The first day of April, while some may reserve it for pranks and tricks, is to me the perfect day for celebrating the arrival (best if it’s truly imminent) of springtime, and so rather than be a traditionalist about April Fool’s Day and pull stunts on anybody, I prefer to simply enjoy the Tuesday-ness of it this year and think happy food thoughts. My fetish for custards, mousses and creams of all sorts leads me to think that the ideal food for this occasion, since it is the first of April, would naturally be a Fool. You know, sweet fruity stuff folded into whipped cream. Actually, this is pretty much my idea of the ideal food for practically any occasion, and that’s no joke.
Given my predilection for eating too much of too many things, sweets perhaps foremost among them, this comes as no surprise to anyone living.
I know I am not alone in my obsession with dessert-like objects, either. Even my esteemed spouse is not immune to the charms of a classic like a frosty mug of root beer, with or without ice cream floating dreamily in it. One might, for example, find him taking me out to Mr. Frosty for such a treat on the first sunny day when we get a free half-hour, and our sipping in blissed-out ecstasy under the diner’s front canopy while birds flit overhead.
But no amount of root beer is quite enough to negate my need for a good Fool, so for this April Fool’s Day I bethought myself of just such a dish, and off to work I went.
Then, of course, the reality of the day intervened. While I thought I was heading to the kitchen to froth up some sweet heavy cream with vanilla and cardamom to layer with black raspberry jam and pieces of canned pears—a marvelous thought indeed—I opened the refrigerator and saw a container of odd ends of Gouda and Brie cheeses that I knew had been patiently waiting for my attention a little bit longer than they ought to have done, and off I went on a highly tangential path. That, of course, is life’s continuous April Fool’s prank on me: every time I think I am headed in one direction, I get sent off in quite another.
Who am I to resist the guidance of the random refrigerator finding?
I put into my trusty cheapo food processor a heap of dried potato flakes, “instant mashed potatoes” that, while I think them quite specious as a substitute for the substantive real thing of a good coarse potato mash, do make great toasty buttered crumbs for toppings, a very fine thickener for sauces and soups and gravies, and as here, good flour for cheesy flat- or short-bread. Along with the potato flakes and cheeses, I put a little butter, a good dose of whole yogurt labne, a little salt, and seasonings: smoked paprika, powdered mustard seed, white pepper and just a dash of mace. I processed it all into a shortbread-like dough, pressed it into a large flat ovenproof skillet, and baked it at about 300ºF/150ºC until it was very light golden brown (about 25 minutes), let it cool in place as the oven itself cooled, and finally turned out the ‘pancake’ to cut into manageable wedges. They’re simple and plain on their own, slightly chewy and very cheesy, but spread with a little additional labne and topped with a couple of cucumber slices and a sprinkle of za’atar, or perhaps just dipped into some good guacamole and/or salsa, they’ll be quite delightful.
For now, I’m just munching them plain and marveling at the vicissitudes of that perennial prankster, Life. Happy 1st of April, everyone!
Happy April fool to you too!
Many thanks! Hope it’s a glorious month for you! 🙂
This looks so cool! I’m sure that Heather is going to want the recipe for it. She also wants to know how you preserve your ginger. 🙂
Well, it was truly a throw-and-go concoction, so I’m not entirely sure I could reproduce it, though I would guess the cheese amounted to about a cup in total, pre-shredding, and the potato flakes a similar amount, then enough butter to get it to the crumbly shortbread-dough texture with the seasonings added. The preservation of ginger, in my experience, is best done one of two ways: either puree it in vodka and keep it in a jar in the fridge, or let reputable commercial concerns prepare it a candied ginger, ginger jam, or other similar delectable stuff! 😉
You will have to come to my house someday and work your magic.
Okey dokey! Or you’re welcome to come here any time and we can practice team kitchen magic. 🙂
Looks yummy. I imagine a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top
There’s hardly anything in the world that can’t be improved by a scoop of vanilla ice cream, come to think of it! 😉
These would be so good with a little cheese and a good movie. 🙂
Sounds like a pretty ideal recipe for an enjoyable evening to me! 🙂