Dana Slatkin

Vegan Almond Milk Flan

Almond Milk Flan

Slightly adapted from Chef Lee Gross, M Café My first attempt at flan was an epic fail. It was a few weeks ago, when I was testing the recipe for my Macro Mexican class. Instead of a delicate, silky custard bathed in caramel, mine turned out way too sweet and strangely lumpy. I was pretty sure I never wanted to make flan again. But the recipe came by way of one of my favorite vegan chefs, Lee Gross of M Café (and Gwyneth Paltrow) fame. Plus, Passover and Easter were fast approaching, and I wanted my students to have an elegant dessert for the holidays. I had to persevere. The day before the class, I whipped up a giant batch of flan for my thirty students. That night, I peeked on one of the custards to make sure it was suitable for … [Read more...]

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler (vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free version)


How often do you hear about how fast this year has gone by? Among us middle-agers (I know, but I’m owning it), the light-speed pace of life seems to have replaced the weather and traffic as the new conversation starter. I, too, find myself marveling at how Memorial Day is just around the corner, and summer will be here in a few blinks. I once had the privilege of being in the presence of a great Rabbi. He was visiting with friends here in L.A. on his way back to Israel, and he agreed to meet with a group of “seculars” to offer some of his wisdom. So I asked him if it is possible to slow down life.   And his answer has stuck with me ever since. He said, “Not possible. But if you savor each moment, time will … [Read more...]

Chocolate Sesame Panna Cotta


Once in a very rare while, there’s a pause in my day, when nobody needs me, there is nowhere I need to be, and all is quiet. A shot of bliss. It’s when you’ll usually find me doing one of two things: hiking or playing the piano. Last week, there was one such moment and, while playing a Bach fugue, this dessert came to me. I had been trying to come up with the grand finale for my Modern Mediterranean class, featuring the owner of Momed Beverly Hills. I was looking for the impossibly perfect dessert with a Mediterranean twist. It had to be decadent but light, simple to make but complex in flavor, minutes to prep but memorable. And in the middle of a particularly melodious contrapuntal passage, I thought of halvah, the Middle … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Pudding Gingersnap Pie


It’s beginning to feel a lot like the holidays. Everywhere I go, someone’s crooning about the ultimate feast, the supreme table setting, the most festive attire, the perfect Martha Stewart life. It’s all so easy…so affordable…so darned attainable! Get me the earplugs. As much as I appreciate (and probably need) all the advice, I’m going into hibernation. Somewhere warm and cozy, where I don’t need to hear about the top 10,000 tastiest Thanksgiving recipes, or 50 ways to delight my holiday guests. If you want to find me from now until January 1st, just come to my kitchen. It’s my favorite place to be this time of year — far away from the din and closest to what’s meaningful … [Read more...]

Down-Home Apple Pie Cheesecake


There were 24 hungry women in my kitchen last week. They gathered to talk food, catch up with friends, and learn how to cook healthy Southern fare. My mission? To serve them up some Creole comfort, combining high-quality ingredients, low-stress techniques, and down-home decadence.   It was almost 100 degrees outside (a typical early fall heat wave here in Los Angeles), so everyone was happy to be sipping glasses of refreshing iced sweet tea, deliciously scented with orange slices and almond extract. We breaded and fried tomatoes. We simmered a hearty cauliflower cheddar soup soused with beer and strewn with homemade cornbread croutons. We blackened spiced tilapia and jumbled up a jambalaya.   By the end of the morning, we all … [Read more...]

Dairy-Free Coconut Macadamia Ice Cream


On the car ride back from Casco, Maine, where I had just picked up my teenage son from summer camp, I resisted the urge to ambush him with questions about his month in the wilderness. Instead, we rode together silently, a boy on the brink of manhood and a mother aching to reconnect (but trying to heed the advice of her parenting books).   A few days and some meals later, we were able to pick up where we left off. We laughed a lot; I listened. Finally, one evening on an after-dinner walk through the Boston Commons, my boy’s sentiments surfaced in the form of a casual but incisive comment: “Mom, it was raw.” I had to consult the Urban Dictionary to understand what he meant. “Raw: pure, unadulterated, seriously … [Read more...]

Salted Chocolate Caramel Coconut Tart


Now that school is out and summer is official, I find myself less motivated to brave the insufferable Los Angeles traffic for a trip to the supermarket. Last weekend, we took a delightful family walk to our farmers market, stocking up on all things juicy and colorful. It was just my speed. Meanwhile, back in my kitchen, the baking supplies I normally stock are running low. But with the Fourth of July right around the corner, I’ll need to whip up something festive and fabulous. Something that says “God Bless America” with an exclamation point. This heavenly tart, inspired by the one made by our chef at Shutters On The Beach Hotel, Michael Reardon, will definitely fit the bill. If you happen to be out of confectioner’s … [Read more...]