It starts slowly and you are curious so you ask lots of questions. Everything is new to you and the more you learn, the more there is to learn. You ask more questions and dig deeper, but things still don't fit together. You do research, talk to others, and analyze data. Suddenly, you begin to understand, but you do not like what you have learned. The explanations don't make sense. You analyze, and ask, and brainstorm, and try to find ways to solve the problem, to get the fairest outcome for the most people.
But it doesn't seem to be going your way. There are too many hidden agendas, too many others, advocating for their own interests behind the scenes. You don't know who is making the decisions and aren't sure how to best press your case.
It does not seem fair, and you go from learning to advocating. You write e-mails and letters along with others who feel the same way. You attend evening meetings, go to bed discouraged or optimistic, and wake up again, ready to do more.
It is energizing and hopeful one day, and you enjoy collaborating with others, making new friends and allies. The next day, you are exhausted and defeated, frustrated that so much effort has gotten nowhere.
You think, "in a few days, this will be resolved," but in a few days, it has not ended. You think again, "by next week, it will be over."
And it will be. But it's not over yet, and now you are obsessed.
Which is my way of saying that my plan was to get you this recipe for Valentine's Day, but things have gotten in the way.
It's never too late for chocolate, though. And it is an excellent boost of energy to get you through that meeting, to prop you up for one more e-mail, or to inspire one more brainstorm.
Adapted from Gourmet
Truffles are incredibly easy to make and the result is a delightful little nibble that you can serve at a party, take to a meeting, or package up for a gift.
Makes 2-3 dozen truffles
1 1/2 hours preparation time, plus 1 hour chilling time
6 ounces high quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lavender
3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small stockpot or in the microwave until it is hot, but not simmering. Add the lavender and let it steep in the cream for 10 or more minutes.
Heat the cream again so that it is hot but not to the point of boiling, and pour it through a strainer over the chocolate. Mash the chocolate into the cream with a wooden spoon until it is fully incorporated.
If the chocolate doesn't melt in completely, put a pan of water on the stove top and bring it to a simmer. Set the bowl with the chocolate and cream over the pan of water and stir until the chocolate has all melted. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. It will not look like a huge amount of the chocolate mixture, but the truffles are small, and they are intense, so there will be plenty.
Put the bowl in the freezer and let it chill for at least half an hour. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. When the chocolate mixture has hardened, scoop out teaspoon-sized portions of the mixture and roll each portion between your hands to form a ball. Don't worry if the ball isn't perfect.
Continue scooping and rolling until you have rolled out all of the truffles and place them on the cookie sheet. If the mixture begins to get so soft that it is melting all over your hands as you roll, return it to the freezer.
When you have finished rolling out all the truffles, put the cookie sheet in the freezer again for 20 to 30 minutes.
Put 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in a small shallow bowl. Remove the truffles from the freezer. Put three or so truffles in the bowl at a time and swirl the truffles around in the bowl until they are completely coated in cocoa powder. Repeat until all of the truffles are coated, adding additional cocoa powder as needed, one tablespoon at a time.
If you have small paper cups, put one truffle in each; otherwise, layer the truffles in a storage container between sheets of wax or parchment paper. The truffles will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.