Breakfast at Tiffany’s (aka the Garden)

It’s early May, and the growing season looks so promising: You’ve weeded beds, added compost, and attached hoses. You’re buying starts and scattering seeds. Your garden looks neat and orderly, the rain’s handling your watering, and after winter’s gray you’re thrilled by the first daff blossoms and garlic shoots.

Fast-forward to late July, and it’s a different story. Your garden has exploded, or perhaps imploded. Weeds threaten to outpace desirables in every corner. Early plants have gone bitterly to seed, and late ones are suffering heatstroke. One day your basil gets a sunburn; to compensate, you overwater and drown your tomatoes. You’ve got 6 activities crammed into every weekend, and your planned garden-fresh dinner is supplanted by takeout. You look out the window, afraid to go deeper into your neglected garden. Why did you do this again? Here’s my secret to enjoying this personal jungle.
Read more about my secret to enjoying this personal jungle

Risotto

Why do we consider pasta to be easy and versatile but risotto to be challenging? Italians, the masters of both, don’t see it this way. “Every conceivable vegetable, seafood, and meat can go into risotto,” says my sumptuously illustrated copy of Venetian Taste. “The frugal Venetian does not hesitate to stretch a bit of leftover into half a meal by amplifying it with rice.”

I have often eaten delicious risotto, but my first memorable one was in Venice, turned deep violet-black by cuttlefish ink. Although replicating this particular pairing is nearly impossible stateside, the pale, creamy rice dishes colored by local vegetables and various spices are well within reach. All you need is to start with the right rice and then adjust your standard technique for cooking it. The rest, as the Venetians would say, is due volte più gustoso.
Learn to make Fresh Improv Risotto and Sunshine Risotto