Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nearly Vegan "Mascarpone" and Pistachio Stuffed Strawberries

Vegan Mascarpone Pistachio Stuffed StrawberriesI think my little garden of mostly strawberries is now ripening its 3rd pint of strawberries for the summer. I've got about 7 plants that muscled through the winter. Wait, muscled? Okay, it's California...nothing really below 30 so, I'm exaggerating. The plants have been humming since May. Food Blogga is hosting this month's Sugar High Friday (SHF) which is themed: berries. SHF was founded by Jennifer at the Domestic Goddess.

The most amazing thing about foodieism and this world wide web of dessert worshippers is just this kind of scenario: I pulled the idea of "mascarpone pistachio stuffed strawberries" out of thin air (my brain--and that's thin...air), Googled it and found A La Galadrielle's Mascarpone and Pistachio stuffed dates to improvise upon.

These strawberries are stuffed with an almost politically correct filling- nearly vegan except for a dash of orange blossom honey from Marshall's Farm. They were well-received by attendees at a local fundraiser in support of a Yes on Proposition #2 coming to the state ballot in November.



On November 4th, California voters will have a chance to pass the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. The proposition would add a chapter to Division 20 of California's Health and Safety Code to prohibit the confinement of certain farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to tum around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. The measure addresses veal crates, battery cages, and sow gestation crates. If approved, the Act would become operative on January 1, 2015. Ugh, that's a long time.



For once, California is not leading the legislation of the concept. Oregon, Florida, Colorado and Arizona have already enacted measures for gestation crates for pigs and veal calves...but this measure is widespread in that the egg producers are funding (according to the HSUS) what is anticipated to be $12m in TV ad revenues given by United Egg Producers, The Pacific Egg & Poultry Association, Foster Farms and others. To learn more about Prop 2, visit: HumaneCalifornia.org.

The berries were well received and delicious. My personal preference is to go with real BelGioioso Mascarpone which #1 carries a footprint of being from Wisconsin and #2 the company's Web site only references the lack of rBGH and doesn't have any statements or apparent certifications regarding the humane treatment of its cows. The vegan substitute product is Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, by the way.

For those of you who want to try harder to keep your mascarpone, I recommend you find a small, local cheese producer, who may be distributing for a local and/or artisanal farm which is more likely (though not guaranteed) to be abiding by morals toward animals producing its cheeses.

Here's the new recipe:

Makes stuffing for about 25 medium to medium-small sizes strawberries. Cut each berry in half across the poles (lengthwise) and remove the slice of white pith. Combine 120 grams of Italian mascarpone or Tofutti with 2 tbsp fresh lemon and honey mixture, microwaved slightly to soften the honey.

Use a coffee grinder to grind 50 grams of pistachio kernels into a fine powder and add about 5 drops of lemon extract. Mix together and then add an additional 2 tablespoons of mascarpone or Tofutti (to taste- depending if you prefer sweet or creamy).

Spoon or pipe the mixture into the berries. If you pipe it in, you'll probably reach aesthetic heights I can't even conceive of as an amateur desserteur. Refrigerate in airtight container whether storing or in berries.

If after reading this, you don't know why this is nearly vegan...tune in next month- I'll post the answer in the next dessert post. :)
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