Valentino... sounds slightly more interesting than Valentines....the stupidest day of the year. Although I traditionally wear black on the day, this year, I choked and wore red...Not because I am in love...on the contrary, my favorite dream girl crush got engaged last week. Sure, I'm happy for her, but selfishly sad for me. Was there ever any chance? I pretend to think so. Dear Lord, this life you have given me, is it forever meant to be solo?
Perhaps I wore red to hide my aloneness? Maybe it was to be "festive" for the guys I cook for...and they obviously could care less what I wear as long as meals are out on time and taste half way decent. For some reason, in all the pretending and anticipation of the day, I searched stores and malls for heart shaped cookie cutters, determined to go the extra mile and make them something special.
The competition...I mean, the inspiration came from my friend Mandy and her blog. She is one amazing woman! Her inspiration came from her little heart baby, Evie, who had open heart surgery at 10 days old. This strong little girl has survived painful operations and surgeries.... but you'd never know it. At three years old now, she's a rough and tumble kinda girl, who loves bows in her hair and being the baby of the family. Additionally, she is absolutely beautiful. (You really should follow their blog...amazing story, great family, give-a-ways too.) The whole family is for that matter. And not just on the outside, they are all quality souls. Mandy, the super amazing mom, wife, parent, sister, friend, is super creative (ignore her modesty), for she is so very talented. And radiant. And thoughtful. See, she made all her heart cookies for the nurses who looked after her daughter three years ago. Of course, they are perfect. Everyone who see's her photos exclaim, "Who is this lady? How can she...? How did she....? Are you kidding me....? Those are phenomenal!!! And she's the mother of how many? Six? Are you serious!??!?! That's definitely the typical reaction. These photos are of my creations.
My cookies, not so phenomenal, but delicious just the same. Mandy was kind enough to share the recipe with me. (give me a holler if you'd like to try these for St. Patrick's day or something--they really are delicious!) I tripled and made about 12 doz, 4" hearts. I still have dough left over. She also gave me a recipe for Royal Icing. I used the royal for the trim and some detail work, while using a sugar icing to flood the cookies. After a few hours of work, I began receiving compliments on my work. Really the first time for everything...so I was pleased to some degree. They don't compare to the fine details that Mandy made, but again, the guys I serve really don't care what they look like, just that I give them dessert now and then. I was a little edgy on v-day as well which probably robbed me of some of the joy and serving them graciously. I dunno. The dinner came out well: baked ravioli with sauteed garlic mushroom marinara, caesar salad, sourdough baguettes. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. One fella commented on how clever it was that I made it a "red" dinner for v-day. I smiled and said thank you and confessed it was totally by accident.
The day wasn't a total loss. Played some video games with housemates, watched the stormy weather pelt rain at the windows and wind gusts bend trees, then grabbed my favorite blanket, wrapped up and lounged in my undies as we watched Black Hawk Down.
Today, I found this link, which is ironically funny to me.
PS--photos were taken with my iPhone 3gs (pre-flash generation) and untouched...