Food for fools

Serve your family a meal in which things are not as they appear. April Fools’ Day is traditionally a day to play practical jokes on others, send people on fool’s errands, and play tricks to on the gullible and unsuspecting.

Top: Golden and crisp on the outside with an ooey-gooey icing oozing out

Top: Golden and crisp on the outside with an ooey-gooey icing oozing out

Serve your family a meal in which things are not as they appear. April Fools’ Day is traditionally a day to play practical jokes on others, send people on fool’s errands, and play tricks to on the gullible and unsuspecting.

While most people are on their toes on April Fools’ Day, the one place where a prank is least expected is at the dinner table.

This year why not use your kitchen as the launching pad for pranks that are not only in “good taste” but tasty too!

Whip up some Twinkies that look like hot dogs, whipped mashed potatoes that appear to be frosting, and wormy apples to put in lunch boxes. To really get your victim it’s best to try recipes that fool the eye and trick the taste buds.

This April Fool’s day, set the stage by letting your family know that tonight you’re tired and that you will be serving cereal for supper. Then whip up the perfectly white creamy cauliflower soup garnished with garam masala-spiced toasted-Os cereal floating on the top. Your family will really question your sanity until, of course, they take the first spoonful.

Then surprise everyone with a meatloaf cake. Prepare your favourite meatloaf and bake it in two 9-inch cake pans.

Reduce the cooking time from what you would usually cook it since the meatloaf cake is thinner. While the meatloaf cakes are baking, prepare some creamy mashed potatoes. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes on one of the cakes and top it with the second one.

Use the remaining mashed potatoes to “frost” your cake. Cut a few cherry tomatoes in half and use them to decorate the top. The meat loaf can also be made into cupcake if you use muffin pan.

Since your serving cake for dinner, it only makes sense to eat spaghetti for dessert.

Put a slice of pound cake on a plate. Spoon some softened ice cream in a pastry bag with a thin round tip. Pipe the ice cream over the pound cake in a swirly motion to resemble spaghetti noodles.

Freeze for about 15-20 minutes to allow the ice cream to harden back up. Top with strawberry jam as tomato sauce and a few coconut flakes to resemble Parmesan cheese.

If you are out of ice cream how about a grilled cheese dessert?

Slice pound cake sandwich-bread thin, toast two slices, spread one with Cheddar-colour thick frosting (let a bit ooze over the edge), top with the second slice and cut in half.

If your family is craving something a little more healthy, how about sunny side up eggs! Canned peach halves make for great egg yolks while yogurt make very real looking egg whites.

And let’s not forget the drinks.

Meals like these deserve a fun twist on a beverage as well. Prepare some lemon Jell-O and pour it into glasses. Add a straw and let it set. It will look just like a glass of lemonade. You can even decorate the glass with a slice of lemon.

Here are some more tips and tricks for April Fools food fun.

• How about serving up the all time favourite hot dog? Actually, it’s cake!

Cut a loaf pound cake into a rectangle about the size of a hot dog bun. Cut a ridge into the middle. Fill with two Twinkies that have been covered with red icing. Place them end to end in the ridge of the “bun” and smooth the icing over to make it appear that it’s one long hot dog.

Squirt the top with red frosting for “ketchup,” yellow frosting for “mustard” and chopped up green gummy candies for “relish.”

l Make vegetables out of chewy candy. Unwrap chewy candy. Microwave the candy for 5 to 7 seconds on a paper towel.

Form green candies into green beans and peas. Make orange candy into carrot chunks.

• Use an apple corer to make a small hole in the side of an apple. Insert a gummy worm into the hole. Pack the apple in a sack lunch.

• Make mock sushi. Form rice crispy treats into small circles. Poke a hole in the center. Put a piece of gummy worm in the hole. Wrap a strip of fruit leather around the outside of the rice crispy treat.

Have fun and get creative this April Fool’s Day.

Cauliflower Soup

1 heads cauliflower, broken into florets

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

Butter

900ml vegetable broth

750ml (3 cups) half and half or whipping cream

Salt and pepper to taste

2ml (1/4 tsp) ground nutmeg

45ml (3 tbsp) butter

15ml (1 tbsp) garam masala)

250ml (1 cup) Cheerios

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and add spices. Add Cheerios and toss thoroughly. Transfer spiced Cheerios to a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes, or until crispy. Reserve.

In a large pot over medium heat bring cauliflower, onion and cream to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cauliflower is completely soft. Cool and then purée entire contents of pot in a blender until smooth. Thin with vegetable stock until soup consistency. Add cream and boil again until soup has slightly thickened. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

To serve, pour soup into a cereal-style bowl and sprinkle generously with spiced Cheerios.

Meat Loaf

125ml ( 1/2 cup) packed brown sugar

125ml (1/2 cup) ketchup

1 1/2 pounds lean ground meat

125ml (1/2 cup) milk

2 eggs

7ml (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt

2ml (1/4 teaspoon) ground black pepper

1 small onion, chopped

2ml (1/4 teaspoon) ground ginger

175ml (3/4 cup finely) crushed saltine cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease pan.

Mix brown sugar and the ketchup. Put aside. In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into pan. Place ketchup mixture on top of meat during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear. Cupcakes only take about 30 minutes.

Madhu Badoni is a Red Deer-based freelance food writer. She can be reached at madhubadoni@gmail.com.

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