Dana Slatkin

Farmgirl Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo Credit: Pat Illing

Everyone has a guilty pleasure, something that soothes after a long day or helps ease you into the night ahead. Mine is – er, was -- a certain diet soda with a “cherry” flavor and just enough caffeine to occasionally recharge my battery. But the other night, after seeing a screening of Fed Up, Laurie David’s and Katie Couric’s sobering documentary about our deadly national diet, I 86’d soda from my life for good. I was so moved by the film, I went on a pantry rampage as well, tossing every box of processed food that had found its way onto my shelves. The next day, three ravenous kids came wandering into the pantry looking for snacks. Gone were the breakfast cereals, power bars and chips they usually grabbed before attempting … [Read more...]

Tal Ronnen’s Crabless Cakes (Vegan)

Crabless Cakes

This week, I was invited to attend a special dinner featuring Chef Tal Ronnen, vegan visionary and owner of Crossroads Kitchen here on Melrose, who presented a spectacular four-course dinner featuring Gardein (rhymes with protein) delectable meatless products. Having been a fan of Gardein since it hit supermarket shelves in 2009, I was excited to taste what Ronnen could do with it. Though a devout carnivore might find any meat analog a rather sad substitute for a savory chicken cutlet or juicy steak, I knew Ronnen, with his classical training and pitch-perfect technique, could transform a hunk of soy protein into haute cuisine. At Gardein’s groovy Marina del Rey tasting kitchen, the feast began with small bites: Crabless Cakes with Granny … [Read more...]

Crispy Miso Sesame Kale Chips

When I started this blog nearly five years ago, my goal was to share some recipes from my newly-published cookbook The Summertime Anytime Cookbook: Recipes from Shutters on the Beach and connect with a few like-minded foodies. I had been wielding pens and knives for years, but the blogosphere was completely out of my realm. Some of my favorite food bloggers (thank you, Heidi and Tori) provided the encouragement I needed to jump in. My first post didn’t even come with a story; I hadn‘t figured out that part of WordPress yet. One of my early posts back in 2009 was a three-ingredient recipe for kale chips. It was a riff on a recipe for baked kale that I had stumbled upon in a magazine. After some tinkering and parmesan-sprinkling, I knew … [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)


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...]

Curried Popcorn


During the holidays, spontaneity rules in my house. Absent the relentless school routine, the last days of the year take shape organically, as a true vacation should. The only rules? No rushing or stressing allowed. But I confess to being a little challenged on vacations. Though the break from lunchboxes and dinner parties is welcome, this Farmgirl needs to keep busy. Too much time away from my kitchen and I start to get disoriented.   So here’s my method for vacation reorientation…invite a steady stream of drop-ins, have a ready stash of party-food, and exhale. This popcorn was a big hit at last week’s holiday cooking class. The recipe is based on one by Aarti Sequeira (the Food Network’s endearing Indian … [Read more...]

Asparagus Fritters with Cucumber-Feta Dipping Sauce

Asparagus Fritters

In the weeks before Memorial Day, my oven will get less and less play, eventually taking a long summer vacation. But my stovetop will be cranking year ’round. It is still my favorite way to sweet-talk the subtle flavors from spring vegetables. How to showcase the bounties that beckon from farmers market stands, while tempting the skeptic eaters in your house? Consider the fritter. Just about any vegetable lends itself to this simple shallow or deep-fried morsel, which includes eggs and often some type of flour or breading to bind the batter. I had already mastered crispy orbs of potato, zucchini, corn and cauliflower. But I was in the mood for asparagus. Fashioning the verdant stalks into fritters presented a few hurdles. … [Read more...]

Brussels Sprouts Two Ways: Chips and Roasted with Anchovies and Dates

Brussels Sprout Chips

Brussels Sprout ChipsAre you a lover or hater? The mere mention of brussels sprouts seems to always elicit either a fervent grimace or rapturous smile. In my family, I was outnumbered four to one. In fact, for years, I never bothered to buy brussels sprouts because I knew no one could stand the cabbage-y smell, much less the taste.   But you know me well enough by now to sense another imminent cooking challenge. Could I get my husband to embrace the little green buds after a lifetime of rejecting them? Would my children, 3-year-old included, ever learn to appreciate brussels sprouts and even gobble them up enthusiastically? My only shot at success was to find a way to make them irresistibly salty and crunchy, like chips. With my … [Read more...]