I have to start out by saying that I was at Stanford Inn’s The Ravens restaurant several years ago, when it was unfortunately still a lacto-ov4 ½ stars
I have to start out by saying that I was at Stanford Inn’s The Ravens restaurant several years ago, when it was unfortunately still a lacto-ovo vegetarian place, and to my great disappointment the dining room was closed for floor renovation, so the dining was done in what is basically the lobby. Both have views of the trees but the dining room looked as though it had much better views and ambience. I was in the area for 2 days and ate 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts there. It was my last trip, way too long ago. I would love to go back now that it’s all vegan and when the dining room is open for meals. I did love walking through their gardens. The food was great. Even though it wasn’t yet vegan (I should have waited to go until it was!!) the vegan selections were more than adequate and the food was so good that I ordered the same thing for breakfast the second day as I’d had the first morning; it was so good I just had to have it again. (The recipe is in the book, on page 46: Citrus Polenta with Braised Greens and a creamy toasted cashew sauce.) Darn the exorbitant cost and the scary road with the nonexistent shoulder and a drop down to the ocean; both of them make it unlikely I’ll ever be able to return. So I’m glad that they’ve shared some of their recipes in this book.
I would love to own this cookbook, but I’ll have to hope that I’ll always have access to borrowed copies.
Although it’s a paperback book, it’s lovely. There aren’t photos for every single recipe, but most have them, and there are additional photos of the grounds & inn and owners. I enjoyed the personal stories about how the inn & restaurant was started and how it evolved. I appreciate how they utilize the talents of all who work for or intern with them, including getting feedback about recipes and being open to learning news recipes.
If it wasn’t for what I consider too heavy use of foods I don’t like (typical for most cookbooks I read) such as coconut, mustard, vinegar, sea vegetables, vegan meats and cheeses, etc. I probably wouldn’t have deducted the ½ star. It’s a gourmet restaurant so I expect some of the recipes to be best for experienced cooks, so I didn’t deduct for that. Also, the instructions are clear and most of the recipes seem doable for most cooks. Having a pantry stuffed with many more ingredients than I ever have at hand would help a lot though.
I almost deducted another ½ star for a comment made on page 25: “We know that the plants we serve at The Ravens and living and sentient, but they are at the base of the “food chain” and eating them reduces the amount of energy required to bring food to our mouths, along with the suffering of animals.” Huh?! I’m someone who doesn’t believe plants are sentient. No brains, no central nervous system, etc. etc. etc. However, I read this as a cookbook and not a vegan theory, animal rights, or environmental book, so I’m willing to move along to the food.
I tend not to use recipes as is. I use them for ideas and inspiration. It’s actually almost always easy for me to substitute foods I like for those I don’t and often easy to simply leave out ingredients. It obviously depends on the kind of dish though.
Reading these kinds of cookbooks always makes me want to get a high end blender such as a Vitamix or a food processor or both. That probably won’t happen.
Here are the Contents:
Prologue Foreword by Colleen Patrick Goudreau
Part One About the Stanford Inn and The Ravens (with 5 interesting sub-sections)
Metric Conversion Chart Acknowledgements About the Authors Online Resources (limited pretty much to the inn and the restaurant) Index
The recipes I selected as those I’d like to make (or eat) are my taste. I left out a lot recipes when the ingredients I don’t like were a main part of the dish, or when I wasn’t sure tweaking would change the recipe too much. I have atypical tastes (I’ve discovered from eating with many other vegans and with vegetarians and omnivores) so many other eaters/readers might like other recipes better, and my list doesn’t reflect the variety presented in the cookbook. Aldo, there were many more I could have listed but I didn’t; the list would have gotten too long. Just FYI. Even with my opinionated list, I think it will give some info about the types of recipes the book includes.
The recipes that most interested me (in order of appearance) are:
from morning food: citrus polenta with braised garden greens and a creamy toasted cashew sauce; Ravens frittata and quiche; garden scramble; Ravens chilaquiles; Stanford Inn enchiladas
from appetizers & sides: black-eyed pea cakes; cauliflower ceviche; Indian-spiced kale and potato omelet; African rolls with sweet potato coulis; potato latkes (sans the sour créme garnish!!!); roasted corn relish or side; Ravens braised greens
from salads & dressings: none of the recipes, but I love the “Make Your Own Salad” lists on pages 140-141!
from soups: Ravens all purpose vegetable stock; red dahl; roasted fennel and cannellini bean soup with garlic and sage; summer sweet corn bisque; Mediterranean grilled vegetable soup with roasted tomatoes; asparagus soup with pistachio cream; watermelon gazpacho; broccoli soup with spinach
from entrées: Indian-spiced polenta napoleon; eggplant cannelloni; beggar’s purse; black pepper fettuccine with chardonnay sauce and grilled asparagus; vegetable napoleon; forbidden risotto with sunchoke lemon cream; moussaka
from desserts: chocolate chip cookies; pecan huckleberry cobbler; pecan torte
from pantry basics: flax-“egg”; herbed chickpea crepe; tofu ricotta; Mexican rice; Stanford Inn black beans; “refried” pinto beans
There is enough about their dishes and the atmosphere there that I do wish I could make a return trip, and stay there and especially eat there. I’m glad that if I ever get ambitious I can borrow the book again and try out some of the recipes. I already know that I love the citrus polenta breakfast dish....more
I finished 2 books in one day – VERY different types of books. This one I finished after the other, and it was a lovely way to end my reading day.
I hiI finished 2 books in one day – VERY different types of books. This one I finished after the other, and it was a lovely way to end my reading day.
I highly recommend this book to all vegans, to all families, and especially to people who have companion animals or relate to others’ animals, who live in areas with any kinds of wildlife, including urban dwellers, those who enjoy and appreciate nature, gardeners, and those who love crafts. In other words, I recommend this to many of my real world and online friends. I think this book would make a great gift for most people and most families.
I was thrilled to get an autographed copy (even though unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to any of her local events) even though I usually don’t care about autographs. I do like autographed books though, especially since in recent years I’ve relied mostly on the library and have purchased very few books.
I’ve been “in love” with Jon Stewart for years. Now I’m also “in love” with his wife & kids, the whole family. They’re a wonderful family and I believe other families will appreciate getting to know them and getting ideas from Tracey about activities in which they can participate.
This book is gorgeously illustrated. The pictures perfectly complement and enhance the text portions. They’re integral to the book.
The book is divided into 3 sections: Animals at Home, Backyard Wildlife, and Falling in Love in the Farm. The edges of the pages paper are color-coded: Animals at Home (pale pink), Backyard Wildlife (pale blue), and Falling in Love on the Farm (pale yellow), and also lavender for the Acknowledgements, Resources, and Index.
Teens and adults will be interested in Tracey’s autobiographical parts. I loved the humorous parts and was interested in her experiences and the various changes that she made in her life. All ages, including young children, will be interested in the heftier sections about animals, especially kids old enough to read and to help with the crafts ideas and the ways to help animals suggestions. So many great tips are given about how to properly relate to and help various types of animals, and if I could have a garden I’d be making thorough use of the suggestions provided. If I ever get to meet a horse I now know better how to approach and get to know one, and while I already knew a fair amount about relating with dogs and cats I still found the included information about them helpful.
Tracey is vegan and now Jon is mostly vegetarian. (I hope he goes vegan and is vocal about it.) The reader isn’t really told about the kids and what they consume. I appreciated how the author shares so much about her family, but while still careful about their privacy and not revealing more about them than I think they’d want or is appropriate. She talks mostly about herself and the animals.
This is not exactly a “vegan book” in the strict sense of the word. However, with all the descriptions of animal species and individuals within each species, including animals typically used for food and other things by humans, I hope the “message” gets across to those not yet vegan. The message, such as it is, is relatively subtle, in a way, but that makes this book appropriate for all audiences, and I think that is a huge positive. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and educational book.
My only two quibbles: 1. It’s farmed animal not farm animal, or should be, and 2. Gene Bauer co-founded Farm Sanctuary; he wasn’t the sole founder, but I know that these two details, particularly the latter, are of little interest to those who have not already very involved for a long time in the vegan movement....more