I work near Chinatown and Little Italy, so there's an endless array of choices at lunchtime. Sad to say, in our three months so far, the Patient Co-Worker and I haven't ventured too far from the office yet. But we've resolved to overcome this pitiful laziness, and so yesterday we tried a new-to-us Vietnamese place. Delicious lemongrass chicken, with plenty of rice to soak up the creamy, spicy sauce. And, yes, I did reach for the sriracha...no surprise there.
Now, I usually have a very sturdy stomach, particularly with spicy foods. I mean, I abuse it regularly without complaint. But, alas, something about this lunch was met with disfavor. Not food poisoning, by any means, but I was not feeling my best.
When I arrived home, I headed straight for the anodyne in the refrigerator: ginger syrup. Mixed with sparkling water and fistfuls of ice, the dark syrup is transformed into a soothing draught that smoothed away my tummy's discontent within the hour. Perhaps it's psychosomatic; to be honest, I don't mind either way.
Don't save this for medicinal use alone -- it's also fantastic for hedonistic purposes. Such as drizzling over vanilla ice cream.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
1 c. brown sugar (I prefer dark, but light will do fine)
1/4 lb. fresh ginger root
1 cinnamon stick
2 pinches cayenne pepper (reduce if you prefer a less spicy syrup)
Slice the ginger root into thin coins. Place the slices, sugar, and cinnamon stick into a saucepan and pour in the water. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for about five minutes, then turn off the heat. Add the cayenne and stir. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Once it's cool, strain the liquid and refrigerate it, covered.
To make ginger ale, mix 1/4 c. syrup with 3/4 c. sparkling water, and pour over ice. (I personally insist on a straw, to make it last longer.)