennel and lentils.  The purpose of that recipe was to experiment with fennel, and the results were boring, and lacking asthetic appeal.  However, in January’s issue of Bon Appetit, I found the answer to my fennel prayers: a chicken tagine with fennel and olives (a tagine is essentially a North African style of braising.  For more information, see my glossary).  Honestly, the title alone had me weak in the knees, and further investigation validated my […]

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Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi is quite deceptive.  It sounds decadent, luxurious, and potentially difficult to make. You can serve this meal to anyone, and they will most likely be impressed, and feel sort of spoiled.  In truth, shrimp scampi is what I like to call an “affordable luxury.”  It is actually entirely affordable, and can be ready in less than thirty minutes.  When I was in college, I referred to shrimp scampi as “my go-to meal.”  By this I mean that, with a little thought, I generally had all of the necessary ingredients, so even when I was super busy, I could […]

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A well balanced meal is in order…

New Years was a great time, and an exercise in decadence.  Shrimp cocktail, stuffed mushrooms, vodka on the rocks, crab dip, homemade pizza, deviled eggs, more vodka, artichoke dip, baby hotdogs wrapped in pastry, a shot of vodka…  And repeat.  It was a lot of fun, and because I slept at my cousin’s place, we proceeded to have crab dip and artichoke dip for breakfast, cold.  And, yes, I’m a little embarrassed about this; it was quite a way to ring in 2010.  After all that rich food, on New Year’s Day, I was craving something simple and wholesome.  I […]

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Acting Out

Finals are horrible.  Even though they will be over in two weeks, it feels like an eternity.  I recommend keeping a safe distance from me until then, because I am beyond irritable.  I had to get gas today, which seemed like the world’s biggest inconvenience.  My car was at about an eighth of a tank.  Even though I drive an average of a mile and a half a day, it seemed like a good idea to fill up because here in Boulder the thermometers are ringing in at near record low temperatures.  It’s supposed to be about five degrees tonight.  […]

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Avgolemono Soup

For the past few weeks, the weather has been extremely fickle in Boulder.  Three inches of snow one weekend, and 75 degrees and sunny the next.  After a miserable walk to school in precipitation that was somewhere between snow and rain, I decided that soup was the only food I would accept for dinner.  I chose egg-lemon soup, in homage to my hometown, Detroit, which seems to have a Greek diner at every major intersection (we call them “coney islands” in Detroit).  Egg-lemon soup, avgolemono*, is basically Greek chicken soup, but thickened at the end with a mixture of egg […]

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Penne and Broccoli

Penne and broccoli is one of the simplest and most satisfying dishes in my repertoire.  Generally, the only thing I may have to purchase in order to make this meal a reality is a broccoli crown.  It is “pantry cooking” at its finest.  I have yet again to offer thanks to Marc Bittman* for dish, although my preparation includes a few crucial variations from his original recipe.  I started making this when I was first learning to cook, and it was because of this dish that I began speculating about flavor combinations and what it meant to alter a recipe […]

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