Roasted Baby Carrots with Honey and Ginger

 

The Organic Kitchen’s version of “Roasted Baby Carrots with Honey and Ginger” was inspired by a recent dinner out at a favorite dining spot. I ordered a side dish of roasted baby carrots that were delivered to the table piping hot on a small cast iron grill (affiliate link). They were slightly sweet with just a hint of ginger and tasted amazing!  Let’s just say they disappeared quickly.

Notice those crispy brown edges, just the perfect texture and so simple to make. Only a few ingredients are needed, the most important of which are real baby carrots.

Roasted Baby Carrots with Honey and Ginger



 So…lets talk baby carrots.

I make this recipe with real baby carrots with a bit of the green tops left on. Don’t fall for those fake baby carrots at the grocery store that look like a stumpy thumb. Those are actually full size carrots that are deemed unfit to sell as is, so they are placed in a tumbler and ground down to those little stubs and then falsely labeled ‘baby’ carrots. They are tasteless and often soaked in bleach. Real baby carrots are just that! Young carrots, pulled from the soil while still tender and flavorful. If you can’t find real baby carrots use mature carrots, just peel and cut into 3″ pieces. They are just as delicious. 

Roasted Baby Carrots with Honey and Ginger

Because I always make more vegetables than I need (to use for breakfast and lunches the next day) I didn’t use an individual sized small cast iron grill  like the restaurant did, although I have to say, it was very charming! Instead, I used a Le Crueset Cast Iron Grill with enough room for carrots to feed the whole family. They are available in beautiful colors and a variety of sizes. You can also use a rimmed cookie sheet covered with unbleached parchment paper.

Roasted Baby Carrots with Honey and Ginger

 

The Recipe: Roasted Baby Carrots with Honey and Ginger 

You will need: A cast iron grill (mine is Le Crueset) or rimmed cookie sheet covered with unbleached parchment paper, a microplane for grating ginger, sea salt (I use the tub, big money saver), and raw honey (affiliate links).

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Baby Carrots with Honey and Ginger
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fresh ginger adds a little bit of zing and natural anti-inflammatory health benefits to these delicious, slightly sweet baby carrots! If you can not find genuine baby carrots, use full grown carrots, peeled and cut into 3" pieces. I love this recipe using rainbow carrots too!
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs real peeled baby carrots (tops left on), or full grown carrots, peeled and cut into 3" pieces
  • 2 T raw honey
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 inch nub ginger, grated with microplane
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly chopped chives (optional for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place rack in upper third of oven.
  2. Mix olive oil, honey, and grated ginger in a small bowl. Toss well with baby carrots. Sprinkle with seas salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Place carrots on burner grill or parchment covered cookie sheet.
  4. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until carrots are cooked and edges are browned.

 

Healthy, easy and beautiful! If you haven’t yet, please subscribe for my FREE weekly recipe newsletter just under my picture in the right sidebar! ~ Linda Spiker

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 Post tags: gluten free, grain free, dairy free 

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken

 

Roasted chicken floats my boat. It rocks my world, makes my taste buds do a jig and if I am being truthful the aroma of a roasting bird causes my salivary glands to do their job very, very well…in other words, I drool. Roasted chickens are easy to make, pretty foolproof to cook, fairly budget friendly, extremely versatile, make delicious leftovers, not to mention when you serve one everyone will sing your praises. I mean really, look at this exquisite bird!

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes



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Obviously I am a fan, but despite my persistent ‘roasted chicken ravings’ sometimes I sense resistance from my readers. I get comments in my inbox like “this looks too hard” or “I am afraid to cook a whole bird”. This simply will not do! No one should miss out on this healthy, delicious staple because of a little self doubt or squeamishness. My mission today is to set those of you with fears at ease by addressing the most frequently asked questions I get about the process of roasting a bird.

Handling Raw Chicken: Breathe, It’s All Going to be OK

I get it. Touching raw meat freaks some people out. That is ok. Trust me, you will get over it. I don’t say that to be glib, I say it because it’s true. Most of us have an aversion to touching raw meat at first but after the first one or two times we get over it. So take a deep breath, be sure to wash your hands well before and after handling, and dive right in. 

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes

Preparing Your Bird for Cooking

Simply remove giblets from the cavity (setting aside for later use in broth), remove any quills left in bird, if needed cut off excess fat from around the cavity, rinse bird inside and out, then pat dry with a paper towel. 

Choosing a Roasting Pan, Lid or No Lid? Using a Rack, Trussing

Whether you use a roasting pan with a lid or a pan without a lid (affiliate links) will completely depend on the recipe you are following. Generally chickens roasted in a pan with a lid are cooked at a lower temperature for a longer time and are ‘fall off the bone’ tender. Those roasted in a pan without a lid are cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time and aren’t quite as tender but have a delicious crispy skin! You can also roast a chicken in a cast iron skillet! (affiliate link)

To cook two birds at once use a turkey roasting pan.

Using a rack: Most roasting pans come with a rack. Some racks are flat, other are in the shape of a ‘V’. The purpose of a rack is to lift the chicken off the pan. Is using a rack necessary? It just depends on what you want. If I am roasting a chicken by itself, I will place it on a rack. If I am roasting it surrounded with vegetables I like to have the chicken nestled right in the veggies. Either way, you can’t go wrong. The rack does make the skin on the bottom of the chicken crispier because it isn’t sitting in the juices, so if that is important to you use a rack.

Trussing: Trussing simply means tying the legs together using trussing string or reusable silicon bands (affiliate links). Trussing and tucking the birds wings behind it’s back make for more even cooking and make the bird look a little prettier. 

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes

 

Size Matters: Cooking Time

One of the most frequent questions I get about roasting chicken is “How do I know if it’s done?” This is a great question! If you are following a recipe, hopefully it’s pretty accurate, that said, oven temperatures vary and if the person that developed the recipe hasn’t had their oven calibrated recently or you haven’t, or altitude is a factor, there can be a discrepancy in cooking time.

Another factor when it comes to cooking time: size. I have had people tell me their chicken took a half hour longer to cook than I stated in a recipe. I then ask if they bought a 4 lb chicken like the recipe called for and more often than not they answer with “No, my store didn’t have one so I bought a 5.5 lb chicken.” DOH! Try to purchase a chicken as close to the size in the recipe as you can, especially if the recipe calls for roasting veggies in the same pan. If you don’t have a choice here is the general rule:  if the chicken you buy is larger than called for in the recipe allow 15 minutes more cooking time per pound. If the chicken is smaller than the recipe calls for subtract 15 minutes cooking time per pound. You will know if the chicken is done when thigh juices run clear. I have roasted enough chickens that I know when a chicken is done but if you need some reassurance an “insta-read” meat thermometer (affiliate link) is a tool you will want to invest in, it takes all the guess work out of the equation and only costs a few bucks!

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes

Seasoning, Stuffing, Glazing, Browning and Basting

When it comes to using seasonings there are several options. Some recipes call for seasoning the outside of the bird and some call for seasoning the inside and the outside. Another delicious choice is using your hand to separate the skin from the meat and placing the seasonings in between. One way to make seasoning a raw bird easier, especially for those concerned about cross contamination is to designate one hand for touching the chicken and one hand for handling spices. This makes the process go much faster because you won’t have to stop and wash your hands over and over. Having a battery operated pepper grinder (affiliate link) is really convenient! No need to grind with two hands, allowing you to have one hand free, again preventing the possibility of cross contamination.

Another way to add flavor to roasted chicken is by stuffing it with herbs, spices and or fruit. The flavors permeate the bird during roasting!

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes

Glazes are a great way to flavor a chicken as well as create a beautiful brown skin. Usually glazes are brushed on the last few minutes of cooking. Basting the chicken also creates a golden crispy skin and make the final outcome more moist and tender.

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes

Allowing Chicken to ‘Rest’, Carving

After removing a chicken from the oven it is important to let it ‘rest’ for at least ten minutes before carving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute so the meat is super moist.

Now after creating a roasted chicken masterpiece you don’t want to rip it to shreds. Watch this video tutorial to see how to carve a bird so it looks as pretty when serving as it looked when it came out of the oven!

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes

Broth: Waste Not, Want Not

Back in the day your grandma (or great grandma for you young un’s) didn’t waste any part of a chicken. After carving she would put that chicken ‘frame’ in a stock pot with giblets, water, whatever vegetables and herbs she had on hand and make a broth. Broth has many healing properties and is great for the belly. Broth can be sipped like a tea or used in soups and other recipes. One chicken frame can make about 16-18 cups of rich brown broth. Click to see how to make homemade broth.

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes

I think I have covered just about everything! I hope those of you that weren’t sure you could roast a chicken have gained some confidence and those of you that are already sold on roasted chickens learned something too!  Now on to the recipes. Here are my favorites. 

Roasted Chicken Recipes

Apricot Roasted Chicken with Herbs De Provence~

Tender, juicy chicken roasted in a pan with a lid surrounded by carrots, rose potatoes, celery and shallots. Seasoned with Herbs de Provence and glazed with an orange apricot sauce!

Maple Roasted Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables~

A glazed sweet and spicy roasted chicken atop butternut squash, shallots, brussels sprouts and potatoes.

Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Apples, Citrus and Herbs~

This a favorite shared from one of my favorite restaurants, The Communal!

Roasted Garlic Lemon Chicken~

This is a family favorite, I usually make two at once cooking them in a turkey roasting pan.

Roasted Skillet Chicken with Honey Ginger Carrots and Caramelized Pears~

This chicken is browned on the cooktop and then roasted in a cast iron skillet. Served with honey ginger carrots and caramelized pears it has a bit of a fancy flair! 

Everything You Need to Know About Roasting a Chicken~ Including Recipes 

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If you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker 

Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket!

 

This week I was going through pictures from our trip to Italy last May. What a fabulous vacation! As I reminisced about the time we spent in this glorious country I got a craving for some pasta, and of course I am not one to resist a craving! I decided to make Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s quick, easy and delicious but I decided to do a little something less than traditional by adding spicy meat and greens. I paired it with my Heirloom salad and another “Casual Friday Menu” was born: “Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket”

Spaghetti Carbonara with Italian Sausage


Carbonara is a pasta dish that originated in Lazio, Rome. Carbonara sauce usually contains eggs, cheese, garlic and occasionally cream. It’s very subtly flavored but I was in the mood for something with a little more kick, hence the addition of spicy Italian sausage. I tossed in a handful of ‘rocket’ for color. You may be wondering what ‘rocket’ is…in the States rocket is known as good old fashioned arugula. When in Italy we learned a few things about the names of certain foods that we didn’t know before, on menus arugula is often called ‘rocket’ and ham, bacon and pancetta are often listed as ‘speck’ which is actually a German word. 

Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket!

 

Spaghetti Carbonara takes only minutes to make because the sauce is not cooked. While pasta cooks you simply whisk together cream, egg yolks, lemon zest and Parmesan and then toss with piping hot pasta! The addition of sausage adds a few minutes to the process but it’s still a complete meal in under 20 minutes!

Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket!

 

I pair this pasta with my Heirloom Salad to make this ‘Casual Friday Menu’ a ‘delicious, healthy Friday menu’ as well!

Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket!

The Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket

Tips and must haves!: You will need a large stock pot, a microplane for grating Parmesan, and a good quality sea salt (I but the 3 lb tub, it’s a huge money saver!) Sometimes for more flavor I sauté the garlic in the sausage pan for a minute or two after removing sausage, optional but it sure does add flavor!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A traditional Carbonara Pasta with some non traditional additions!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 Italian sausage cooked and sliced, I use spicy but you can also use medium or mild
  • 1 lb spaghetti, prepared to package instructions
  • 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ½ cup pasta water reserved for thinning sauce (you may a little, or none)
  • Large handful 'rocket' also known as arugula
Instructions
  1. Pasta directions.
  2. Place a large stock pot of water to boil.
  3. Place sausage in pan on medium/high heat. Cook for several minutes turning so all four sides are browned. After all sides are browned, place lid on pan and cook five more minutes or until cooked thru (about 15 minutes total) Remove sausage from pan and slice. (Sometimes for more flavor I sauté the garlic in the sausage pan for a minute or two after removing sausage. Optional, but it sure adds flavor!)
  4. While sausage is cooking, prepare sauce and cook pasta to package instructions.
  5. Sauce prep:
  6. Place egg yolks, cream, lemon zest, garlic and cheese in a large bowl and whisk. When pasta is al dente, reserve ½ cup pasta water in a small cup and strain pasta in colander (do not rinse). Place pasta in the bowl with cream/egg mixture. Toss well. If sauce is too thick add a little pasta water to thin. (You may need a little, you may need a lot, you may need none at all) Salt and pepper to taste. Add sausage and rocket (arugula) and toss. Serve immediately.

 

My beautiful Serving platter and serving set are from Anthropologie

Anthropologie, Inc.

I hope you and your family enjoy this gorgeous meal! And if you do please subscribe to my free weekly recipe newsletter (upper right side bar just under my photo) and share on social media. Thanks~ Linda Spiker

Spaghetti Carbonara with Spicy Italian Sausage and Rocket!

 

MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?

We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated!

Disclosure: 

If you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker 

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

 

Avocado toast. It’s everywhere and there is a reason. A lot of reasons actually. Making avocado toast is easy, time savvy, mind blowingly yummy, loaded with healthy fats, budget friendly, and there is really no need for a recipe. Top avocado toast with a perfectly poached egg and you have a complete breakfast, lunch or casual dinner!

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

 



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No need for a recipe, but here are some helpful tips!

Simply toast a slice of favorite artisan bread , spread with pasture butter and mashed avocado with a little sea salt, freshly ground pepper and perhaps a touch of garlic powder, then top with whatever you wish. Seriously, you can’t mess this up. It’s ALWAYS good. 

Poached Eggs: How to do it right!

Of course you don’t have to top your avocado toast with a poached egg, but if you do it’s important to know how to do it right. I have a video tutorial to help you out. Watch it and know that it takes a little practice to get it right. I messed up on my first few attempts, but once I got the technique down, poaching eggs became a cinch!

Eggs Matter: Facts About “Pastured” Eggs

The quality of eggs is important. When a recipe calls for so few ingredients you need to make sure those ingredients are top notch! I use ‘pastured’ eggs, not to be confused with ‘pasteurized’ eggs (I stay away from those). Grass-fed/pastured hens are raised on pasture, as opposed to being kept in confinement and fed primarily grains. Eggs from pastured hens contain up to 20 times more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than those their less fortunate cousins, factory hens.

Pastured hen’s diets are naturally complemented with bugs, earthworms etc…that give their eggs a huge nutritious oomph. Although not necessarily organic, pastured hens are usually much healthier and happier than their space-restricted and antibiotic-pumped industrial cousins.

Pasturing is the traditional method of raising egg-laying hens and other poultry. It is ecologically sustainable, humane, and produces the tastiest, most nutritious eggs.

Pastured eggs also have 40 percent more vitamin A and 34 percent less cholesterol than eggs obtained from factory farms. The yolks are a bright orange, instead of pale yellow like factory eggs. See what I mean…

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

The following are a few of my favorite ways to serve Avocado Toast:

Ciabatta Avocado Toast with Prosciutto and a Perfectly Poached Egg

This one is my favorite! Prosciutto is naturally salty so I skip the sea salt on this one and simply top toasted artisan Ciabatta with pasture butter, mashed avocado, prosciutto, a poached egg (see video) and freshly ground pepper.

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

 

Three Cheese Semolina Avocado Toast With Tomatoes

Can I tell you that taste testing is the best part of my job!  I used fresh Roma tomatoes, sea salt, fresh black pepper and a slice three cheese semolina for this tasty version.

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

Avocado Toast on a Sourdough Baguette with Roasted Asparagus

One of my many motto’s is ‘add veggies to everything’, even avocado toast. To roast asparagus, simply drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, toss and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes with rack placed in upper third of oven. (OR: if like me, you happen to be making bacon, simply place trimmed asparagus in the pan with the bacon and cook till ends are browned but asparagus is still crispy!) Speaking of bacon…that would also be a nice addition to this toastette!

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

Avocado Toast on Traditional Sourdough with Bacon

Bacon lovers rejoice! Another way to pair two breakfast favorites!

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

Avocado Toast with Feta and Red Pepper Flakes

Basically when it comes to avocado toast you are only limited by your imagination. Top with leftover vegetables, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, cured meats, artisan cheeses, whatever you have on hand. In this version I add a little heat with red pepper flakes which counter the creamy feta nicely!

Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs


Options for my friends with dietary restrictions:

Honestly avocado toast is a revelation! You and your family are going to love it but if this post bums you out because you live gluten free, cheer up! Just use your favorite gluten free bread, rice cake, GF crisp etc… instead of bread made with wheat. And those of you living egg free, cheer up! I often eat avocado toast without the egg and it’s still incredible. 

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Avocado Toast with Perfectly Poached Eggs

 

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We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated!

Disclosure: 

If you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker 

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone

 

You may have noticed citrus is everywhere. I can’t visit Pinterest, Instagram or my favorite cooking websites without seeing brightly colored limes, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines. I am not complaining, I love it! Citrus is a winter delight and since a romantic holiday is looming I thought I should meld citrus and romance into one scrumptious dessert, and this is what I came up with: “Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone” This recipe is featured in my Spring/Summer cookbook and is a light, tangy favorite!

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone

I began with a traditional shortbread recipe but then I added lemon juice and lemon zest to the dough because…well, why not?

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone

Served plain these are delightful enough but of course I just couldn’t leave it as is, so I spread on a mixture of mascarpone cheese and lemon curd (affiliate link). Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese. Lemon curd is a tart topping for biscuits and scones.

They were beautiful spread with just the mascarpone and lemon curd but because California has berries all year long I added sliced strawberries, but blackberries and blueberries work too.

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone

…  I finished with a light dusting of powdered sugar…

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone

…and one of my favorite final touches, lemon zest! I always use a microplane to zest citrus. (affiliate link)

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone

The Recipe: Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone

Tips and must haves: You will need a  hand mixer or bowl mixer,  a microplane,  an 8 x 8 glass baking dish and unbleached parchment paper. 

My beautiful dishes are from Anthropologie
Anthropologie, Inc.

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A light crispy cookie topped with Mascarpone cheese and lemon curd. Top with berries if desired.
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Shortbread bars:
  • 1¼ sticks butter, room temp
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • Mascarpone Topping:
  • Approx 3oz Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 3 T lemon curd
  • 6-8 strawberries, thinly sliced (any berry will work, and berries are optional)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • zest of one small lemon
Instructions
  1. Shortbread prep:
  2. Preheat oven to 325 and place rack in center of oven.
  3. Line an 8x8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.
  4. Use a paper towel to spread a thin layer of butter on paper.
  5. Using a hand mixer or bowl mixer, mix butter and sugars in a large bowl until well blended.
  6. Add salt, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix till well incorporated.
  7. Add flour and mix. At first the dough will crumble and fall apart.
  8. Remove dough from bowl and set on a cutting board or counter and gently knead with hands until dough forms a ball.
  9. Place dough in prepared 8x8 baking dish and press till dough is evenly distributed in the pan from edge to edge. Dough will only be about ¼ inch thick.
  10. Sprinkle dough with granulated sugar and bake for 25- 30 minutes or until dough is cooked and slightly golden.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Cut into bar shapes while still slightly warm. Gently remove first bar with a knife and then use a spatula to remove the rest. Place on a rack to cool.
  12. Mascarpone prep:
  13. Use a fork to blend lemon curd and mascarpone.
  14. Very gently spread mascarpone mixture on each lemon bar.
  15. Place berries on top.
  16. Using a screen colander dust cookies with powdered sugar.
  17. Then sprinkle with lemon zest! Yum!

 

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If you enjoyed this post please subscribe to my free weekly newsletter (upper right sidebar) and share on social media. Thank you ~ Linda Spiker



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We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated!

Disclosure: 

If you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker

 

post tags: dessert, vegetarian, fruit