historic farm and eco-resort

A Day in the Kitchen

Post 43 of 142

After living at the Inn for a couple weeks, I quickly realized that I really like spending time in the kitchen. Chef Sadhana, the creative director at The Ravens’ Restaurant, was nice enough to let me observe and take pictures of a private cooking class she gave my second day here, and ever since then I’ve been quick to snap up other opportunities to learn how they make and develop their vegan cuisine!

IMG_1968

Me in my super legit chef’s jacket

Wednesday nights at The Ravens’ are ethnic nights, and for the month of June they’re focusing on Salvadoran food: pupusas stuffed with mushrooms and sweet potatoes with a cabbage slaw topping (anything involving masa = awesome in my book), served alongside fiery rice and flavor-packed beans. So when Sadhana asked me to help her prep for last Wednesday’s special cuisine, I was more than happy to put on an apron and help her in the restaurant’s kitchen.

Mushrooms for the pupusa filling

Mushrooms for the pupusa filling

We started on the black beans around noon in order to be ready for 5:30 pm dinner, since those take the longest. We filled two massive aluminum pots with the dried, rinsed beans and water, accompanied by a stick of kombu (dried seaweed) for flavor in each. Seaweed in beans–too cool! I was then put in charge of making a pureed-greens-and-spices blend for the beans while Sadhana got started on the mushroom filling for the pupusas.

IMG_1975

Check out the beautiful greens that went into the sauce! Green onions, cilantro, and garlic. After washing them and giving the green onions a rough chop, I threw everything into a Vitamix (wish I had one of those at home) to blend up with some black pepper and a TON of red chili powder (or at least it seemed that way–I’m also not used to seasoning food in that quantity!).

IMG_1979

Fresh cilantro, green onions, and garlic

Here’s what it looked like after blending about half of it (not the prettiest color because of the spices). I then stirred it into the beans we had cooking on the stove.

IMG_1980

While I did that Sadhana had also started on the rice. I don’t remember exactly which seasonings she put in, but this is certainly the largest pot of rice I’ve ever seen (it spanned two burners). Here she’s dumping some vegetable stock into the pan.

IMG_1987

While all of this was going on, I suddenly got a whiff of the most amazing smell ever coming out of the oven. Carson, one of the other chefs working the kitchen, had just taken two carrot cakes out. But, to be honest, the strong scent of nutmeg filling my nostrils reminded me more of the old fashioned donuts I used to get with my dad as a Sunday morning treat at home. Mmmm.

Incredible-smelling carrot cakes

Incredible-smelling carrot cakes

All around us, other cooks were getting other components of meals ready for dinner last night. It was so cool to be surrounded by the everyday operations of a real, professional, working kitchen. I love to cook, but my past experience has generally involved the small kitchen in my parents’ home or in the dorms at school. Oh, and measuring spoons. I had to ask Sadhana how big of a “pinch” she meant when she said “pinch.” We quickly determined that one of Sadhana’s “pinches” was two of mine. But in my defense, this definitely looks like more of a “very small handful” than a “pinch” to me. :)

Sadhana's "pinch"

Sadhana’s “pinch”

Next up was the part I was most excited to learn: the pupusas! Into the bowls went masa, vinegar, garlic powder, salt, baking powder, and warm water. And then lots of kneading. Estaban, one of the other cooks helping Sadhana prep, showed us how it was done: there was a certain push-and-grab action that we attempted to master. I was then tasked with making 2.4 ounce balls of the dough, which we formed into little pouches for the sweet potato and mushroom fillings. We then closed them up like little coin purses and flattened them out like pancakes between our hands. The masa was sticky! My hands were totally caked in the stuff when I was done. I think I still have a little bit stuck on a few of my nails. But it was so worth it–the results were delicious!

IMG_2017          IMG_2021

IMG_2019          IMG_2023

IMG_2025

Around 3:30 we took a break to get dessert ready for tea time at the Inn: a raw, vegan carrot cake (different than the ones that had earlier come out of the oven!) I had made the day before with Jen. Of course we had to take a small slice to taste, so we would know what to pair it with :) Check this beauty out!

IMG_2041

We then threw the pupusas on to a cast iron flat top grill to cook, and all of a sudden I was alone with the main component of tonight’s special. A short moment of panic ensued when I realized how much faster those on the center of the grill were going than the those on the edges, but I soon settled into my pupusa-making mojo and had an awesome time–it was like flipping pancakes on a massive griddle.

                                       IMG_2028          IMG_2032

Finally, about 6 hours after we started, it was time for me to head out, right as dinner was beginning. I think I fell face-first into bed as soon as I got to my room, and only emerged a few hours later to get some tea before bed. Being in the kitchen all day is hard work! My feet were certainly ready for a break by the end of the day. That said, it was an awesome day, not only learning how to make a delicious vegan meal, but also spending a day seeing how the Ravens’ kitchen gets everything done to produce a high-quality vegan dinner every night. I hope to do it again soon!

The final product

The final product

 

PS- Being that it’s a Wednesday night, you can try out these dishes tonight at the Inn!

 

, , , , , ,

This article was written by monica

Menu
Big River 1 Bedroom Suite


Big River 1 Bedroom Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $360-$440

Expansive and romantic – This original one bedroom suite sits in the middle of the Big River Building affording views sweeping over Big River Nurseries to Mendocino Bay and over Big River Estuary into the historic village of Mendocino … from a private deck. The bedroom has a king size bed and the living room a sofa bed. The fireplace is an Irish Waterford iron stove which provides the smell and crackling wood of an open fireplace in a rare uniquely designed unit. The suite also features a flat screen HDTV, DVD, compact stereo system, refrigerator, coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private deck. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Big River Double Queen


Big River Double Queen Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$289

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with two queen size beds. Each offers a wood burning fireplace or Irish Waterford stove, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Big River Executive King


Big River Executive King Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $221-$299

Bed Sitting Rooms – seating areas with sofas and king size beds. Each offers a wood burning fireplace, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Big River Executive Queen


Big River Executive Queen Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $221 -$299

Bed Sitting Rooms with seating areas with sofas and queen size beds. Each offers a wood burning fireplace, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Big River Garden Level


Big River Garden Level Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$289

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with a queen size bed and/or daybed on our garden level. Daybeds can provide twin bed comfort for up to two additional persons with a pop-up twins under each day bed. Each room offers a wood burning fireplace or Irish Waterford stove, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Big River Top Level with Daybed


Big River Queen with Daybed Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$289

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with a queen size bed and daybed. The daybed provides twin bed comfort for up to two additional persons with a pop-up twins under each day bed. Each room offers a wood burning fireplace or Irish Waterford stove, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Forest Executive


Forest Executive Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $245-$320

Simple elegance – Slightly larger rooms and baths distinguish these accommodations from those of Big River. Each one offers a large wood burning fireplaces, king size beds, wet bars, private decks that overlook Mendocino Bay and the village of Mendocino. The rooms also feature a flat screen HDTV, DVD, compact stereo system, refrigerator, coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private deck. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Forest 1 Bedroom Suite


Forest 1 Bedroom Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $312-$460

Ultimate Mendocino Romance – One bedroom suites offering large wood burning fireplaces; 27″ televisions with DVD; compact stereo systems; wet bars supplied with bottled water and juice drinks; coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee; a sofa bed; decks; Mendocino Bay and Mendocino village views. The bedroom has its own television and a king size bed. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Forest 2 Bedroom Suite


Forest 2 Bedroom Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $312-$460

Ultimate Mendocino Romance – One bedroom suites offering large wood burning fireplaces; 27″ televisions with DVD; compact stereo systems; wet bars supplied with bottled water and juice drinks; coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee; a sofa bed; decks; Mendocino Bay and Mendocino village views. The bedroom has its own television and a king size bed. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Secluded Barn Suite


Barn Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $315 – $390

Peaceful and private – Vaulted ceilings distinguish this large one bedroom suite, equipped with a king size bed and sofa bed in the bedroom and another in the living room. The living rooms fireplace is stocked with firewood, with just outside the door. There’s a kitchen with dining area, and a small yard and garden. The suite is within a barn which is also home to the Stanfords and Dan, a Morgan horse. Flat Screen HD Televisions, DVD, Stereos, and more amenities.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Garret Suite


Garret Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $239 – $279

A two-story suite with exceptional views – One bedroom suite with kitchen facilities in a 1930’s cottage located just south of Big River Bridge and overlooking the Llamas, organic gardens, Big River estuary and Catch A Canoe. Bedroom has a queen bed and living room a sofa bed. This suite has a deck and a wood burning Buck Stove.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Canoe Suite


Canoe Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $259 – $299

A magical cottage with Big River views – One bedroom suite with kitchen facilities in a 1930’s cottage located just south of Big River Bridge and overlooking the Big River estuary and Catch A Canoe. The bedroom has a queen bed and living room a sofa bed. This Mendocino suite has a deck and a wood burning brick Heatilator fireplace. HD Flat Screen TV, DVD/VCR, stereo systems and more.

GET FULL DETAILS

×
Big River Petite Queen


Big River Petite Queen Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$269

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with queen size beds on the lower and upper floors of the inn. Each offers a wood burning fireplace, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

GET FULL DETAILS

×