My father, Ivor, is from a small town in the center of South Africa and, although his family’s background is English and Eastern European, he was raised with strong Dutch influences. One Dutch passion he passed down to me is his love of black licorice, specifically the salty, chewy sort—not the soft, sweet kind. Whenever we visited family in South Africa, my dad would bring home bags of what we knew as dubbel zout (double salt)—coins of salted black licorice about the size of a quarter. I devoured them every chance I got, relishing the savory, saline exterior before it gave way to the barely sweet, chewy center. Dad’s other sweet vice, which I also inherited, is chocolate. Not white. Not milk. Simply pure and dark. So, it was in honor of him, and our shared love of these two confections, that I concocted this deep, dark chocolaty cake, which gets a touch of sophisticated salt flavor, plus notes of molasses and anise, from what might seem to be an unlikely partner: black licorice. Paired together, the two confections make for a brilliant duo that is both delicious and not-too-sweet.
Banana bread was always a staple in my mom’s kitchen when I was growing up. Over the years, I have riffed on her recipe in dozens of ways: adding chocolate chips, nuts, or spices; swinging from quick bread to cake; icing or dusting it with confectioners’ sugar. Then, about a year ago, I decided to play with the idea of a banana upside-down cake, topped with banana slices and salted caramel, which both soaks into the cake and drips all around it when the pan is inverted. That little idea turned out to be a total keeper. Here it is.
The perfect fried egg sandwich means different things to different people. Find just the right one and you are guaranteed bliss for many mornings (or late nights!) to come. For me, a lot has to do with the layering strategy (a well-thought-out stack can help keep layers from sliding out the side of the sandwich!), as well as how the eggs are cooked (I like mine fried with edges slightly crispy, and yolk just runny enough to coat everything when you take a bite, without getting lost to the plate). Another equally important factor is the inclusion of a little acidic tang to play off the fat of the egg yolk and cheese. My answer to this is mustard and pickles. I discovered these unconventional additions when I was in college in Montreal, and often frequented a burger joint called La Paryse. My favorite dish on the menu was the egg sandwich with pickles. Now, when I wake up a little rough around the edges and need a substantial meal to start the day, this is it.
A quick and easy soup from chef Amanda Cohen that pops with flavors of tomato, rosemary and lemon. This soup was included her Cohen's The Key 3 segment on The Splendid Table.