This year, we celebrated my friend’s birthday with a party on April Fool’s Day, April 1. It was the perfect time to try out my menu of Illusion Foods.
Some years ago, on a Food Network television show called Dinner Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine was invited to a magician’s convention in Las Vegas. His mission was to create a dinner menu of Illusion Foods.
In other words, each dish had to look like one thing, but taste like something else. He served a soup that tasted like Ceasar Salad and another soup that tasted like pizza.
With the help of chemicals like xanthan gum and liquid nitrogen, he mutated mango and chocolate to create Dessert Nachos.
He cut tortillas into triangles, baked them, and sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar. Chocolate and some chemicals were frozen and blended to create “ground beef.”
Grated “cheese” for the nachos were made with mangoes and some other chemical that allowed it to stay somewhat pliable when frozen and grated. And the “salsa” was sauce made from strawberries and cherries.
Inspired by that show, I came up with a vegan version of his Illusion Food menu. I used the pizza soup idea and served it with grilled triangles of pizza dough.
(Sorry, no photo of the bread. The reality of food blogging is that you often eat all the food before you remember to take a picture!)
Salad was in the shape of a centipede. I used carrot sticks for legs, and cut pieces of red bell pepper for head and stingers on the tail. The antennae were made from the tips of tiny green onions.
I should have put it on a different platter, so you could see the colors better, but you get the idea.
The main course was Cake, Ice Cream, and Sauce. The birthday girl exclaimed, when it was presented, “raspberry sauce!”
The “cake” is a vegan “meat” loaf made from nuts, vegetables, and bread, baked. The “filling” and “frosting” is a cauliflower puree.
Scoops of “ice cream” were actually mashed potatoes, and the “raspberry sauce” was a beet sauce.
Dessert had to be birthday cake and ice cream, so I tried my hand at fondant for the first time, using a vegan fondant recipe.
I cut and decorated the cake to look like a chameleon. Vegan ginger ice cream was frozen in candy molds in the shape of fish.
The party was a hit, although it did somewhat confuse one of my older friends. It’s kind of like when you see a white person speaking fluent Chinese…the image in front of you, and the image of what it’s supposed to look like don’t quite match.
So eating ice cream and cake that taste like meat loaf and mashed potatoes was a little discombobulating. But still delicious!