Dana Slatkin

Kelp Noodle and Veggie Stir-Fry

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about cleansing. It may take shape as a juice fast, a junk food crackdown, a desk clutter clearout, or a friendship detox. These days, it seems we have a collective urge to purge. Perhaps it’s because of the new school year kicking in, or the holidays looming on the horizon. In any case, September’s an ideal time to keep it simple and go lightly. At least that’s my plan. With all the projects I have on my plate now, I need to be on my game. Anything that’s been weighing me down has to go. That goes for my cooking, too. This month, I’m going for lean and mean. In next week’s cooking class with M Café, I’ll be demonstrating some delicious recipes … [Read more...]

Brie and Tomato Sandwich with Chutney and Other Lunchbox Ideas

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Here in Los Angeles, summer has a way of lingering well into Fall. The steamy weather often lasts until Halloween, making getting our heads back in the game even more of a challenge. If you have kids starting school or are returning from vacation, reality is likely setting in: our schedules are already stuffed, and the lazy days of summer are gone. So I am all for making life easy wherever possible. In my house, that means planning meals ahead. Even if it involves some Martha Stewart-style obsessing. I may not be able to figure out how to use my Blackberry calendar, but I know what I want to feed my family. So on Sunday mornings, before heading out to my farmers market, I’ll jot down all the recipes I plan to make for the week. Then … [Read more...]

Spice Rubbed Barbequed Tofu

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During summer, if you’re not firing up your grill, you’re missing the party. It’s all happening where the heat is…the inviting smoke, the sweet and spicy aromas, the camaraderie around the barbeque. But if you don’t do meat — or are trying to minimize your animal consumption — there’s no reason to feel left out. A simple hunk of tofu is a protein-packed (approximately 20 grams per 8 ounces) meatless alternative for any cookout. My summer addiction to Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives inspired a classic down-home take on tofu. Choose the firm kind of tofu and make it organic (we don’t trust you, GMO’s). Slice the tofu into “steaks,” then raid your spice drawer and mix … [Read more...]

Summer Vegetable Ceviche

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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...]

Vegan Almond Pancakes

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During the school year, a typical morning in my house looks like someone pressed the fast forward button. Five people scuttle around the kitchen in haphazard directions, stopping only for a few seconds to guzzle breakfast, then dispersing into the day. But during summer, the morning unfolds leisurely, with a more substantial meal to send everyone off on their way. This week, I was in the mood for a tall stack of fluffy, golden pancakes, but I had forgotten to restock eggs, flour, and buttermilk (hey, the kids aren’t the only ones on vacation). In my summer state of mind, I tend to shrug off just about everything with a “whatever,” so I carried on anyway. I used almond flour in place of regular flour, omitted the eggs … [Read more...]

Summer Vegetable Fried Brown Rice with Egg

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When I was around 15 years old, my parents decided to separate. Their marriage had gone from stable to hostile, and I longed for peace in the house. But with one foot still in childhood and the other on shaky ground, I had a hard time figuring out which way was forward. Amidst all the confusion, I can remember taking long walks with my mother, often in total silence, around the nearby park. As we both tried to fathom our futures, our walks became a comforting ritual. Sometimes we would end up at our favorite restaurant, treating ourselves to warm apple pie á la mode for dinner. On other occasions, we would only travel a block or two before turning back, lacking a plan or inspiration. But we could count on those walks. Putting one … [Read more...]

Zucchini Lemon Mint Hummus

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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...]

Chokes ‘N Cheese (Artichoke Gratin)

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Now that school’s out, it’s fine time for some juicy summer reading. While the kids work their way down their assigned lists, I’m looking forward to delving into that teetering stack of books on my nightstand. And though I cop to missing the e-book boat, I’m in no rush to let go of my beloved hardcovers. Top on my list is Angella Nazarian’s Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World (Assouline, 2012). These deftly-written profiles of visionary women are crammed with mesmerizing stories and wisdom, perfect for a spontaneous read on a hammock over a warm afternoon. Inspired by this fearless tribe of women, I plan to say “yes” more often this summer…“yes” … [Read more...]