Dana Slatkin

Puerto Vallarta Pesto

Cue the drumroll for the winner of the Farmgirl April Cooking Contest! Let me say first, the competition was stiff. Just try picking a favorite between Breakfast Nachos, Enchilada Pie, Southwestern Corn Pudding, Caramelized Onion Tortilla Pie, Chile-grilled Salmon with Garlicky Lime-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce, Chipotle-Chive Potato Salad, Garden Gazpacho, Chipotle Ribs, Huevos Rancheros Pie, and a hundred others. One recipe even came all the way from Gujarat, India (regrettably, it wasn’t Mexican). It was a very close call. But ultimately, this recipe from Candy Barnhart beat out the others with its originality, zesty flavors, ease of preparation and versatility. Candy lives near the western slope of Mount Haleakala on the island of … [Read more...]

Spiced Whole Wheat Banana Applesauce Bread

Banana Bread

How was your Thanksgiving? Have you had time to reflect on the bountiful feast? Revel in the relaxation of the long weekend? Drink in those special family moments? Of course you haven’t. Because the minute the leftover turkey is polished off, the retailers are all over us to start our holiday shopping. Black Friday, Cyber Monday…the pressure to purchase kicks into high gear this month. I know I’m not helping out our economy but, by December, I am all shopped out. The idea of braving a mall or navigating the morass of online retail gives me an uneasy wave of dread. So instead, I’ll get baking. It’s what warms my home during the winter months and, during the holidays it’s my antidote to acquisitiveness. This … [Read more...]

Endive Leaves with Fig Jam, Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Endive Leaves with Fig Jam

My kitchen was humming. A crowd of 25 eager cooks gathered around my marble island to learn some new tricks for Thanksgiving. It was my annual “Everything but the Turkey” class, a two-hour warm-up for this week’s long awaited feast. I told my students what they needed to pull off a memorable meal were some trust-worthy recipes. Some fresh twists on traditional dishes. A crop of short cuts. And a game plan.   I demonstrated 10 festive yet feasible recipes (including this one), serving them to the class with domestic goddess composure. The meal was gobbled up. Everyone left with a smile. And I was exhausted. As I sat down alone with my cup of tea, I wondered how much easier it would be not to cook. Let … [Read more...]

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Black Beans

Fudge Brownie

Every so often, I come across a recipe that makes me wonder, “Where have you been all my life?” If you ever fantasized about the perfect brownie — dark, rich, and not too sweet — this is it. And get this…it’s actually good for you. Recently, my toddler was put on a gluten-free, sugar-free diet to get rid of a nasty case of eczema. One day, while surfing the Web for a treat that would satisfy his sweet tooth, I tripped onto a website called Pattycake. It turns out the writer, an adventurous Spanish-born, Canadian-raised cook named Patty who lives the bohemian life in Mexico, loves the challenge of cooking healthfully, without using common allergy triggers such as wheat, sugar, and dairy products. There … [Read more...]

Dark Chocolate Walnut Bourbon Pie

Dark Chocolate Walnut Bourbon Pie

Most weeknights, dinner is a full production. Come to my house, and there is always a smorgasbord of two or three vegetable dishes, a protein, and whole grains or potatoes. So by the time it comes to dessert, I am exhausted. But now that our precious daylight is gone by 5 o’clock, and the nighttime ahead involves copious amounts of homework, studying, and cyber-chatting, everyone seems to need dessert. And I mean the rich and gooey, lip-smackingly gratifying kind. This pie definitely fits the bill without going full-tilt extravagant. Similar to the traditional Southern staple served each year at the Kentucky Derby, my version contains less sugar, butter and booze. It comes together in 10 minutes. Pop the pie in the oven as you are sitting … [Read more...]

Persian Cucumber Yogurt Salad

Cucumber Yogurt Salad

When something is on my mind, it usually ends up in my cooking. For instance, the minute I returned from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, I tossed lemongrass and nuoc mam into just about everything I cooked. After reading an article about the bustling night market of Audrix, France, where townspeople enjoy weekly dinners en plein air, there were breakfast tartines on the table every morning and walnut oil in all my salads. Lately, Iran has been on my mind. My heart goes out to all the Iranian people who had their hopes for freedom dashed in the recent election. In solidarity, I invited some of my Persian friends over this week to show me how to make some of their favorite dishes, which they learned from their mothers and grandmothers. Happily, … [Read more...]