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In The Kitchen With Vera: Oh Honey

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BEE HAPPY!!!

As the adventures with Vera continue as we approach the end of Season 10, who would have imagined me at a bee farm, fully decked out in a bee keeper’s suit and enjoying all the fruits of “those busy bees” labor! 

Vera with the bees. Photo credit Dusty Jackson

I learned so much about bees and the amazing use of every aspect of their work detail. 

Photo courtesy Wier/Stewart

Getting started was fun in the Cottage with recipes associated with honey that were beautiful and delicious.  As always, our recipes are available on our website.  Search for Honeycomb Sponge Cake and Apple Tart, and you are well on your way with two winners! 

BEE sure to get that young person in this kitchen this summer to make some of these special dishes and possibly record the show that airs today on WJBF at 12:30 p.m. and again on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. to watch with them just before making these two amazing desserts.

Take it one step further with doing the Charcuterie Cones, available on Amazon, to do something really attractive for a pool party this summer or any get together for that matter.

Charcuterie cones. Photo credit Dusty Jackson

The part of this I actually like the most is that it’s everything you want right at your fingertips and very easy to eat.  Adding the attractive ribbon as Rebecca and her daughter, Trinity, did on the show, is just another level of elevation that I really loved.

We are planning to incorporate a lot of what we learned with Rebecca at R&R Acres when we do our Advanced Week Camp this summer.  We are in our 19th year and have a record breaking 72 students on a waiting list to get in.  If you are riding up or down Wheeler Road this summer by the Cottage, blow the horn!  We will be busy as bees ourselves!!

MORE: In The Kitchen With Vera: Visiting Columbus

Adventures through Vera’s Cookbook continued

By Charmain Z. Brackett, managing editor

It’s been a little while since I took an adventure in Vera’s Cookbook.

Every month, I have a staff meeting to honor our reporters and talk about top stories from the previous month as well as have a meal together.

I typically ask for input on what people want for lunch. I don’t get too much input on that, so I guess they’ve been happy with variations on sandwiches and chicken salad. The theme among the comments is “as long as I don’t have to pay for it or cook it, I’m happy.”

This month, however, Anna spoke up.

I think Anna’s official title is “newsroom coordinator;” however, she’s the one we rely for pretty much everything. When she said May was her birth month, I offered to bake one of Vera’s cakes. She picked two options. The first was the caramel cake, but that was the first one I’d tried and, according to Vera, is that hardest of them all.

The second option was the strawberry cake.

That sounded super especially with strawberries being so ripe and juicy this time of year.

Fresh strawberries. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

I made two slight changes to her recipe — one out of necessity and the other because I thought it would make for a better result.

The recipe called for frozen strawberries. That’s fine for October, but not for May, when the berries are bright red, juicy and sweet. I opted for fresh ones, and I did not add any extra sugar to them.

The second substitution was out of necessity. It was the strawberry extract for the icing.

I stood in the grocery store aisle so confused when I didn’t see it. I’m still a novice baker, so I googled it, and a helpful blogger said it was a rare item and that acceptable substitutes included vanilla or almond extract.

Vera’s Strawberry Cake. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

This cake probably turned out to be my best of the four I’ve tried since delving into Vera’s recipes.

It wasn’t overly sweet, and cream cheese frosting is super easy to make now. I’ve learned from my mistakes. It still wasn’t the most beautiful cake in the world despite the added fresh strawberries for garnish, but it tasted good. That’s all that mattered.          

Maybe next time I’ll make a pretty one.

1 COMMENT

  1. Dear Editor,
    Next time you bake one of Vera’s cakes you really should let your brother have some. I’m sure he would not have commented on the cake’s looks (but can’t promise he wouldn’t). I believe he has had some experience with Vera’s fantastic Strawberry cake. Keep up the good work.
    Thank you.
    Not, your brother. xo

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