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plate of berries

This isn’t really a recipe post as much as an excuse for me to make chocolate covered strawberries. Growing up in the 80s, chocolate strawberries were the ultimate “fancy food”. My mom, who is a great cook, mastered these at home before they had gone mainstream. She could perfectly temper chocolate, enrobing the first strawberries of spring with silken perfection. The fact that under the chocolate was fruit was simply a bonus. We were quite swanky.

Many a day I would come home from school/swim practice/cross country/dramatic teenage girl poetry writing to find a batch of beautiful strawberries air drying on a rack on the canary yellow laminate countertop. I’d grab a couple, or more if the poetry was super heavy, and eat them lying upside down on the stairs. Because our house was very Brady-esque, our open-concept staircase was the perfect place to lounge in full view of anyone who happened to be home and might want to hear me read a poem (almost always, no one).

Since those days of teen angst (and the ability to lie upside down on a staircase without herniating a disk), I still crave a regular dose of chocolate covered strawberries. Lucky for all of us, they are incredibly easy and quick. So, today, when I see companies advertising chocolate covered strawberries at four dollars apiece, I’m gobsmacked. Really? Of all the delectable desserts out there, these are some of the easiest to make – no blending, no measuring, no baking. There are really only three rules to chocolate strawberry mastery.

  1. Use good chocolate.
  2. Use firm, ripe strawberries.
  3. Temper the chocolate correctly.

Bam. It’s really not complicated.

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 pint container of ripe, firm strawberries (washed and VERY dry)

2 cups good chopped chocolate – dark or milk (milk is better if your strawberries are tart; dark is better if your strawberries are sweet) or chocolate chips

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Tempering the chocolate: Put about an inch of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil.

chocolate covered strawberries

Put your chocolate into a separate heatproof bowl or smaller saucepan that will fit into your saucepan, but will not touch the boiling water.

chocolate

Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally to remove any lumps. When the chocolate is just melted, remove from heat (if you let it go too long, it will become grainy).

melted chocolate

Set up an assembly line: DRY strawberries, melted chocolate, baking sheet.

Holding a strawberry by its stem, dip it into the melted chocolate and twirl until it is evenly coated. Lift from the chocolate and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Place the covered strawberry on the baking sheet.

covered strawberry

Repeat until all are covered.

strawberries

Place tray of strawberries into the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.

Write an angsty poem and try to read it to your kids while they eat the strawberries as payment for this delicious treat.

 

 

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My training for this upcoming 6 day race has been a little all over the place. I mean, how exactly does one train for such a thing? Run, right? Duh. But we all know that just putting in miles can get a little stale. So, this past weekend I went up to Prescott (pronounced Press cut, people – they get grumpy if you say the second syllable like “Scott”) to run the Whiskey Basin 88k as a solid training run – no taper, no recovery, no problem.

This seemed like a good plan, in theory. I had successfully avoided the local Lone Star 100k because our trails are so damn rocky and there was about 6500 feet of climbing. Uh, thanks, but nooooooo. My 6 day is on a one mile paved loop. And I am a big klutz and a big chicken. There was about a 100 percent chance I was going to go ass over tea kettle and end up having to skip the 6 day. That was not my idea of a training run.

But because I am brilliant, I decided to sign up for Whiskey Basin. Well-organized? Check. Aravaipa Running was putting it on and they are the BEST. Runnable trails? Check. The youtube video shows runners running. Winning! Cool location? Check. Prescott has a really fun downtown with cute restaurants, coffee shops and breweries – great for a casual weekend. I patted myself on the back for being so damn smart.

And then the race started. Um, wait. Why are we climbing up this mountain? And why are there so many rocks? Wait, what the hell is happening?!

wb

Let’s just say I was mightily unprepared. When I registered, I basically just skipped over this whole part of the course description (Did I even look at it? Was I drunk when I signed up?):

Whiskey-Basin-88K-Elevation-Profile.png (562×158)

Somehow, I stopped paying attention when they said it was an 88k loop. Loop! I love loops! I run loops all the time. Um, no. This was not that. It was not one big long loopy run. It was 5980 feet of climbing! At altitude! What?! What is happening?!

whiskey basin 88k.eml

But it was gorgeous and I was there. So, I decided, what the hell, I’m just going to try to survive it and have fun.

And then I fell.

Hard. Ugh.

That took a little of the wind out of my kumbaya (really, I have no business ever being left out in the wilderness). I lay on the ground for a bit, trying to decide if I was hurt, and thinking, please let me be a little hurt so I can quit. But I wasn’t. Damn. So I got up and kept running. And I fell. Again. This was starting to get really old.

Somehow, I convinced myself that it was still a good idea to keep going, so I did. I wasn’t hurt. I felt fine. The weather was perfect. There was a reasonably good chance I was going to break my neck, but since it hadn’t happened already, I decided it was a good omen and I should just keep running. And climbing. And climbing some more.

At some point, we descended into a canyon that was just rocks. I wish I hadn’t been so freaked out so I would have taken a picture. But I was all alone, halfway convinced I was off course, in imminent danger of being eaten by something, and had no interest in spending more time than necessary picking my way back and forth across a stream and a boulder field. And did I mention that I had to grab onto trees just to get down to this section? And did I also mention that I like to run on one mile paved loops?

Somehow, some way, I did not launch myself off the side of a cliff or get snatched by a predatory bird who mistook me for a dead body because I was moving so slowly down the side of the mountain. I made it to the finish line in 13:13, 9th female, but felt like I’d been running for 24 hours.

This was one of the hardest races I’ve ever run, even though it was one of the shortest, reminding me, yet again, that you have to TRAIN for what you race. Treadmill/road running with a few random 5 mile trail runs thrown in for grins will not serve you well on technical trails. You will fall, and cry, and hope that a bird of prey will peck your eyeballs out so you don’t have to keep running.

And then you will finish, drink some cold lemonade, and think, “That wasn’t so bad.”

 

 

 

 

 

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