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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Decadence, thy name is strawberry

WOW: Never mind the yellow around the stems. These strawberries are the tastiest ever. / Photo by Shannon K. Johnson

By Shannon K. Johnson

February 20, 2009 | There is something about Valentine's Day that encourages us to indulge. This year I cleared my busy schedule to indulge in an amazing dessert: Chocolate-covered strawberries.

Fortunately, the strawberries were on sale this week and my friend Shelly was around to help.

Fresh strawberries had been on sale at Smith's grocery store, and after careful inspection I picked the strawberry box with smaller red fruits, because big strawberries are not necessarily better strawberries.

As I learned in my biology class last term, the fruit of the strawberry is actually a segment of the stem, meaning the fruit becomes woody as it grows larger.

With my small red strawberries washed and drying on the counter, I set a small pot of water on the stove and put a small ceramic bowl over it. The bowl must be larger than the mouth of the pot so the water can boil to heat the bowl without the water touching it.

This is a poor man's imitation of the double boiler.

In the ceramics bowl we placed the semi-sweet chocolate chips with a dash of orange extract. This chocolate is the hardest to melt, and frankly I prefer milk chocolate, but I failed to check the package at the grocery store and wound up with the wrong chips.

So we wound up with a darker dip than I would have liked.

We also melted white chocolate and a new cinnamon chips in the microwave. The key to melting in the microwave is to take the chocolate out every 30 seconds and stir it to make sure the chocolate melts evenly and does not scorch.

But after taking the bowls out of the microwave, we rotated the bowls onto the boiler (small pot) to keep the chocolate pliable.

The reason we melted the chocolates in the microwave was so we could drizzle different layers of chocolate over one another.

To get an even coat of chocolate, dip the strawberry in and tilt it to one side. While holding the leaves, turn evenly. When you pull the strawberry out, flip it straight over quickly to pull the tip of the chocolate smooth against the berry.

Lay the fruit on a piece of wax paper and place in the fridge. This helps cool the chocolate, as if you leave the fruit out the white chocolate will never dry.

Initially, we had hoped to layer the white and semi-sweet chocolate, but any time we tried to dip one strawberry from one to the other, they mixed, and instead of a cool, layered effect the chocolate turned a messy gray.

Instead we dipped spoons in the melted chocolate and gently tilted the spoon so a thin trail of chocolate could be strung over the strawberries.

So after putting the berry in the fridge, allowing it to cool, it is time to eat the sweet dessert. Chocolate-covered strawberries are a perfect balance of chocolate and sweet, tart fruit.

I recommend sitting down with a glass of lemonade and a good book to leisurely eat the strawberry.



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