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In the Kitchen With Vera: German Chocolate Pie and other sweet holiday treats

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Get comfortable with hot chocolate, coffee or your favorite hot tea and enjoy being side by side with Vera in the Kitchen today. Her cottage is cozy with some great ideas for the holidays and some more insights into her next cookbook, “Vera’s Occasions.”

Vera loves to reminisce about the days when you went to dinner parties, and it was considered offensive if you didn’t ask the hostess for at least one of the recipes from the party. Thus launched Vera’s love for the handwritten recipe card and the memories surrounding the dish, the hostess and the occasion that brought the recipe to life.

Vera Stewart presents holiday sweets in this week’s episode of The Very Vera Show. Photo courtesy Vera Stewart

Holiday Baked Fruit https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/holiday-baked-fruit/ was basically the notable “dump” recipe with a few layering steps to make you at least feel like you did something. Vera’s constant referral during the show to putting a “twist” on a recipe is apparent in this one. She substitutes all fresh fruit in place of the canned referred to in the original version. The result is scrumptious and most definitely versatile as she will show you in the show which airs at 12:30 p.m. Thursday on WJBF, and again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Holiday baked fruit is a great dessert. Photo courtesy Vera Stewart

Homemade cinnamon rolls, anyone? Vera’s recipe https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/quick-cinnamon-buns-buttermilk-glaze/ is tried and true and will give you such a confidence boost in the kitchen that you might strike out to make them for all your friends and neighbors this year.

Finally, a quick dessert or another opportunity for a friend gift that doesn’t have you in the kitchen all day but will at least give you the satisfaction of being among the ones that make a few things themselves.

Vera’s German Chocolate Pie for the Dec. 16 episode. Photo courtesy Vera Stewart

German Chocolate Cake is a favorite, but Vera’s decadent German Chocolate Pie https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/german-chocolate-pie/ is all made in the blender and yes, Vera has another twist:  An oatmeal and almond pie crust to give this old school recipe a facelift.

– from Vera’s team

Charmain’s next chapter in her twist on “Julie and Julia”

So, last week, I told you that I was going to skip the cakes in my latest episode of my rendition  of “Julie and Julia,”  and make a meal from Vera’s other recipes.

I know she’s known for cakes, and I definitely plan to do one of those for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas – am I the only one who is never ready for Christmas? How is it next week already? So much left to do. Anyway, I wanted to wait on another cake when I had people around I could send pieces home with.

Vera’s website has a variety of recipes in multiple categories.

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I scrolled through her recipes and bounced ideas off my husband. While we talked, we decided that a meal didn’t necessarily mean five fancy courses. A meal could be simple, and Vera does have some simple recipes with her special touches added to them.

Two of them that fit that bill are Vera’s cranberry almond chicken salad https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/cranberry-almond-chicken-salad/  and with her broccoli salad. https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/broccoli-salad/

Sounds like summer? Last week I had a couple of working days while locked away in a condo at Edisto Beach — my happy place. Even in December, the beach just screams certain types of food to me. I wasn’t going to take a crack at crab legs or other seafood. We went out for that. But we had to eat the rest of the time we were there. Some lighter fare was definitely on our minds.

When choosing these two dishes, there were lots of similar ingredients, which made it easy in a way. My husband played sous chef for me and cut up the fresh ingredients. However, I didn’t read the directions as carefully when I was preparing the broccoli salad, and the green onions that my husband had cut up for the chicken salad made it into the broccoli salad instead. The broccoli salad called for red onions, which my sous chef had forgotten to cut.

A salad duo. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Oh well, the broccoli salad was still tasty despite the green onions, and as for the red onion, I added some of it to the chicken salad. The chicken salad was tasty with its curry powder added to the mayonnaise mix.

Vera suggests using small Phyllo shells, but my hubby had a thick sandwich while I ate it with crackers.

Those two recipes definitely have a summery vibe, and they were great for our super short trip to the beach in December. Even so, I could see preparing both of them around the holidays. Extra turkey left over from Christmas? Substitute it for chicken when making her chicken salad recipe. Also, pair the broccoli salad as a side dish during the holiday meal.

I’m still deciding which cake to bake for Christmas. Anyone want to vote on it? I’ve got it narrowed down to her red velvet or coconut cakes. One day I’m going to tackle that carrot cake recipe. I’m just not sure it will be at Christmas.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the Features Editor for The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected] .

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