The Cake That Cures Everything (Chocolate Cake)

Photo: Mikkel Vang

A Remedy for Any Funk
When Ruth Reichl lost her job as editor-in-chief of Gourmet (after 68 years, the magazine was abruptly shut down), She did what she's always done when she feels confused, lonely or frightened: she disappeared into the kitchen. In her new book, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, Reichl explains how she cooked through the ups and downs of figuring out what to do next. She calls this cake "an antidote to the poison of self-pity," and we have to agree. Its richness comes from cocoa powder, chocolate and whipped cream cheese, and while it's undoubtedly delicious no matter your mood, its smooth, uber-chocolaty taste and aroma are especially effective at wiping out a case of the Mondays... and then some.

Get the recipe: The Cake That Cures Everything (Chocolate Cake)
Shirred Eggs with Potato Puree

Photo: Mikkel Vang

The Meal to Make When You Want to Be Really, Really Good to Yourself
Potatoes and eggs are a classic duo, but you've probably never had them like this. The indulgent dish, served in individual ramekins, consists of a soft egg, gently cooked on a pillow of buttery mashed potatoes. And if the technique of shirring eggs seems beyond your strictly-scrambled realm, don't stress. It's easier than it sounds; it's really just baking them until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Reichl advises you to eat the creamy, supersatisfying breakfast (which could easily stand in for lunch or dinner, too) very slowly, with a spoon, because "each bite reminds you why you're glad to be alive."

Get the recipe: Shirred Eggs with Potato Puree
Broccoli-Rabe Bruschetta

Photo: Mikkel Vang

A Reminder of How Quickly Things Can Go from Bitter to Sweet
Reichl remembers trudging out to buy some broccoli rabe one freezing day in December when she was feeling particularly sullen; the vegetable's acerbic raw taste seemed to suit her gloomy mood. Yet as she lifted the greens from a pot of salted boiling water, drained them and sautéed them with oil and garlic, things shifted. The fragrance turned mellow and inviting, a complete 180 from its former sharp and pungent taste. She piled the broccoli rabe onto grilled bread and topped it with softly melting Parmesan. Reassured, she dug in.

Get the recipe: Broccoli-Rabe Bruschetta