We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Spectacular Chocolate-Covered Strawberries—The Power of Love and Happy Valentine's Day from the Salvation Sisters

by Linda

"It don't take money, and it don't take fame
don't take no credit card to ride this train
Tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel
you won't feel nothin' till you feel
you feel the power, that's the power of love"
~Huey Lewis and The News

   There is a special reason that I am quoting Huey Lewis and The News in case you were wondering. I recently transferred to a new Whole Foods Market® location this past December, where I am meeting lots of new people—team members and customers. One of my most recent acquaintances, is my new friend, Caren, whose sister married Huey in 1983. Huey Lewis and the News had a huge hit in 1985 with the song Power of Love that was featured in the mega-hit movie Back to Future. I have always been very fond of the well-crafted pop tune, because it is not only catchy and upbeat, but the lyrics are profound. Whenever I hear it (which is surprisingly often at work on the ever-popular with our team members and customers 80's channel) I am reminded that love—real love—is in fact a very powerful thing.

My new friend, Caren, who is a Customer Service Professional extraordinaire!
She absolutely showers our customers with love each day. It is amazing to witness.
   We sisters have a big love for Valentine's Day. Over the years we have celebrated Valentine's Day with lovers, friends, our kids—alone even—and I don't think any one of the three of us has ever felt that this is a day made exclusively for romance. In my personal universe, I have transformed the celebration of this day into an appreciation of love at large. 

   Agape is a Greek term that was developed in the Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for humankind. I heart-ily believe that this kind of love is a concept worth contemplating for an entire day at least once per year—that elusive yet all encompassing and unconditional kind of love, that is a rare and extremely difficult to practice—but still worth imagining, striving toward and promoting. It is good, I think, to take time to send up an offering of heartfelt thanks for all the love given and received in a world so full of pain and suffering. It is is also worth contemplating how to be a positive force for good in one's life and community. I am of the opinion that our world and everyone in it most definitely needs all the love that we can create.
   So it's settled then—let's celebrate love! Bring on the cards, flowers, phone calls and the bubbly, and send love from your heart out into the world. Be extravagant with your acts of kindness, with your voice and your smile, and most definitely—spend all your kisses.

She told me that she was buying flowers for her teacher.

   Spectaclular Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Baker and cake decorator extraordinaire, Suzette @ #mylove_mypassion on Instagram, 
dips long-stemmed strawberries into white chocolate and crushed chocolate
sandwich cookies
 at Whole Foods Market on Valentine's Day last year.
   At Whole Foods Market when Valentine's Day rolls around, you will find us dipping strawberries round the clock. Our chocolate-covered strawberries have become the Valentine's favorite treat over the years, and our bakers and decorators prep for this holiday like it is the Super Bowl of Love.

1/2 Sheet pans or a cookies sheets
Parchment paper or foil
Bowls for melting the chocolates
A pastry bag and piping tube for striping or a thick-ply plastic bag—for instructions click here.

Ripe strawberries—long-stemmed strawberries look beautiful, but regular strawberries will work just as well.
Good quality chocolate or white chocolate for dipping. Any kind of chocolate bar will work well. Choose among your favorites—dark, bittersweet, semi-sweet, etc.
Chocolate for striping—any will work, and does not even need to be contrasting.

Ingredients for dipping—small chocolate curls (can be made easily with your vegetable peeler) chopped nuts, toasted coconut, crushed cookies or sprinkles—allow your imagination to be your guide.

Depending on how many strawberries you will make you will need about six ounces of your main dipping chocolate for every one pound of strawberries, and about three ounces of the contrasting chocolate. This is an amount is a loose guide. You may want to make some strawberries with dark chocolate and then do the reverse and dip in white chocolate, so make sure that you purchase adequate amounts of chocolate. 

1. The strawberries should be prepped first. They need to be clean, room temperature and perfectly dry. Note: Chocolate and water are not best friends.
2. Melt your chocolate in a small vessel that will keep the chocolate as deep as possible in order to aid dunking. You can do this in a micro-wave or over a double boiler.
3. Dip your strawberries in the melted chocolate, and then roll them in crushed items when still wet. If not rolling in crushed items, dunk and place on a parchment or foil covered sheet pan or cookie sheet. When chocolate is set (a brief chilling in the refrigerator can speed up the time) re-dunk the tip in a contrasting chocolate or apply melted striping chocolate for the final detailing. I prefer mine served at room temperature. They can sit out of refrigeration for an entire day.

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