Dana Slatkin

Grilled Goat Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

On any blazing day in summer, things can get pretty heated in my house. The kids start bickering, Mom and Dad get cranky, tempers tend to flare. It doesn’t help that the youngest of my flock likes to start his days with the sun, meaning 5:45 am, turning Mom into one exhausted crabby patty. Occasionally there’s some heat-induced yelling and projectile objects (usually pillows), but afterwards we always have a good giggle. Which is how we all ended a recent evening when the air conditioner broke down. I had made a batch of these and we decided to play pepper poker. That’s when you go around the table popping peppers until someone gets the one that sets their mouth on fire. It was 90 degrees indoors and we were all getting kvetchy. My … [Read more...]

Get Fresh, Get Lean: Get the Recipes

Dana with chef Drago

Giacomino Drago is executive chef and partner of Il Pastaio, Piccolo Paradiso, Via Alloro, Panzanella, and several other restaurants in the Los Angeles area. Chef Drago creates healthy and hearty, flavor-charged Italian dishes from the freshest ingredients of the season. If you were not able to attend my last class, Light + Easy Italian with Giacomino Drago, but would like to learn some of Giacomino’s secrets, it’s not too late to order the recipes. For $9.99 you will receive all six recipes, including his famous Salsa di Pomodoro and Eggplant Parmigiana, along with a 90210 Farmgirl shopping pad! All you have to do is fill out the order form below. Once you submit your mailing address, you will be directed to the Paypal payment page. More … [Read more...]

Scallion Pancakes with Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce (Gluten-free)

Scallion pancakes with sweet soy dipping sauce

Makes about 2 dozen small (about 3-inches in diameter) pancakes, or 6-8 servings It’s beginning to feel a lot like…get me to January 1. If you’re already over the holidays, you’re not alone. All the forced festivity, cloying crooning and nonstop consuming can start to grate on nerves. But in light of the heartbreaking tragedies in last week’s news, let’s count our blessings. In the final stretch to the finish of 2012, I get busy cooking. For those I love. For those who are suffering or struggling. For those who are no longer here to enjoy the holidays. One ritual I always look forward to: Chinese food on Christmas Eve. It’s practically a cultural imperative. Some years we head to our favorite local restaurant for … [Read more...]

Quinoa Vegetable Latkes (gluten-free)

quinoa-vegetable-latkes

Makes 12 3-inch latkes Pull out that cast iron pan, stockpile your potatoes and onions, arm yourself with oil. It’s latke time. This month I’m knee-deep in them. After pouring through shelves of Jewish cookbooks over the years, testing countless recipes and swimming in oil every December, I think I’ve finally managed to master the perfect latke. For the past decade or so, I’ve stuck with what works, a failproof formula that somehow manages to get raves every time. I have gradually made some minor tweaks to the recipe, adjusting the potato to onion ratio, adding zucchini, and honing the process down to a few steps. For you traditionalists, here is the recipe. But if you’re willing to stretch a little this year, I have a … [Read more...]

Summer Vegetable Ceviche

summer-vegetable-seviche-2

There’s nothing like a summer breakup to make you feel all young again. Last week, a friend and I parted ways, and though I saw it coming for months, I wasn’t prepared for the teenager-like symptoms that hit me soon after: the moping, the zits, the loss of appetite. For the past few days, I just haven’t been myself. So I got busy cooking. Luckily, I had a brand new cookbook on my counter, Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook. It was the perfect distraction, and I sat down and perused it cover to cover. It’s a spectacular book, crammed with the celebrated chef Matsuhisa’s imaginative vegetable musings and glorious photos. Just as I was starting to get hungry again, I came across a recipe for vegetable ceviche. … [Read more...]

Zucchini Lemon Mint Hummus

zucchini-hummus-2

I’m going to tell you a little story about a hike I took recently. It’s a hike I have taken every summer for the past fifteen years, and it has nothing to do with hummus. But it has everything to do with this recipe. Aspen Mountain is certainly not the highest peak in Colorado, but it’s the one I stare at from the window of our summer rental. Climbing to its 11,200 foot peak is a daily ritual for many locals. For me, it is a grueling challenge. But time and again, I am strangely drawn to its trails, even though they are punishingly steep. Early one morning this week, I set out on one such hike, dreading the process but eager for the breathtaking view at the top. I plodded up the jagged trail buttressed by Aspen trees … [Read more...]

Spring Carrot Sunflower Pate

carrot-pate-2

No one rejoices more than I do when we sacrifice that extra hour of the day to make way for Spring. Because it means tulips and warm weather are just around the corner. And even though the vernal equinox is still a week away, I’ve got matzah balls and Easter bunnies on my mind. Two of the year’s cheeriest, most hope-filled holidays are coming up, and what better way to celebrate than with a colorful feast? This sunny vegan carrot spread helps set the mood. Even the name makes me smile! This recipe sprung from the mushroom paté I posted last March. This time, I substituted fresh dill for thyme and sunflower seeds for walnuts to play up the sweet, fresh notes of the carrots. But feel free to try your favorite herbs and … [Read more...]

Momed’s Avocado Hummus

Avo Hummus

About a year ago, without the usual Beverly Hills fanfare, a new restaurant snuck into the old Rosti space on South Beverly Drive. With sleek, contemporary cafeteria décor and a mouth-watering display case, Momed (short for Modern Mediterranean) offered something locals hadn’t tasted before — enlightened versions of flavorful dishes from Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. Owner Alex Sarkissian has 90210 appetites pegged. Using organic produce and sustainably-raised meats, his menu features clever twists on traditional Middle Eastern fare, such as grilled skewers of ahi tuna served with a pesto made from grape leaves and capers, and an addictive red pepper-walnut spread called muhammara, the exact recipe … [Read more...]