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Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day Dinner

Since it is Earth Day and all, I'd like to do my part and reduce my carbon footprint. My plan is to stop cooking - well, at least to stop burning what I'm cooking.

Lately I've been all about the turkey and provolone - I'm trying to get everyone at my house in touch with their "Inner Deli". There's that, and the fact that when it comes to cooking, I am functionally retarded. I know I'm not supposed to say "retarded" because that insults all the developmentally disabled people of the world - people who, incidentally, could cook circles around me. I offer my apologies, but truly there is no better descriptive term for my lack of skills. So, when the natives started getting restless and voicing their discontent, I instituted a subsequent "All Pizza Hut, All the Time" tactic - that has not gone well, either. I have really tried to make friends with that white box in the kitchen with the fire coming out of it, but that has yielded mixed results, meaning that I caught a dish towel on fire, set off all of the fire alarms in the house, and set up a healthy neurosis for my children. This way, at their first session of therapy, their shrink can see they have clearly defined "mama-trauma" issues!

After multiple burns to my digits and other assorted limbs that were usually accompanied by mild streams of profanity, I figured it was time to seek some professional help of the culinary persuasion. (My therapist has taken to stabbing herself in the ear whenever I start recounting one of my disastrous cooking stories.) Imagine my surprise when my most recent foodie failure, blackened oven mitt with a side of "my-gag-reflex-isn't-what-it-used-to-be" was not a huge success - no accounting for taste, I suppose!

My searches proved successful and I found some wonderful mentors and ideas that I'd love to share with you. Moving beyond "Cooking for Dummies," I found a "breast-tacular" chicken recipe in this month's issue of Sunset Magazine as well as great inspiration from Donna Hay's site and magazine. Donna gave me great ideas for side dishs and Ina Garten's site, The Barefoot Contessa supplied me with a smorgasbord of selections for desert.

In conclusion, I'd like to address my family and say, "Leather up Nancy boys and girls, and grab a fork, because your going to be fine . . . but just in case, keep the take out menus near by."

Photos courtesy of Sunset Magazine, Donna Hay and The Barefoot Contessa.