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Clever Strawberry Valentines at Manassero Farms

I attended as a guest of Manassero Farms

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What shall I do for Valentine’s Day? This is the same question I ask myself every year. How about something special for my daughter’s teachers? Let’s face it, there are many people I would like to surprise with a special treat.

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This year, Manassero Farms has many delicious Valentine’s ideas. I was familiar with Manassero Farms because I buy their delicious organic strawberries at Whole Foods. But they offer so much more. Manassero Farms has been a family owned farm since 1922 and today the third generation is in charge. I visited their beautiful Irvine Market location where you are surrounded by fresh herbs and the expanse of the fields. There is a produce stand with an impressive selection of fruits and vegetables, as well as a cute gift store with original treats that include local raw honey and exclusively made lotions and soaps. Local celebrity chef Pascal Olhats has his very own section of the field where the produce for his restaurants is grown. Manassero also gives back, supporting local charities with all the produce that is perfect to eat but not deemed perfect enough to be sold.

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Farmer’s wife Anne Manassero is co-owner of the farm, healthy eating advisor and fitness trainer. Anne organizes the many different events at the farm and leads monthly cooking classes right at the farm stand. I was going to learn about Clever Strawberry Valentines. Who knew you could do so many simple and delicious things with strawberries? Anne made it seem easy. She patiently explained each step followed by the students making their own attempts. There was plenty of hands-on experimenting and tasting.

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Try piping velvety mascarpone cream into hulled strawberries (see recipe below). The whole group could do this easily and the result is both tempting and beautiful.

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We played around with dipping strawberries into melted white and dark chocolate, followed by drizzling thin streams of chocolate to create beautiful patterns. These dipped strawberry treasures were then skewered and placed in a little pot of fresh wheat grass to create an edible Valentine’s bouquet. I was trying to make my creations just as pretty as Anne’s. With a little practice it is surprising how well they turn out. Anne also showed us various tips and tricks to use melted chocolate to decorate a serving platter and to make strawberries in tuxedos.

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The group created little strawberry flowers by cutting the fruit to resemble petals and placing these in mini flowerpots. Crushed chocolate graham crackers were used to resemble dirt in the flowerpot. Add a Valentine’s message and you have a winning gift.

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Recipe booklets were handed out and we took our creations home to enjoy later. At the end of the class, Anne served her wonderful strawberry pie. The class was fun, inspirational and delicious. Anne is truly amazing at what she does and I am sure that the evening classes and the girl’s night out events are filled with wine and laughter. Now I know what I will be making for Valentine’s Day and hopefully there will be some left overs.

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Want to attend a cooking class?
Cooking classes take place monthly and the theme varies, check out the website for the schedule and to reserve your place: www.manasserofarms.com

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Other events at Manassero Farms:
The calendar is filled with fun activities, such as an Organic and Vegan Wine Tasting and Appetizer Pairing coming up in February.
The farm can be reserved for private parties and meetings.
Breakfast in the Barn –once a month a different local chef is invited to cook at this family friendly event. Breakfast is served in a large tent in the middle of the field, reserve well in advance.
The Farmer’s Wife and the French Chef -something to look forward to in the near future is a series of demonstrations and hands-on events when Anne will team up with Pascal Olhats.

Anne Manassero’s Cream Filled Strawberries

INGREDIENTS:
Fresh-hulled strawberries
1/3 Cup Mascarpone cheese (can substitute cream cheese)
1/3 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Strawberries – Wash and dry completely. Make sure the strawberry will stand up straight by cutting off a small slice from the bottom.
  2. Hull the strawberry so there is a nice cavity for the cream.
  3. In a medium bowl mix Mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until blended.
  4. Place cheese mixture into a piping bag or any simple plastic food storage bag, and cut a small opening in one corner.
  5. Pipe cheese mixture into each berry and garnish if desired with fresh mint sprigs.

Anne Manassero’s Cream Filled Strawberries

Ingredients

  • Fresh-hulled strawberries
  • 1/3 Cup Mascarpone cheese (can substitute cream cheese)
  • 1/3 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. DIRECTIONS:
  2. Strawberries – Wash and dry completely. Make sure the strawberry will stand up straight by cutting off a small slice from the bottom.
  3. Hull the strawberry so there is a nice cavity for the cream.
  4. In a medium bowl mix Mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until blended.
  5. Place cheese mixture into a piping bag or any simple plastic food storage bag, and cut a small opening in one corner.
  6. Pipe cheese mixture into each berry and garnish if desired with fresh mint sprigs.
http://ocmomblog.com/clever-strawberry-valentines-manassero-farms/

Belle Regeer is a stay at home mom to a precious six-year-old. Belle is Dutch and was raised in southern Spain. She has lived in the UK, Holland, Switzerland, NYC, New Jersey, Santa Barbara and is now happy to call SoCal her home. With foreign roots and friends in far away places, Belle has traveled the globe, giving some truth to the old adage that the Dutch are born explorers. While always in search of the local experience, she and her husband want to show their daughter that this world is indeed a small place, one that we should embrace and care for. When back home in SoCal, Belle is passionate about healthy living, tending her vegetable garden and volunteering at school.
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