|Stanford Inn by the Sea on the Mendocino Coast|
|Certified-organic vegetable gardens at Stanford Inn by the Sea|
|View from Stanford Inn by the Sea overlooking the ocean|
Thin swaths of coastal fog drifted toward the tree tops as I followed the drive up to the inn. The inn itself is a handsome collection of wood buildings perched on the hillside. Painted dark brown with bright red trim, the buildings contrast beautifully with the verdant gardens and the trees. Inside the main lodge, the cooking classes are taught in the dining room of Raven’s Restaurant, which offers walls of windows with gorgeous views. Jeff Stanford, who has owned the inn with his wife Joan since 1980, greeted me and introduced me to the class instructor, Sid Garza-Hillman.
|Sid Garza-Hillman, Programs Director at the Mendocino Center for Living Well, preparing barbeque sauce|
|Removing the gills from the portobello mushrooms|
|Basting the portobello mushrooms with barbeque sauce|
|Sid demonstrating knife skills with the cabbage|
|Mixing tahini into the cabbage and carrots for the slaw|
The same barbeque sauce was used as a key ingredient for the baked beans. The recipe called for pinto beans, the barbeque sauce, and a little more maple syrup, molasses, tomato juice, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, and black pepper. I was thrilled with the results. The beans had a great smoky/slightly sweet/slightly tangy taste that reminded me of my mother’s baked beans.
|Preparing gluten-free, vegan jalapeño cornbread|
Preparing the vegan (and gluten-free) jalapeño cornbread provided insight on using egg substitutes. Sid’s recipe for egg replacements calls for combining 1 tablespoon of flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water and whisking to a gel. While most of the other ingredients for the cornbread were standard, a few others surprised me; notably a small amount of apple sauce and apple cider vinegar. When we sampled the cornbread out of the oven, I was impressed. It had a moister texture than I had expected, wasn’t too crumbly, and the scallions and jalapeños balanced the cornbread’s slightly sweet flavor. Sid proclaimed our cornbread to be better than the cornbread the restaurant was serving that night.
When the barbeque-slathered portbello mushrooms came out of the oven, Sid gleefully instructed the class to “cut them on the bias like a steak.” The vegans in the class just blinked a few times. With an exasperated laugh, he proceeded to demonstrate how to slice the mushrooms diagonally into strips. We finished cutting our barbeque portobello “steaks,” served up the baked beans, slaw, and cornbread, and then sat down to enjoy our vegan barbeque just as the sun broke through the fog.
|Deck outside of Raven's Restaurant|
In addition to the group classes, private cooking classes are also available. Topics include creamy vegan soups and cheeses, vegan baking and deserts, vegan sauces, dips and dressings, and more. The private classes are available daily beginning at 1 p.m., but must be reserved in advance. Private classes are $85 per person, $115 per couple, or $65 person for groups of three to six people.
Stanford Inn by the Sea
Highway 1 & Comptche-Ukiah Road
Mendocino, CA 95460
707-937-5615 or 800-331-8884