Monday, January 31, 2011



Mike and I arrived in Barcelona armed with an impossibly long list of restaurant recommendations. And what a fabulous problem to have: too many restaurants, too little time. Gresca was one I saw repededly recommended, but we were unsure whether we would be able to snag one of the coveted dinner reservations. Luckily, we received a last minute tip that the restaurant offered an incredibly affordable prix fixe lunch menu - as long as we arrived early, we could enjoy the delicious food within our tourist budgets.

Despite trying to adjust our eating schedule to be more in line with Barcelonians, we always seemed to be 15 minutes ahead of our dining counterparts. But this meant we easily secured a lovely little table, draped in a crisp white table cloth, in the relaxing atmosphere of Gresca. Mike and I decided on the prix fixe menu, reasonably priced for only €19 each, with a bottle of red wine. I was told not to miss the famous egg souffle, so we ordered this as an additional appetizer from the a la carte lunch menu for and additional €9,80. Indeed - this mind-blowing dish is not to be missed; it is still one of my best memories from our days exploring Barcelona.

White Beans and Blood Sausage
Fig and Cheese Salad

Veal with Mashed Potatoes

Pineapple Fried in Brioche with Pineapple Sherbert
Chocolate Souffle with Cream


C/ Provença, 230
08036 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: 934 516 193
Hours: Mon-Sat 1:30pm-3:30pm, 8:30pm-11pm; Sun 1:30pm-3:30pm
Subway: Provença

Saturday, January 29, 2011


© Dolcetto Confections | Allison M. Veinote, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

The City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival

If you live here in New York City or will be visiting during the upcoming month, be sure to put the The City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival on your 'must-do' list. Their friendly employees will be serving up a special flavor of hot chocolate each day during the month of February. Paired with their addictive pretzel croissants (I am obsessed), you have a perfect afternoon snack.

The City Bakery is located at 3 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011.  If the hot chocolate specials are not enough to convince you to visit, perhaps the recount and photos from my visit will do the trick.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chocolate-Coffee Joconde Cakes


I did not expect to fall hopelessly in love with the cute boy who wandered into my life five years ago today. I never imagined I would move 500 miles away from my family to be with him; I certainly never envisioned we would become our own little family of two. Five years ago, Mike and I were just two college students sitting on a futon, passing a Friday evening with an easy, comfortable conversation, oblivious to all other people packed in around us.

As you might imagine, a lot has changed over these past five years. There have been fights and moments I wasn’t sure we would make it. We have both grown into the adult version of ourselves, a tough transition that somehow only brought us closer together. But through everything, the fights, the smiles, the tears, the kisses, a deep love and respect for each other has always prevailed. Tonight we will celebrate the past years that have laid the foundation for the fun, easy relationship we are now so fortunate to share.


The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

While this is not the easiest dessert to create, the process is shockingly similar to making any relationship last: with time, patience, and care even the most difficult moments lead to a beautiful end result. This result just happens to be the perfect dessert to share, snuggled up close with your special someone.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homemade Chicken Stock


At the beginning of the year, I started thinking about the store-bought ingredients I use on a daily basis in my cooking and baking. I focused particularly on the items consuming a large chuck of my grocery bill and brainstormed ways to reduce their cost. For some items, the solution was simply to buy less to ensure minimal waste.

But this solution was not entirely feasible when it came to an ingredient like chicken stock. During the cold winter months, I enjoy throwing together soups and stews a few times each week, sometimes requiring a total of four quarts of chicken stock. At $3.50 a quart, store-bought stock consumed a noticeable portion of my grocery bill, so I decided to try my hand at making a homemade version.

Now on Sunday mornings, I roast a small chicken, then tear the juicy meat from the bones, reserving the meat for upcoming weeknight meals. I place the bones and drippings in my grandfather’s dutch-oven, throw in a few vegetables and seasonings, and the stock simmers away with the afternoon hours. As you might imagine, the flavor of a homemade stock is unmatched, meaning I stretch my stock to last throughout the week, effectively eliminating the cost associated with purchasing store-bought versions.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate


Every year, about three weeks into the month of January, I start dreaming of beaches, sand, bikinis, warm sunshine, and margaritas. I shut my eyes tightly and plead to be transported somewhere, anywhere, warmer than here. These next three months, the long weeks between the bustle of the holidays and fluttering down the sidewalk in a cute sundress, toughen up us New Yorkers. Or at least it toughens up those of us who have migrated from warmer climates.

Mother nature has thrown us an especially harsh winter this year - an endless stream of storms coupled with unyielding frigid temperatures. This type of cold seeps deeply into your bones, only melting away by tucking yourself tightly under a down comforter and cupping a steaming cup of homemade hot chocolate. As each sip passes my lips, it warms me from head to toe, and I am one sip closer to the warmer days ahead.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Coffee Break

© Dolcetto Confections | Allison M. Veinote, 2010

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kale Chips


I know what you are thinking. I can hear the tone of disgust in your thoughts. Kale chips? Really?!

I know, I know. For two years, I adamantly refused to create these chips, knowing there was no way they could replace the love I felt for a perfectly crisp kettle-cooked potato chip. But not too far into the new year, I grew tired of the bland, boring dinner salad and started hankering crunchy, salty chips to accompany our sandwiches. Knowing I would have zero self-control once the bag was opened, I unwillingly opted to pick-up a bunch of kale and give this recipe an honest try.


But that was far from the biggest hurdle I would need to clear. Mike returned home from work just as I was placing the green leaves, glistening with olive oil, into our small oven. Upon being informed of what these leaves would become and, yes he would be expected to at least try one, he started sulking and glaring at the oven.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011



Bleary-eyed and in desperate need for caffeine, Mike and I ventured to the highly recommended Tapaç24 for our first breakfast in sunny Barcelona. This basement level restaurant welcomed us in with the smells of strong coffee and eggs. Mike and I each ordered a café and then desperately attempted to decipher the Catalan menu. While the server was not especially willing to help two Americans, only one of which knew Spanish and zero Catalan, we settled on the recommended omelets.

I blindly chose the truita de trempa, which arrived as a delicious, slightly greasy omelet with chorizo and potatoes. Mike settled on the truita de bacalla, a salted cod omelet with beans. Although Mike hates all fish dishes, he was able to stomach his breakfast with the help of a few pieces of my chorizo in between. Another café for Mike, a café con leche for me, and we were fueled for touring La Sagrada Familia for the remainder of the morning.


Neighborhood: Eixample
Diputacio, 269 08007
Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 934 880 977

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nut Brown Ale Bread


Last Christmas I presented my craft beer-loving boyfriend with a home-brewing starter kit, a new hobby he approached with the thoughtful research and the detailed nature I expected. What I did not imagine is how much space home-brewing would require of our 700-square foot apartment, how the kitchen would periodically be taken over for hours at a time, or how pleased our neighbors would be with the pungent aromas of all-grain brewing.


Within a month, bottles of his first home-brewed beer, a nut brown ale, were ready for consumption. Since then there have been many other brewing days, lots more bottles, and tons of wonderful brews. But soon there was an over abundance of the nut brown ale, temporarily forgotten in favor of the newer beers. While I usually have to fight to use a bottle of perfectly good beer for cooking or baking purposes, a few weeks ago Mike declared these bottles up for grabs.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Manhattan Snowday

© Dolcetto Confections | Allison M. Veinote, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


When people start making ice cream at home, an infatuation usually begins and interesting flavors quickly start emerging from counter-top ice cream machines. After mastering the simple process of making an ice cream custard, flavor possibilities suddenly seem endless and the thought of willingly returning to plain-Jane vanilla ice cream seems an unimaginable waste of creativity.


But when it comes to ice cream, there is often nothing better than a good scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. This basic flavor is one of the few which pairs seamlessly with desserts of all seasons: a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream alongside a fresh berry tart in the summertime is equally as delicious as the same scoop slowly melting over warm apple pie in the winter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The 2011 Bloggies

There is no denying the presence of blogs in our daily lives. With a click of a button, bloggers instantly share thoughts, ideas, and opinions with anyone in the world. As the author of this sweet blog, I personally know how meaningful your comments and emails really are. With that in mind, like most time-pressed readers, I also have an ever-growing list of blogs and do not always take the time to express my appreciation of their work.

Luckily, an award known as the ‘Bloggies’ exists for this very reason - to recognize a blogger’s work as meaningful, beautiful, and inspiring. Awards exist in every imaginable category, with more added each year. So I encourage you to take a few minutes and head over to the Weblog Awards to cast your vote.

If Dolcetto Confections happens to be one of your nominations, please know it would be my complete honor. But, above all, I hope you will nominate the bloggers that inspire you every day; the ones whose posts you anxiously await, bookmark, and feel connected to the author if only by their words and photographs.

You must nominate three unique blogs for each category in which you make a nomination - some of my favorite food blogs are listed on my sidebar if you require some inspiration.  However, you can nominate a blog for more than one award category.  Nominations close January 16th at 10 PM EST.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Farmer's Market: A Photographic Tour


Union Square Greenmarket
East 17th Street & Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Subway: 4,5,6,N,Q,R,L to Union Square-14th Street
Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
Hours: 8 am to 6 pm

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meyer Lemon-Olive Oil Cake


Come January, my body does not crave sweets in the same manner as the other months of the year. Perhaps I require a period of reprive after spending countless hours baking during the holiday season. Or maybe it is my overconsumption of Christmas cookies and goodies. Whatever the reason, I naturally transition into wanting hearty, healthy eats.

For most chilly January days my diminished sweet tooth presents no issue - Mike must usually be coerced into eating anything other than chocolate chip cookies, so the lack of dessert is no cause for concern. But his mother and aunt joined us for lunch last weekend and not serving dessert was an unimaginable option.

Per their request, we decided to order lunch from our favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant. Flipping through my recipe file, I stumbled upon a recipe for a lemon olive oil cake. It may not be a traditional Italian dessert, but I figured it would pair beautifully with the thin crust, wood-fired pizza and rich, creamy penne vodka.

At the store, a basket of Meyer lemons beckoned me like a ray of sunshine and I immediately decided to utilize these yolk-colored beauties for their traditional relative. As a cross between a mandarian orange and a lemon, Meyer lemons provide a distinguishable sweetness, with far less acidity than a regular lemon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Chicken Noodle Soup


The remnants of the crippling Christmas snowstorm are still visible here in New York City. The dirty snow drifts slowly melt into the crowded sidewalks, littered with uncollected mountains of trash. As I write, fluffy snowflakes fall steadily outside the living room window. Media outlets are vying to see if the city implements lessons learned from last week’s accumulation. Mike just departed for work, looking especially handsome in his new snow boots and cozy flannel shirt.

And yet this impending snow storm provides a feeling of excitement, the same feeling a child receives on a snow day from school. Once both parties safely return home from work, there is something incredibly romantic about a snowed-in weekend. We stocked our groceries, ran any pressing errands, and now have nowhere to go, nowhere to be for the next two days. We have shelves lined with books, a fancy new Scrabble board, and an endless supply of Mike’s recently bottled hard apple cider.

Such cozy weekends beg for a hearty soup, one with an ability to warm you down to your tippy toes. One of my favorite choices is chicken noodle soup, but the usual bowl can sometimes taste a bit thin. Keeping the classic components of the soup in mind, I created a one-pot version, ensuring every morsel of taste and flavor infuses the resulting soup. The roasting chicken creates the initial layer of flavor, later deglazed with a healthy dose of chardonnay, and eventually the soft, caramelized vegetables drown in flavorful chicken stock.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In the Cucina

Early last spring, working my way through my daily line-up of food blogs, a post by Joy the Baker caused me to pause in question. Her words were simple enough, alerting her faithful fan base she updated the ‘About’ section on her sweet blog.

At that point, I was just becoming serious about the process of blogging. I assumed my only readers were family members, so I could not imagine writing anything unknown in my own ‘About’ section. At the off-chance someone unrelated stumbled across my blog, I composed a few paragraphs, and returned to baking cookies.

Like Joy, when I discover a new blog, I also instinctively want to know more about the author. Where in this big world are they writing their posts? How did they develop an interest in food? What do they look like? I want to feel as though I know, or at least share some connection, with the person behind the words and the camera.

That said, I recently realized my own ‘About’ section no longer adequately described either me or my adventures in the kitchen. It was silly to think these pages are set in stone - instead they should evolve, reflecting progress in the author’s life.

So if you want to know a bit more about me, here I am, as of today. And as my future and path continue to unfold, I will be sure to keep you updated.  In the meantime, feel free to continue sending me your questions, food related or otherwise.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brooklyn Brewery: A Photographic Tour


The Brooklyn Brewery is one of my favorite places in New York City. The exposed brick, industrial setting, and worn wooden picnic benches welcome me on each visit, enticing me to pass a few relaxing hours with friends and sip delicious brews.

Mike and I venture to the converted warehouse as early as possible on weekend mornings to snag a sliver of table and play a few handfuls of gin. When the beer begs for a warm, cheesy sidekick, we call down the street to Vinnie's, and within 20 minutes we are indulging in a fresh pie. People also bring picnics, although this option always slips my mind.

The brewery offers quick, informative tours and the friendly employees are always willing to answer any questions. We usually forgo the tour, although we do opt to participate when introducing the brewery to family or friends for the first time.

An expansion is already underway at Brooklyn Brewery and there will soon be more space not only for brewing, but also for us locals who love to pass an afternoon sipping on their delicious recipes.


Brooklyn Brewery
79 North 11th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211-1913
Phone: (718) 486-7422

Hours: Friday 6 pm to 11 pm; Saturday 12 pm to 8 pm; Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm
Tours (free): On the hour: Saturday 12 pm to 5 pm; Sunday 1 pm to 4 pm
Subway: L to Bedford Avenue

Photographic Tours


As the train steams forward across vast Virginia farmland, I sink into the wide business class seat, stretching my legs forward. For the first time, I am traveling by train thanks to the total shutdown of New York City airports.

The end of 2010 approaches as rapidly as the passing trees, abandoned barns, and cows. To pass the time, I organize photos of the previous year. Since purchasing my beloved dSLR in March, we have been attached at the hip, and there are now few places I venture without the heavy, safe strap around my neck.

Not surprisingly, food comprises most of my photos. Another chunk of my photos are places I frequent, mostly around New York City: markets, restaurants, and bars. I realize I did not share most of these with you because I was uncertain if you are interested in the daily happenings of a Manhattan-ite.

Whether that interest exists or not, I have decided to start sharing more snippets of my daily life. Perhaps these photographs will help you in planning an upcoming trip or just help you escape your daily routine for a few moments. Either way, I hope they provide a true glimpse of what it is like to live and work in this city.
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