I am lucky to have a friend. She is one of those very rare and beautiful people, I think you know what I mean. The kind of friend whom you can't imagine your life without and whose kids you love like they were your own from the first moment they enter the world. She has a beautiful soul, the warmest hugs and the sweetest smile. Really more a sister than a friend.
My friend is about to bring her second son into the world, the cycle of life and birth beginning again and just in that magical time when the world is waking up, shaking the cobwebs out of its corners and clothing itself in brilliant colors. It's going to be a brilliant baby, just like her first one, and I don't only mean that he's going to be smart. He is going to bring her joy.
It was her birthday yesterday and I wanted to tell her "I love you" because, let's face it, we just don't say it often enough to the people who should hear it. Maybe I didn't say it in words (I'm still working on that, it's always difficult for me to express it verbally, especially when it really means something), but I said it in chocolate-dipped strawberries.
This recipe is from Jen Yu's website, Use Real Butter, which is one of my daily reads. Jen, I know you only through the magic of the internet, which is to say I do not know you at all, but when I made these, I was thinking about you, and of family, friendship, love.
via Use Real Butter
24 ripe strawberries (Jen prefers organic, and I do too)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Valrhona 64% is always great, but I used Lindt)
1 oz white chocolate, chopped
Rinse strawberries and gently pat dry. Set on a rack to dry completely. Melt bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler.
Dip strawberries in chocolate and shake off excess. Set to dry on a rack (on the tops as shown in the photos) or on parchment (on the bottoms which will give you a foot of chocolate) in a cool, dry location [Irene's note: I let mine dry in the kitchen for a half hour and then got impatient and put them in the refrigerator].
When chocolate has dried, melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the strawberries [Irene's note: melting white chocolate is trickier than dark, you have to watch it continuously and make sure the heat is low and no steam or water gets into the chocolate. I put the melted chocolate into a ziploc bag with a tiny piece cut off the corner]. Or, you can melt more white chocolate and dip the strawberries a second time.
More chocolate-dipped strawberries:
Ash keeps it simple and classic
Elise dresses hers up like little grooms, complete with mini tuxedos
April takes it one step further and adds cheesecake, oh my!
Paula goes nuts with toppings
And for something a little different, a strawberry-Nutella panini (wow!)