?

Log in

Celestial Goldfish

February 2016

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829     

Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com

Previous 10

Feb. 10th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Bready or Not: Dulce de Leche Brownies

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

Right before Valentine’s Day, I like to share new brownie or chocolate recipes. Today I’m posting a recipe that was originally at the Holy Taco Church: Dulce de Leche Brownies.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

This is a dangerous recipe, and I’m not just talking calories. Sweetened condensed milk becomes lava after mere minutes in the microwave. Make this recipe with care.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

I have had this recipe for ages–I clipped it off a box of Challenge Butter. Mind you, I live in Arizona, so I can easily buy ready-made canned Dulce de Leche at any store, but I wanted to go hardcore to make this accessible to cooks around the world.

There is a warning in the original recipe to watch the bowl closely. This is legit. After the 3rd cooking burst in the microwave, I found my bowl had runneth over. Sweetened condensed milk everywhere. HOT, sticky stuff. Stuff that burns. Yeah.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

I cleaned up the microwave and the outside of the bowl as best I could, and from then on, I did 50-60 second cooking bursts, and even then I stopped it early a few times.

Was it worth the clean-up and risk of 3rd degree burns? HECK YEAH. Brownies?! Hello!

This makes a 9×13 pan of luscious, fudgy brownies. If you like’em cakey, you’ll have to go elsewhere. Sorry. The dulce de leche isn’t a super-thick layer. You can’t even see it in most of the bars, but you taste it. It’s ninja dulce de leche.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Subtle. Sweet. Potentially harmful to your health while preparing and while eating.

Modified from recipe from Challenge Butter.

Bready or Not: Dulce de Leche Brownies

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Dulce de Leche adds a layer of sweetness to these luscious, fudgy brownies! This is modified from a Challenge Butter recipe; my version was originally posted at the Holy Taco Church.

  • Dulce de Leche
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Brownies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 11/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional but awesome)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 recipe Dulce de Leche (above) (or use canned Dulce de Leche)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

To make Dulce de Leche

(Note that you can buy canned Dulce de Leche on the Hispanic foods aisle in many grocery stores and skip this step! You can also make it in a crock pot or stove--look up these other methods online. Microwave is faster, but has some danger involved.)

Combine sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup in a LARGE microwave safe bowl. You need the bowl large because the stuff will start to boil like an erupting volcano.

Microwave on 50% power, stopping and stirring every 2 minutes. Start watching VERY CAREFULLY about the 5 minute point. It will start to boil over very quickly. Start doing 1 minute increments, stirring well in between. At the 10 to 12 minute point, it will thicken and look caramel-colored rather than white. It might look curdled but that goes away when you stir. Add in the butter and stir until it's melted. Set aside.

To Make the Brownies

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and butter it or spray it with Pam.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, espresso powder, cocoa, and salt. Add dry ingredients into creamed mixture; mix until well blended.

Spread about 1/2 of mixture in the prepared pan. This will just cover the bottom. Drop spoonfuls of Dulce de Leche evenly over this layer and smooth out. Sprinkle chocolate chips all over. Cover with remaining brownie batter; an offset spatula is great to smooth it to the edges.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

OM NOM NOM!

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Feb. 7th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Sunday Quote is happily abnormal

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“Not everything that steps out of the line, and is thus ‘abnormal,’ must necessarily be ‘inferior.'”
~ Hans Asperger

Tags: ,

Feb. 3rd, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Bready or Not: Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

If I fed you at WorldCon/Sasquan in August, these are the cookies you ate.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

I was pretty happy that people seemed to like them. A lot.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

For me, it was the culmination of several weeks of testing existing recipes to create something that was…

1) Delicious. Come on, I have a reputation to uphold here.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

2) That would not melt in transit, which eliminated a lot of recipes right away.

3) A cookie that would travel well, i.e. not crumble, but could also keep for days without going hard or stale.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

These shortbread cookies ended up perfect. They have the signature buttery-soft texture of shortbread that is complemented by the slight grit of cornmeal. They are firm enough and thick enough to stack in a container, padded with paper towels, and not break.

Then there is #1: the taste. Sweet. Lemony. Fresh.

Convention-tested. Convention-approved.

Bready or Not: Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

This Bready or Not original makes a 9×13 pan of fresh-tasting shortbread that is both firm and soft. It’s excellent for shipping or travel.

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • zest and juice of two lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • turbinado or sparkling sugar

Preheat oven at 325-degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and apply butter or nonstick spray.

In a mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and extract. Beat until it's light and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients until it is just mixed. Dump the dough into the ready pan and use an uneven spatula to even it out.

Use a knife to score the bars, gently cutting through to establish where it will be sliced again after baking. The dough is very sticky; wipe the blade between passes, and dab the excess back into the top. It doesn't need to look neat. Completely sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar or sparkling sugar.

Bake until the shortbread looks dry and golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. Immediately use a knife to follow the previous lines and slice the shortbread into bars (when cool, the shortbread will likely crumble when cut). Set the whole pan on a rack to cool, eventually lifting them out by the aluminum foil to finish cooling.

Store in sealed containers at room temperature. This lemon cornmeal shortbread is excellent for travel and shipping as it keeps well for at least six days.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

Feb. 2nd, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of Dreaming Death

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I’m happy to share an interview with author J. Kathleen Cheney. Her new novel Dreaming Death is out today, and wow is it a good read. If you love fantasy crossed with mystery, this book is for you! You should also check out Cheney’s Golden City Trilogy.


About Dreaming Death

Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…


Dreaming Death

- I loved the sensory aspect of Dreaming Death. You did a great job of depicting a vibrant world around your lead character, Shironne, who is blind. Was this tricky to edit for consistency?

I did, a couple of times, catch my blind character–Shironne–responding to something that she only could have seen. Because I’m sighted, it’s natural for me to think it terms of visual stimuli, so I had to work hard to weed those out. But I also had the advantage that my character wasn’t blind from birth. She went blind at twelve, which means that she also, to some extent, will still think of the world in the same terms that a sighted person would. So I can always have her recalling a childhood sight or color. It made my life easier when trying to describe things.

But I wanted to try to have her senses be as realistic as possible, so I read quite a few books on blindness (specifically on losing one’s sight), one of the best of which was Touching the Rock, in which John M. Hull describes his descent into blindness. (The book was recommended to me years ago by a fellow workshopper, Larry Taylor, who’d had his own periodic spells of blindness due to surgeries.) And one of my favorite research books for this was a textbook: Sensation and Perception, which deals with all the senses. I’m a sucker for a good nonfiction book. And finally, I spent a lot of time with a blindfold on. That was a real lesson (especially when it came to folding laundry.)

So I tried to let the research guide most of the scenes where my blind character had the point of view, and I hope that I was able to keep it consistent.

 

- One of the things I really enjoy about both Dreaming Death and your Golden City books is the strong cozy mystery vibe. Who are some of your big influences from that genre?

The first writer of mysteries I read was Georgette Heyer. Most people associate her with the Regency Romance, but she also wrote a dozen mysteries, and I read them all. I later picked up Agatha Christie and actually prefer her work, but I think I go back to Heyer when I think of mysteries. I also love the mysteries of M.K.Wren (the Conan Flagg series) and have recently fallen in love with C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr novels, P. B. Ryan’s Nell Sweeney novels, and I would give up coffee just to read another of Margaret Miles’ Bracebridge novels (please write one!)

 

- Your world-building here is pretty intense. How do you organize your reference information for such a vast secondary world?

Organize. Hah! That’s funny! Okay…I have to admit that I’m not as organized as I would like to be. I’ve actually outlined 8 (eight!) novels in this setting, spanning two hundred years. That means I have to keep a lot of names and dates straight, especially difficult when an editor asks for a change. One change in one story sends ripples throughout the rest of that world. So I have an old-fashioned spreadsheet with technical details about each character, such as birthdate, parents, appearance, etc. I actually own a copy of Scrivener, but found it was too much work to maintain it, and went back to my old spreadsheet. It’s sad, but true.

As far as the research material goes, I use 3-ring binders to keep track of all the pieces I’ve printed out, and online bookmarks for the ones I don’t print. And I have a lot of old fashioned books (a lot on both sensory perception and underground buildings.) I like to use those little stick on tabs to mark things, and I’m very free with the highlighter.

 

- What is one of your favorite details or scenes in Dreaming Death?

My favorite scene is the one where Mikael sits on the hotel steps, trying to call Shironne back to him. There’s a lot going on that’s not discussed there because he hasn’t thought it all the way through, yet. But he’s made the decision to trust Shironne with all his secrets–some of which aren’t really his secrets. He’s essentially being groomed to be the head of their equivalent of the CIA, which means that he holds a lot of state secrets in his head. He knows things about the Families and the Fortresses that could be truly dangerous if exposed. He knows what happens in Deep Below, about the Oathbreakers, and what the Engineers actually do all day long. And that means he has to trust Shironne never to reveal any of that. It’s his absolute faith in her that makes that scene special to me. He never doubts that she could be dangerous to himself and his people, but will chose not to harm them.

 

- What are you working on now?

I have one story related to Dreaming Death available free on my website (“Touching the Dead”, and I’m trying to get a couple of others put up there as well, filling in some of the backstory for Shironne and Mikael. I’ve also recently published a novella in the Golden City world (The Seer’s Choice), and am working on a second–this one about Alejandro–which will probably be titled After the War. And, of course, I’m working on the sequel for Dreaming Death, The Sins of the Fathers, which picks up Shironne’s story a month after the events of the first book.

Thanks, J.!


 

J. Kathleen Cheney taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, but gave it all up for a chance to write stories. Her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, The Golden City was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). Dreaming Death will be the first in a new series, the Palace of Dreams Novels.

Amazon
Powells
B&N
Target
Walmart

Goodreads

Connect with the author
Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr
Website

#SFWAPro

Tags: ,

Jan. 31st, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Sunday Quote is ill, then

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
~ George Orwell

Tags: ,

Jan. 28th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

27 days to an 88000-word rough draft

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

Things I do not recommend:
-using a hair dryer while sitting in a bathtub of water
-crossing a street while texting
-writing a rough draft novel in 27 days

Sure, it’s cool to be able to say “I wrote a book in 27 days!” but there are a lot of negatives around that, too. Like… barely leaving the house. Being a nervous wreck when I did leave the house.

rejoicing

When I told my husband that the draft of Call of Fire was done, his response was to cheer and say, “Yay! I’ve got my wifey back!” According to him, I am a frazzled wreck when I’m in the thick of revisions, too, but nothing compares to that first draft stage.

I have taken things a bit easier today, but it’s not a day off. I’m already starting on revisions. This book needs fixin’.

#SFWAPro

Jan. 27th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

There are a lot of slow cooker chicken and dumpling recipes out there, but I sought out one that makes everything from scratch. I made it, tweaked it, and loved it… so here it is!

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings from scratch

There is just something about chicken and dumplings on a cold winter’s day. It is soul food. The recipe I made for years required me to basically camp by the stove for two hours. I wanted something a lot more convenient.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings from scratch

Most of the slow cooker recipes for this use lots of canned stuff and grocery store biscuits. I found a from-scratch recipe on How Sweet Eats and have tweaked it to use less broth, more seasoning, and boneless thighs. I find thighs work a lot better to the crock pot since they are less likely to dry out over the long cooking period.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings from scratch

If you’re in need of something to warm your gullet and your soul, make this. The leftovers are darn good for the next few days, too, with or without the dumplings.

Modified from How Sweet Eats.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings from scratch

This slow cooker chicken and dumplings recipe is both convenient and delicious. This big pot will feed a crowd or provide leftovers for days.

  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup baby carrots, whole and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 - 3 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into halves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon flour
  • 40 ounces low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk
  • dumplings
  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • herbs to taste (parsley, basil, etc)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk

In the bottom of a 5 or 6 quart crockpot, layer the diced onion half, carrots, and garlic. Lay the chicken thighs on top and season them with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it's melted, whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes to create a roux. Once it's golden in color, add 2 cups of chicken broth. Mix it well as it rises to a boil; it'll thicken considerably.

After about 4-5 minutes, pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Add the remaining chicken broth/stock. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.

Change the crockpot to high heat. Shred or cut up the chicken; it's okay if it's not fully cooked since it has more time to cook. Stir the half and half into the crockpot, and put the cover on again as you make the dumplings.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, herbs, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Use a fork or fingers to crumble in the butter until it's evenly dispersed. Add in the half and half or milk until a sticky dough forms.

Use a tablespoon to dollop the dough into the crockpot. Cover and cook for another 1 to 1.5 hours. The dumplings will expand to cover the top. The dumplings are cooked when they are soft and no longer raw and sticky in the middle.

Serve immediately. Leftovers are fantastic heated in the microwave. If you need to make more dumplings, use the same recipe again and heat the leftovers and fresh dough on the stovetop.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings from scratch

Jan. 24th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Sunday Quote loved meeting Connie Willis last year

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“I think what saved me is I have always viewed writing as a sort of a holy vocation, like becoming a nun or something.”
~ Connie Willis, interview in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine

Tags: ,

Jan. 21st, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

C is for Chimera

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

The Alphabet Anthology series continues! You might recall that I had stories in A is for Apocalypse and B is for Broken. Well, the newest volume is C is for Chimera, and it’s out on April 19th. The cover debuted today! Loooooooook.

C is for Chimera

What’s more, there’s a giveaway on Goodreads! Enter and you just might win the book.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

C is for Chimera by Rhonda Parrish

C is for Chimera

by Rhonda Parrish

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Celestial Goldfish

Breath of Earth Cover Reveal

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I started work on Breath of Earth about three years ago. After all that time daydreaming about the book selling, about what the cover might be like… today it finally feels real.

Go to Tor.com and see the full cover reveal post! There are photos of the model from the cover shoot. Check out how things evolved to the final version. Squee!

 

Meanwhile, here’s my January word count on the sequel! I need to start on my words for today.

 

#SFWAPro

Previous 10