Look, another boy! And this one brought some outrageous Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls with him. Which makes him both incredibly creative and evil at the same time.
I think we’ve waited long enough to be properly introduced to the man behind those decadent rolls. Everyone, meet Vince, known ’round these parts as cookingventures.
One look at Vince’s profile here and you get a sense of how witty and utterly entertaining he is. And that’s only a hint of what’s in store for you when you head over to his blog, Cooking Ventures. He not only shares his wonderful recipes, but he also always has a funny story or anecdote to go along with it. Seriously, it’s slap-your-knee-and-bust-out-laughing kind of reading. You may want to re-think that glass of water while sitting in front of the computer.
Vince is a Kansas native, and is in charge of International Admissions at a large Kansas university. His job has taken him to 42 states and around 25 countries. His extensive travels (and I do mean extensive—over 1 million miles of air travel around the world so far) means he gets to try a wealth of international cuisines, which he then loves to adapt using ingredients readily available in most grocery stores. He particularly loves Asian cuisine, and says that although he has been to Asia more than 35 times, he always learns something new every time he goes. Fortunately, we benefit from that too. Just look at some of the wonderful dishes he’s brought to Tasty Kitchen that in some way have been inspired by his travels to Asia.
Clockwise from top left: Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings from one of his many flights to South Asia, Teriyaki Beef and Ultimate Cheese Bread inspired by trips to Japan, Garlic Fried Rice from his first trip to Asia, Hong Kong Potato Roll Thingies that have a hilarious I-lost-my-shoe-and-now-it’s-on-an-escalator story attached to them, and Asian Candied Bacon inspired by a trip to Singapore.
Vince says that cooking is his passion. He never cooks a dish the same way twice, and enjoys developing new recipes and putting a new spin on traditional favorites. He does a great job with Mexican food as well, as evident in his Chimichangas Blancas and Tacos al Pastor.
He’s incredibly creative, too. While he is the first to admit that he’s not the best at coming up with recipe names, from his Hobo Bags to a unique Fried Rice Risotto and Roasted Vegetables in a Bread Bowl, his creations are always wonderfully inspired.
When asked how he got started in the kitchen, Vince quips: “My mother taught my sisters and I how to cook, and has been criticizing our cooking ever since.” The dishes below are some of his recipes that are inspired by his mom, or creations of his that make her happy.
Clockwise from top left: Chick-n-Caboodle, Budget-friendly Goulash, Killer Meatloaf with Sweet Barbecue Sauce, Sicilian Butter, Cabbage Slaw, and Walnut Frosties that his mom used to make every Christmas.
Now, you must be thinking that surely this man who brought us those chocolate cinnamon rolls must have more delectable sweets for us. And you’d be right, especially considering that his favorite kitchen tool is his KitchenAid mixer. If you’re trying to cut down on desserts, you may want to avert your eyes. I don’t want to be responsible for any sudden loss of willpower.
Clockwise from top left: a mouth-watering Tres Cocos Cake (Three Coconuts Cake), pretty pink Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, fancy yet easy Peach Tartlets, healthy Figure-friendly No-Bake Cookies that are a hit with his mom and his sisters, and a sinful-looking Peach Ambrosia Pie with a homemade gingersnap crust.
Okay, enough of me talking. Vince should really do most of the talking here, because he’s just so gosh darn funny! Take it away, Vince!
Q: What are your favorite ingredients or food pairings?
A: Onions and garlic. I add them to everything. If I could add onions and garlic to my breakfast cereal without people looking at me strangely, I’d do it.
Q: What is the strangest food or food combo that you secretly (or maybe openly) really, really enjoy?
A: I love to eat saltine crackers with a big squirt of ketchup on top. When I was eight years old, my mother opened my my bedroom door and caught me eating this strange combination. By the look on her face, you’d think I was eating chocolate-covered puppies or something. She always knocked before entering after that.
Q: Okay, what if you had to eat something right now and had only 3 minutes to get it ready? What would it be?
A: Crackers with ketchup on top. Wait. I have 3 minutes. Hmmm, let’s see. Probably crackers with ketchup, mustard, and little relish on top.
Q: Most memorable kitchen flop ever?
A: I made a 3-tier Brooklyn Blackout Cake and had just finished frosting it and coating it in cake crumbs. I picked up the cake to put it in the fridge and the top two layers slid off and landed on my dog, who was taking a nap on my kitchen floor. When the cake landed on his head, it startled him and he jumped up and ran off through my living room. I read someplace that chocolate was bad for dogs and I didn’t want him to lick any of the chocolate off his coat, so I ran off after him screaming “DON’T EAT THE CHOCOLATE!” He was so freaked, he had me chasing him throughout the house. Chocolate footprints were everywhere. It cost me $180 to shampoo all of my carpets. I haven’t made a Brooklyn Blackout Cake since.
Q: Complete the sentence: “I panic when I open my cupboard and realize that I’m out of …”
A: Space. I need a bigger kitchen.
Q: Give us one of your favorite kitchen tips that you wish you’d always known.
A: Chili stains are hard to get out of white socks. Don’t ask.
Vince, you are a hoot! Thanks for answering our questions, and for starting our week off right with good food and lots of laughter.
See more of Vince’s great recipes in his Tasty Kitchen recipe box, and by all means, click on his related blog post links. They’ll take you to his blog, Cooking Ventures, where each recipe post has an accompanying story. He’s had some crazy experiences, and has such a humorous way of writing his stories. And of course, he’s got the great food to back it all up.