Dana Slatkin

Israeli Tomato Feta Salad


There’s nothing like faraway travel to breathe new life into your cooking. A voyage can inspire new cravings, introduce exotic spices, or even change your whole way of thinking about food. Recently, an epic Spring Break trip to Israel and Paris has really stirred things up here in the Farmgirl kitchen. Take breakfast, for example. I pride myself on making something new and exciting for the family every morning — sprouted grain French toast, frittatas oozing with cheese and vegetables, matzah brei, and homemade granola are some of my go-to’s. But who knew salad was good for breakfast? The Israelis do. In fact, during our week in Jerusalem, this salad showed up on the table at practically every meal. It’s delightfully … [Read more...]

Greek Frittata with Spinach, Leeks, Potato and Feta


The Los Angeles Marathon took over our town last Sunday. Fortunately, it was a brisk, sunny morning. The kids and I watched some of the more than 20,000 runners pass by mile 17, looking surprisingly sweatless and energized. As they soldiered on, we slipped into our favorite deli for breakfast. I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of outsider envy. After all, our most athletic feat of the morning had been sprinting across the race route while dodging the runners. And even though I could practically taste the hash browns from a block away, I wanted to truly earn them. I thought about what I’d order if I had just run 26.2 miles in under two and a half hours, as the winning female from Ethiopia did. Something delicious and decadent. … [Read more...]

Pickled Fig and Spinach Salad with Feta and Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette


Announcing the winner of the September Cooking Contest! Charlene Sax, a Los Angeles native and an exceptional home cook, shared her inspiration for this simple and lovely composed salad, which features fruit in an unconventional way. I was thrilled to find a way to use the figs from my tree before the squirrels got to them first. Sliced like amethyst coins and quickly “pickled” in sherry vinegar and sugar, they are a perfect sweet counterpoint to tangy feta cheese, creamy avocado and toasty walnuts. If you can’t find fresh figs, roasted beets are a delicious, earthy substitute. Charlene recounts the story of how she learned to cook: “When my brother was six and I was twelve, Mom had no interest in cooking. My … [Read more...]

Tomato Feta Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinegar

photo credit: lbsgoodspoon.com

Announcing the winner of the August Cooking Contest! Katia Ratkovtitch, a student at the University of California at Davis, writes: “This is a simple yet absolutely fabulous tomato salad that I have been making recently. I’ve been really trying to capitalize on the deliciously fresh tomatoes this summer.”   This is the kind of recipe I wish I had come up with myself! It’s a riff on a classic that delivers unexpected punches like briny capers, tangy feta, and ambrosial Fig Balsamic Vinegar. Katia, who has been gravitating to the kitchen since the age of 9, says: “Cooking makes me happy, brings people together, and lets me explore the flavors of exotic lands when I don’t have the opportunity to travel.” … [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...]

Grilled Fish in Grape Leaves with Feta-Oregano Smashed Potatoes

Fish Wrapped in Grape Leaves

If you prefer your fish flaky, not steak-y, then summer grilling has probably been wishful thinking. No matter how much you slick the grill, it seems impossible to get a beautifully cross-hatched fillet instead of a fishy mess. Wrapping the fish in grape leaves is your ticket to barbecue repute. The fish takes on a summery bouquet of citrus, brine and char, while retaining its moisture and tenderness. Serve the fish right in its package, and your guests can decide whether to eat the leaves or not (they are delicious but perhaps an acquired taste for the uninitiated). The smashed potatoes provide a fluffy bed for this lovely Mediterranean dinner. Serve it with some tzadiki or Persian Cucumber Salad alongside and you will be good to … [Read more...]