If you’ve been following along for a few weeks, you’ve likely already tired of a pattern in these posts: Bash weather in D.C. Bash weather in Seattle. Brag about sunshine in California.

But here’s the truth: I desperately miss the weather.

Puddle jumping with Denali

I miss the comfort of the rainy pitter-patter on the roof and the swaying evergreens of my childhood. I miss the drama of the thunderstorms in Washington, D.C. In fact I miss the drama in Washington period.

Very little can compare with the crack of thunder and flash of lightning as the north and south weather systems collide in the Mid-Atlantic, almost a meteorological reenactment of the Union and Confederate troops battling in the clouds over Manassas Battlefield. Even the closest modern-day equivalent, Republicans and Democrats duking it out in the Capitol, or protesters on the National Mall, is enough to quicken the pulse. I miss having the excuse to use words like “wonky” and “snarky” on a more regular basis.

While nothing can bring D.C.’s national monuments and front-row seats to the political stage closer to my doorstep, at last the rain and cold has come to the Peninsula. That’s what people call the south San Francisco Bay area where Stanford is located.

Now finally something deep in my soul can relax. It’s like I had been holding my breath each morning staring at the sky, feeling an anticipatory flutter at the cloudy dawn; but the fog would burn off and again, the burning sun.

Why the relief? Because with the rain comes relaxing, and an excuse to linger in my kitchen on a slow Sunday morning listening to Acoustic Sunrise on KFOG and drinking a warm, soothing beverage.

This morning, with more leftover heavy cream from Thanksgiving than I care to admit, I needed a hot drink to layer underneath peaks of homemade whipped cream. Por eso, me gustaría presentarle a Mexican hot cocoa. I have a hunch you will get along swell.

Mexican hot cocoa with whipped cream

Mexican Hot Cocoa

Adapted from Tyler Florence

3 ounces Mexican chocolate or bittersweet chocolate

3 cups milk

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

Pinch cinnamon

6 cinnamon sticks (preferably Mexican canela), for serving

Dollop of whipped cream (see below)

Using a sharp knife, break up the chocolate into smaller pieces. In a saucepan, combine the chopped chocolate, milk, sugar, salt, and cayenne over medium-low flame. Heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and milk is very hot, but not boiling, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and froth the chocolate milk with a whisk. Divide the hot chocolate among big mugs, top each with homemade whipped cream and another dash of cayenne and cinnamon, and serve with the cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Heavy whipping cream (a half cup or more)

Sugar to taste (start with about a tablespoon)

Vanilla to taste (start with about a teaspoon)

Pour all ingredients into a large bowl. Whip with a whisk until stiff peaks begin to form. If you have an electric mixer, that speeds up the process considerably, but some small corner of my brain believes that when my bicep starts burning as I whisk, I’m “earning” my whipped cream. If possible, line up a husband, boyfriend, or strong-armed friend to take over the whipping when your arm cramps. Many hands make light work, and all that. A little bribing helps too.