Flaking Out With Martha!- Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons!- 94 eggs, 70 1/4 cups of sugar, 69 sticks of Butter, and 82 cups of flour used so far- 122 recipes to go!

August 16, 2010

Martha's Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons

André's Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons

I have an uber-liberal friend, coworker and avid devotee of this blog who recently retired from my workplace. I was surprised to see her back in the halls at work. She told me that she was asked to come back and help out on a specific project. She seemed happier than I had ever seen her before, less stressed, less pressured. How nice that must be, I thought to myself, being able to do your work without the pressure of possibly losing your job hovering over you like a dark and heavy cloud. We chatted and I mentioned she deserved a batch of cookies. I’ll push cookies on just about anyone these days. She informed me she’d love some but she has a gluten allergy. That means no flour, no grain, nada, zip, zero. Jeez. What to do? Then it hit me. Macaroons! These tasty little treats contain no flour whatsoever and are pretty darn tasty. Martha’s recipe takes the simple coconut macaroon a step further by filling them with a coconut cream made of butter, shortening, confectioner sugar, and coconut & vanilla extracts. At first I was put off my the idea of vegetable shortening in a cream filling, although that is the main ingredient in the center filling of Oreos. Actually there is a scientific reason as to why shortening is necessary component in this vanilla-coconut filling. The fatty shortening coats the butter at the microscopic level thus protecting the butter from succumbing to bacteria and turning rancid when not refrigerated.

How do they taste? Well, here is the review in my grateful friend’s words:

“I just ate the last one and it was as delectable as the first one I had this morning. I shared them far and wide and everybody had the same reaction — you bite into it expecting your basic coconut taste and texture, and midway through you hit the cream center, which gives you a wonderful jolt of pure sweetness to compliment the coconutty flavor. They really are better than McClain’s, which is pretty much the holy grail for macaroons in Kansas City, so that’s saying a lot.
And as a gluten-free girl, these were truly magnificent. Cookies are pretty far from my mind anymore (which is a good thing), so the chance to eat something like this was especially wonderful!
Thanks for thinking of me.”

So, there you have it. If any of you out there are struggling with, or have friends struggling with having to avoid gluten products, whip up a batch of these coconutty bits of goodness. Just keep in mind Martha’s recipe states they will bake in less than ten minutes. I’m not sure whose oven she was using or if she inhaled too much coconut extract, but it took me almost thirty minutes before the coconut toasted to the desired golden brown color.

I cheated a bit in my last post. I left off with a bit of a cliffhanger. If you haven’t read the previous post, I suggest you do so and get caught up.

Jersey City is a small urban city situated on the West bank of Hudson Bay facing New York City’s awe-inspiring skyline. In Jersey City’s Liberty Park, you can get an up close view of the Statue of Liberty, better than any location in Manhattan. She has her back turned on Jersey, but if you don’t mind the fact that she’s mooning you, it’s still inspiring if not potentially metaphorical.

It was a nippy November evening when I hopped off the bus and walked down the block to the emergency room entrance at Christ Hospital. I believe this hospital got its name from the locals. If they needed medical attention I imagine they’d say- “Christ, don’t take me there!” or “Christ, please no!” or upon seeing their medical bill they’d simply utter, “Christ.” It was a Catholic-run charity hospital which made complete sense. I had never been anywhere that inspired me to fall down on my knees and start praying immediately. The emergency room stank of alcohol, body odor, stale vomit and urine. The waiting room was fairly empty with a few poor souls scattered here and there. There was a Mexican family praying in the corner for a relative who had been admitted earlier and wheeled behind the heavy steel swinging doors, perhaps never to be seen again. Another gentleman sat bare-chested, his t-shirt wrapped around his hand. Deep red splotches of blood penetrated the thin white cotton shirt. It struck me as strange that he sat so quietly. If I were bleeding enough to need a tourniquet I’d be raising all sorts of hell until I was promptly attended. I suspect he had been involved in some sort of illegal altercation that would require multiple stitches followed by intense questioning and ending in lengthy incarceration. He was in no hurry. The fluorescent lights hummed and flickered casting their weak and bluish-green glow throughout the room. Even the healthiest people look like they’re knocking of death’s door in poor fluorescent lighting.

Reluctantly I approached the desk and without looking up or saying a word, the ragged administrator thrust her clipboard at me with pen attached. It was a standard form on which I was to record my information. This was the first time I had ever been to a medical facility without any type of health insurance. My coverage for the past few years had been provided by the Actor’s Equity Association but since I had not secured a union acting gig in almost a year, I had lost my insurance benefits.  I also had to state why I needed to be seen. I wasn’t sure how to answer this. I simply stated I had collapsed in pain hours earlier and still felt enormous abdominal discomfort when I tried to stand up straight. Then I wrote one word followed by a question mark- Appendicitis?

I’ve never really trusted medical professionals especially after a devastating misdiagnosis in college that cost me quite a bit of my sanity. I’ll save that misadventure for a future story. For now, take me at my word when I say I hate doctors. I hate hospitals. I think most doctors in this country choose their profession so they can earn a six figure salary,  not because they want to heal the sick. That’s my personal opinion and I fully acknowledge that there are quite a few exceptions. From my viewpoint, however, self-serving and disinterested doctors are the rule and time spent at Christ hospital only served to fortify my jaded opinion of  these so-called “healers.”

During my triage with a young, and curt nurse, I answered rapid-fire questions looking for a glimpse of compassion in her dark and lifeless eyes. I paused when I couldn’t answer one of her more personal questions. She asked again- “When was your last B.M.?” I responded that I couldn’t remember. Honestly, I couldn’t. I had been so distracted and depressed I hadn’t noticed that I hadn’t “gone” in a few days. The nurse abruptly stood up and came back with a wheelchair. “Get on.” – she ordered and then wheeled me to the main emergency treatment room where she had me change into a paper gown and lay flat on the cold and sterile mattress. She pulled a thin curtain around me and returned moments later with the doctor on call. She was explaining the situation to the doctor in Spanish as he began to feel around my abdomen with his gloved hand. He pushed in a spot just above my navel and I saw stars. The pain was excruciating. Two other nurses, hearing my squeals of pain came rushing over and held my arms down assuming I was some tweaked-out drug addict about to violently erupt.

As the pain subsided the doctor wheeled over a small portable toilet and a tray with a gallon of some orange-tinted elixir called “Go Lightly.” I laughed and said, “No relation to Holly, huh?” The joke was lost on the room. I was ordered, in the most humiliating way to drink the entire gallon of this really unpleasant stuff and, if everything was working like it should, I would be needing the portable toilet almost immediately. I drank about half of the jug, holding my breath as to not experience the “grapefruit” flavoring used to disguise the metallic-tasting active ingredients. Nothing was happening. Nothing was moving. Then without any warning, I began to projectile vomit into the nearest wastebasket which caused me to double over in the worst pain I had ever experienced. The nurses began chattering in Spanish and strapped me down to the bed. They quickly inserted an I.V. needle into my arm and the doctor injected a greenish liquid directly into the tube which was now deeply planted in one of my veins. I could feel the liquid burning up through my arm following the veinal route of my bloodstream. I felt the burning sensation hit my heart and spread throughout my body within seconds. It felt as though my body was engulfed in flames and then as suddenly as the burning came it left leaving me limp and numb. I thought to myself, I’m dead. I’ve just died. I’ll never say goodbye to my family or friends. I’ll never see Dan again. Someone will have to claim my body. Someone will have to tell my mother. Who will tell Dan? Oh my God. No one knows Dan’s phone number. My family doesn’t even know about Dan. I began to cry. The last thing I remember is the nurse asking me why I was being such a baby. I told her to write down a phone number, and if I died to please call Dan. She laughed and said it was against hospital policy. I closed my eyes and thought, this is it. This is how it ends. No one knew I was here. It would be days, even weeks before people noticed I was missing. Ah well. I’ve had a good run. Time to sleep. I closed my eyes not knowing if I would open them again. I said a quiet little prayer to myself and thought of Dan.

Needless to say, I woke up the next day. But this post is already too long.

To be continued… yet again.


3 Responses to “Flaking Out With Martha!- Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons!- 94 eggs, 70 1/4 cups of sugar, 69 sticks of Butter, and 82 cups of flour used so far- 122 recipes to go!”

  1. connie Says:

    “Uber liberal friend?” Guilty on all accounts. Thanks again for the yummy cookies!

  2. Eri Says:

    OMG! Delectable cookie description and projectile vomiting in the same post!
    Not to mention the cliffhanger…I’m hooked!

  3. Carol Says:

    You stinker! I already look forward to each blog entry, but now I’m even more hooked, you dog! It’s really neat to hear how you and Dan became a couple.

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