Playing Cupid with Cupcakes and Other Delicious Things

19 Feb

They used to say “food is the way to a man’s heart,” but I personally think it’s the way to anyone’s heart. That’s why I believe Valentine’s Day is so unavoidably linked with anything edible, including a collection of my most beloved things such as wine, rich cuisine, adorable desserts, and of course flowers, which may not be edible, but are a necessary garnish to your Valentine’s day dinner table.

A simple arrangement of red, white and pink Gerbera daisies

Yes, this love-struck holiday has always been one of my favourites, and while many people think of it primarily as an opportunity to shower your partner with adoration, it was always a tradition in my house to take the time to show your appreciation for everyone you care about including family and friends. Because of the duel nature of my version of Valentine’s Day, this holiday is often stretched out for me (hmm that sounds familiar…like in A Belated Birthday Wish) with a combination of family dinners and romantic dates.

While at times it’s been nice to head to a restaurant for both the family and more intimate Valentines experiences, this year the common trend seemed to be a desire to stay in. Always excited for an opportunity to try new heart-shaped and colour-themed creations, I was completely on board, and on both nights was delegated the dessert making task.

For our family dinner, I decided to make two different types of gluten-free and dairy-free cupcakes so that my Paleo-Diet dad could indulge in some sweet treats. I was apparently feeling particularly daring as I have never made gluten-free cupcakes, but have also never made dairy-free cupcakes. And to add to that troublesome duo, I also didn’t really follow one specific recipe and kind of ad-libbed as I went along. Although I must say, from talking to some fellow GF and DF bakers, that’s often the case when experimenting with such a tedious combination.

Either way, they seemed to turn out all right, and were greatly appreciated by my dad who doesn’t often get the chance to indulge in baked desserts like cupcakes.

*Click HERE for a full recipe of the cupcakes and icing!

The cupcakes accompanied a healthy and hearty meal of grilled chicken breast and thigh with a sweet chilli sauce giving them a delightful and festive pinky-red glaze. Grilled red beats provided another Valentines themed contribution to the meal, with grilled blond beats, asparagus and Portobello mushrooms offering additional sides.

The cocktail of the evening was a fittingly red mix of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, Ceres guava juice, lemon Perrier and XFour – an amazing BC-made vodka from Von Albrecht and Associates, which is crafted in small batches, distilled four times, is three times filtered and is completely free of any additives or sweeteners.

Lovestruck Valentine's Day cocktail garnished with fresh raspberries

In addition to the cupcakes, I also make a red fruit salad with fresh raspberries, strawberries, pomegranate seeds and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and the desserts where enjoyed with an appropriately pink coloured Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port.

For my Valentine’s Day dinner for two, I was treated to a delicious meal made by my man, consisting of the romantically Italian combination of pasta and a bruschetta starter. The pasta (made from brown rice) contained turkey chorizo sausage, feta cheese and kalamata olives from Red Barn Market, and fresh baby spinach and grape tomatoes from The Root Cellar. The bruschetta was a light mix of tomatoes, minced garlic, chopped onion, olive oil, and fresh basil served on top of some thinly sliced bocconcini cheese on toasted baguette.

The dessert provided the baker (ie. me!) with a bit of a heart attach accompanied by cold sweats, but strangely enough turned out better than I had thought it would. I was originally going to make tartes aux fraise as seen in the post (ironically titled in this case) Definitely Not Date Food, but was forced to think fast and improvise when the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry I decided to use did some funky things in the oven. Perhaps I left it out too long to thaw (I hate how you have to buy it frozen in Canada), or perhaps I’m just used to using the amazing store-bought puff pastry one is accustomed to in Paris (I hate how you can’t find Parisian-grade puff-pastry, butter, or even milk for that matter in Canada), but as it baked it went, well, a little TOO puffy, and was also way too heavy and thick. As a result I couldn’t delicately place my fresh fruit on top as we would “en France”, and of course I only left myself just enough time to make the dessert assuming that everything would go perfectly (and it never does). So I ended up carefully cutting the pastry in half, and then slathered a quick and easy home-made cream-cheese pomegranate icing (made with the leftover POM for a pink tint) on the insides of each puff pastry slice. I then placed chopped strawberries in between each icing layer to form a make-shift puff pasty strawberry shortcake (you saw it first here people), and viola! Dessert was ready!

Strangely enough, they were actually quite delicious and provided the heart-shaped finish to our romantic meal that I had wanted all along. Although maybe next year, I think I’ll just stick to cookies if I’m feeling pressed for time…

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One Response to “Playing Cupid with Cupcakes and Other Delicious Things”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cupcakes with Coconut Flour « Shortt and Sweet - 19/02/2012

    […] discussed in the post Playing Cupid with Cupcakes and Other Delicious Things, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to show the people in your life how much you […]

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