ICANCOOK Swedish Dumplings & Taste the World

Some people want to be pampered on their birthdays, to have all their favorite things lined up in a row so that they don’t have to go anywhere or want for anything.  Some people want big gifts.  Some people want a quiet dinner out.  Some people wish to forget the day all together.  I, however, only want one thing, always: adventure, and more power to you if it’s a surprise.  This does not mean I expect an Indiana Jones escapade every year (although on second thought, yes it does), but it does mean that creativity has to be involved.  If we’re going to be pampered, make me climb a rocky cliff to get there.  Give me a big gift, but hide it in a garden maze. We can do a quiet dinner, but let’s go somewhere that we have never even heard of before.  I have a lot of stuff; what I want are memories that I can share with someone.

No gives a better gift than my mom because she understands this.  Earlier this month, she got me one of those neato new-fad box services called Taste the World.  It’s a service like Loot Crate or Trunk Club where every month I get a new box with varied items related to a theme, in this case, international cuisine.

This week’s ICANCOOK is based off of a recipe I learned from the first box which was from Sweden.  A Swedish smorgasbord can have some unique flavors in it (you ain’t had black licorice until you have had Swedish black licorice, and I fucking hate black licorice and this shit was delicious), but everything was still delightful because how can you go wrong with things that are filled with bacon and onions?  AND I HAVE FIVE MORE BOXES COMING, all  from different countries and all being shared here and on CookEatLive.

Cook Well, Eat Well, Live Well


Damn, this show takes a lot of work.  It takes so much work, I need to create more work specifically to handle that work, and that work’s work begets its own work’s work, and I no longer know what reality is.  I don’t even drink that much anymore; everything’s bananas!

No, wait! By the gods, here is a bunch of sangria I made and which I mostly drank myself. This is the start of the ICANCOOK videos for CookEatLive – a series that focuses less on the deeper meaning of why we cook in a certain way and more about the incredible things you can do with food.  No instructions, just the pure thrill of seeing good food come together.

And I want to see what other people cook, too, so I slapped it up on Instagram and stuck a hashtag on it: #icancookanything.  So tell me –

– what can you cook?

Cook Well. Eat Well. Live Well.

Oh, and we’re also on Facebook.

Oh! And though you want to let sangria sit for at least a couple of hours, it’ll be much better if you wait one or two more hours after that.


The DinKen

DSCN0838One of those times where I just mix a bunch of stuff together and it turns out all right.

If your special event doesn’t include a specialty cocktail made specifically for your event, then you, my friend, don’t know what the word “celebration” means. This is just one man’s opinion, of course, and not every word out of my mouth is applicable to every person and nor should it be. For example, the previous sentence, because OF COURSE a specially-made hand-crafted libation makes EVERY event better. And for those of you who don’t drink, well…I guess we’re just not made to ever understand each other.

If you've never been in this position, I can't relate to you whatsoever.

If you’ve never been in this position, I can’t relate to you whatsoever.

A great friend of mine that I spent two years with in a hellhole of a law firm graduated from Columbia Law School and passed the bar in Washington D.C., and I decided that I would cook her dinner in honor of her fabulous success. This dinner that comprised of Drunken Noodles and Shrimp Shumai took place around my birthday, and to celebrate that my friend bought me a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin (which is a pretty nice gin).

Also for my birthday, my girlfriend got me a sort of sexy Swiss Army Knife of bartending that came with a corkscrew, zester, knife, and a strainer, among other things.  All in one neat, little package.


“Now if I’m ever lost in the forest, I can still whip up a mean Adios Motherfucker!”

I think I’m pretty easy to buy a gift for as I am always enthusiastic for gifts that get me drunk or that aid me in that endeavor. So in honor of two of the neatest women that I am thankful to have in my life, I concocted a drink that would use both of their gifts (and suggested flavors as my girlfriend also chose some of the other ingredients), and I named this drink after them.

DSCN0836The DinKen

(Pronounced like Dine-Ken.)

– Hendrick’s Gin
– Ginger Ale/Beer
– Cucumber Soda
– Juice of half a Lemon
– Juice of half a Lime
– Dash of Bitters

The gin doesn’t HAVE to be Hendrick’s, but it would be a shame not to use it if available.  It is a fine gin, very smooth and infused with rose and cucumber, which helps it go into the cucumber soda quite nicely. However, cucumber soda can be a little dry depending on the brand, and when mixed with gin, the flavor can get a little sharp. Hence the ginger ale, which not only adds hints of ginger to the mix but also a bit of sweetness.

  • Combine two shots of gin, the juice of half a lemon and lime, and a dash of bitters.

God, using this thing gets me so hot!


  • Fill a glass with ice, as well as wedges made from the lemon and lime you juiced.
  • Pour in gin mixture, and then fill the rest of the glass with equal parts of the cucumber soda and the ginger ale, and mix with a swizzle stick.

*sounds of culinary/sexual gratification*

The cocktail is wonderful when the weather is hot, which is exactly what it was on the day that I had been standing in the kitchen for hours making the shumai.


And I still never got the shape right.

Unfortunately, I was not able to make the drink for my friend that night, and she has since moved to D.C. so this is the only way I have to share the cocktail with her.  It’s yummy, bubbly, and packed full of gratitude and exaltation.

Dedicated to Dynamite Dinah and Krazy Kenisha.


Dick Figures Shots – Lord Tourettes

lt03Down right bipolar.

The people have spoken.  The voices have been heard.  The call has been heeded.

The response to the original Dickfigures Shots was tremendous, and I was given a lot of feedback.  Although a few comments doubted that the drinks would taste good.  All I have to say to those people is: 1) Don’t knock it until you try it; and 2) YOU DOUBT MY ABILITIES?!  Some of them only wanted to know when the next season was coming out (it’s gonna be soon, everybody!).   Most of the fans, however, loved the idea and couldn’t wait to try it out.  But after reading them all, I noticed that people were craving a shot based on their favorite character of the series, which was neither Red nor Blue.  Thus, I decided to create one more Dickfigure shot to thank the fans for their comments (and hits as I was able to get to 200,000 overall views the day it posted), as a challenge to create something that would match the character, and because I adore drinking anything that’s green.   And thus we have –

Just you nevermind that the bottle of absinthe is half empty.  IT'S RESEARCH, PEOPLE!

Just you nevermind that the bottle of absinthe is half empty. IT’S RESEARCH, PEOPLE!

Lord Tourettes Shot

This one took me awhile before I was able to get the right mix.  The inherent traits of the character mean that the drink had to be loving and batshit crazy all at once.  I wasn’t sure how to do that at first.  Should I use something spicy?  I thought about using Red Hots to signify the rage (being both spicy and red), but felt that people would just end up swallowing the candy like a pill when they took the shot which is a waste of good confectioneries, and if that isn’t punishable by law then what use is the legal system?

"I once sent a man to the chair for not finishing his jawbreaker."

“I once sent a man to the chair for not finishing his jawbreaker.”

I didn’t want to use hot sauce as that would probably fuck up the greenness of the thing.  Luckily, the fans provided some insight on what could be done and the solution is extremely pleasant.


– 1 part Absinthe
– 1 part Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
– 1 part Red Bull: Silver Edition
– Whipped Cream
– Green Food Dye

Fuck, absinthe is expensive.

I used absinthe because it’s green and it’s alcohol (cocktail – liquor = soft drink, and I don’t play that kind of shit), Red Bull: Silver Edition because it brings that high-energy aspect and because I used it in the other two shots, and the juice from one lime to represent the crazygonutsrage LT can’t stop himself from flying into.  Add whipped cream to the top to represent LT’s sweeter nature (and his hat), and lo, you have your drink.

Do I need to write directions?  I sort of told you how to make it with the last paragraph.

ltgagFine.  FINE.  JEEZUS.

  • Take a room temperature lime and roll it in your hands and on a table to release the juices.  Cut it open and juice that sucker into a glass.  I would recommend doing this through a sieve to filter out the pulp.
  • Fill your shot glass (a tall or double shot glass if you got it) with equal parts of the juice, absinthe, and Red Bull.
  • Top with whipped cream.
  • Add a few drops of green dye to the whipped cream.

Could I have made the whipped cream myself, thereby allowing me to dye all of it green?  Yes, I could have done that.  Why didn’t I?  Because although homemade whipped cream is delicious, it’s no where near as fun as the stuff in the can; the process of tilting your head back and instantly filling your mouth through a gar-powered funnel with that soul-satisfying “HHHKHKHOOOOOO” sound simply cannot be beat.  Plus, it’s easier to build a tower for a hat.

  • Drink.

The drink is shocking, much like Lord Tourettes.  The anise in the absinthe isn’t as overpowering as you would think.  In fact, the absinthe takes a backseat to the sour power of the lime juice.  It’s not too sour, though, for the Red Bull: Silver Edition (which is lime flavored) and the whipped cream takes the edge off.  It’s a drink that makes you happy and a little taken aback at the same time.


Here is the recipe card for the Lord Tourettes Shot.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for the latest season of Dick Figures, or better yet, check out Dick Figures The Movie.  You can also go and get the audiobook Zack Keller’s first novel The Success of Suexliegh, available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.  Or stroll around to ZackKeller.com to see more information on his other literary works, such as the second part of Meet Me At The Falls, and his sophomore novel, Penwell.  You can also take a gander at the work of Ed Skudder, the other creator of Dick Figures, on Tumblr and YouTube.  Massive kudos to Jess, whoever you are, for chiming in with an idea for this shot!