Saturday, June 11, 2011

Outdoor Movies and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

My brother started outdoor movies in the 90's at Halloween.  He'd affix a bed sheet tautly to his porch for a screen.  Then project a movie of his choosing in the Halloween genre, but G rated since is nephew and niece were quite young.  "Mad Monster Party" was a particular favorite (see movie trailer at link.)  After "Trick or Treating" we go back to his house for a movie. We'd bring our sleeping bags and lay down on the lawn.  We'd mostly watched the movie, but sometimes we'd fall asleep.  It was all apart of the fun.

Ever year at the same time I was having a Halloween party for my friends.  Kids were not invited for many years, basically because they were too young to stay up that late.  They would go to Grandma's and Grandpa's.

Then the year came when the kids wanted a Halloween party of their own.  So, I combined the parties and invited all my adult friends to bring their kids.  I asked my brother that year if he'd do an outdoor movie at my house.  We showed "The Nightmare Before Christmas."  It was a big hit.

We had many outdoor Halloween parties, but one year my daughter asked if we could do an outdoor movie for her birthday.  Having a summer birthday it sounded like a great idea.  That's how the summer outdoor movies started.

We tape a white sheet on to our garage door and project the movie on to it.  We make quite a night of it.  I have 2 portable fire pits we roll out for warmth and s'mores.  I pop lots of popcorn.  We encourage everyone to bring a chair if they like.  Definitely bring a blanket and pillow.  As with tradition someone always falls asleep during the movie.  The blanket serves to keep one warm, because even though it's summer we get what's called "The Delta Breeze" in the evening.  It takes a 100 degree summer day and brings the temps down to the 60's nearly ever night.

This years snacks included chocolate dipped strawberries and I made some peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kisses.

Chocolate dipped strawberries are simple and yet very impressive looking.  Not to mention they just taste great. 

What I do is I put 2 cups of chocolate chips in double boiler.  A double boiler consists of a pot that holds hot water and a bowl or another pot that sits securely over this pot. The top bowl or pot holds the chocolate while it melts over the indirect heat.  Do not boil the water.  Keep the heat low.  Also don't let the water touch the bottom of double boiler.  The chocolate chips melt fast like this.  Once melted I turn off the heat.

While the chocolate chips are melting I wash the strawberries.  Making sure to get the dried blossom off the end and little seed flakes off of the strawberries.  Don't know what else to call them, but if you rub each strawberry gentle under water you'll have a clean strawberry ready for dipping.  I like to find large strawberries, but no one has ever turned their nose up at a small chocolate dipped strawberry.  Make sure strawberries are completely dry.  Since I don't make a lot of them I dry each strawberry individually.  You don't want water in the chocolate or it will cause the chocolate to seize and makes it completely unmanageable.

I cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and begin dipping.  I pinch all the stem leaves in my fingers to use as sort of a dipping handle and to keep them out of the chocolate.  Then I lay the strawberry on it's side in the chocolate (probably a 45 degree angle) and twist it until strawberry is coated to my liking.  I've found you don't need the chocolate really close to the stem as it's a part of the strawberry one does not eat.  Lay dipped strawberry on wax paper.  When all are dipped I find a flat spot (or make one) in my fridge to let the chocolate set.  If you don't get the sheet flat all the dipped strawberries will slide off cookie sheet if there is no rim or slide to rim and set in one giant aggravating clump.  So, flat is the key.  Once set peel off wax paper and put on serving dish.

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