For much of my childhood, this was my mom’s go-to cake. Each sponge cake layer is mixed with a different ingredient (poppy seed, prunes, walnuts), and then basted with sweetened condensed milk and left to soak. She just called it “three-layer cake”—so I pressed her for its actual name:
Out of all my mom’s greatest breakfast hits, dahi toast is easily the most the beloved in our family. This sandwich—a loose interpretation of a recipe from one of my dad’s friends—is totally unexpected (who would ever think to put yogurt between bread?!) and impossible not to like. Imagine a tangier, spicier grilled cheese sandwich. You get that satisfying oily bread crunch, but with onions, chiles, and (my favorite part) a crispy topping of black mustard seeds and curry leaves added into the mix. The glue that holds this recipe together is the tang of the sourdough bread—it’s the perfect foil to the rich, ricotta-like filling. We are a house divided when it comes to accompaniments for dahi toast—my mom and sister like cilantro chutney, while I prefer ketchup. My dad uses both: He swirls the chutney and ketchup together to create a kinda ugly-colored but admittedly delicious super-sauce.
Not a side dish at all, this is a well-stocked breakfast entrée. Make sure the potatoes are diced — that is, in 1/2-inch cubes. They must be small and evenly sized to cook in the stated time. Skip processed sandwich meat and look for whole, roasted smoked ham at the deli counter. Have the butcher cut it into 1/2-inch slices to make the dicing easier for you.
If bread pudding is mostly bread, it makes sense that the better your bread, the better the pudding. I usually make my bread pudding with challah, the way Luther liked it best. For this book, I decided to mix things up a little. This recipe uses raisin-cinnamon bread for that hint of spice I love. The big secret, as with all bread pudding, is to use stale bread; otherwise, it will disintegrate in the custard.
The ability to serve French toast for a brunch party without slaving at the stovetop for hours is a beautiful thing.
Best served warm with clotted cream and jam.
Popovers are wonderful for Sunday morning breakfast with jam or apple butter or honey.
Sweet and crisp, raw sugar snap peas are hard to resist. In this recipe they are chopped into bite-size pieces and paired with crispy chunks of radish, a bit of mint and crumbles of smooth, creamy, fresh cheese.
This tart is made for those of us who love the palate-puckering acidic punch of lemon.
Who would imagine browning deviled eggs to caramelize their edges and crisp their fillings? What a sensual turn with a hard-cooked egg. We owe the idea to Jacques Pépin and his memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. The inspiration comes from war-torn France and a recipe born of scarcity that Jacques' mother created during World War II, though you'd never know it when you pick up your fork. This is the kind of double-edged story that we love to find in the things we eat.