At the restaurant for lunch today, we were discussing various subtleties of English (e.g. is the first E in 'eleven' supposed to be pronounced like the E in 'me' or the E in 'meh'?), and I was taking the stance that McLeven would be a perfectly acceptable alternative. I really like this idea, I said.
"Denton," replied MJ, "You like any idea that's yours."
"True, but that's usually because no one else would."
I didn't win all my arguments today, but I won that one. Bolstered by my victory, I decided to try out another of my ideas this evening:
Now, hold on. Just think about it for a second. Honey-glazed chicken? Yummy. Apricot chicken? Fancy. Chicken with plum sauce? Essential. There's nothing saying you can't put the sweet to the meat. On top of that, hot chocolate with cayenne isn't at all uncommon in the southern lands, right? I figured it was worth the risk. (Besides, depending on how it turns out, it'll either be my reward for returning to this blog, or my punishment for having abandoned it.)
So, let's begin with the chicken.
Okay, that was easy. Next, the sauce.
1. Seven squares of dark (60% cocoa) chocolate. Leave the Quik on the shelf -- we're going for something special. (Besides, they were left over from Christmas.)
2. Cayenne pepper. Helpful cooking hint: when buying a brand-new packet, do NOT tear it open with your teeth. Regardless, I sprinkled a bit and a bit more in, which was probably a bit too much.
3. Peanut sauce. My reasoning was that chocolate and peanut butter are a solid combination, as is Satay chicken. Once again, I added a bit too much -- chocolate now consists of about half the sauce ingredients by weight.
4. A splash of milk. Just to keep it from solidifying as it cools.
5. A dash of maple syrup. There's a reason those dark chocolates were left over from Christmas -- I hate that stuff.
6. Finally, a pat of butter. Once again, butter chicken is good, and cocoa butter is good. Besides, since I don't have a double boiler, this'll be a good indication of when the chocolate's melt-- whoa! That was quick! Okay, blogging's over. Must stir.
All right. Here it is, the final product: Denton's Aztec Chicken. (Give it a fancy name, and they'll at least take a bite.) Behold its majesty.
And now, time for a bite.
It's dark. Not just the chocolate, but the fine grit of the cocoa bean, rolling over your tongue like a storm cloud, bolts of cayenne streaking out as it goes by. It's thick, too -- it coats your mouth, grabbing on to your tastebuds like a pack of starving wolves will drag down a moose. You search the taste frantically, seeking to identify anything else, perhaps seeking escape. You find none -- the chicken is just as helplessly caught in this chocolate morass as you are. Perhaps a bit more salt would have given it some fighting spirit, but it's too late for that now. The chocolate continues to overwhelm, dark and thick like the evil in men's souls, refusing to be ignored, refusing to be understood.
That was way too much cayenne.
Okay, second bite.
Yep, still the same.
And so it went, ladies and gentlemen, on and on into the night. I choked, I wept, I reached for the water -- but I finished it. I like to think that counts as a victory of sorts.
Besides, more sugar next time, and a bit more liquid to thin it out, and it'll be fine.