Get this: The first time I tried this Indian treat, I was in Panama. Heh. Some friends and I took a trip there and found a little Indian restaurant run by some American expats... and I fell in love with Indian food there on the spot.

Mango lassis are sweet and creamy and scented with cardamom, mmmm...!

There is a salted mint version which I also tried, but didn't like it at all. Maybe I added too much salt? Anywho, this one is so easy, guess you could call it an Indian smoothie....

Flesh of 1 ripe mango chopped
150 milliliter low fat yogurt
150 milliliter water
2 cardamom pod seeds freshly powdered or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Sugar to taste (I used honey)
Ice cubes (Optional)

Add all the ingredients in a blender and churn till smooth.
Sieve it to remove any fibre and adjust the sugar as per your taste and the sweetness of mango.
Serve chilled. Add more water if you like it thinner.

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I live in the South, and it’s hot, humid, and sticky in the summertime. So, I wanted to do a refreshing dessert that would be perfect on a hot, summer day. While I was thumbing through an Everyday Food magazine, I saw the perfect thing…homemade ice pops! Made with yogurt and fresh fruit, they’re not only cool and refreshing, but also healthier than a store-bought popsicle. I used honeydew instead of the cantaloupe that the recipe called for, but that’s the beauty of this recipe, you can substitute whatever you want…strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, the possibilities are endless.



Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food

1 six ounce container raspberries
2/3 cup natural cane sugar
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups honeydew, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks

Put the raspberries and 1/3 cup of sugar in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup. Whisk in 2 Tablespoons yogurt. Wash out the blender, then the honeydew and the other 1/3 cup sugar until smooth. Strain that into another measuring cup and whisk in 6 Tablespoons yogurt. Fill ice pop molds with half of raspberry mixture, then top with honeydew mixture. If you want a swirl, then gently stir with a small spoon or straw. Put in the ice pop sticks and freeze until solid, 2 ½ to 4 hours. Run a little hot water over the molds to loosen them before taking them out. They will keep for a week in the freezer…if they last that long!!

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So, as you all know, it is yogurt week here on Kitchen Psycho. I absolutely LOVE yogurt, specifically, plain Greek yogurt. I eat it for breakfast almost every day. I also use it a ton in my cooking. Often, I’ll substitute it for sour cream or mayonnaise in a recipe. It’s wonderful, and it’s great for you.

The idea for this recipe literally hit me in the grocery store when I saw a package of ground chicken. Often when you see meatballs as an appetizer at a gathering or party, they are the ones done in a crock pot with a sweet and sour sauce. They’re good, but probably not the healthiest thing you can eat. I decided to do chicken meatballs with a dipping sauce that used Greek yogurt as the base. Since I didn’t have a recipe, I had no idea how they would turn out. The verdict: my six year old, slightly picky son absolutely loved them! He even loved the dipping sauce, which took a little convincing to get him to try.
My mother thought they were great too. I hope you enjoy.
---Karly Kimbel Vardaman


For the meatballs:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ c. chopped green onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
¼ c. panko
1 ½ teaspoons Cavender’s Greek seasoning
Salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with foil, then spray a cooling rack (for cookies) with cooking spray and put on top of the cookie sheet. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Don’t overmix! Form small meatballs (about the size of a walnut) and put on the rack. Bake for 30 minutes.

For the sauce:
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
1 cup Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of Cavender’s Greek seasoning

Put the pistachios and bell pepper in a food processor and pulse until combined. I left mine with a little texture, but it’s up to you. Mix the puree into the yogurt and season with salt and pepper and a dash of Greek seasoning. Serve with the meatballs.

NOTE: Roast your pepper and let it cool while you’re making the meatballs. Also, trust me on the mint! If you want, you can substitute Italian parsley for the mint. And, if you just want a great dip with pita chips or crudités, then the sauce by itself would be fabulous!!

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WEEK TWO of Kitchen Psycho's Secret Ingredient Cook-Off, and we've chosen YOGURT for our secret ingredient.

   I was flipping channels the other day and stopped on The Cooking Channel. Oh my. This woman was showing a firefighter ('cuz they have time to cook!!) how to cook simple Indian fare, and this was one of the dishes they made. It looked incredible, and I have eggplant growing in the garden, so, why not? Indian food doesn't HAVE to involve curry, you know... I found the recipe on their website, but made one small change: I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. A very nice decision!
   Too, when the recipe says to heat gently, they mean it! Remember that yogurt can curdle with higher heat, so stir constantly and heat gently. And I would suggest Greek yogurt to make it a richer, thicker sauce. One more thing: I think she made this as a main dish, but I don't really see how, unless you're looking for a light lunch. This serves as more of a side for me. Something that enhances the weight of a heavier main course.


14 ounces small Japanese-style aubergines (eggplant) thinly sliced into rounds
Good pinch ground turmeric
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
9 ounces plain yogurt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 rounded teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a frying pan and ground in a clean coffee grinder or mortar and pestle
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish

Dust the aubergine slices with the turmeric, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red chile powder.

Heat the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and fry the aubergine pieces until soft (you may have to do this in two batches). Set the fried aubergine aside.

In a bowl, beat 3/4 of the yogurt with the sugar, salt, and the remaining red chile powder. Pour the mixture into a small saucepanand heat gently, stirring often to prevent the sauce from splitting or breaking, for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the ground cumin and the fried aubergine slices. Heat gently and stir to combine.

Stir in the remaining yogurt, check and adjust the seasonings, as necessary and garnish with the fresh chopped cilantro.

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   When Jenny and I decided to include citrus as an ingredient in the recipe challenge, I knew immediately
 which dessert I would use. 
   There is a lemon tart in Melissa Clark’s wonderful cookbook, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite that is simply to die for. It is perfection. Actually, her entire cookbook is phenomenal. If you don’t own it already, then run, don’t walk, to get yourself a copy. 
   When it came time to make my dessert, though, I really wanted lime. So, I decided to make a lime tart instead. It turned out great! It is a little more time consuming, but it is totally worth the effort. I hope you enjoy.

--- Karly

Adapted from Melissa Clark’s lemon tart recipe

Tart Shell:
1 ½ c. flour
½ c. blanched, slivered almonds
1/3 c. powdered sugar
Grated zest of half a lime
1 stick cold butter, cubed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Pinch of salt

Tart Filling:
3 small limes
1 1/3 c. sugar

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon vanilla

     First, make the shell. Take ¼ cup of the flour and the almonds and pulse in a food processor until the almonds are finely ground. Then add the remaining flour, the powdered sugar, the lime zest and pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add the egg and pulse until a sticky dough forms. Take the dough out and shape into a flat disc, then refrigerate in plastic wrap for an hour.

     Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it thinly. Press it into a 9 inch tart pan and put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 325. Bake shell 30 minutes, take out and line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for another 25 minutes until it reaches a pale golden color.

     While the shell is baking, make the filling. Zest the limes and put the zest in a food processor. Then, cut the tops and bottoms off of the fruit, and slice the peel off. Cut the limes into segments and put in the food processor with the zest (make sure you take out any seeds). Add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch and process until it is combined. Scrape all of it into a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix the melted butter, egg, egg yolks, and vanilla. Then pour the butter mixture into the lime mixture and whisk until combined. When the shell is ready, pour the filling in and bake it about 35-45 minutes, until the top is bubbly and lightly browned.

     Allow to cool completely before cutting. Chill overnight and dust with powdered sugar before serving if desired.

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In the summertime, I see tons of grilled corn recipes with all kinds of toppings. I drool over them, earmark the pages of the magazines that I find them in so that I can try them, and somehow manage to go through an entire summer without trying a single one. Usually, the recipes that I see call for grilling the corn in the husk, then adding the toppings to the hot corn. Recently, I’ve seen in several magazines, recipes that call for shucking the corn first. Who knew you didn’t need the husk to grill corn?! I knew I had to try grilling corn, but I’ve never liked the idea of grilling it and then sprinkling stuff on it. There’s something about slathering butter over hot, fresh corn that just can’t be beat. So, I thought, why not make a compound butter instead? A compound butter is simply butter that has flavor added to it.
There are endless variations of compound butter, some sweet, some savory. And so, the idea for my citrus side was born, GRILLED CORN WITH TEQUILA LIME BUTTER. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


4-6 ears of corn, shucked

Half a stick of butter, softened
2 teaspoons tequila
Zest of 1 small lime
Juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Before you grill your corn, make the butter. Mix the tequila, lime zest and juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into softened butter. Heat your grill, brush the corn with olive oil, and grill until it’s charred.
You’ll need to turn it a few times. When the hot corn comes off the grill, slather it with the butter.

Note: If you have any extra butter left, form it into a log and wrap in plastic to keep in the fridge.

---- Karly Kimbel Vardaman
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Butter the ramekins, then line with sugar.
Don't be intimidated. Souffles, at least these, are not as complicated as you think! This recipe was not difficult, and the results were DELICIOUS! EVEN COLD!

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 13/100 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted 

1. Place a baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Lightly coat 6 (8-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons sugar, tilting dishes to coat sides completely.
3. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until thick and pale (about 2 minutes). Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and next 4 ingredients (through flour); beat at medium speed just until blended.
4. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until medium peaks form.
5. Gently stir one-fourth of egg whites into lemon mixture; gently fold in remaining egg whites. Gently spoon mixture into prepared ramekins. Sharply tap dishes 2 or 3 times on counter to level. Sprinkle evenly with almonds. Place dishes on preheated baking sheet; return baking sheet to 425° oven. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 350°; bake soufflés at 350° for 20 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

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I lived in Nicaragua for a year, and ever since I came home two and a half years ago, I miss it terribly every day. I lived in a small fishing village on the Pacific, and one of the fast friends I made was with Pedro Isidro. The most loving and generous man I will probably ever meet, he greeted me with a big bear hug when I returned on my honeymoon a few months ago. 
   Pedro runs a meat-selling stand in the local market, and he is a decorated fisherman. One evening, he took me and a few of my friends to the top of a nearby mountain where we watched one of the most glorious sunsets I have ever seen (over the ocean's horizon!) and ate mangoes and ceviche. A memory I recall with love and wonder... I can't believe I actually lived such a life down there... Wishing my husband had the circumstances to return FOR GOOD!
   It is Pedro that I begged for a copy of his delicious recipe. There, they have something called Salsa Inglesa (English sauce)... We obviously don't have that here, but I remember it having a strong cumin taste. So I used cumin, salt, and a little olive oil. 

   Ceviche is a dish in which the fish never touches a flame or a burner, but still ends up completely cooked! The limes take over on cooking duty.


1 lb white fish (I used Whiting, but since it's pretty fishy, you can use Tilapia)
1/2 onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
handful of diced cilantro
juice of 10-12 limes
about a tbsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste (ground white pepper would be nice!)
Louisiana Hot Sauce

Dump everything in a shallow bowl (I used a tupperware marinater) and let it sit at least an hour. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips and Lousiana Hot Sauce!

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     So, this is my first post on Kitchen Psycho, and I am so happy to be here!! One thing you all should know about me is that I am not big on measuring ingredients…I eyeball and estimate a LOT when I am cooking.
     I will do my best not to do that and provide exact measurements. Also, even though I love to cook, I know nothing about taking good pictures of my food. This blog and this cooking challenge will be an opportunity for me to learn how to take better pictures and maybe pick up a new skill.

     Now, you all know the deal with our cooking challenge. This is citrus week, which I was excited about because I LOVE citrus… This dish is one that I came up with on my own. Since we are in the dead heat of summer, I wanted to do something that was light and that would be good room temp or cold. I think this fits the bill! The most time-consuming part is slicing the veggies and peeling and deveining the shrimp (if you don’t buy them already peeled and deveined). I suggest getting everything ready first, and then it all comes together very quickly.

-- Karly


1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
4 small green onions, sliced, both white and green parts (about ½ c.)
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro (a small handful)
Zest from 1 large orange
½ large orange, peeled and roughly chopped
½ c. fresh orange juice
2 Table spoons teriyaki
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 teaspoons grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Toasted cashews (optional)
5 cups prepared couscous

  Prepare the couscous according to package directions. Fluff well with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside. Peel and devein your shrimp and put them in a large bowl. Drizzle shrimp with enough sesame oil to coat well, mix in orange zest, salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper to taste. Set aside. 

  To make the dressing, combine the orange juice, teriyaki, sesame oil, grated ginger, garlic, and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Saute the shrimp, stirring, until pink and opaque, 5-7 minutes. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a nonstick skillet, you might want to add a little sesame oil or water to the pan so that the shrimp doesn't stick.
  Once the shrimp are done, add to the bowl with the couscous. Add the bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, and chopped orange. Stir and combine well. Pour in the dressing and stir well. Serve with toasted cashews or pistachio nuts.

NOTES: This can be served room temperature or cold, and it’s even better the next day. Next time I make it, I might add a diced cucumber and I might double or triple the dressing, since it kind of just absorbed into the dish. All in all, I was happy with it, and I will definitely make it again!!

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     So I have taken on another foodie friend to help write part of the blog and make it more interesting! Karly, one of my best friends, and I have agreed to make a Main Dish, Side Dish or Appetizer, and a Dessert. All from one main ingredient, after the style of Iron Chef. But our little cook-off isn't competitive. It's just awesome food, TIMES TWO! (Funny, after I came up with this idea, I noticed other cooking shows that are doing this...!)

     Week One begins fairly easy, and with a pretty broad scope. We chose Citrus fruits. You name it: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, pomelo... whatever! 

     Today, after a little internet search, I found an idea for GRAPE-FRUIT BLACK BEAN CHILE RELLENOS. The recipe looked a little labor intensive, though, and it didn't have any meat in it, and as we well know, my husband doesn't consider it "Food" unless there's meat somewhere. So I added chicken. And I made it a whole lot easier and healthier. HE LOVED IT!

NOTES: I will DEFINITELY make this again!!! Ordinarily, chile relleno is fried in a batter after being filled. But I chose to omit this step and make it a little healthier. And it doesn't lack a thing! The smokiness of the chiles pairs perfectly with the beans and cumin, and the grapefruit is a great little sweet burst of flavor in all of that!
   I happened to have leftover grilled chicken to work with, so that didn't take much time. Overall, it probably took 30 minutes to make. Simple. Healthy. Quick. Can't beat it! 


4 large Poblano chiles
3-4 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

two cooked chicken breasts (grilled or pan-seared, shredded or cubed)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 avocado, diced
1-2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled 

   Cut all chiles in half, lengthwise, cut out seed pod, and place on a baking sheet with the inside of the pepper facing the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and broil on high for 7-10 minutes. Make sure they are completely softened. Peppers will come out looking charred, with skin separating from the flesh. Set aside to cool for five minutes.   

   In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, beans, grapefruit, avocado and Monterrey Jack cheese. Season with cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Mix. Spoon into broiled chiles, and sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco and bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. 
Serve with brown rice. 

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