September 2023

Chef Dana Slatkin and Her Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

I met Dana Slatkin on a recent trip to LA through our children who go to summer camp together. I soon learned that Dana was a well-known chef in LA and her family owned a posh boutique hotel called Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, CA. Shutters is one of my all time favorite luxury hotels known for its low-key atmosphere and delicious farmer’s market-fresh meals. Dana was inspired to write her first cookbook, Summertime Anytime, by requests for the recipes from friends, family and guests. I love her cookbook so much and asked Dana if I could share some of her holiday dishes. Here are some festive Fall recipes below that are perfect for Thanksgiving or a holiday soiree:

Pumpkin Pie Champagne Cocktails with Toasted Marshmallows: (6 cocktails)

Cinnamon sugar
1 wedge of orange
1 bottle of dry champagne or California sparkling wine
6 ounces Monin Pumpkin Spice or Gingerbread Spice Syrup
6 large marshmallows (I love the handmade, cubical ones from Little Flower Baking Company)
Decorative skewers

1. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar onto a small plate. Rim a chilled champagne flute with the orange wedge. Then dip the flute into the cinnamon sugar to coat the rim.

2. Pour up to 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of syrup into each of the flutes. Fill with champagne.

3. Toast marshmallows over an open flame to desired doneness. Place on skewers and garnish each cocktail.

Sauteed Spinach with Porcini-Truffle Powder: (Serves 6)

1 cup dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon truffle salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried well
A few drops of truffle oil

1. Place the dried mushrooms in a spice grinder or blender and process to the consistency of coarse dust (you will get about 1/2 cup of mushroom powder). Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the truffle salt.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and just beginning to brown (a minute or two). Add the spinach and stir until coated.

3. Cover the pot and cook for 2 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

4. Sprinkle the spinach lightly with mushroom-truffle powder. Mound onto a serving platter, drizzle with the truffle oil, and dust again with additional mushroom-truffle powder. Store the leftover powder in an air-tight container for the next time (It will hold for months).

French Apple Pie: (Serves 8 )

1 prepared frozen pie crust, preferably whole-wheat

8 large Granny Smith apples (or combination of Granny Smith plus McIntosh or Gala), peeled, cored (I use a melon baler for this), and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 lemon (squeeze over the apples as you slice them)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter (optional)
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

Vanilla ice cream for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.

2. Prepare the apple or blueberry filling: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and allow to macerate for 15 minutes.

3. Prepare the streusel: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter and pulse the machine to incorporate. The texture should be like coarse crumbs.

4. Fill the prepared pie crust with the fruit and juices, pressing down gently to accommodate all the filling (it will cook down during baking). Spread the streusel over the entire pie.

5. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° F and continue baking for another 60 minutes, until the filling bubbles and the streusel is golden brown. If necessary, cover the crust and pie loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.

6. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a rack for at least two hours before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

More Recipes:

Sweet Potato Coconut Crumble
Cranberry Raspberry Relish
Butternut Squash Soup

Dana Slatkin is a chef, consultant and culinary teacher.  After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Dana completed a two-year program at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, winning several awards and graduating at the top of her class.  She trained in France with Michelin Three-Star chefs Georges Blanc and Michel Guerard and with renowned patissier Pierre Hermé at Fauchon. 

After cooking in New York City at Bouley, Dana moved to Los Angeles to become General Manager at L’Orangerie, one of the city’s most highly regarded formal restaurants.  In 1994, seeing a need to engage her local community, she launched the Beverly Hills Farmers Market, which became the inspiration for her own line of food products. Her Danabelle’s Oven-Fresh Scones, Veggibles and Fruitles won awards at the International Fancy Food Show and sold to supermarkets and airline companies for nearly a decade.

Dana currently lives with her husband and three children in Los Angeles.  In addition to consulting for food companies on new product development, Dana teaches popular cooking classes to children and adults.  She especially enjoys combining cooking and philanthropy for a variety of children’s causes.  She is a founding member of Everychild Foundation and concert classical pianist. Her first cookbook, Summertime Anytime, was published in the Spring of 2008 by Clarkson Potter.

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Donatella Arpaia Launch Event AND Her New Martini Cocktail Recipe

Italy: the land of pizza, pasta, prosecco, Prada, and Jersey Shore? If that last one doesn’t throw you off, then it’s high time to be reminded of how stylish all things Italian can be. Celebrity Chef Donatella Arpaia is doing just that by partnering with iconic Italian spirits brand Martini to bring glamour back to dining and entertaining the Italian way.

The launch event celebrating her new role as Martini’s culinary and entertaining expert was held at Donatella’s DBar in Chelsea, chicly styled in all black and silver (the trendy foil to the opulent white and gold Donatella restaurant which is connected by a “secret” back door). Donatella, author of Donatella Cooks: Simple Food Made Glamorous (hyperlink to book affiliate) and a guest judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” chose some of her Italian classics with a twist to serve at the party, like Arancini (rice balls) with orange zest and popcorn with truffle oil.

To bring some Italian taste to your next party, try this Donatella’s new signature cocktail recipe: It’s great for a Sunday Brunch or a BBQ (and it’s delicious!).

The Donatella
3 ounces MARTINI Prosecco
¾ ounces of GREY GOOSE
½ ounce of MARTINI Bianco
3 slices cucumber
1 leaves of basil
1 cherry tomato
½ ounce of lemon juice
½ ounce of simple syrup
Garnish: Campari Tomato

In a cocktail shaker place all ingredients. Muddle gently. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a tall glass. Top with Prosecco. Add garnish.

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After living in Northern Italy for a few months, I came away with a love for their signature drink—the Venetian Spritz. It’s an aperitif, a before dinner drink meant to stimulate your appetite. Spritz is made with one part Prosecco, one part Campari or Aperol, and one part soda water. Garnish with an olive and a slice of orange. Refreshing and light, it’s the perfect summer cocktail. —Caitlin O’Malley

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