Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for March, 2008

3/26/08 | Ferrero Chocolates

[ Currently Eating: Leftover Ham ]

Ferrero Chocolate - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

(Drum Roll…) And now Ladeez and Gentledudes, presenting the one and only… Ferrero Rondoir Dark Chocolates! Ta-dahh! (Cymbal Crash…)

You will have to exsqueeze me because I just spent 7.2 × 1012 nanoseconds (two hours for the nanosecondly challenged out there) trying to come up with some sort of funny angle to talk about the nice little box of Ferrero chocolates I received in the mail.

I’ve had the normal Ferrero Rocher Chocolates before and They’re Great (a la Tony the Tiger), but I was just drawing a blank when it came to how to turn it into a Cheap Eats review.

I was going to try and work in a tennis match in there (Juan Carlos Ferrero) but I “served” up a bagel with that one. Haha. Pretty much after that I was done using my brain.

Man, I guess I’ll just present the boring facts: this is actually the new Ferrero Prestige confections assortment which comes in a handy easter egg shaped plastic case(4.8 oz of chocolates). This is rather nice for shipping as it seemed to protect the chocolate from getting damaged. The box contains three types including the newer Rondoir Dark chocolates (which they’re currently promoting on TV), the standard Rocher chocolates and the interesting white Garden Coco confections.

Ferrero Chocolate - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I was too lazy to cut them open, but if you’ve never had these Ferrero chocolates before they’re a bit different than your average chocolate truffle thingy. All of them are layer based: creamy chocolate filling holding a nut (or dark chocolate center) which is then encased in a crispy, egg shell – like wafer and coated in chocolate. The layers – it’s like a decadent Gobstopper or something.

The normal Rocher variety has a hazelnut center, chocolate cream, the wafer and then milk chocolate covered with chopped hazelnuts. The newer Rondoir has a “black pearl” of dark chocolate center surrounded by dark chocolate cream, then the wafer, topped off with dark chocolate bits. The Garden Coco has an almond center, coconut cream surrounded by the wafer and topped with a meringue and shredded coconut.

Continue reading “Ferrero Chocolates” …

3/17/08 | Irish Soda Bread

[ Currently Eating: Leftover Corned Beef ]

Happy St. Patty’s everyone. You know what – it has been a Long, Long, Longass Time™ since we had a $3 Or Less Recipe here on Cheap Eats. The thing is, they’re so much work to write up. And what with all the calculating and the hordes of folks writing in to tell me I’ve gotten the price of 2 ounces of cake flour wrong (you would not believe the number of people who majored in Advanced Recipe Calculus in college), it’s just very discouraging. That’s why I’ve steered clear of them for awhile.

But today, since it’s St. Patrick’s, I’m going to borrow the new recipe my wife tried out to make Irish Soda Bread the other day. This is also her picture below.

Irish Soda Bread  Cheap Eats at Bloglander

She decided to make it because my family was having us over for Corned Beef and Cabbage and we didn’t have anything to bring. Here’s the basic recipe used. And please (for my sanity) remember, the dang prices are estimated. I can barely use a calculator as it is.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour — $0.35
3 tbsp sugar — $0.10
1 tsp baking soda — $0.05
1 tbsp baking powder — $0.08
1/2 cup butter, softened — $0.90
(plus extra for brushing)
1 cup buttermilk — $0.35
(plus extra for brushing)
1 egg — $0.15
1/2 tsp salt (negligible)

Total: $1.98

Get the oven to 375F and grease a baking sheet. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl. You can use margarine instead of butter if you like.

Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and the egg so that you make a soft dough. You might need more (or less) buttermilk to make it right. Put some flour on a board and dump the dough onto it. Knead it slightly. Try not to overknead it, it gets tough otherwise. Shape it into a round loaf and put it on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a cross onto the top.

Melt some butter and add it to the extra buttermilk. Brush the top of the loaf well with that mixture. Pop it into the oven for 45 min or so. Do the toothpick trick to see if it’s done: poke a toothpick into the center. Comes out clean, then it’s ready.

Continue reading “Irish Soda Bread” …

3/12/08 | Fallen Fruit

[ Currently Eating: An Orange ]

Fallen Fruit - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

So it’s time to switch into semi- boring mode again. Fast Food afficianados will just have to wait until the next time that [Insert Fast Food Chain here] offers free [Breakfast Item]. I’m almost embarrased to say I got pretty excited the first time I saw this story on the KCET website about sustainable lifestyles that some people are choosing to live or promote. In particular – the Fallen Fruit idea.

I mean, what could be cheaper eats (and somewhat fitting in conveniently with a Dharma Bums-ish lifestyle for those who swing that way) than living off the land by picking fruit. Getting back into your inner hunter-gatherer. Granted, it’s an idealistic notion – but at least they’re trying.

The Fallen Fruit group basically creates maps of all of the trees (in the Los Angeles area for now) that have fruit for the picking in public areas. They hold “Nocturnal Fruit Forages” every so often where a walking tour sets off to procure fruit ripe for the taking.

It’s pretty astonishing the different types of fruit that are available. It’s just not something you would think about. On just one map, I saw symbols for bananas, figs, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, loquats, olives, oranges, peaches and plums.

OK, thinking about it a little bit I have to admit I’m a tiny bit hesitant. I mean, it’s one thing to pick fruit from a park, but in these cases they’re talking about harvesting from actual neighborhoods. Besides the potential issues with hordes of fruit frenzied fanatics roaming around, I just dunno about picking fruit hanging over public space from a tree growing in someone else’s yard (I have to admit I’m actually unclear whether every single tree listed in the maps is a public tree or if they may be private trees where the fruit is overhanging into the street). Trick or Treat is only once a year for good reason – I could see some privacy issues or gray areas where homeowners might want that fruit for themselves. Um, and I’m not entirely sure it’s a good idea to creep around at night with a sack. Isn’t that what burglars do?

But, I’m going to leave the logistics and legal ramifications for others to decide. As an general concept, it’s a rather nice one. I mean, in most cases the fruit is just going to waste. People who live in the countryside may be laughing – but in the urban concrete jungle where I live, it’s a novel idea. I do have good memories of picking public produce (Blackberries by the road in Oregon, Pine Nuts in the Sierra Nevada, Mango and Passion Fruit off the trees in the front yard of the house we stayed at in Kauai). But I’m not sure if I’ll be heading out this friday night to pick avocados in Silverlake.

Fallen Fruit Website
KCET on Sustainable L.A.



Recommended Reads