Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Food's Day!!

So, it's been a bit since I wrote on the blog. For a while now I've wanted to get it up and running and here it is!!

So in the ongoing crisis that is our fertility situation, I ultimately came to a realization: I don't have to "save up" the fun things I want to do for birthdays, holidays, etc. until I have kids. I've got the time and energy now, so why not celebrate myself by doing awesome things?

I will tell you why not: it is incredibly hard work.

Take today, for instance. Today is April Fool's Day (aka, the worst holiday ever that I hate). I play practical jokes a lot. (mainly jumping out and scaring Greta as she wanders around the house). But I'm a firm believer in doing funny things if you're funny and not doing things that you think will be funny but aren't if you aren't funny. (there's no better way to write that). But on April Fool's Day, everyone seems to think they've got carte blanche to do whatever they want. So they end up doing stupid, reckless and hurtful things in the name of humor and it makes me unhappy.

ANYWAY...last year, a clever friend of mine posted a picture of a non-awful trick: she'd made meatloaf "cupcakes" with mashed potato "frosting." That got me thinking and I decided that this year, I'd play a similar trick on Brandon. There are a lot of awesome April Fool's Day tricky foods out there (I saw a picture of a bundle of asparagus that was actually a chocolate cake!!). To be clear: IMHO, the only acceptable April Fool's Day foods are those that are a pleasant surprise. NO laxative brownies, surprise gross mystery ingredients or inedible foods substituted for real foods.

To that end, I decided we'd have pizza and cupcakes for dinner, but not necessarily in that order. The other hard thing about being so whimsical today is that I didn't check the meat or cooking ingredients that I had (I'm kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants April Fool's Day cook) and Brando had the car so I had to make due. So instead of the adorable and beautifully presented meatloaf cupcakes, I made twelve small chicken pot pies. (this upped the workload to the point that I literally did nothing but make this food all day).

Here's the result (with a bit of my creative process thrown in).

Pizza and cupcakes or cupcakes and pizza?
Step one: a giant cookie. I used this cookie pizza recipe, but added in 1 cup of milk chocolate chips, 1/2 Ghirardelli white chocolate bar (smashed) and 5 mini heath bars (smashed). The recipe required a much smaller quantity of ingredients, which was good because by the end of the day I was trying to churn Greta milk for more butter (that's disgusting, I apologize--it is not true--I was just very short on butter) 
I made a nice simple fondant while the cookie was cooling and used it to form the mushrooms, pepperonis, green onions, black olives and cooked cheese you'll see later. But the first thing I added to the cooled cookie was the tomato sauce. I made a simple frosting (butter, salt, powdered sugar, cream) added A LOT of red food coloring and a little brown to make it more tomato-ey. I put in red and green sprinkles to make it look more realistic (like herbs in the sauce).
Voila! (Sadly, by this time I was already thinking fondly of taking a nap and ordering out for dinner)
Then came the cheese. The darker is fondant that I colored yellow and brown to make it look more done. I froze it and then grated it over the pizza. The white is white chocolate, also grated. (Fun fact: when dried, the darker stuff looks so much like toasted coconut that Brando couldn't tell that it wasn't even after tasting it!)
Unfortunately, I had squandered all my white chocolate making the giant cookie, so a sacrifice needed to be made.
Sorry, ducky!
All the toppings are fondant. I spent a long time making "realistic" fat and other unidentifiable deposits in the pepperoni. The snakes were intended to be green peppers (which Brandon is allergic to (my only venture into the crueler aspects of the holiday)). The brown and white things are my attempt at canned mushrooms.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!
Okay, so the pizza was mostly fun. The cupcakes were mostly awful. I used this recipe and it was awesome--it tasted ridiculously good. Brandon had 3 cupcakes for dinner. But it was so time consuming.
I did make one fairly major change to her recipe in that I cooked the bottom crusts in the cupcake papers for about 10 minutes at 350F. This ensured (in my mind at least) that they wouldn't be soggy and underdone when everything else went in together. The crust turned out fabulous and the tops and bottoms sealed up fine even though the bottoms were already cooked.

I whipped up mashed potato "frosting" in the spirit of my friend's beautiful creations from last year. Tragically, where her potatoes were stiff and malleable, mine were...gooey. They tasted really good though, so I went with it, dyed them pink and added a few sprinkles (coarse sea salt mixed with blue food coloring).
A close-up.
When Brandon got home, I proudly presented dinner, which he accepted with a HUGE amount of trepidation. I think maybe I was *too* excited. But then he loved them!!


Krystal said...

that is the best April Fool's prank ever! I'm not an April Fool's fan either but this is the best I've ever seen! I may steal it for next year.

Mama Caucajewmexdian said...

Fabulous!! (I think the gooey-ness of the mashed potato frosting makes them look more realistically homemade.) Love it.

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