Dana Slatkin

10 Ways To Enjoy Summer Corn and Zucchini

My summertime ideal is to spend as much time as possible outdoors, so quick, stress-free cooking is the name of the game. Why not ditch the cookbooks and improvise? Seize the season and visit your local farmers market. Bring home all your summer spoils. Then spend an hour or two in the kitchen, making it up as you go. Pretend you’re a contestant on Chopped and you’re given a basket of ingredients to put together into a delicious dish. With some pantry staples -- avocado oil (for grilling and high-heat cooking), olive oil (for salads), a variety of vinegars, garbanzo flour for fritters and whole grains like quinoa and brown rice -- you can throw together a summer meal quicker than you can say ”Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Get Inspired by Vegetables

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Many of you have asked me how to add more vegetables to your diet in the New Year. So I thought I would reprint my recent interview in Food + Wine Magazine. How do you get your veggies on? Write to me and share with our readers! By Emily Thelin, Food + Wine Magazine Make a weekly trip to the farmers’ market. Fall in love with what’s on the stands. There’s always something colorful and appealing, and always someone enthusiastic to tell you what to do with it. If your farmers market closes for the winter, take a trip to the produce section of a natural foods store. Be sure to visit a local farmers market whenever you are in a warmer climate. Don’t be ashamed to use frozen veggies, because if they save you time, you’ll be … [Read more...]

Farmgirl Shopping List

Grocery Shopping Staples

In my cooking classes, I am often asked how I come up with a menu every night. It seems I’m not the only farmgirl who has trouble deciding what to make for dinner. The quandary becomes even more challenging when we are accosted by starving kids the minute we arrive home. That’s when the clock starts ticking and the pressure is on. The meal needs to be on the table within the hour or meltdowns will ensue. Help! Here’s my three-part solution to facing down the dinner dilemma and eliminating most of the stress: Step #1: Make sure your fridge and pantry are properly stocked at all times, using my Farmgirl Cooking Essentials list below as a guide. Step #2: Strategize your shopping trips with a week’s menu in mind. Once … [Read more...]

Shopping Local in Paris

Produce Stand in Paris, France

It’s late morning and the sun has been streaming in through the crack in the curtains for a while now, trying to coax me out of bed. Horns beep and the floor buzzes as the Metro rushes underneath. The city has already been up for hours. Normally, I would already be speed-walking up the Champs-Elysees by now, following my nose, in search of a warm baguette and a freshly squeezed jus d’orange pressé to start my day. But jet lag has glued me to the pillow, leaving me time to plot my wanderings before hitting the streets. Ahhh…Paris. My dear friend is getting married in Avignon, and before serving as temoin (the curious French translation for my job description, matron of honor), I have come to spend a few days in my … [Read more...]

Where I’m Shopping Now

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It might surprise you that some of my most rewarding shopping moments happen not at a charming farmers market or a far-flung ethnic grocery but at Trader Joe’s. Chances are you have shopped there before, because at last count the company has grown to more than 315 stores in 25 states across the country. But it is a far cry from a soulless supermarket chain. Traders (as they are affectionately called in our town) are homey and retro, with hand-drawn signs and wooden crates, the smell of a simmering barbeque sauce or oven-baked garlic fries wafting through the aisles. Some years ago (okay, it was something like thirty years ago), I remember my first foray with my mother to the Traders on National Boulevard. The store was crowded and cramped, … [Read more...]

An Ode to Farmers Markets

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If you ask me, one of the most exciting places in any city is a farmers market. My favorite local haunt is the Santa Monica Farmers Market, the largest of the farmers markets in Southern California, stretching nearly five city blocks with more than 50 or more vendors. You may cook at home plenty already, or maybe you’re hoping for some inspiration. For me, coming to a farmers market is better than therapy: I’m relaxed and spontaneous, cheerful and chatty! It’s hard to have a chip on your shoulder when a friendly farmer is handing you a basket of sweet, juicy raspberries that were just picked yesterday. There’s so much good karma around it’s contagious. If you’re like me and tend to get into food ruts, shopping … [Read more...]

Where I’m Shopping Right Now

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I am ready to come clean with a confession. I live in Beverly Hills. We all know its dark side…capital of glitz, over-the-top materialism, cartoon-perfect smiles and hilarious pretension. But Beverly Hills has its charms. And they don’t all come with a price tag. As many residents know, Beverly Hills is actually a sweet hamlet with family-run restaurants, mom and pop shops, a stellar public library and tree-lined streets. But in my opinion, the true spirit of our town comes alive every Sunday at the Farmers Market on Civic Center Drive. Back in 1994, its time was long overdue. After brainstorming for weeks with a friend, I presented the Mayor of Beverly Hills with a detailed proposal of my fantasy farmers market. And much to my … [Read more...]