by Sybil PrattSeptember, 2005
Flexible, friendly fiestas
Summer may be over, but the ease of summertime entertaining should last throughout the year and Pam Anderson's new book, Perfect Recipes for Having People Over, is the perfect guide for getting get-togethers together without muddle, mess or meltdown. First and foremost, Pam wants you to be realistic about time and flexible about ingredients. Can't find the hominy for the quick, crowd-pleasing White Chicken Chili? Substitute a can of white cannellini beans. No red onions, use scallions. No baby spinach, try arugula. She's organized her book in the same way she organizes her menus: first comes The Big Stuff, main courses divided into kitchen casual, goodies on the grill, more festive dining room dinners and breakfast bonanzas a fun and economical way to entertain. Then comes All the Rest, the appetizers, salads, sides and desserts that play mix-and- match supporting roles. The recipes 200 in all from Really Good Lasagna (fab and never blobby) to Rosemary-Scented Roast Pork Loin and Orange-Glazed Asparagus to decadent Molten Chocolate Cakes, are super. But most appealing to me are the questions that follow every recipe and their easy, informative answers about when to serve the dish, what to serve with it, how to take shortcuts and make variations, how far ahead to cook and how to use leftovers. A pluperfect performance by Perfect Recipe Pam.