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Recent Poetry Publications

Posted by on Aug 7, 2020 in anthology:poem, Blog | 0 comments

I’ve had a bunch of poems released in the last month. If you have a spare few minutes and need to escape this dreadful world, perhaps give these a read!

– “I Make Myself a Dragon,” The Book of Dragons
“Great-Great Grandmother’s Recipe,” Polu Texni
– “The Luck Eaters” (co-written with Rhonda Parrish) and “When the Company Pays,” Star*Line 43.3
“The Way is Long and Fraught with Perils,” Polu Texni

book of dragons

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Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

Posted by on Aug 5, 2020 in apples, Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, yeast bread | 0 comments

Welcome autumn with this big beautiful Harvest Apple Challah, packed with fruit and spice.

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

This recipe might look intimidating, but let me assure you, it’s not. The cutting stage is supposed to be messy.

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

Take comfort that this is not a loaf that is supposed to look tidy. The end goal is rustic–and delicious.

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

Challah is an enriched dough. Eggs and honey add extra richness plus soft texture.

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

The final result is best served warm with an additional dollop or drizzle of honey. Use the good stuff here! I found that using the toaster oven for 5 to 7 minutes was about perfect for thick slices of bread.

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

I also found that this bread was great to freeze in slices. Pull out frozen pieces to thaw overnight, and breakfast is quick, convenient, and delicious the next morning!

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

Modified from a recipe at King Arthur Flour.

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

This big round of rustic-looking sweet bread is laden with apple chunks and beautiful to behold--and eat! This kind of bread is traditionally served at Rosh Hashanah along with some honey, but it's so good, it's worth baking all year long. Modified from a King Arthur Flour recipe.
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: apple, yeast bread
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • deep 9-inch round cake pan or casserole dish
  • bench knife
  • kitchen thermometer

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast or active yeast

Filling

  • 2 medium apples
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

Topping

  • 1 large egg
  • coarse sugar optional
  • honey for serving optional

Instructions

Make the dough

  • Mix together the dough ingredients by hand or using a mixer with dough hook, until well-incorporated and not stiff. Place dough in a greased bowl to let rise about 2 hours, or until puffy; if poked with a finger, the dent in the dough should remain and not bounce back.
  • Prepare a deep round cake pan or casserole dish (at least 4 inches) by greasing thoroughly.
  • Also lightly grease a large stretch of counter top or table. Gently deflate dough and transfer to the surface, and flatten dough to an 8x10-inch rectangle.

Prepare the filling

  • Core the apples but leave on the peels. Chop apples into chunks about 1/2 to 3/4-inch in size. Should equal about 3 cups total. Toss pieces in cinnamon and sugar.

Assemble the bread

  • Spread half the apples in the center of the dough. Fold one short edge over the apples to cover them, and press down the edge to seal them inside.
  • Place the remaining apples on top of the existing apple-dough mound. Cover these apples with the other flap of dough, patting again to seal. It's okay if it is bulging and messy!
  • Use a bench knife or paring knife to cut the dough down the middle, long-ways. Then cut again along the long side, edge to edge, to create a series of broad, messy stacks of dough with apples overflowing onto the surface.
  • Start transferring pieces of dough and scattered apples into the prepared pan, forming a bottom layer, then keep stacking more dough and fruit on top until everything is in the pan.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for another hour, until it is puffed again.
  • Preheat oven at 325-degrees, with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  • Uncover the dough. Brush the top with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water. If desired, sprinkle coarse sugar all over the top.
  • Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the top is deep brown. As the dough is so thick, if a kitchen thermometer is available, use it to test the middle; bread should be at least 190-degrees.
  • Set pan of bread on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove bread from pan.
  • Serve challah warm, ideally with extra honey drizzled on top. Store covered at room temperature up to 4 days. Bread can also be sliced and frozen.

OM NOM NOM!

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    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    Posted by on Jul 29, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, bundt, cake, lemon | 0 comments

    This Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake bakes up fluffy and light, with a fresh tang of lemon.

    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    I’m not going to lie: this cake is going to dirty a lot of dishes, including two large bowls. The extra work makes for delicious results, though.

    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    The texture of this cake is what makes it special. The Greek yogurt adds moisture, while the six eggs–with whites separated and beat to stiff peaks–adds a lot of loft.

    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    My batter bowl ended up being full to the top and tricky to mix. I was worried that my bundt pan would overflow during baking and kept an eye on it, but it ended up being fine. Even so–be wary of your own pan.

    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    The baked cake is fancy and simple all at once. This needs no glaze. A sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar makes the cake prettier without adding any heavy sweetness.

    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    This cake is great for travel, either sliced or whole, because there’s nothing about it that can melt or ooze. I imagine it freezes well in slices, too, but I didn’t try that with this particular cake.

    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

    This big cake bakes up with a light, fluffy crumb thanks to stiff egg whites folded in with the rest of the batter. Sure, making this dirties a lot of dishes, but the end result is delicious! This is a great cake for travel, either whole or in slices, as it can neither melt or ooze.
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: bundt cake, lemon
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • 10-cup minimum bundt pan or tube pan

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups cake flour or substitute 3 cups all-purpose flour with 6 Tablespoons removed
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 6 large eggs room temperature, separated
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) room temperature
    • 2 medium lemons finely grated and juiced
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt plain or vanilla
    • confectioners' sugar optional, to dust over finished cake

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Grease and flour the bundt or tube pan.
    • In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    • In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of the white sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Their mass will increase immensely.
    • In another large bowl, beat together the butter, remaining 1 1/2 cups white sugar, egg yolks, 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, and 3 Tablespoons lemon juice. If using electric mixer, beat on medium until everything is creamy and pale yellow, which takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Add the dry mixture to the yolk bowl, alternating with the addition of the Greek yogurt, until both are incorporated. Gently fold in the egg whites; this will create an enormous amount of airy batter.
    • Pour and scoop into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; if the pan is full to the top, keep an eye on it in case it overflows. Cook until the middle passes the toothpick test. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack to completely cool.
    • Store beneath a cake dome or otherwise covered, at room temperature. Before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

    OM NOM NOM!

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      Bready or Not: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)

      Posted by on Jul 22, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, cheese galore, French, quick bread, side dish | 0 comments

      Eat your cheese in delicious, airy form in Gougeres, aka French cheese puffs!

      Bready or Not: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)

      This is a savory version of pate a choux, the dough used for cream puffs and eclairs. In this case, though, you fold in a generous amount of grated cheese.

      Bready or Not: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)

      What kind of cheese? Go for ones that grate and melt. Traditional choices would include Gruyere or Comte, or be a rebel like me and use English cheddar. (Scandalous, I know.)

      Bready or Not: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)

      I modified this recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s version in her lovely tome Around My French Table. I felt like I learned something new every time I baked up a serving of these puffs, and I wanted to include all that info to prevent people from repeating my mistakes.

      Bready or Not: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)

      Such as, see the aluminum foil in these pictures? Don’t use that. Do parchment instead. I didn’t take pictures of how I mangled these gougeres, which were hopelessly stuck to the foil despite a spray of Pam.

      Bready or Not: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)

      The recipe results in about 30 puffs. These things keep well, unbaked and frozen, but only for about a month. After that, the puff declines and an eggy taste is more pronounced.

      Bready or Not: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)

      This recipe, modified from Dorie Greenspan's version in Around My French Table, combines grated cheese and pate a choux dough. The puffs bake up light, airy, and delightfully cheesy! Do the full recipe at once (it makes 30, using a tablespoon scoop) or freeze unbaked choux for later.
      Course: Appetizer, Bread, Side Dish
      Cuisine: French
      Keyword: cheese, quick bread
      Servings: 30 puffs
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • baking sheets
      • parchment paper
      • tablespoon scoop
      • mixer

      Ingredients

      • 1/2 cup whole milk or half & half
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into 4 pieces
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup all-purpose four
      • 5 large eggs room temperature
      • 1 1/2 cups coarsely-grated cheese (6 ounces) such as Gruyere, Comte, Emmenthal, or cheddar

      Instructions

      • If baking now, position racks in oven to be at the top and bottom. Preheat oven at 425-degrees. Line two large baking sheets with baking mats or parchment paper; do not use aluminum foil.
      • If preparing the gougeres now, with plans to freeze and bake later, line a pan with waxed paper and clear some space in the freezer so the puffs can set.
      • Place milk, water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a fast boil. Add flour all at once, then lower heat. Promptly start stirring batter with a wooden spoon or sturdy whisk. The dough will come together, but keep stirring with vigor for another couple minutes until the dough is very smooth and looks dryer.
      • Drop the dough into the big bowl of a stand-mixer or a bowl where a hand mixer can be used. (Or, if mixing by hand, be ready for an arm work-out.) Let the dough set for a couple minutes, then add the eggs one by one. Beat, beat, beat that batter, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. If it separates, that's okay--keep beating it! It needs to reach a stage where it is thick and shiny. Beat in the grated cheese.
      • The batter must be immediately doled out onto pans to either bake or freeze. Use a tablespoon or tablespoon-sized scoop to measure out the batter; if baking, space out about two inches apart.
      • Slide baking sheets into oven. Immediately lower temperature to 375-degrees. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate pans from front to back, top to bottom. Continue baking another 12 to 15 minutes, until gougeres are golden and firm. Note that they will not puff until the end of the bake. Serve promptly.
      • If freezing some or all of the gougeres, freeze on waxed paper, then place in a freezer bag or lidded container. Bake straight from the freezer--do not thaw them! Place on parchment or a greased surface to cook, with gougeres in a central location in the oven. Eat frozen gougeres within a month, as they will otherwise taste increasingly eggy and have less rise.

      OM NOM NOM!

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        Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Hand Cake [cake mix]

        Posted by on Jul 15, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, cake, cake mix, chocolate, nutty | 0 comments

        Doctor up a basic yellow cake mix box into an amazing Hazelnut Hand Cake!

        Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Hand Cake [cake mix]

        It’s called hand cake because it’s convenient to eat without a knife and fork. Heck, napkins are optional, if you don’t mind a dropped crumb or two.

        Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Hand Cake [cake mix]

        This cake has a mild chocolate flavor–milder than that of a typical chocolate cake, from a mix or not. Nutella (or use a store-brand equivalent, as I did) is whipped into the batter, with some extra chocolate chips adding a gentle layer of flavor.

        Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Hand Cake [cake mix]

        This thing is all about convenience. The cake comes together fast. Bakes fast. Give it some initial time to cool at room temp, then stash it in the fridge, and you can eat it even faster.

        Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Hand Cake [cake mix]

        The end result is a cake with a soft, high, very moist crumb. The scattered nuts and toffee add extra flavor and crunch.

        Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Hand Cake [cake mix]

        My husband’s co-workers inhaled this cake. One guy said it was the best Cato treat ever. Considering the goodies that come their way, that is high praise indeed.

        Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Hand Cake [cake mix]

        No one will know this recipe uses cake mix! The resulting cake is easy to eat from your hand, no knife and fork required, and it embodies a gentler chocolate flavor than your typical chocolate cake.
        Course: Dessert, Snack
        Cuisine: American
        Keyword: cake mix, chocolate, hazelnuts
        Author: Beth Cato

        Equipment

        • 13x9 pan

        Ingredients

        • 1 box yellow cake mix
        • 3 large eggs
        • 2/3 cup water
        • 2/3 cup Nutella or similar hazelnut spread
        • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
        • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
        • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts toasted or not
        • 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits
        • confectioners' sugar to dust top, optional

        Instructions

        • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil and apply nonstick spray.
        • In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, eggs, water, hazelnut spread, and oil for several minutes, until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain. Fold in the chocolate chips, hazelnuts, and toffee bits. Pour batter into prepared pan.
        • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until center is no longer jiggly and passes the toothpick test.
        • Cool completely to room temperature; place in fridge to speed process along. Use foil to lift contents onto cutting board. If desired, sprinkle confectioners' sugar over top. Slice into pieces.
        • Store in sealed container(s) at room temperature.

        OM NOM NOM!

           

           

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          Bready or Not Original: Apple Butter Blueberry Muffins

          Posted by on Jul 8, 2020 in apples, Blog, blueberry, Bready or Not, breakfast, cupcakes, healthier, muffin | 0 comments

          Apple Butter Blueberry Muffins! Fruity flavors combine in a delicious way in this original recipe.

          Bready or Not Original: Apple Butter Blueberry Muffins

          I love apple butter. It’s delicious, versatile stuff. I’ve found it can work as a substitute in recipes that call for things like applesauce, bananas, and pumpkin puree.

          Bready or Not Original: Apple Butter Blueberry Muffins

          Here, the inherent spiciness in apple butter adds a lot of flavor without the need to measure out extra spices–and the thick texture creates a cakey, moist crumb.

          Bready or Not Original: Apple Butter Blueberry Muffins

          The fresh blueberries throughout are like flavor bombs, introducing a different kind of sweetness in contrast.

           

          Bready or Not Original: Apple Butter Blueberry Muffins

          Do note that this recipe makes 24 muffins. It saves a lot of time if you have two pans, but this recipe could certainly be done with one. Make sure you have paper liners, though. There’s no sadness like my-muffin-is-stuck-in-the-pan sadness.

          Bready or Not Original: Apple Butter Blueberry Muffins

          Apple butter and blueberries are a delicious, underutilized combo that work out perfectly in these moist, cakey muffins. Recipe makes 24 muffins, so make this recipe with plans to share or freeze!
          Course: Breakfast, Snack
          Keyword: apple butter, blueberries, muffins
          Servings: 24 muffins
          Author: Beth Cato

          Equipment

          • muffin liners
          • 2 muffin pans

          Ingredients

          • 1 cup fresh blueberries
          • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra
          • 1 cup white sugar
          • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
          • 1 teaspoon baking powder
          • 1 teaspoon baking soda
          • 1/2 teaspoon salt
          • 1 teaspoon cinnamon heaping
          • 2 eggs room temperature
          • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
          • 1 1/2 cups apple butter
          • 3/4 cup coconut oil liquid

          Instructions

          • Preheat oven at 425-degrees. Place muffin liners in two 12-count pans and apply a heavy dose of nonstick spray. Set aside.
          • Wash and sort through blueberries, picking out stems or mushy berries. Pat dry. Place in a bowl. Add a tablespoon or so of flour and gently stir to coat berries. This will prevent them from sinking in the batter.
          • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
          • In a big mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, apple butter, and coconut oil. Gradually pour in the dry ingredients, scraping bottom several times, until everything is just incorporated. Carefully fold in the blueberries.
          • Scoop batter into prepared liners, filling each no more than 3/4 full.
          • Bake for 5 minutes at 425-degrees. Don't open oven door. Lower temperature to 375-degrees and bake for an additional 16 to 18 minutes, until middle muffins pass the toothpick test.
          • Remove pans from oven. Immediately (and carefully) use a fork to pry out each muffin. Keeping them in liners, set on rack to completely cool.
          • Once cooled, pack in sealed containers. If freezing muffins, remove liners first.

          OM NOM NOM!

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