Coconut macaroons – tested and tasted …

Try this no-nonsense recipe for macaroons from trusted friend and guest blogger Jane Manaster. Welcome back to The Cookery, Jane.

A Dessert for Passover

By Jane Manaster

Florence Greenberg was the English equivalent of Joan Nathan, today’s maven or expert in American Jewish cookbook authors. Both, in their time and place, have supplied recipes for everyday and the special dishes pertinent to the festivals and holidays.

They belonged to different generations and while Joan Nathan appears on television and writes vividly illustrated books, the 1947 first edition of Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book mostly derived from her column for the weekly Jewish Chronicle. It was sparsely illustrated with black and white advertisements for kosher products and now outmoded kitchen equipment and became an instant wedding present, usually from mother to daughter or daughter-in-law. I still treasure my 7th edition copy though the pages are stained and the book itself disintegrating from constant use.

Recipes are straightforward, even making the Passover gefilte fish (relished or abhorred at the traditional seder table) a low-tech procedure. Florence Greenberg didn’t have to resort to the older practice of keeping a live carp in the bathtub until preparation time, but nor did she fuss about which fish had to be chosen.

Passover meant forsaking flour and certain grains for the 8-day holiday. Matzoh, a near-tasteless flatbread, and crushed into matzoh meal for cooking, were the replacements. But Florence Greenberg simplified further. Her recipe for coconut macaroons dispels the idea of failure for even neophyte cooks and translates easily from ounces to cups.eggs



Coconut macaroons


½ pound desiccated coconut

5 ounces caster sugar

2 eggs

U.S. translation

Shredded coconut; it was all unsweetened then. Desiccate is the correct spelling! Granulated white sugar works fine. Eggs were eggs, sizes unspecified


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugar and eggs first (this wasn’t an instruction: commonsense dictated). Stir in the coconut and mix well. This is sticky so wet the hands often to form into pyramids; the recipe makes about 20. Place on greased baking sheet (no parchment paper then, it was called ‘greaseproof paper’). Bake until lightly browned.

And that’s it!

Jane Manaster is the author of Pecans: The Story in a Nutshell.

© 2014 Jane Manaster. All Rights Reserved.



Spicy devotion

20140303-203501.jpgI thought I was I lucky enough to have a friend who keeps me well stocked with my favorite Middle Eastern blend of allspice: She knows what’s cooking in my kitchen. Then I received a spicy gift box of Penzeys from my gardening inspiration. That welcome surprise was followed by a spice selection by mail from my favorite spice girl in St. Louis … more Penzeys including the kicky Balti seasoning. And the fresh zahtar that recently found its way home here in the Hudson Valley was hand carried from Lebanon and shared by one who can quickly identify zahtar wannabes. Thanks to all that, I’m on a new flavor trail with friends who know how to share the simple formula for preserving food and friendships. Keep those fresh spices on hand.

Snowstorm Survival Kit for You and Your Valentine

Snowstorm survival kit

Snowstorm survival kit

If you’re close to home thanks to this season’s latest snowstorm, sweeten the moment with these three things for you and yours this Valentine’s Day: Oreos, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Baker’s Dipping Chocolate. Follow Shannon’s easy steps to make these truffles.

Eat better, live well

cropped-star_of_anise.jpgHaving spent a few more hours than planned in airports these past few days, I found it tempting to reach for sweets and entirely-too-salty snacks. I’m grateful to be out of range of the temptations and home in the Hudson Valley. Eat better and live well in your new year. Read more in my latest article on Health Matters.

Easy baked apples

Jane Manaster is sending us back to the apple orchards, or at least the produce section at her local grocery. Try these easy baked apples …
Choose a bag of sour apples. Run the knife around their waists. Core them. Set in a baking dish with, say, plenty of brown sugar (demerara is nicer, it crunches). Spoon some of the sugar into the cavity, fill up with raisins and a dash of cinnamon. Water almost up to the waists then bake until soft.


Order up during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Dining RoomIf you’re remotely close to New York’s Hudson Valley, now’s the time to discover new and not-so-new restaurants offering tempting menus at prix fixe prices during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. I visited the sparkling-clean kitchen at Valley last week and caught up with the culinary team. Check in with Executive Chef Vin Mocarski at Valley Restaurant at the Garrison to start sampling. Valley will also remain open this winter. Save a date with your favorite dinner partner and warm up with their seasonal contemporary American cuisine.

They’re what’s good this season: cranberries

It’s a good thing the cranberry crop is coming in strong for 2013 as I seem to be harvesting more than my usual take at the market. These cranberries won’t live a long shelf-life around The Cookery. They’re juicing up a loaf of pumpkin bread which just came out of the oven and is headed out the door to be shared.

Pumpkin bread recycled

Pumpkin bread recycled

Give this pumpkin bread recipe a go and fold in two cups of fresh cranberries to the batter.