Eat This While You Read That: Brena Bock


I’m very pleased to be able to write this post. Since this post is celebrating Brena’s first two publications, near simultaneously, it’s appropriate to do it with a double-header. I don’t think I’ve done this before, so buckle up, this is a long post! But I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

First, there’s the tale she wove for Hearts’ Enchantment, an anthology of romantic fantasy stories. Then, there is the adventuresome Marina in her story for the Space Force Anthology. Two very different experiences, two very different recipes evolved from them. When Brena told me what she wanted me to do for her stories, I had to think about it. (Full disclosure: I also have a story in Heart’s Enchantment.) She asked for the classic military food: Creamed Chipped Beef. Also known as SOS, which stands for… S__t on a Shingle. That was a tough call. I could have gone with the military recipe (you can find it here, if you are nostalgic or want to experience what generations of GIs in mess halls have endured) but I opted to make it glorious. Like the fiction version of a non-fiction life. Then she asked me to make homemade ice cream for the sweet romance. Suits, both stories!

So! Go pick up a copy of Hearts’ Enchantment, and the Space Force anthology (you don’t think you can read all that? Well, just start with Brena’s stories while you are cooking. You’ll have time later with the ice cream!)

Cooking for authors is a lot like reading an anthology. You are never quite sure what you’re going to get. Delightful surprises, mostly, but sometimes you have to subvert your expectations. I grew up with a father who served in the USAF. I married a man who had served in the Army. Both of them have always had the same reaction, separately, to SOS: sheer abject horror. 
Which is why I made it my way. The way it ought to be, not the way it is if you are mass-producing the lowest-bidder quality slop that the fighting men get. The way they ought to be fed, for the sacrifices they make that we may live freely. 
This. This is what Creamed Chipped Beef ought to be like. 


Creamed Dried Beef

As a Sunday Brunch, this is divine. If you are on Keto, simply put it over your eggs and omit the, ah, shingles. 

It’s also incredibly easy to make. 

You will need: 

  • 2 c heavy cream (no, you cannot make this with milk. If you want to, refer to the military recipe)
  • 1 tbsp coarse ground mustard
  • 1 oz (about 1/2 cup) dried chipped beef. Or use Biltong. I used Biltong, because it was what I had on hand. 

Put a cast iron skillet on med-high heat. Warm the meat in it, then slowly pour in the cream, and add the mustard, stirring constantly. Continue to stir occasionally as you bring the mixture to a simmer. Don’t try to heat this too quickly – you want your beef to rehydrate. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the beef is somewhat tender and the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. You will likely not have to add any salt, you may want to add pepper if you didn’t use the biltong. By the way, for an excellent biltong recipe, check out Kim du Toit’s blog. 

Serve over toast points, or scrambled eggs. 

Low-carb meal for the diet. Yeah. I’m not depriving myself of nuthin’

It’s that simple. It’s so good. The First Reader, who was highly dubious (as in: photograph the high carb plate and give it to the dog) was entirely won over by this. And as I pointed out, this is what it should be, before the mess got ahold of it! He’s already looking forward to having it again. We got the stuff to make our own biltong, too. 

Once you have recovered from brunch – and it’s not a fast process, that meal sticks to your ribs – then you’ll be ready to start the next recipe. This one takes a while. Perfect for a hot, steamy summer day while you read an anthology of love stories. Right? 

And don’t feel guilty. You can have the chocolate, if you’re on that kind of diet. It’s incredible.

Lo-Carb Chocolate Ice Cream, and Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

Chocolate Ginger Low-Carb Ice Cream 


  • 2 1/2 c heavy cream

    There are a lot more ingredients in this recipe!
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2/3 c cocoa powder
  • Scant 1/4 c xylitol
  • Scant 1/4 c erythritol
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp ginger liqueur
  • 1 tbsp glycerin


In a heavy saucepan whisk together the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, sweeteners, and ginger. 

Whisk in the cream, and half the water (about 1/4 c). Place over med-high heat and allow it to come to near boiling with stirring. 

In a separate bowl, put the egg yolks. Whisking briskly, pour about a half cup of the hot cream mixture slowly into the bowl to temper the eggs. Return the cream and egg mixture to the pan and bring just to the boil. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few moments. Whisk in the remaining water, the glycerin, and the liqueur. 


In order to make this plain chocolate, omit the powdered ginger and the liqueur, using vanilla extract instead. 


Serves about 10-12 with half-cup servings that contain about 4 net carbs. 


The glycerin, alcohol, and mixture of sweeteners allows this ice cream to freeze much softer and more like classic ice cream, which contains sugar and therefore alters the freezing temperature of the mixture. 


To make ice cream: 


Chill the custard mixture as much as possible. Leaving it in the refrigerator overnight is best, I have found. Simply using an ice bath is insufficient. 


I use an electric countertop model, with a liner that can be frozen. I simply set this up with the motor and dasher, and poured in the mixture just as I have turned on the motor. It will take about 30 minutes, and then be milkshake-textured. Put into a lidded container and freeze for at least 30 minutes. If you have frozen it longer, allow to thaw a bit for 10-15 minutes before scooping. 


Small servings are ideal, you don’t want to overdo sugar alcohols.


Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream 

2 c cream 

1 c milk

3/4 c sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tbsp vanilla 


In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, cream, and sugar. Bring to near boil, and remove 1/2 cup of hot mixture. In a separate bowl containing the egg yolks, whisk them until frothy, then pour the hot cream in slowly while continuing to whisk briskly. Once the eggs are tempered, pour them back into the pan, whisking, and bring the whole thing to a boil. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Whisk in the vanilla. Chill until ice-cold, preferably overnight. 

Stir well before pouring into ice cream maker (see procedure above) 

Freeze for at least 30 minutes after removing from the maker. This will not need warming before scooping, it remains nicely medium-serve texture. 

Rich, sweet, cold, this is everything ice cream ought to be and so rare is from a carton.

You can find more recipes and books at the Eat This While You Read That page! Check it out, there’s a ton of cool stuff there. 




4 responses to “Eat This While You Read That: Brena Bock”

  1. Draven Avatar

    no can haz 🙁

    1. too much cream?

  2. Kathleen Avatar

    Too much cream for me, and the mustard in the first recipe makes me hurt. But I have been making ‘soft ice cream’ (thick smoothies) using kefir and lots of frozen additions such as berries and frozen spinach. I usually add fresh ginger sliced thin, and one or two pieces of the preserved lemon. It makes a very decent ice cream substitute.

    1. Mustard can be left out – it’s for flavor. But the cream in that is necessary for thickening without using a starch. You could do this with goat’s milk in the ice cream, Mom. I was using cream in the keto-friendly version for me, but it would work with milk in either receipe. Just not be low-carb.