Nancy Mair, co-author of Simply Vegetarian and one of Ananda’s best cooks has written a cookbook for people who regularly cook just for one or two people.  Nancy’s latest cookbook, The Intimate Vegetarian gives you a delightful array of dishes that range from easy-to-prepare daily faire to exquisitely elegant meals for special occasions.

Says Nancy: “Whether simple or elaborate, meals that are delicious, colorful, and made with high quality ingredients are a delight to eat and will add enjoyment to your life. I’ve also discovered that the most essential ingredient in making the finest meals in the world is cooking from your heart.  Food that is lovingly prepared is the most deeply nourishing, comforting, and healing of all.”

The Intimate Vegetarian is full of wonderful tips and techniques for shopping, storing and preparing foods such as:

Cutting onions without “crying”:

“There are all kinds of methods that are supposed to prevent your eyes from watering and burning while cutting onions, and I’ve tried a lot of them over the years without notable success. However, there is one technique that helps immensely. Splash some vinegar (any vinegar will do) over the surface of your cutting board and rub it in before you start cutting. Your eyes will barely notice the onion’s airborne irritants.”

Cheese Enchiladas

A simple, colorful main course, these enchiladas take only minutes to prepare, have a fabulous flavor, and are a delight to behold. Add a side dish of warmed Mexican Bean dip and another of plain brown rice, and you have an exciting yet wholesome meal.

For 1 person:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2 enchiladas

2 6-inch corn tortillas
2/3 to 1 cup grated sharp
Cheddar or Jack cheese
2 Tbs. finely chopped red or
yellow onion (optional)
1/2 to 2/3 cup enchilada sauce,
divided
2 Tbs. sour cream
1 tsp. finely chopped green onion
1 Tbs. sliced black olives

For 2 people:

Prep time: 10-12 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 4 enchiladas

4 6-inch corn tortillas
1-1/3 to 2 cups grated sharp
Cheddar of Jack cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped red or
yellow onion (optional)
1 cup enchilada sauce, divided
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. finely chopped green onion
2 Tbs. sliced black olives

To prepare:
1. Set oven to broil. Place tortillas  flat on a foil-covered baking sheet (for easy cleanup). Spread cheese evenly over tortillas.

2. Set under broiler for a minute or so until cheese is almost melted and tortilla is soft. Remove from oven. When tortillas are still warm and soft, sprinkle with onion (if desired) and gently roll into a loose cylinder shape. Set aside, flap side down.

3. Preheat oven to 400° F. Pour half of the enchilada sauce in a loaf pan or 7-inch, round baking dish. (8” x 8” dish for 2). Place rolled tortillas in pan or dish, flap side down, and cover with remaining enchilada sauce. Spoon some of the sauce over each enchilada to thoroughly moisten tortillas.

4. Cover pan or dish with foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbling hot. Garnish each enchilada with a dollop of sour cream and a smattering of green onions and black olives.

Note to the cook

Leftover enchiladas reheat nicely in the oven or in a covered frying pan with a little water in the bottom.

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