Friday, April 2, 2010

A little April Fooling

When we set a date to have our friend's Gena and Erick over for dinner, at first I didn't realize it would be April 1. But once two and two came together- I knew an April Fool's dinner was more than in order. After all we've celebrated Ground Hog's Day, National Pancake Day, and March 4th since the start of this blog and also been known to celebrate Bubble Day and other, um, lesser known holidays around our house so an April Fool's dinner is totally in line with our MO.

There were, however, two almost fails to dinner. The first the "fauxberry pie" never mentions a pie crust in their ingredients. So with less than 1 hour before our guest were to arrive and I read
Remove the pie shell from the freezer. (We placed ours in a Pyrex dish to help ensure that the pie would bake evenly.)
I started frantically looking for a pie crust that must have magically been put in my freezer because I didn't know said pie crust would be needed. But no matter, pulled out ol' Betty Crocker and made a fast pie crust (recipe below).

The second almost fail was that I erroniously thought a smaller meatloaf pie would not take 1 hour to cook like most meatloaves do. (This near fail was completely my fault- I just completely didn't see the timing listed
Transfer the meat to the shell, spreading it evenly with a spoon. Bake it until the meat is cooked through, about 60 minutes.
Needless to say, I did not have 60 minutes- I had 30, tops. And since I wanted this fool to be a surprise, I didn't want to have anyone else help so I needed it done fast.

Solution? Crank the oven up an extra 100 degrees and hope for the best. Now I've seen the M&Ms commercial and I know this is bad idea when baking cookies, but for the meatloaf- it actually worked. The meatloaf was fully cooked in approximately 30 minutes which included me removing it a few minutes to toast the "bread" for the grilled cheese under the broiler.

All and all the food was a hit and the time with friends was lovely. Hope you all had a very happy April Fool's day.

The recipes I've linked to the real recipe, but since I have a hard time following directions, below is how I modified them.

Grilled Cheese for April Fools' Day

Pound cake
1 can buttercream
Yellow and red food coloring

Cut the pound cake into bread-like slices and toast them in a toaster oven just until they turn golden brown. Once they've cooled for a few minutes. Now tint the frosting by stirring in a few drops of yellow and red food coloring (more yellow than red) to get a shade of orange that resembles American cheese. Carefully spread frosting between the slices of each half sandwich. If you mound the frosting on one slice, then top it with the other and gently press down, the frosting will ooze out a bit and look all the more like melted cheese.

And like my normal grilled cheeses, some of them came out a wee bit dark.

Fauxberry Piewith Betty Crocker Crust
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 TBSP cold water

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 beets peeled and cubed
salt and butter as desired

1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon dark, unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 pounds lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten

Heat the oven to 350. While preheating, mix flour, shortening and water together until fully mixed. Once fully mixed, press into pie pan until the bottom and sides are covered.

Bake for 8 minutes or until slightly golden and then remove from oven to cool.

Turn the oven up to 450º. In a small saucepan, combine the barbecue sauce, milk, molasses, cocoa, and chili powder. Set the pan over medium heat and whisk the mixture until it is lukewarm and the cocoa is completely dissolved. Set it aside to cool.

Sauté the onions in the tablespoon of canola oil until they are transparent, about 7 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, and bread crumbs. Then add the beef, egg, sauce mixture, and onion. Thoroughly mix the ingredients using your hands or a wooden spoon.

Transfer the meat to cooled pie shell, spreading it evenly with a spoon. Bake it until the meat is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

While the pie is baking, prepare the mashed potato topping. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to completely submerge them. Salt the water lightly, cover the pot, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook the potatoes at a low boil until they are tender, about 12 minutes.< While the potatoes cook, boil fresh beets in enough water to cover until tender. Drain the potatoes and the beets and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Pureed beets and potatoes using an electric mixer until it's smooth and fluffy. Add a small amount of milk if needed and salt and butter to taste. Spread the whipped potatoes over the top of the cooked meat pie with a spatula, as you would whipped cream, mounding it slightly in the center. Slice and serve the pie while the potatoes are still hot. Makes 8 servings. The key is to serve them at the same time and to not have a goofy grin on your face. I achieved the first, the second was harder, I was pretty proud of how it worked out. And the meatloaf- pretty good in and of itself. But beware of chocolate allergies before serving to guests. (Yes mom, that means don't eat the meatloaf leftovers while you're here).

 Happy Foolin'


Red Sash Photography by Kristin Blessing said...

What a cute idea for a meal, and I love your kitchen savy when it comes to time and missing ingredients...very much like my own,though I don't think mine always come out as successfully.

I actually make meatloaves, in cupcake cups and ice them with mashed potatoes....might be fun for next year's April Fools!

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