Give your friends a cake and you feed them for a week. Give your friends cake mix and they'll starve. I know too many people who get scared when take out is not an option. This blog is going to teach you how to feed yourself and possibly your friends. You'll find instructions from boiling water to crab cakes to desserts that don't come from a Jello box. You know who you are.
Friday, May 16, 2008
The Sweet Spot #1: Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Ah yes, the icon of Valentine's Day. Listen people, I've been eating these since way before some yuppie mid 90's throw back thought, “Hey we can market this to people for Valentine's Day!” It all started in Callie's Candy Kitchen in Mountainhome Pennsylvania way back when I was a little itty-bitty pain in the neck and not the super duper trouble maker and wise ass you see today. This man puts chocolate on EVERYTHING! Strawberries, potato chips, cream cheese and before you go “Eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, who puts chocolate on cream cheese?” think about what cheese cake, chocolate cheese cake at that, is made of. .......Thank you.
You can make these at anytime and you don't have to pay through the nose to get them. The most expensive item is the strawberries and as you know around V-Day the price goes through the roof. There are two methods to doing this: the dip and the drown. If you dip, only part of the berry gets coated with chocolate, leaving the tops plain. If you drown, the entire berry is rolled or submerged in chocolate, leaving you guessing which way was up. Both methods are sound, it just depends on what kind of look you want: presentable or shut up and eat. I like the latter but I will show you the former.
1 bag of chocolate chips (any brand)
1 box of strawberries
What you'll need:
microwave or stove top
microwave safe bowl or pot
tin foil or a wire cooling rack
Step 1: Splish-Splash give the berries a bath
Very important. All fruit needs a wash. Maybe not bananas but you get my point. You don't know whose hands have been where and on what, so wash the berries. Even if it says organic, you don't know if the guy packing them at the farm sneezed on them first or not. After you give them a good rinse, dry them thoroughly. You MUST do this and I'll explain why. Chocolate and water are like the Hatfields and the McCoys. They hate each other. When they get together they fight and the chocolate always loses. So make sure the berries are as dry as a fart before proceeding. Lay them out on the tin foil or a dry clean surface. I use tin foil because I'm lazy and don't feel like cleaning the counter in the middle of a chocolate craving.
Step 2: I'll stop the world and melt with you
For the Microwave:
Open the bag of chocolate and put them in the bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute on medium. Remove, stir and if it's not completely silky smooth, put it back for 1 more minute on medium. All microwaves are different, so please, if you don't know how powerful yours is, do this on LOW. If you insist on putting it on high, you better watch it because scorched chocolate doesn't melt well and will stink up your apartment. So that girl/guy you were trying to impress will now be so distracted by that smell that you won't be getting laid anytime soon. WTG genius.
For the Stove Top:
If you can't afford or just don't have a microwave, this is how you make them on the stove top. Get a small pot and pour in the chocolate chips. Put the heat on low and stir the chocolate around until it gets to be that silky smooth texture. Use a wooden spoon. Metal conducts heat and using a metal spoon will run the risk of burning your hand. Don't have the heat higher than this, because it will burn, not melt well and see the above post for what happens when you burn chocolate......
Now, I'm still trying to devise a method that keeps the coated berries from sticking to the foil. So far I've noticed that if you dip them with the tops cut off and place them berry side down, they come off easily. I'm guessing you can use a bit of oil spray on the foil but you might run the risk of having them taste nasty.
Step 3: Dip me baby one more time
If you decided on the dip method, grab the green tops of one of the berries and dip it in the chocolate. Swirl it around getting it good and covered and sort of shake off the very bottom when you lift it from the chocolate. Make sure your wire rack is on top of a sheet of tin foil. Place the berry on the rack and let it drip dry. Repeat with the rest of the berries until you run out.
If you decided on the drown method, cut off the tops of all the strawberries and prepare to get messy. Dab dry the tops to get off the moisture and drop the berry in the chocolate. Swirl it around with your finger, it might be a bit warm so use a fork if you want, and fish it out. Place the berry on the rack. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Step 4: Freeze me, please me
It's a Scorpions song. Any how, put the rack(s) in the fridge or freezer, FLAT! If you have stuff in there from 1994 it's time to clean it out. If there's 3 feet of ice coating the sides, try defrosting it more than once a decade. The fridge takes longer, but it's just as efficient. After about an hour or so, the coating will be hard and you can snap them off the rack. If some of the chocolate sticks to the rack, oops. Pull it off and stop crying. It'll still tastes the same. The date you're trying to impress will just have to deal with it. If s/he makes a fuss or a backhanded remark on how it's messy, then s/he's a shallow, selfish bitch and you can do better.