So it’s Valentine’s Day…. Jimmy and I celebrate this day the same old way every year. I cook some corny version of chicken wrapped in pastry dough made to resemble a “love nest.” Jimmy brings home flowers he picked on the side of the Parkway. He knows I’ll get mad if he were to spend money on flowers from a florist. (Between you and me, I think he buys the flowers and tells me he picked them. How else is the man finding roadside flowers blooming in the middle of February?) Anyway, the flowers end up in a beer brand-labled pint glass on the coffee table where we sit down to eat the love nest chicken while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory as Tide stands over a puddle of drool with his eyes fixated on our plates. Then we get drunk on chocolate martinis.
Enough. We decided to switch things up this year and go out for a nice romantic dinner. We usually avoid doing this on Valentine’s Day because it is the one day of the year where restaurants downsize their menus from 30-some items to 5 items and increase their prices by a hefty percent. It’s bullshit. You’re seated at a table surrounded by young and in love, googly eyed couples and presented a “special” Valentine’s Day menu only to realize that favorite dish you were eagerly anticipating has been replaced with a bitesize portion of filet mignon smothered in edible rose petals. Regardless, we bit the bullet and set out to the The Italian Gormet in Galloway Twp. It was awesome! The atmosphere, the food, and the service were great. I ate a mixed green salad topped with jumbo lump crab meat and Jimmy had seared sea scallops with… get this… blue cheese mashed potatoes. Then, just to keep it real, we had the chocolate martinis. On the ride home I told him what a good time I had and that before bed he still had to perform his manly duties…. Thats right…. take out the trash, stack some firewood next to the woodstove, feed the dog and let him out.
1 c. butter, softened
2. c. sugar
3. c. flour
1 t. vanilla
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. milk
heart shaped cookie cutter
Using a stand mixer or electric mixers, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and continue mixing. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients alternating with the milk. Fill cupcake pans lined with paper wrappers so each is 3/4 full. Should make about 16-20 cupcakes. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool. Then, using a serrated knife cut off the top of each cupcake. Use the cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape in each top. Dust the tops with confectioners sugar. Spread about a Tbsp of strawberry preserves on the cupcakes then place the tops back on.