Lemons always remind me of spring because of their sunny color and fresh flavor they add to food. I love to use lemon juice to add a bright citrusy flavor to dishes, and the zest shouldn’t be wasted either — it packs a punch of flavor in just a small amount. Mint is also another favorite flavor of mine and tangy lemon and cool mint taste great together.

Risotto is a creamy, traditional Italian rice dish that’s so versatile it’s great for any time of the year or occasion. So, thanks to my affection for lemon and mint during this season, I decided to marry the two in this dish.
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paella

Every ethnic cuisine has their form of a one pot, rice-based dish that usually includes some form of meat and/or seafood with vegetables. One of my favorite versions of this is Spanish paella. Paella is traditionally made in a large pan called a “paellera” (go figure) with short- or medium-grain rice and given its characteristic yellow color from saffron threads, as well as its distinct flavor. Paella varies from region to region in Spain, the coastal areas include mostly seafood in theirs, such as mussels, clams and shrimp. Other traditional versions feature Spanish dry chorizo and even snails. While traditonal versions of paella are absolutely wonderful (definitely a must-try ethnic dish), I am hardly a traditionalist so I felt I had to put my own spin on it.

First of all, I didn’t feel like slaving over a hot stove to make my paella and I hadn’t used my fabulous rice cooker in ages, so I busted that bad boy out and got to work. I know I’ve already raved about all of the amazing things a rice cooker can do in a short amount of time, but I feel I must again and pay homage to my dear friend and kitchen appliance. Did I also mention it can cook rice perfectly? (more…)

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