Dana Slatkin

Escarole, Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

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It was dinner time, my family was seated at the table, and I was tossing salad. A typical weeknight…or so I thought. The salad did look quite appealing, I must say. But leafy generally does not fly in my house. It sits in the bowl until I eat it myself.   Not to complain…the family dinner is my favorite time of day. Once the meal is on the table, I finally get to exhale. Cooking for others is an act of letting go. Chances are, all of your hard work will be enjoyed some of the time, but rarely all of the time. Appetites are just too personal — no two people ever eat exactly alike. So rather than feeling dejected by uneaten efforts, it’s best not to become too attached to anything you cook. The other night, … [Read more...]

Chaya’s Vegan Japanese Minestrone

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Los Angeles has always had a thriving restaurant scene, fueled by innovative chefs, abundant inspiration, and ever-curious diners. But when it comes to classic fine dining, there are only a handful of grandes dames left. It’s not that Angelenos don’t appreciate first-rate food, but they want it served with a fun, lighthearted vibe. In this town, stuffy and pompous just don’t fly any more. One L.A. landmark has managed to keep its hip Euro-Japanese brand of haute cuisine relevant for 27 years. Chaya Brasserie, owned by the Tsunoda family, which has been operating restaurants and tea houses in Japan for almost four centuries, is constantly reinventing the sophisticated neighborhood haunt. Chaya is where my husband took me … [Read more...]

Lychee Grapefruit Limeade

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What’s your idea of romance? These days, there are a a million ways to buy it — chocolates, greeting cards, iTunes compilations, roses. But I prefer mine simple, handmade, and enduring. Growing up, Valentine’s Day was always my favorite holiday. I would stay up late the night before, glueing red and pink hearts onto doilies for my classmates and wrapping cookies for my teachers. Even our terrier, McDuff, got a special red bone to chew on. It was a day to exchange little tokens from the heart, when nothing else seemed to matter. Fast forward to a grown-up life with three busy kids, a husband, work and travel. There’s not much time for grand gestures. But what’s romantic to me now is still pint-sized. Sure, … [Read more...]

How to Make a Vinaigrette

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One of the questions I am most often asked in my classes is, “How do I make a salad taste good?” The simplest answer is to make a vinaigrette from scratch. So why has the salad dressing section of supermarkets taken over nearly half the aisle? Because most people don’t realize that homemade salad dressing tastes far better and costs much less money and effort than buying one off the shelf. I’ve probably made a thousand salads in my life, and each one of them began with this formula. It’s the recipe I learned in my first week of cooking school, one that I’ve kept in my head like a mantra: 1 part acid, 2 parts oil, a smidgen of garlic and mustard, plenty of seasoning. Whether you like your vinaigrette … [Read more...]

Whole Grain Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto

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I wish you were here in Los Angeles last weekend. Warm breezes blew gently across a cloudless electric blue sky, and there was a palpable exuberance in the air. It was the perfect time to welcome a certain well-seasoned New Yorker, one with a mega presence and a delicious agenda. Mario Batali, proprietor of 19 restaurants, Iron Chef, author of eight cookbooks and television superstar, came to town. On tour to promote his latest book, Molto Batali, Mario breezed into our boardwalk café, Coast, for a sold-out lunch that included samples of several recipes, accompanied by wines from his Bastianich label.   It was a meal to remember, not as much for the food, which was tasty indeed, but for the outsized personality that jumped out … [Read more...]

February Giveaway

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February is the month to think pink! I was floored when I tried the new ceramic knives from Kyocera. Not only do they slice like a scalpel, they fit well in hand and stay sharp up to 15 times longer than metal-based knives. What’s more, the blades will never rust or damage food. So you can say goodbye to browning when chopping fresh herbs, lettuce and vegetables. This all-purpose pink Santoko knife is perfect for slicing, dicing and mincing. Plus, $5.00 from each knife sold is donated to breast cancer research. For a chance to win a Kyocera knife, sign up for the 90210 Farmgirl’s weekly recipes, cooking tips, videos and fun in our subscribe box on the left side of the home page or (if you are already a subscriber), send … [Read more...]