Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CLOSED Dining at the Ravens Cookbook: A Review, Recipe and a Giveaway

I'm so pleased to talk about this wonderful book today. It is derived from a great place -- The Stanford Inn -- an all-vegan eco-resort located in Mendocino, CA. I haven't had the pleasure of staying at the inn or dining at its all-vegan restaurant, The Ravens, but after looking through this cookbook, I really want to make both of those events a priority the next time I'm in northern California. 

This cookbook is lovely. I've really enjoyed flipping through it. There's a forward by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, color pictures are included next to nearly every recipe, and each photographed dish is artfully and elegantly presented so that you can sense just how classy the restaurant itself is. It is obvious that the authors put a lot of time and effort into creating the recipes and writing the cookbook. 

There are so many recipes that I still want to try, such as:
  • Citrus Polenta with Braised Garden Greens and a Creamy Toasted Cashew Sauce
  • Ravens Chilaquiles
  • Trumpet Royale or Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce
  • Almond Hazelnut-Encrusted Tempeh
  • Vanilla Crème Brûlée
However, there are only so many hours in a day, so I will be sharing with you just one delicious recipe from the book, for Potato Leek Soup with Drunken Leeks. Leeks are in season right now, and potatoes and vegetable broth are both likely foods you have on hand already, so this should be a fairly easy soup to pull together for dinner. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did!

4–6 servings

This is one of The Ravens’ very popular soups. When it’s on the menu at night, the next day there’s none left for the staff “family meal.” In the days of root cellars, potato leek soups were commonly served in winter. We serve this soup year-round.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4–5 medium Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
⅓ cup minced parsley
3 large leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
6 cups Ravens All-Purpose Vegetable Stock or store-bought vegan broth
1/2 cup coconut cream (use the top layer of coconut cream from a can of coconut milk)
1–2 tablespoons lemon juice to taste
Salt and white pepper to taste
Drunken Leeks (see note)
Crispy Leeks (see note)
Tangy Sour Crème, for garnish 
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add potatoes, celery, parsley, and leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 8–12 minutes.
  2. Add vegetable stock, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30–40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Leave chunky, or blend in a high-speed blender to desired texture.
  4. Lastly, add the coconut cream, and season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and white pepper.
  5. Garnish with Drunken Leeks, Crispy Leeks, and Tangy Sour Crème, in that order.
To make the Drunken Leeks: Cut 2 leeks lengthwise into thin strips. In a heavy sauté pan, wilt the leek strips in 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Douse wilted leeks with 1 cup red wine and simmer for 10 minutes.

To make the Crispy Leeks: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice 1 leek into 1/4-inch disks and sauté in 1 teaspoon olive oil with 1 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a sheet tray and crisp up in oven for 15 minutes, or until browned.

Makes 1 3/4 cups

This sour crème can be used as a base dressing in potato salad or coleslaw. For those of us who like Thousand Island dressing over a wedge of head lettuce, re-create it by adding a small amount of ketchup and drained pickle relish to this recipe.

1 (14-ounce) package Wildwood Sprouted Silken Tofu or 1 (13-ounce) box other firm silken tofu
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Season with additional salt or lemon juice to desired taste.
BenBella books and the authors of Dining at the Ravens, Jeff and Joan Stanford, have generously offered me a chance to give a lucky reader one copy of this fantastic cookbook! Please enter the giveaway below. It will run from midnight of 2/11 to midnight of 2/16.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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