Eggplant Parmigiana + Marinara Sauce & eggplant advice


     Thanks to Ardith Hinkle who made this recipe years ago. She shared the recipe and I’ve been making it ever since. Although you could use any marinara sauce, the recipe that accompanies the parmigiana recipe, is the BEST.
    Eggplant can be a little tricky to cook, so I’ve also included some research-based advice from an edition of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

Eggplant Parmigiana     Serves 6
Source: Leone’s Italian Cookbook
2 medium size eggplants
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cups Marinara Sauce, warmed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Thin slices of mozzarella (or use grated)

1.     Wash and dry eggplants but do not peel. Cut into ½” slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt, place on brown paper (I use paper towels) and let drain for 30 minutes. (Following the advice of an article in the July/August 1993 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, I actually salted and pressed the eggplant as described below.)
2.     Pat dry and sprinkle lightly with flour. Dip into beaten eggs. Mix bread crumbs with oregano, then dip eggplant slices into bread crumbs.
I set up a 3-dish station and actually dipped both sides of the eggplant  first in flour, then is eggs and finally in breadcrumbs. 
3.     Combine olive oil and butter in a skillet and heat.
4.     Add eggplant and sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper. Sauté to medium brown, about 5 minutes per side.
Eggplant slices have just been turned.
5.     Preheat oven to 325°.
6.     Oil a baking pan and cover bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Arrange browned eggplant slices on top of the sauce and sprinkle them lightly with Parmesan. Place a small slice of mozzarella on each slice. Spoon another thin layer of sauce over all.
Eggplant is ready to go into the oven. I just added dollops of tomatoes from the marinara,
rather than covering the casserole with a top layer of sauce. 
7.     Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Advice from July/August 1993 issue of Cook’s Illustrated on Salting & Presssing Eggplant
According to Stephen Schmidt, author of the Cook’s Illustrated article, “Eggplant can (and should) be firm and meaty, with a rich, sweet, nutlike flavor.” To achieve this, follow these two steps:
1.     Salt the eggplant and let is set for at least 1 ½ hours, preferably 2 to 3. It will not be harmed by “mascerating” as long as 24 hours. (This draws water out of excess water that can make it turn mushy when cooked.)
Eggplant slices shortly after being salted.
2.     After at least 1½ hours of macerating Using paper towels, press the flesh of mascerated eggplant until the flesh in shrunk in weight and volume by roughly half and roughly half and has become a translucent brownish-green.
Water has been partially drawn from the eggplant slices and they are  ready to press.

Stephen also noted that even the skin of the eggplant is tender and edible using this method. But added, "eggplant that has not gone through this process is likely to be either tough, pithy, and astringently bitter, or oil-soaked, slimy, and tasteless."
Marinara Sauce from Leone's Italian Cookbook      Makes about 5 cups
Serve over Eggplant Parmigiana, macaroni, spaghetti, green beans, hard-cooked or scrambled eggs.
6 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup butter
3 large garlic cloves, mashed
16 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups (three 1-pound cans) peeled plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
8 anchovy fillets, chopped (I usually omit)
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste

1.     Combine olive oil and butter in a saucepan and heat. 
2.     Chop garlic and parsley together and add to the pan.  Cook slowly for 5 minutes, then add salt and pepper. 
3.     Drain the tomatoes and chop the solids.  Add the chopped tomatoes and oregano to the sauce and cook slowly for 30 minutes. 
Tomatoes and herbs simmer on the stovetop.
4.     Add anchovies and tomato paste, stir well, and remove from the heat. 
5.     At the end of cooking, taste for salt and add some if necessary, but remember, the anchovies will make the sauce salty.

In my quest for new eggplant recipes I discovered this Eggplant Site that contains links to lots of good sounding recipes.

Another Idea for Cucumbers — Creamed Cucumbers

    Even though the Kansas heat is taking its toll on our garden, the cucumbers still keep producing! I’ve made pickles, marinated cucumbers and onion slices  in vinegar, and chopped them up for salads. Just when I was running out of ideas, I remembered Ila Beemer’s recipe for Creamed Cucumbers.

Ila was the subject of my July 2008 food column (Abilene’s Reflector-Chronicle). She is a gardener “extraordinar,” a frequent vendor at the local Farmers Market, and her canned produce consistently racks up ribbons and prizes at county and state fairs. In her aritcle, I noted, “Ila enjoys visiting with the people that frequent the Farmers Market and occasionally acquires recipes from those purchasing her produce. This recipe came from Johanna Turrentine.  Ila fills a 1 1/2-quart bowl with sliced cucumbers and pours the dressing over them. ‘I keep a bowl of these in the refrigerator all summer long,’ she stated.”


Creamed Cucumbers
4 medium cucumbers, sliced (I sliced them into ¼” discs)
1 cup mayonnaise – Ila mentioned regular, reduced-fat or fat free mayo works
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup white vinegar
½ cup chopped onion

1.     Slice cucumbers into a bowl. 

This is certainly not required but I like "score" the cucumbers by running a fork down the sides (above).
Then once the cukes are sliced, their edges have a ruffled appearance.



2.     Mix remaining ingredients and pour over the cucumbers. 
Look -- I even have Ila's recipe on my iPad!
3.     Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
Ready to go into the fridge.
4.     Drain at least part of the liquid (if needed) before serving. 

Grand Prize Zucchini Bread


     When I interviewed Marcia Williamson for my monthly food column (Abilene Reflector-Chronicle, December 2005), she provided this recipe. I’d had it several times and knew it was good. Of course, anything that Marcia makes is ALWAYS good . . . actually perfect!
     Barry has his own set of specifications for what he considers a “good” quickbread – besides tasting good, it must be moist to the touch and palate and must cut without crumbling. By his standards (and mine, too) this bread earns the grand prize!

Marcia’s Zucchini Bread     Makes 2 standard loaves
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup oil ( I use canola)
3 cups all-purpose flour (part of this can be whole-wheat -- I sometime do half and half, sometimes 1 cup of whole wheat to 2 cups all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini squash
2 teaspoons vanilla

1.     Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or spray two 9” x 5”x 3” loaf pans.
2.     In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and oil.
3.     Measure dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in another bowl and mix. 
Wet mixture is in the larger bowl & dry ingredients are mixed in the smaller of Barry's pottery bowls.
4.     Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture. 
At this point the mixture is more like a dough than a batter . . . but that will change!
5.     Fold in zucchini and vanilla; add batter to the prepared pan. 
Once the grated zucchini is added, the dough-like mixture begins to loosen up but, it
still relative thick.
Spoon dough into two prepared pans and it's ready to go into the oven.
6.     Bake until done (about 50 to 60 minutes) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Or, try our  Zucchini Muffins.

Sugar & Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies


    When I first tasted the cinnamon mixed in with chocolate chip–oatmeal cookies, I was sold. Jane Medina adapted a basic recipe to create these great cookies, and I’ve made a couple of other adjustments since. As a matter of fact, I liked the cookies so much that I included in recipe in The Kirby House Cookbook, and often made them for catered events.

Sugar & Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies   Yield: about 5 dozen cookies
1¼ cup packed brown sugar 
½ cup shortening (Crisco®)
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2½ cups uncooked, quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts, optional (Jane uses toasted pecans)
12 -ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.     Preheat oven to 375°. 
2.     In large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, shortening, butter and granulated sugar. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. 
Combining the sugars and fats called for in the recipe.
3.     Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until well blended. 
4.     Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms.
5.     Stir in oats, nuts and chocolate chips. Dough can be chilled now, or immediately go on to step # 6.
I did chill the dough for about an hour before forming it into cookies.
6.     Use a cookie scoop or teaspoon to dip out a ball of dough. Place balls about 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 8 minutes. 
7.     Let cool for 1 minute before removing from cookie sheets. Cool completely before storing.
Baked cookies have cooled and are ready to remove from the sheet.
I did use a silicon liner in the sheet pan.

Home Grown Cabbage becomes . . . Stuffed Cabbage

Cabbage rolls simmering in tomatoes and tomato juice -- in a Dutch oven on the stovetop.
Lid is removed here but I did cook them with the lid on.
     Wow, I’m so impressed with Barry’s garden. Despite the heat, green plants are everywhere and yielding an abundance of fresh vegetables. We just step outside and pull onions, clip kale of cut off a head of cabbage! 
     Sometimes I even begin to wonder what I’ll do with all the “stuff”, but ever since I saw the cabbage heads begin to form, I knew I'd be making stuffed cabbage.
     I first tasted those delicacies in the early 1970s when helping a neighbor with a garage sale. We spent the morning on her porch tending to the sale while inside a pot of stuffed cabbages simmered on the stove. The aroma eventually drifted to the porch and by lunch time my mouth was watering. It took just one bite and I knew I would make them again and again.
      As for garage sales . . . I’ve had a few more since then,  but I’d be quite happy to never have another!

Stuffed Cabbage
2 medium heats of cabbage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 3 slices of bacon
2 cups ground sausage, ground pork or ground beef (or use a mixture) – RAW
2 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon salt
½ to ¾ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
About 4 cups crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh that have been blanched & chopped)
Tomato juice – enough to half way cover the cabbage rolls as they cook
Barry uses a paring knife to remove
the cabbage's core.
Chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano & basil, optional

1.  Core cabbage.
2.  Drop into boiling water to blanch – it should cook look enough that the leaves are pliable. Remove cabbage and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking. Remove leaves (if inner leaves are not as pliable as outer, return cabbage to hot water for further blanching).
3.  Using a paring knife, cut out the tough stem of each cabbage leaf. The inner portion of the cabbage will not yield leaves that are big enough to roll — chop these up and place in an oblong baking dish that has been sprayed or into a sprayed Dutch oven (I just used the same Dutch oven that I  used to brown the onions in step #4)
Use a paring knife to cut out the stem  of the blanched cabbage leaf;
 it is somewhat tough, even after blanching, and would make it hard to roll the cabbage leaf.
Inner leaves, that are too small for rolling, are chopped &
will be used as a "bed" for the cabbage rolls.
4.  Brown onion with bacon; cool slightly.
5.  In a large bowl, combine and mix all ingredients except leaves, tomatoes and tomato juice and optional chopped fresh herbs.
6.  Place about ½ cup of mixture in the center of a cabbage roll, roll up and arrange on the bed of chopped cabbage in the casserole or Dutch oven, seal side down.
Add a scoop of filling to the blanched cabbage leaf & roll up.
Place cabbage rolls, sealed side down, on the bed of chopped cabbage.
7.  Pour tomatoes over cabbage rolls; add tomato juice until rolls are about half covered. Sprinkle with chopped herbs if desired.
8.  Cover casserole tightly with foil and bake 1½ to 2 hours at 375°. Or, place the covered Dutch oven on the stovetop, bring mixture to a boil and then simmer for 1½ to 2 hours. Check periodically and add more tomato juice or water if liquid gets too low.
We served the cabbage rolls with tender west corn. Yum!

REAL SIMPLE, REAL GOOD – Everyday Tilapia


On the menu:
Pan sautéed tilapia,
steamed broccoli &
cauliflower gratin.
     We eat fish quite often and always try to keep frozen tilapia on hand. Consequently Barry has come up with a real simple, real good and easily varied recipe. He not only varies the seasonings, he sometimes bakes the delicate, white-fleshed fish, and other times lightly sautés it in a little olive oil. If we forget to thaw a couple of filets, he simply prepares it from the frozen state, allowing a little extra cooking time.
    This is the version he made when my family was here recently . . .



Everyday Tilapia
Tilapia – allow one filet per person
Cavender’s Greek Seasoning (Cajun seasoning also imparts a nice flavor)
Olive Oil

1.     Season the fish with  Cavender's Seaoning and drizzle lightly with olive oil – pat into surface of each filet. 
2.     Cook:  
o   Sauté Method: Add filets to hot skillet that has that has been sprayed or lightly coated with olive oil. For thin filets —sauté for a few minutes on the first side, carefully turn and sauté second side until fish has becomes creamy white and flakes easily with a fork.
Tilapia bakes in the oven.
o Oven Method: Add fillets to a baking sheet that has been sprayed or lightly coated with olive oil; bake at 375° for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes.

Happy Birthday Marcia! White Texas Sheet Cake w/ Orange Icing or Chopped Pecan Icing


I decorated the cake w/ an orange peel rose (made by cutting
a continuous thin strip of peel from an orange; the peel
was then rolled up) and fresh mint leaves.
     It was a real SURPRISE! Marcia Sim’s sons and their spouses plotted and planned and really did surprise her with dinner at Martinelli’s. For a minute she was even at a loss for words and then, as predicted by one of her grandsons, she started hugging everybody! A very fun event and we were glad to be a part of her celebration. Exactly which birthday was she celebrating? 29 again, of course!
     And, birthdays mean birthday cake. Ever since I interviewed Mike Jantz (July 2011, Reflector-Chronicle food column), I’ve been looking for an excuse to try his recipe for White Texas Sheet Cake. The cake is made like the Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake that begins by heating butter with water and then stirring in the dry ingredients; the frosting for both the chocolate version and this one also begins with melted butter.
      Mike’s recipe calls for nuts and almond flavoring but since some of Marcia’s family has nut allergies, I turned his recipe into White Texas Sheet Cake with Orange Icing. I’ve included both his recipe and my adjustments.
      By the way, Mike credits Elfie Alice Tolle, a neighbor from his childhood, as the source of this delicious and simple to make cake.
Marcia and Meta with her two cakes.
Since there were two, I actually made just half of the White Texas Sheet Cake.
I've included the notations below.    
White Texas Sheet Cake
Note: I actually cut this recipe in half and baked it in a quarter pan –9“x13”. The full recipe follows . . .     
1 cup (2 sticks) butter                                   
I cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour                                
2 cups granulated sugar          
2 eggs, beaten                         
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond flavoring  (for my variation, I used vanilla)        
I teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1.  Bring butter and water to a boil.
2.  Remove from heat, stir in flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, beaten eggs, sour cream, and almond (or vanilla) flavoring, until smooth.
Dry and wet ingredients have been added to the butter and water -- everything is done in the saucepan.
3.     Pour into greased and floured large cookie sheet with sides – could range from about 15”x10” to 18”x13”.
Cake is ready to bake.
4.  Bake in a preheated 375° for 20 to 22 minutes (15 minutes if making half batch) or until cake is golden brown and tests done (it pulls away from the sizes and the center springs back when lightly touched).
Cake is done - it is golden brown, pulling away from the sides of the pan and center springs back when gently touched.
5.  Cool for 20 minutes.

Chopped Pecan Icing for above cake:
½ cup (1 stick) butter                        
¼ cup milk
4½ cups powdered sugar, sifted        
½ teaspoon almond flavoring
1 cup chopped pecans

1.  Combine butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2.  Remove from heat, add sugar, flavorings and nuts; mix well.
3.  Spread over slightly cooled cake (it will still be warm after cooling just 20 min.).

Orange Icing for above cake:
This is the variation I used and since I cut the cake in half, I did the same with the frosting. The full recipe follows . . .
Grate the rind before juicing the orange.
½ cup (1 stick) butter                        
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (may need to little more to achieve desired icing consistency) – grate the orange rind 
before juicing the orange
4½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
Grated rind from 1 orange      
½ teaspoon vanilla

1.  Combine butter and ¼ cup orange juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2.  Remove from heat, add sugar, granted orange rind and vanilla; mix well, adding a little more juice if needed to achieve desired icing consistency.
Powdered sugar has been whisked into the wet ingredients.
3.     Spread over slightly cooled cake (it will still be warm after cooling just 20 min.).
An off-set spatula is the perfect tool for spreading the icing on the cake.
Marcia w/ her three sons: Chris (in green), Ben and Luke

Kirby House Lemon Bars


     The Kirby House Cookbook was first published in November 2001. 5000 copies were sold through the restaurant, retail outlets, book stores and online. It went through a second printing and there are just a few of those copies left. Because the restaurant has changed hands and the menu offerings are not the same, the book will soon be a collector’s item.
     Although I had compiled family and cooking class cookbooks, this was my first attempt at a professional cookbook . . . and I learned a lot! From the conversion of large quantity recipes for home use to page set up, to marketing, it was quite an adventure . . . and it lead to a career in catering and also to present day endeavors — cooking classes and food writing.
     This recipe for Lemon Bars was in the dessert notebook used in the kitchen at the Kirby House. Since the recipe was already in a workable size for home use, I simply had to type and format it for the book. Coconut is an unusual ingredient in the recipe and I have to admit that I often leave it out . . . as I did in the batch I recently made (I also omitted the nuts when I made this batch).

Even though the restaurant has now changed hands, the cookbooks are still available by calling 785-263-0300 (Daylight Donut Shop), or contact Vangie Henry at Applemint Catering

Old-Fashioned Lemon Bars    Yield:  One 9 x 13 x 2 -inch baking pan
Lemon Filling
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter            
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup lemon juice

1.     Mix sugar and butter in saucepan (avoid using an untreated aluminum saucepan as the acid in the lemon juice may react with the aluminum creating a discoloration of the filling; anodized aluminum or stainless steel will NOT create this effect). Heat and stir until blended.
Sugar and butter are heating.
2.     Temper beaten eggs and then slowly whisk eggs and lemon juice into the hot mixture.  To Temper: slowly add a hot liquid to eggs: 1) place eggs in a mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk, 2) slowly drizzle up to half of the hot mixture into egg yolks whisking constantly, 3) then, blend the tempered egg mixture into the hot ingredients in saucepan. This procedure will gradually raise the temperature of the eggs without making them curdle. 
Tempering the eggs.
3.     Once eggs are tempered and completely blended into hot mixture, continue to cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until thick and just bubbling. To further insure a completely smooth sauce, it can be run through a mesh strainer at this point.
Lemon mixture is thick & ready to remove from heat.
To make sure the sauce is smooth, run it through a mesh strainer.
4.     Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks)  butter
2/3 cup flaked coconut, toasted*
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans  
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

1.     Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease the baking pan or spray with non-stick pan coating. (I lined the pan with foil that extended over the edges of the pan so that I could lift our the baked bars for easy cutting.) 
2.     In a medium to large size bowl, using an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar and soda. Cut in butter only until crumbly (over mixing will create a dough rather than a crumbled mixture). Reserve 1½ cups crumb mixture and mix with coconut and pecans; set aside.
The mixer makes easy work of cutting the butter into the dry ingredients.
3.     Press remaining crumbs into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes; cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce oven to 350°.
Remaining crumb mixture is dumped in a foil lined pan that has been sprayed.
Hands are the best tool for pressing the crumb evenly so they cover the entire pan.
This is what the baked crust looks like when it is removed from the oven.
4.     To assemble: After 10 minute cooling, spread lemon filling over crust; then sprinkle crumb mixture over top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Lemon Bars fresh out of the oven.
5.     Chill to further set the lemon filling. When cool, cut as desired. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Bench Knives.
Tips For Cutting Bars: Use a Bench Knife for easy cutting of bar cookies. Simply use the cutter to press directly down, then lift and move down the row. Because this involves a  “lift and cut” technique, rather than the dragging of a knife, ragged edges are avoided. 

* Toasting Coconut (2 methods)
Oven Method: Spread 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut in a thin layer in a 15”x10” baking pan. Bake at 350° for 4 to 5 minutes or until light golden  brown. For even browning, stir and turn with a pancake turner after 2 minutes, and then every minute. Keep coconut spread in a thin layer. Remove from oven and cool on paper towels.
Microwave Method: Place 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut in a 2-cup glass measure.  Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or until toasted. Stir after the first minute, then every 30 seconds. Cool on paper towels.


Recipe w/out photos:

Old-Fashioned Lemon Bars        Yield:  One 9 x 13 x 2 -inch baking pan
Lemon Filling
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter            
3   large egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup lemon juice

1.     Mix sugar and butter in saucepan (avoid using an untreated aluminum saucepan as the acid in the lemon juice may react with the aluminum creating a discoloration of the filling;  anodized aluminum or stainless steel will NOT create this effect). Heat and stir until blended.
2.     Temper beaten eggs and then slowly whisk eggs and lemon juice into the hot mixture.  To Temper: slowly add a hot liquid to eggs: 1) place eggs in a mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk, 2) slowly drizzle up to half of the hot mixture into egg yolks whisking constantly, 3) then, blend the tempered egg mixture into the hot ingredients in saucepan. This procedure will gradually raise the temperature of the eggs without making them curdle
3.     Once eggs are tempered and completely blended into hot mixture, continue to cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until thick and just bubbling.
4.     Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks)  butter
2/3 cup flaked coconut, toasted*
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans   

1.     Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease the baking pan or spray with non-stick pan coating. (I lined the pan with foil that extended over the edges of the pan so that I could lift our the baked bars for easy cutting.) http://cookingwithbarryandmeta.blogspot.com/2011/03/butter-fingers.html
2.     In a medium to large size bowl, using an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar and soda. Cut in butter only until crumbly (over mixing will create a dough rather than a crumbled mixture). Reserve 1½ cups crumb mixture and mix with coconut and pecans; set aside.
3.     Press remaining crumbs into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes; cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce oven to 350°.
4.     To assemble: After 10 minute cooling, spread lemon filling over crust; then sprinkle crumb mixture over top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
5.     Chill to further set the lemon filling. When cool, cut as desired.
Tips For Cutting Bars: Use a Bench Knife for easy cutting of bar cookies. Simply use the cutter to press directly down, then lift and move down the row. Because this involves a  “lift and cut” technique, rather than the dragging of a knife, ragged edges are avoided. 

* Toasting Coconut (2 methods)
Oven Method: Spread 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut in a thin layer in a 15”x10” baking pan. Bake at 350° for 4 to 5 minutes or until light golden  brown. For even browning, stir and turn with a pancake turner after 2 minutes, and then every minute. Keep coconut spread in a thin layer. Remove from oven and cool on paper towels.
Microwave Method: Place 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut in a 2-cup glass measure.  Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or until toasted. Stir after the first minute, then every 30 seconds. Cool on paper towels.