Cook Spotlight

vvvanessa

December 27, 2010 • 27 Comments

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vvvanessa profile picture  Maple Persimmon Upsidedown Cake with Maple Cream

We all know when vvvanessa has entered one of her "baking fits" because a bounty of beautiful baked goods emerges. Whether she's updating classics (check out her delectable Maple Persimmon Upside-Down Cake with Maple Cream, pictured above) or creating new ones (how did we live without her aptly named Pink Poodle Pizza?), vvvanessa has a talent for creating seasonal sweet and savory dishes. Having trouble deciding on a menu for your New Year's Eve party? We'd happily nosh on her sultry Boozy Belly Pumpkin Cupcakes accompanied by a Gingerbread Toddy toast.

A former vegetarian, Vvvanessa is also a master of meatless gourmet -- have you tried her good-on-everything Garbanzo Gravy, hearty Avena con Champiñones (Barcelona-style Oats with Mushrooms), or addictive Chaat Masala Mixed Nuts? It's a good thing this talented cook is a barkeep, too, because those salty-sweet nuts will have you reaching for a thirst-quencher. Take a page from our book and keep a pitcher of her winning (and spice-friendly) Mint Limeade close by.

For more of vvvanessa's delicious recipes, see her profile page and fan her here (and check out her blog the beet goes on).

Read vvvanessa's profile Q&A below:

What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
Chocolate-covered ants. Or maybe an egg mcmuffin.

What do you cook when home alone?
Toast, spanish-style: rubbed with raw garlic, spread with tomato innards, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt.

Your most treasured kitchen possession:
For its utility, my kitchen scale. For sentimentality, my shiny gelato spoons.

Your ideal meal:
Bread, cheese, salumi, olives, fruit.

The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is:
However many show up.

Kitchen pet peeve:
When people decide they don't like a dish before they try it.

Your favorite cookbook:
"The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum helped me save face after a terrible cake incident. I am forever indebted to her and it.

Jump to Comments (27)

Comments (27)

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

vvvanessa--so nice to see you in the spotlight! Congratulations!

Zester_003

almost 4 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Wow! Back to McMuffin business, a long time ago I was on a United Airlines flight to New York, back in the day when they still served hot meals. Anyway the guy next to me got the last omelet and the attendant said, "all we have left is Egg McMuffin". Which prompted me to say, "S***, you actually serve this to grown ups?" Of course she couldn't do anything about it, but I was kind of hoping she'd bring something else back from the first class cabin. Nah!

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almost 4 years ago lapadia

You crack me up, pierino....LOL!

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almost 4 years ago Midge

So nice to see you spotlighted vvvanessa. I always love your recipes.

Melly_mom_potato_heads

almost 4 years ago Stephanie V

Oh, Vanessa! What a wonderful treat! Your culinary prowess knows no bounds! Congratulations!

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

oh, stephanie v! thank you so much : ) i hope to see you and family on new year's day!

Mcs

almost 4 years ago mcs3000

Really enjoyed this Q&A. The egg mcmuffin answer made me laugh - too true. Going to skip over to your blog now.

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

thanks, mcs3000! don't tell anyone, but i kinda liked the egg mcmuffin, and all food politics aside, it's actually not as nutrionally awful as i thought it would be. it's still a little weird, though.

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I would love to hear more about your averted caketastrophe! I love the Cake Bible, too.

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

ha! unfortunately, i did NOT avert a caketastrophe, but that was before the cake bible came into my life. i had baked the birthday cake for my boss's 60th birthday. mind you, she, with a razor-sharp palate, was the owner of the restaurant i worked in. the cake went wrong in about a thousand ways, but mainly it was extremely dried out. it was a chocolate cake, so i tried to use an espresso simple syrup to rehydrate it, but that was useless, and i should have just chucked it at that point. anyway, the layers were waaay too thick, and by the time i stacked them, i needed extra long bamboo skewers to anchor the monstrosity in place. and the frosting tasted like powdered sugar and water; it was like the sticks and sticks of butter i'd whipped up had just dissipated. and maybe i'm making this part up, but i think i remember that i had also colored the frosting some pukey shade of aqua. anyway, i didn't have time to start over (though, in retrospect, i certainly had time to run to the grocery store and just buy a sheet cake), so i just smiled a lot when i served it and hoped my co-workers would be forgiving. but i *really* knew i'd blown it when no one said a word after tasting the cake. not the servers, not the dishwashers, and not the freaking chef who managed to show up that night even though he usually didn't work then. crickets, pins dropping, and the sound of my pride being chewed into dry, espresso-flavored crumbs.

but then the cake bible entered my life, and now i can bake cakes! they aren't fancy, but at least they taste good!

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

How horrifying! I use the butter cake recipes in the Cake Bible all of the time. I love the tables at the end for scaling. So glad she took the time to figure it all out!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

omg that is so funny

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yippee, vvvanessa! so nice to see you in the spotlight!!

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

thanks, mrs. larkin! : )

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almost 4 years ago lapadia

Love seeing you "shining in the spotlight", Vanessa! Happy New Year!

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

happy new year to you, too, lp! it's been so great getting to know you on all our cyber fronts!

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

thanks for the love, food52!

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almost 4 years ago Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

Chickpea gravy sounds incredible! I have a tendency towards vegetarian food as well. My mom said even as a young toddler I just wasn't that into meat... looking forward to checking out your blog :)

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

thank you, sasha! i can't even sort-of identify as a vegetarian any more these days, but i find myself falling back on a lot of my old veggie favorites from way back. don't tell anyone i said this, but sometimes i'm just as happy without the bacon : )

Zester_003

almost 4 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Brava! And by the way, I'm completely down with your peeve, and I salute you shaking off the vegetarian habit. It's a mean old, mixed up world, but we cooks gotta' cook what we must cook with attention, patience and non-discrimination.

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

thanks, pierino! i have to give credit to being a vegetarian for getting me into cooking in the first place, but now that i've broadened my horizons, i can eat your fab chorizo and eggs to my heart's content.

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almost 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yay vvvanessa! Great to see you here - love seeing all of your recipes and great comments and pickles!

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

back at you, aargersi!

Me

almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I love your recipes! Your mint limeade is now my favority go-to drink for spring and summer and I've made your spiced plum preserves a couple times now. Next up: want to try your Maple Persimmon Upsidedown Cake! Great to see you in the spotlight this week.

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

thanks, chezsuzanne! i'm so glad those recipes are working out for you!

Bike2

almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

Great profile. Nice to learn more about you vvvanessa!

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almost 4 years ago vvvanessa

thanks, sagegreen! and if i didn't already say it, congrats on the recent win!