Dana Slatkin

Roasted Kale Sprouts with Lemon Porcini “Cream”

When I have a crush, I’m not shy about broadcasting it. If you’ve stopped by here in the past, you’ve likely witnessed my obsession with coconut, my affection for avocado oil, my passion for vanilla paste and my lust for everything Yotam Ottolenghi does. In fact, my cooking crushing often becomes the topic of a class, where I've been known to riff on recent affairs of my appetite (Paris, Positano, and next month, Ottolenghi). Introducing my latest infatuation....kale sprouts (also known as Kalettes; sometimes cleverly marketed as Lollipop Sprouts). I first fell in love when I sampled them at a favorite neighborhood hotspot, Laurel Hardware. They were crisply roasted, unabashedly charred, tossed in a creamy sauce and sprinkled with … [Read more...]

Lentil Mushroom Chili

Ask any herbivore how they get their protein and, chances are, the answer will be lentils. What chicken is to an omnivore’s diet, lentils are to a meatless one. Nutrient-packed and amenable to endless preparations, lentils can dress a meal up or down. Here in the Farmgirl Kitchen, they are always on hand in a variety of colors (green, brown, orange, black). On Sunday nights, when the fridge has been cleaned out from a busy weekend, they’re a lifesaver. I cook lentils ahead of time -- like grains and quinoa -- in a rice steamer, with a good pinch of salt (contrary to what you’ve heard, salt doesn’t sabotage cooking) and a glug of olive oil or knob of organic butter. Use two parts water or homemade stock to one part lentils. The “brown … [Read more...]

Japanese Vegetable Pancake (Okonomiyaki お好み焼き)

During the week, family dinner is mandatory in my house. It’s the one hour in the day when we all slow down, stash our phones away, and tune into each other. There are no excuses: everyone shows up. It’s also the highlight of my day. But like anything worthwhile, weeknight meals take some effort to pull off. So when I recently served a tasty new vegetable dish that was devoured in seconds, I knew I had a keeper. Have you ever heard of Okonomiyaki? Neither had I. The crispy Japanese cabbage pancakes are a street food staple in Japan. Ever since they were rebranded by a couple of enterprising chefs as “Japanese pizza,” Okonomiyaki (which roughly translates to “as you like it, grilled”) have caught on with the gastropub set, appearing … [Read more...]

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...]

Artichoke Quinoa Risotto

The other night I had the pleasure of experiencing Maude Restaurant, Curtis Stone’s sophisticated newcomer on South Beverly Drive. Tiny, lovingly decorated and filled with nostalgia (the name comes from Chef Stone’s Australian grannie), Maude is the freshest thing to happen to the Westside dining scene in years. Hidden behind a quirky storefront next to a city parking structure, Stone’s dream project features a nine-course tasting menu centered around a different ingredient each month. The star of our meal? California’s own leading lady, the artichoke. Our dinner was a parade of spring’s finest, flawlessly prepared by Stone’s dedicated crew. Each course was presented by proud servers in leisurely succession on dainty vintage … [Read more...]

Vegan Cauliflower Velouté á la Farmgirl

A few months ago, my oldest son got his driver’s license. It was a milestone to ponder as we stood in line together at the DMV. While he texted triumphant selfies to all his friends, I ran through a slideshow of dreads in my mind: son attempts parallel parking á la Fred Flinstone…son gets lost on his way to school…son drag races down Sunset Blvd. The moment reminded me of my own mother’s reaction when I left home to work as an apprentice in France. I was heading halfway across the world, the lone girl cooking in a hot kitchen full of arrogant males, with no knowledge of French and no idea what lay ahead. Though my mother might have been terrified for me, she sent me off with a strong, confident hug. “Remember,” she said. “Just … [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...]

M Café’s Vegan Curried Lentil Soup

M Cafe Lentil Soup

When the folks at M Café first asked me to try their five-day RESET Cleanse, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. As you probably know, I don’t take well to diets or anything that involves giving up my favorite foods. Relinquish my Manchego? Surrender my sprouted cinnamon toast? Ditch dark chocolate? No thanks. Besides, the word “cleanse” reminded me of my wannabe hippie days at Berkeley. But after getting sicker than I’d ever been last year, I knew I could use a reboot. Maybe I hadn’t been taking good care of my heath after all. Besides, I liked the idea of someone cooking for me for a change. So I signed on, agreeing to a personal consultation with holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman and five days of macrobiotic … [Read more...]