Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pretzel Rolls

I have never bought a pretzel roll. I saw them at Panera or Corner Bakery or some such pseudo bakery. I figured how hard could it be to make them? Not too hard, they key is boiling them in a baking soda solution.


Pretzel Roll

1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
Olive oil

4 cups water
1/2 cup baking soda

1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Place warm water in the bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Set aside to rest until mixture bubbles, about 5 minutes.

Place flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.Once yeast is foamy, combine the flour mixture to the yeasty stuff. Knead for ten minutes (I did this part by hand, because I am NOT pulling out my mixer for this).

Form dough into a ball, place in a large oiled mixing bowl, and turn dough to coat in oil. Cover with a clean, damp dishtowel, and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, coat paper with olive oil, and set aside.
Once dough has risen, punch it down and knead it on a floured, dry surface just until it becomes smooth and springs back when poked, about 1 minute. Divide dough into 8 pieces and form into rolls. Place rolls on the baking sheet and cut 4 (2-inch) diagonal slashes across the top of each. Cover with a damp towel and let dough rise in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F and bring water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
Once rolls have risen, stir baking soda into boiling water (water will foam up slightly). Boil two or three rolls for 30 seconds per side. The rolls will turn a few shades yellow.

Remove rolls, drain, and place on the baking sheet, cut side up.

Combine egg and water. Brush the cut side of the rolls with the egg mixture.

Sprinkle well with salt, and repeat with remaining rolls.

Once all rolls are ready, place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dirty Martini

I do not drink but I like making drinks. This is one of yohboh's favorites.


1 ounce of gin
2 splashes olive brine
3 olives on a toothpick

Take the gin and olive brine and put in a shaker full of ice. Cover the shaker with a towel. Shake that shaker for three minutes. By shake, I mean it is loud enough that you cannot hold a conversation around the shaker. By the end of the three minutes, the whole shaker will be frosty, which is why you use the towel. Pour the martini in a chilled martini glass. I find that if I rattle the shaker as the gin come out I get a nice layer of ice chips floating to the top.

Garnish with the olives.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Did you know you can make corn in the microwave? I normally roast it in the oven, but did not feel like turning it on. I nuked these two ears for three minutes under a damp paper towel. Turned out good.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Parmesan Truffle Fries

Yohboh and I had these at Taste of Atlanta and decided to make them at home.

It's hand cut fries with truffle salt and parmesan.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Albondigas Soup

One good thing about having a food blog is that it makes you increase your recipe repetoire. I tried this soup out last year and I still like it. I recommend it to you as well. My favorite part of making this is dropping the meatballs in the soup. I have no idea why that makes me so happy.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mocha cake with mocha frosting

I made this for a friend's birthday. (Note: if you are my friend I will bake you a birthday cake, it's my thing)


Mocha Cake

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup espresso, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup Kahlua
1/4 cup espresso, cooled

Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Cream together the sugar, mayonnaise, espresso and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; stir until well blended. Pour batter into greased and 9- x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. While the cake is baking, combine the Kahlua and espresso in a small bowl. When the cake is first out of the oven, brush the warm cake with the Kahlua mixture. Let cool for at least an hour.

Mocha Icing
1 stick of butter, melted
2/3 cup Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup espresso, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Stir cocoa into melted butter. In a small mixing cup, mix the espresso, vanilla and salt. Alternate adding the powdered sugar and espresso into the butter mixutre. I like my frosting a bit more glaze like so if you likes your more thick, add less espresso.

Use the frosting when the cake is cooled. Makes enough to frost one cake.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Taste Of Altanta

Yohboh and I went to Taste of Atlanta. It was a lot of fun. Yohboh's favorite part was the wine and beer tasting tent. I liked the shrimp and grits a lot.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tin Can Fish House

Last night, yohboh, the kidlet and I went to Tin Can Fish House.

We were invited for a bloggers dinner.

To start with we had:

Soft shelled crab sliders.
They had a spicy mayo on them but I think if there had been a pickle of some kind it would have been better.

Then we had a dozens oysters on the half shell.
They had a mignonette sauce. They were good and fresh.

We also had
clam chowder. It was good.

The kidlet had the fish fingers and fries.
The fish was very fresh in this. These were no fish sticks. And the fries were very good.

Yohboh got
the whole prawns with a spicy Mediterranean sauce. This was a little too salty but nicely spicy. The shrimp were cut very unusually, butterflied with the shell and heads on. Definitely delicious.

I got the seafood platter
with grouper and fried oysters. The grouper was fresh and meaty but the oysters were overcooked.

Where is this wondrous place:

And their phone number:

My family did get a free meal but the opinions given are purely mine.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chicken Wings

Sometimes all you want is chicken wings,


and carrot and celery sticks.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Winter Garden


Radishes, Arugla, Swiss Chard, Broccoli and Cauliflower. I am going to go look for some Brussels Sprouts and Kale as well.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken Soup for Kidlet

The kidlet is sick. It has not been a fun week here at Beef and Chocolate as a result. When I am sick, I crave the Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup in the red and white can. Well, I do not have any red and white cans. So I made sort of homemade soup.


Kidlet's Chicken Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into kid friendly squares
2 stalks of celery, chopped into kid friendly squares
1/2 onion, chopped into kid friendly squares
1 clove of garlic, minced super fine
1 Tablespoon Chicken Base

5 cups of water
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 cup egg noodles.

Add the oil to a large, heavy pot. Add all the vegetables and saute until translucent. Add the chicken base and saute until the base smells a little roasty (this takes about five minutes). Cover with the water and add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is poached. Fish the chicken out and cut into bite sized bites. Put chicken back in.

About 10 minutes before serving, add the egg noodles and let them cook.

Serve with crackers and juice to a sick three year old.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Noodle Bowl

Tonight I put a star anise in my noodle bowl. It was really good. I will be doing that from now on.


Also, these are tofu noodles. So they have no carbs.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Breakfast

I always wonder why people wait for a long time on Sundays to get brunch when it is super easy to make at home. This took 15 minutes to make, most of it waiting for the oven to heat up for the bacon.


This was the kidlet's breakfast.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

French Apple Tart

I bow to the power of the Barefoot Contessa. I BURNED this Apple Tart and we ended up eating most of it.

Apple Tart

Friday, October 8, 2010

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Fried Sage and Browned Butter.

I would love to make pasta but I am too lazy. So I use dumpling skins which I got at my local grocery store. This is good but wow is it RICH.


Butternut Squash Ravioli with Fried Sage and Browned Butter

1 package dumpling skins

2 pounds mashed butternut squash
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 red onion, finely minced
1 garlic clove minced
3/4 cup pecorino cheese

1/2 stick of butter
2 bunches sage leaves

Heat up the squash, cream cheese, onion, garlic until the cheese is melted. Take off the heat and add the pecorino. Season with salt and pepper until it tastes good.

Put a teaspoon of the filling in a dumpling skin and seal shut. Repeat until you run out of filling or dumpling skins. I ran out of skins.

Heat up a large pot of water to boil. Add the little pasta pockets into the water. They are done when they float.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet until it smells nutty and is brown. Throw the sage leaves in until they crisp up. This takes about 30 second. By that time, the ravioli should be floating. Fish them out of the water with a Chinese spider and put them in the buttery skillet. Let them crisp up a bit.

Serve with extra pecorino.

This made 50 dumplings, I mean ravioli, half of which the three of us ate for dinner.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kitchen Sink Cookies

So I made these Kitchen Sink cookies by Martha Stewart. They are really good. I think it is the coconut. But I have to say that I have a love/hate thing with Martha. I love most of her recipes but I have had a few duds. In addition, she says the words sandwich and herb funny. I don't know why I have noticed this but I have.

But these cookies were DAMN good.


Instead of raisins I used cranberries and butterscotch chips to replace the chocolate ones.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Steak Night

That is five pounds of rib eye steaks.

And this is the glass of beef juices.

That yohboh drank.

And Chut too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More on the September Challenge

Some people have expressed doubts that I have actually spent $161.57 on groceries for the month of September.

They have also requested a copy of a receipt because apparently I am writing fiction.

So here:

This is what I bought at Publix grocery store on September 22, 2010:

2 Greek Yogurts 6 ounces each 30 cents for one and 29 cents of the other- TOTAL 59 cents
4.5 pounds cream cheese 25 cents each - TOTAL $2.25
8 ounces Sharp cheddar cheese 1.99 - TOTAL $1.99
2 Yakisoba Ramen Noodles -80 cents in overage - TOTAL -$.80
2 boxes Glory cornbread mix -30 cents in overage - TOTAL -$.30

Total before tax $3.73
With tax: $4.09

So with coupons and buying only on sale I saved $21.73. I do not believe in the girl math of how much I saved matters nearly as much as how I spent.

And I spent less than five dollars. Which is less than a footlong sandwich at Subway.

Yes, I realize than these items do not a meal make but the main thing is I am doing is replenishing my pantry. No, I am not going to eat 4.5 pounds of cream cheese in the next week but around Thanksgiving I will make a cheesecake and use almost all of it. Cream cheese freezes quite nicely if you were wondering.

Another question I was asked is, "Where do I get my coupons?" The Sunday paper is one place as well as printable Internet coupons like the ones in the upper left corner of this blog.

Sunday, October 3, 2010



Sometimes, you just want some fish with the skin on.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Snack Food

So I was at Super H Mart and bought this:


I was thinking abot this Saveur magazine article I had read about seaweed.

This were light, crisp and salty. A satisfying snack.

Friday, October 1, 2010

September Grocery Challenge

This month, I decided to spent less than 150 dollars on groceries. I did not. I spent $161.57, which is disappointing. The budget breaker was rib eye steaks.

I have tried to show a bit more what we ate this month. When I grocery shop, I am primarily replenishing my pantry. If you see multiple items of something, it is at a stock up price. This concept completely changed my grocery budget. I am not shopping for meals, I see what I have on hand and go from there. For meat, dairy and produce, I buy as I go, always trying to be mindful of the price. Also, I started with a well stocked pantry, very full freezer and a vegetable garden.

If you are interested in what $161.57 looks like in the Beef and Chocolate world:

8 pounds YoPlait Yo Plus Yogurt
14 6 ounce tubs Greek yogurt
4.5 dozen eggs
1 pound cheese
1 quart half and half
3 pounds Mozzarella
3 quarts Lactaid Milk
1 pound sour cream
9.5 pounds cream cheese
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

3.51 pounds rib eye steak
4 packages Hormel Pepperoni
5.43 Pounds ground beef
4.18 pounds ground pork
1 pound chopped steak
1.5 pounds pork chops
2.06 pounds Porterhouse Steak
2 pounds chicken thighs
3 pounds T bone steaks
8.56 Pounds Pork Butt
1 pork tenderloin

Pantry Items:

2 10.5 ounce bags Lay's Potato Chips
4 jars Newman's Own Spaghetti Sauce
8 Boxes Cheez-its
Wasa Crisp 7 Grain crackers
1 pound lentils
2 packages Mission Tortillas
4 packages M&M pretzels
4 bottles Sobe Lifewater
8 Yakisoba Noodles
2 Crystal Light on the go
2 bags candy corn
10 canisters Quaker Oatmeal
8 hamburger buns
2 boxes baking soda
10 bottles 46 ounce Apple and Eve apple juice
4 boxes Glory Cornbread Mix
1 32 ounce carton College Inn Chicken Broth
2 packages Orange Jello
2 boxes Krusteaz Waffle Mix

3 bell peppers
1 head celery
26 ounces snow peas
6 bananas
1.76 Delicata squash
8 ounces mushrooms