Anna Thomas, author of the best-selling The Vegetarian Epicure, which became the bible of vegetarian cooks in the seventies and remains a classic, now returns with an exuberant new cookbook that reflects the way we live and eat today. The 66 menus are geared to busy, health-conscious families who are drawn to good fresh foods and lighter fare, filled with the pungent ethnic flavors that Anna Thomas loves.
Here are more than 325 recipes for every occasion, from seasonal family meals and little dinner parties to picnics and holiday feasts. For example:
A Simple Autumn Dinner Party that includes a freshly made Focaccia, Lima Bean Soup, Torta di Polenta with a Roasted Tomato Sauce, and Parfaits of Fruit and Mascarpone
A family meal of a Salad of Bitter Greens with Gorgonzola Cheese and Walnuts, Oyster Mushroom Chowder, Fast Buttermilk Rolls, and an Apple and Pear Crumble
A celebratory Cinco de Mayo Dinner of Nopalito Salad, Tamales with Zucchini and Cilantro Filling, Chile Ancho Salsa, Garlic and Cumin Rice, and Flan with Caramel and Pineapple
There are easy Salad Lunches, Soup Suppers, Pasta Dinners, Dinner in a Bowl, and A Casserole Supper--all foods that children love. And there are salad lunches for hot days, mezze (hearty little Middle Eastern dishes) for a crowd, a variety of teas, brunches, and a wine-tasting.
Freshness is all-important to Anna Thomas, and she offers great tips about growing tomatoes, gathering wild mushrooms, and understanding chiles, as well as suggesting strategies for getting children to eat well.
The captivating voice of Anna Thomas, which inspired a whole generation, is now even more irresistible as she persuades her contemporaries, pressured by all the demands of the day, to carve out a little time to prepare delicious, healthy meals and to experience the joy of sharing with family and friends the pleasure of the table.
From the Introduction
That first Vegetarian Epicure,
and its sequel, captured the geist
of a certain time--it was a guilt-free era, when butter and cream were used without a care and when cheese ruled. And while some may say, "Alas, things are so different now," I say thank goodness they are. We are all finding healthier ways to eat and enjoy lighter food, and I, for one, have never enjoyed it more. But this is not the only change that inspired me to work on a new book.
The years roll by, crowded with living, and so many things have changed since then. I have lived and cooked in so many different situations. I have traveled and worked. I've started raising two wonderful children...As a country, too, we've grown more sophisticated about cooking. Ethnic and cultural influences keep surfacing, and the availability of good raw materials continues to expand.
And yet, the really important things don't change.
Food is part of our lives every day. We eat to live, and why not live well? Fresh food, prepared with pleasure, is a wonderful thing...Good food brings sustenance and joy. Friendships are formed over it, wounds are healed, milestones are celebrated, and children raised on it. Good food is more than a recipe; it's part of everything else.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas. Copyright © 1996 by Anna Thomas. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
About Anna Thomas
Anna Thomas wrote her first cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, while she was a film student at UCLA, and followed it a few years later with The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two. When she is not cooking, she writes screenplays and produces films. Her screen credits include My Family, Mi Familia and El Norte, both of which were nominated for an Academy Award. She lives in Ojai, California, with her husband, Gregory Nava, and their two sons.