In the space of a day we've gone from shorts to light jackets and I'm reveling in the change. Fall is my favorite time of year, cool sunny days and clear, chilly evenings loaded with stars. It's the beginning of the cooking season, when applying heat to ingredients is no longer an apathetic chore but a cozy pastime that warms the home as well as the belly. I love the faint scent of woodsmoke that will soon enliven the air (wood burning fireplaces are common in our neighborhood), the crackle of fallen leaves underfoot, the crisp breeze sifting through my hair and the warm sunshine that feels like a blessing against my cheeks. Autumn is here. Although there may still be a few hot days scattered through the next few weeks, I'm looking forward to earthy mushrooms and roasting meats, creamy potatoes and dense succulent squash, handmade pastas sauced with gravy and sprinkled with aged Parmigiano, whiskey kissed welsh rarebit, crisp juicy apples and hot buttered rum.