Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rescue Remedy

Today was the kind of day that required some kind of serious pick-me-up: I had a blister, a stomach ache, a headache, and my brain was spinning in a post-work fog (this is the Noisy Season at work). A nap was out of the question, what with an influx of playful children racing around my front porch and yard (there's a reason I hate summer). I needed coffee and chocolate, stat.

I've reached a point in my life where I no longer like sticky-sweet chocolatey treats. More often than not, they leave me feeling queasy and unsatisfied, the bouquet of the chocolate overpowered by the fats and sugars. (Dear heavens, did I really just use the phrase "the bouquet of the chocolate"??) When I buy chocolate, I buy a Theo dark chocolate bar and nibble my way through a stick at a time. But I didn't have a chocolate bar handy. I had cocoa powder. So I whipped up a quick and dirty microwave cup of cocoa.

You've made cocoa a hundred billion times--or at least, I hope you have. There's something profoundly meditative about blending the dry ingredients (2 Tb cocoa powder, 2 tsp sugar, dash of salt, and if you're in our household, about a tsp of nondairy creamer) and slowly dripping in the liquid (I usually start with coffee). At first, the liquid beads up on the surface of the powders, finally seeping in and creating clumps. With a little stirring and a few more drops of coffee, everything turns into one awkward ball of fragrant mud. I always feel a little nervous at this point, because it feels like the ingredients will never come together, and I will have wasted all my efforts to make a lump of sludge.

But with a little more coffee and a bit more elbow grease, the lump becomes a paste, the paste becomes smoother, and soon there's something akin to chocolate syrup at the bottom of the mug. At that point I'll usually add a little more coffee or hot water, filling my mug halfway before topping off with soy milk and a spin in the microwave. A dash of vanilla--or better yet, a teaspoon of Kraken rum!--rounds off the flavor profiles.

I'm revising a story right now that's currently at the "lump of sludge" phase. I'm nervous and a little terrified that I've killed the poor thing. I can only hope that with a little more elbow grease, it will smooth out and turn into something delicious.

I might need a few more cups of Rescue Remedy first, though ...


Miriam Forster said...

I know that "I've killed it!" feeling well. And your cocoa recipe sounds amazing! :)

gr8tchr4u said...

I know well the "sludge" before satisfaction or even satisfactory growth. Rest assured,it can take quite a bit to kill writing...even when it's darkest, keep adding the milk (or soy!) and hope will come. :)