Years ago while enjoying some spring skiing at my brother’s in Wyoming, I quite successfully disengaged most of the parts that hold a knee together and allow it to move in the right direction. I know this because after the snow settled and screaming stopped, my knee moved in the wrong direction…VERY wrong. Luckily, I happened to be in a place where they are adept at re-hinging the unhinged. And after the surgeon knitted the various parts and put them back in their place, I was sent home to mend.
That was when I discovered the curative properties of a hot fudge sundae. Sure the drugs prescribed were swell and somewhat entertaining, but the hot fudge sundae had something more. It worked internally and topically. You can’t say that about Vicodin and Valium. I’m sure many of you know the medicinal value of ingesting the hot fudge sundae. Take the tonsillectomy. What’s the first thing they give you after they yank the little suckers out? And what about the mood altering properties delivered by that multi-temp bowl of medicine? Beats the hell out of Prozac. But when you place a big dish of fudgy ice cream therapy on top of the cantaloupe-sized joint where your dainty knee used to be? You get the best tasting anti-inflammatory you’ll ever find. After all, they say ice for swelling, right? And no co-pay!
But why stop with the hot fudge formulary? There’s more homeopathic therapeutics accessible without insurance card or script. For example, cheesecake. Who among us hasn’t gotten that late night call. The phone rings and on the other end is a sobbing girlfriend. “What’s wrong?” ‘I’ve…(sob, sniffle) got some news.’ “How bad is it?” ‘Meet me at the diner for cheesecake’. “Aw geez, that’s bad…” Some heart pains only a big slab of baked cream cheese, eggs, and sugar and can salve. Got cramps? Ben & Jerry’s. I found Cherry Garcia to have the best palliative effect, but when it was ‘rip me off the ceiling’ pain, I pulled out the big guns: New York Super Fudge Chunk. And there are countless other remedies and tonics (I prefer mine with gin), as varied as the ailments they treat. So the next time you pull, break, wrench, twist, or ache, apply one dose of hot fudge sundae liberally, and repeat as necessary. You’ll feel much better in the morning.
Below are two prescriptions guaranteed to cure what ails you. The first, a Dark Chocolate sauce with Port Wine is great on ice cream, but I’ve also served it over poached pears or toasted pound cake (and eaten it right out of the jar cold, for medicinal purposes of course.)
The second recipe, my mom’s cheesecake, is a favorite in sickness and health. It was lovingly dubbed Heart Attack Cheesecake by one of my friends when I made it for him many years ago, and the name stuck. Think of it as a treatment and not a cause, and you’ll be fine.
Dark Chocolate Sauce with Port Wine
(Inspired by a recipe in Appetit magazine)
Makes about 2 cups
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 8 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped (I use half bittersweet and half semisweet chocolate)
- 1/4 cup tawny Port * (you could substitute coffee, almond, orange, raspberry or other liqueurs)
Bring whipping cream, whole milk, instant espresso, a pinch of salt and butter to simmer in small heavy saucepan. Remove pan from heat and add chopped chocolate. Whisk mixture until smooth. Stir in Port or other liqueur. Taste and add a little more wine or liqueur if needed. Cover and chill (sauce can be made 2 days ahead). Warm over medium-low heat when ready to serve.
Heart Attack Cheesecake
Makes one 10” cake
- 1 lb 3 oz cream cheese – room temp
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 TBSP flour
- 1 pint of sour cream
- 1 TBSP lemon zest
- 6 eggs separated
- 3-4 TBSP melted butter
- ¾- 1 cup finely ground cookie crumbs (graham crackers, ginger, almond, chocolate or orange cookies all work nicely)
Beat cream cheese in electric mixer until fluffy. Add the next 5 ingredients and beat until well combined. Separate the eggs, add yolks to mixture and beat. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until a soft meringue. Fold into cream cheese mixture.
Melt butter and liberally brush the sides and bottom of a 10″ spring form pan, coating thoroughly. Dump crumbs into well-buttered pan and shake pan to distribute so that the bottom and sides of pan are covered in crumbs.* (*Many, if not most spring form pans can leak a little when liquids are poured in. That’s why I always wrap my pan in aluminum foil – burned cheesecake on the bottom of my oven is counter-indicative to maximum healing properties…)
Carefully pour in the cream cheese mixture, and bake 325 º F for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cake in to cool for one more hour. Calories: Do your other prescriptions have calorie counts on them?