We all have dishes that intimidate us in the kitchen. For many years, mine was risotto. Despite the fact that I ordered it nearly every time we went out for Italian, I was overwhelmed by the prospect of recreating it at home. It does require a lot of hands-on time, but when the finished product involves spoonfuls of velvety rice in a decadent sauce, it's worth the effort. I used this recipe, since it was incredible in the fall, and to make it more summer appropriate, I substituted asparagus, green peas and prosciutto for the butternut squash, saffron and pancetta.
Since Southern California's weather varies little throughout the year, I rely on culinary traditions that signify the arrival of the different seasons. In autumn, I buy Pumpkin Butter from Trader Joe's that has such a distinct, spicy smell that's reminiscent of falling leaves ...read more