Blueberry lemon cookies

blueberry lemon cookies | happyfoodbites

Last weekend I spent an afternoon at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles which has operated continuously since 1917. It was my first time there but it reminded me of a (surprisingly) smaller version of the Saint John City Market in New Brunswick I visited when I spent most of a high school summer collecting memories “down east”. Among the produce vendors I found a carton of luscious blueberries and I knew right away I wanted to make my favorite summer dessert: blueberry lemon cookies.

combine dry ingredients | happyfoodbites

My go-to dessert blog is Tutti Dulci, hands down, and this is my take on her Lemon Glazed Blueberry Bites. Start with the usual mixing of the dry ingredients together: flour, salt, and baking powder.

mix mascarpone butter and lemon zest | happyfoodbites

This is a cookie with a cream cheese dough but I prefer to use the Italian cream cheese, mascarpone, which works well in sweet or savory dishes. Let the butter and mascarpone (or cream cheese) soften and combine with the zest of one lemon using a mixer on medium speed for two to three minutes, until smooth.

cream sugar into butter cream cheese mixture | happyfoodbites

Add one half cup of turbinado sugar and beat on medium speed for three to four minutes, until fluffy.

add egg and vanilla | happyfoodbites

Once the sugar is creamed into the butter and cream cheese, add egg and vanilla and mix together.

add dry ingredients in two to three steps | happyfoodbites

Pour the flour into the wet mixture in two to three separate additions and stir until just barely combined.

gently fold in blueberries | hapyfoodbites

Gently fold in the blueberries and refrigerate dough at least three hours or up to overnight.

baked on lined baking sheet | happyfoodbites

When ready to bake, let the dough sit at room temperature for about fifteen minutes until pliable enough to roll easily into one inch balls. Place on lined baking sheet about one inch apart and bake for 12 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden.

stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice | happyfoodbites

Once cookies are cooled, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until sugar has dissolved.

drizzle glaze over cookies | happyfoodbites

Drizzle glaze over cookies. This will be a very messy step, it helps to put a piece of wax or parchment paper underneath the cooling rack and drizzle the glaze while the cookies are on the rack. Allow glaze to set completely, about half an hour, before serving.

Below is your printable recipe with nutrition information included.

cookies and milk | happyfoodbites

Gleefully borrowed from Lemon Glazed Blueberry Bites at Tutti Dulci.

Blueberry lemon cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 30
Ingredients
For the cookies
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Instructions
For the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in medium bowl, set aside.
  3. With mixer on medium speed, combine mascarpone, butter and lemon zest until smooth. Add sugar and cream at medium speed for three to four minutes until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract, mix to combine.
  4. Add flour mixture in three parts and stir until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in blueberries and refrigerate dough at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, let dough sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Roll dough into one inch-sized balls and place on cookie sheet 1½ inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes until just beginning to golden.
For the glaze
  1. Stir powdered sugar and lemon juice together in small bowl and drizzle over cooled cookies. Allow glaze to set, about 30 minutes, before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cookie w/glaze Calories: 84 Fat: 4 Saturated fat: 0 Unsaturated fat: 4 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 10 Sugar: 5 Sodium: 63 Fiber: 0 Protein: 1 Cholesterol: 18

I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.

-Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Homemade pasta with vegetables

homemade pasta with vegetables | happyfoodbites

There are many reasons why my amazing Italian grandparents are the best in the world and tucked among those reasons is the generosity of my grandma in passing down my great-grandmother’s hand-cranked pasta machine. I’ve made homemade pasta a few times in the past and it’s really quite easy but definitely a little annoying and very time-consuming to roll it out and cut the sheets of dough by hand. This was my first time using the pasta machine and it was so fun and fast!

semolina flour and salt | happyfoodbites

Since I was going old school style, I thought I would also go for a little more authenticity and use the classic pasta flour: semolina. There are three different types of flour: hard, soft and durum. Semolina is the unbleached ground durum wheat and it is a flour high in both protein and gluten so it stretches wonderfully.1 On my previous pasta attempts, I used just regular all-purpose flour and it turned out great but the semolina + pasta machine made for a finer strand of noodle that had a “mouth feel” more like boxed spaghetti. Step one is to combine the flour and salt.

add a tiny amount of water and mix with fork until you get coarse crumbs | happyfoodbites

Add a scant 1/4 cup of water and mix together with a fork until you get large clumps.

add olive oil | happyfoodbites

Add about one tablespoon of olive oil to the mixture.

knead until smooth and pliable | happyfoodbites

Switch to your hands and work the dough for about fifteen minutes until you have a smooth, slightly stretchy ball of dough.

cover for 30 minutes | happyfoodbites

Cover with a damp towel for half an hour to let the gluten rest.

rolling through pasta machine | happyfoodbites

Run the dough through the flat side of the machine at least three or four times which is actually part of the kneading process.

making spaghetti strips | happyfoodbites

Once the dough is about 1/16th of an inch thick, run it through the pasta roller to make the spaghetti strips.

dry overnight on hangers | happyfoodbites

Lay strips across hangers and create a pasta curtain! Let dry overnight and store in an airtight container. I couldn’t find a consensus about how long dried pasta keeps for, but since there aren’t any eggs in this recipe, I think it should keep for a couple of months in the cupboard or pantry (although in my house it’s unlikely it would go that long without being eaten!).

onion peppers and garlic | happyfoodbites

When cooking pasta, there is no such thing as too much water so fill a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook five to six minutes until al dente. In Italian al dente means “to the tooth” so you want your pasta barely firm to the bite. Just say no to limp noodles! While the water boils, dice your vegetables of choice. I used onion, garlic, and one half each of a red and yellow bell pepper.

saute veggies with oregano and basil | happyfoodbites

Heat one half tablespoon of olive oil (garlic flavored if you have it!) over medium high heat. Add onion and cook a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add diced garlic, chopped bell peppers, basil and oregano. Cook five to seven minutes until peppers started to brown.

toss the spaghetti in the skillet | happyfoodbites

Remove skillet from heat, drain pasta and add noodles to pan. Toss to combine. Serve immediately. (I originally thought about drizzling with a little olive oil or lemon juice but it was perfectly seasoned by tossing it in the skillet so I nixed that step).

Below is your printable recipe with nutrition information included.

homemade pasta with veggies | happyfoodbites

Homemade pasta with vegetables
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
For the pasta
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
For the combined dish
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
Instructions
For the pasta
  1. Combine flour and salt in medium bowl. Add ¼ cup of water and mix with fork until texture is that of coarse crumbs.
  2. Add ½ tablespoon of olive and continue to knead dough with hands about 15 minutes until smooth and pliable. Cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes.
  3. Using pasta machine, continue kneading by rolling dough through machine 3 to 4 times until dough is about 1/16th inch thick. Roll sheets of dough through attachment to make noodles.
  4. Hang noodles over hangers and allow to dry overnight.
  5. Once dried, store in airtight container in cupboard or pantry.
For the combined dish
  1. Add 2 oz of dried pasta to large pot of boiling water and cook five to six minutes until al dente.
  2. Heat ½ tablespoon of olive in skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook two to three minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic, peppers, and spices and cook six to eight minutes until peppers are just beginning to soften and brown.
  3. Remove skillet from heat, drain pasta and add noodles directly to pan. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 oz pasta and half of veggies Calories: 230 Fat: 6 Saturated fat: 0 Unsaturated fat: 6 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 39 Sugar: 4 Sodium: 155 Fiber: 4 Protein: 6 Cholesterol: 0

Everything you’re sure is right can be wrong in another place.

-Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible


  1. Here’s a nice breakdown of the different types of flour from Cookery Online 

Stuffed peppers

stuffed peppers | happyfoodbites

Life has a way of creating more complicated endings than “they lived happily ever after” but this is a story that actually does have a happy ending! In case there was any lingering doubt about my status as complete and utter amateur in the kitchen, over the last few days nearly all the recipes I’ve attempted have been failures in the sense that the end product was not exactly what was anticipated. However, I firmly believe you get better in the kitchen by being in the kitchen and I was able to salvage an unexpected and tasty dinner of stuffed peppers from an unsuccessful pursuit of bean burgers.

bean filling ingredients | happyfoodbites

It started with my attempt to make a slight change to the bean burger recipe I wanted to try; my intent was to see if they would work without using panko breadcrumbs to hold them together. I assumed the egg would be able to work as a binder on its own. (Oregano and chili powder were the spices I used in this batch).

blend together

It’s easy enough to make the burger: just mix the beans, egg, garlic, red pepper, green onion and spices together in food processor.

shape into patties and freeze | happyfoodbites

Once combined, shape into burger patties and freeze for at least a few hours. So far everything was going as planned. But once the patties were frozen, I tried to cook them in the skillet and they just crumbled apart. Womp womp. I didn’t want to waste them, the flavor was still there, but I wasn’t sure how I could use them since they were so fragile once cooked. CSA veggie box to the rescue! In my box this week were a couple of gorgeous yellow peppers and the idea for using the bean burgers in stuffed peppers was conceived.

lop top off pepper | happyfoodbites

I’ve only made stuffed peppers once or twice before but the thing I remembered as my least favorite part of them is a mushy pepper, yuck. I prefer my peppers to have a bit of bite to them so I knew I was going to roast for less time than the classic stuffed pepper recipes call for and decided to skip baking them in any sort of liquid or sauce all together. We start, however, by lopping off the top of the pepper.

remove core and seeds | happyfoodbites

Remove the core and seeds.

cut frozen burger into pieces | happyfoodbites

Chop the frozen burger patty into pieces. (One burger patty was enough for two peppers).

mix rice and beans | happyfoodbites

Combine half of the burger pieces with one half cup of Mexican rice and scoop mixture into pepper. Place pepper on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes. Remove pepper, add cheese on top (my on-hand cheese was smoked gouda) and bake an additional ten minutes. Serve immediately.

Below is your printable recipe with nutrition information included.

stuffed peppers | happyfoodbites

Stuffed peppers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ frozen bean burger, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup cooked rice
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 oz gouda cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove top of bell pepper, core and seeds.
  3. Combine chopped bean burger and rice. Scoop rice and bean mixture into bell pepper and bake in oven, uncovered for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes, top with cheese and bake an additional ten minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 stuffed pepper Calories: 405 Fat: 7 Saturated fat: 4 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 69 Sugar: 3 Sodium: 868 Fiber: 6 Protein: 17 Cholesterol: 69

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.

-Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men