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

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Hair of the Dog Noodles

A Meaty, Sweet & Savory, Guilty Pleasure Recovery Meal

Phew.  All this drinkin’ catches up with a man.  Unless you’re incredibly lucky (or unlucky, depending on your view of things), we all have had to deal with the after-effects of a hardcore party.  Queeziness, headaches, slow reflexes, etc.  And it’s times like those that you want food that tastes good, is easy to eat, will fill your stomach, and give you back some shred of dignity.  What I’ve made will help you with those first three; you have no chance with the fourth because someone took pictures of you trying to make out with that floor lamp and we’ve all seen them.

You see that pack of walnuts? Fuck those walnuts, they snuck in there.

Hair of the Dog Noodles

– 8 oz of Wide Ride Noodles
– Pack of Bacon
– 4 oz of Sausage/Ground Pork
– 4 Eggs
– 1-2 Bulbs of Shallots (Sliced)
– 1-2 Garlic (Minced)
– Handful of Chives (Chopped)
– 5-6 Large Mushrooms (Sliced)
– Butter
– Soy Sauce
– Maple Syrup
– Salt
– Pepper
– Shot of Jack Daniels

This is essentially a Drunken Noodle recipe, but some ingredients have been changed to make it more breakfasty and American.  It’s also not going to be as spicy as your run of the mill Drunken Noodles since I’ve taken out the Thai Chilis; a hot pepper is just enough to push that hangover nausea to a full-blown “Can I make it to the toilet before I BLAAARRRGGGG?!!” moment.

  • Preheat oven to 400°.  When ready, bake the pack of bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy.  Yes, I said to bake your bacon, and yes, I said to use an entire pack of it.  This is a hangover recovery meal, not an example of health.  Set aside when finished.
  • Soak and soften noodles in boiling water.  When done, drain, rinse, and set aside.

A note on the noodles – The kind of noodles I use are wide rice noodles (also sometimes labeled as rice sticks), an Asian noodle available in any Asian market, or online, if those kinds of markets aren’t in your area.  In the end, any Asian noodle will do; just don’t use normal pasta.

Yes, it does matter; stop arguing with me.  Never argue with a chef, especially if he’s drunk.

“It’s up to you whether I beat JUST the eggs!”

  • Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  • Melt some butter in a large skillet.  When hot, pour in eggs, and create a large, thin omelet – this can be made by constantly shaking the pan until egg mixture is mostly solid, and then flip.  Set aside.
  • In a large pan/wok, cook the sausage/pork.  Set aside.
  • Crumble bacon, cut omelet into 1” x 2” sections, and pour sausage into a large bowl.
  • In the same pan/wok, heat some oil.  When hot, throw in garlic, shallots and mushrooms.  Fry until soft.
  • Throw in drained noodles.  Mix well.
  • Pour and mix in 2 – 4 tablespoons of soy sauce.
  • Toss in 2 tablespoons of butter.  Mix until completely incorporated.
  • Salt and pepper noodles to taste.
  • Pour in bacon, sausage, and eggs.  You must mix it.
  • Pour in ¼ cup of maple syrup.  You must mix it.
  • Pour in a shot of Jack Daniels (this is called ‘Hair of the Dog’ Noodles, after all, and the whiskey compliments the syrup). You must mix it.
  • Now mix it into shape; shape it up; get straight; go forward; move ahead; try to detect it; it’s not too late; to mix it . . . mix it good (WHIPCRACK).

    Hold on, let me turn down my stereo; it’s starting to affect my writing.

  • Add in chives.
  • Serve.

Now, I know this seems like some reject from Epic Meal Time, but once the dish is made, it’s not all that; the amount of noodles helps spread out all the protein, syrup and liquor.  What you end up with is something that is equally sweet and savory, crispy and soft, simply delicious and ‘who gives a crap as long as it helps with the hangover?’  My roommate, who ate much of the finished dish, stated that it was the perfect hangover meal because it was easy to eat.  I think he meant that you didn’t have to do any hard work to consume it, like peel any fruit . . . or, like, chew it.  Every single bite will taste like glorious mix of every breakfast you’ve ever had.  Not for the vegetarian, nor the health-conscious, but perfect for a household full of drunks after a wild and crazy house party.

Enjoy!

Bacon, Lettuce, Apple and Jalapeno Sandwich

Bacon, Lettuce, Apple and Jalapeno Sandwich

Crispy, crunchy, tangy, sweet, spicy.  All in one sweet, sweet package.

After a recent cooking extravaganza that I had with my roommates we had a lot of bacon leftover.  Stifling my urge to simple cook the bacon and begin stuffing it into my face while still piping (to hell with the burns, they don’t tell me what to do), I realized that I also had a loaf of bread.  This struck me as something important.  After a half hour of sitting at my kitchen table in heavy contemplation while I stared at the bacon and the bread, I had an epiphany.  I almost had all the ingredients for a classic BLT!  Alas, I was out of tomato.  I was about to give up and just have a plain bacon sandwich (A bacon and lettuce sandwich?  What kind of American are you?), when an idea struck, and I had to experiment.

– 4 Strips of Thick Cut Bacon
– Lettuce (I used a Spring Mix Salad)
– 1 Granny Smith Apple
– Pickled Jalapenos
– 2 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread, Thick
– Mustard/Condiments of Your Choosing
– ¼ Cup of Sugar
– Butter

Do I need to put down instructions?  It’s a damn sandwich.  If you can’t make that then just slowly back away from the fire box in the big scary food room and go back outside to play whiffleball with the other children.  I’ll put what I did for the apple, but I think y’all can figure out the rest.

– Peel, core and slice the apple into ½ inch slices.
– Heat the sugar in a pan to medium high heat and pour in the sugar.  Constantly stir.
– When sugar melts and becomes gooey and start to boil, add your butter.  I never measure butter, I just use however much I think it would take to make what I’m cooking completely awesome.
– Lower heat and place apples in pan.  Let them soak up the goodness.
– Flip.  Goodness soak.

After about five minutes (or until you can’t stand the smell of bacon, caramelized apples and buttered bread any longer) take the apples off the stove, and prepare your sandwich to meet your specific sandwich needs.  I tend to like mustard more than mayo, but I was out of mayonnaise anyway.  The addition of the jalapenos is optional as I only added them as a whim at the very end, but their involvement in the dish brought this to a whole new level.  I would also be interested in seeing this down with pears, or perhaps even peaches.

Screw a BLT, try a BLAJ!