Butternut Squash

Meet the Winner of Your Best Tart

February 17, 2016

A big congratulations to Vanessa Larson, whose Caramelized Onion and Butternut Squash Tart was voted Your Best Tart. Here's a little more about her:

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.

I learned that sometimes simple food, made from scratch, is the best food from my grandmother. She moved to the US from Sweden when she was in her twenties, and her cooking was very much influenced by Swedish cuisine. Lunch would be simple open-faced sandwiches on rye bread with a bit of butter and some ham or herring along with homemade chicken stock with just-tender slices of carrot and celery. It wasn't fancy; it was comforting and delicious.

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What's your least favorite kitchen task?

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Congratulations, Vanessa! I hope one day you'll share your grandmother's recipe for Swedish Meatballs. The good ones are SO wonderful.”
— ChefJune

This might sound funny but I hate getting my hands dirty. When I bake or make meatballs, I wash my hands constantly because I can't stand having food on them.

Vanessa Larson herself!

Your favorite kitchen tool?

It's a toss-up between a really sharp chef's knife and a cast iron skillet. Both are indispensable in my kitchen.

What is a recipe that's on your list of things to try this year?

Ethiopian injera—the sour, spongy flatbread that is served as a vehicle for stews. I'm intrigued by food from Africa in general as I feel this is a region I haven't delved into that deeply and one that I would like to learn more about.

What's the recipe you're most proud of?

I make global cooking kits for my company, Saffron + Kumquats. For the French kit, I created a recipe for honey-roasted carrots with French green lentils, goat cheese, and walnuts. It's everything I want in a recipe—simple, healthy, and full of flavor. The sweetness of the carrots is balanced by the earthiness of the lentils, the creamy, tangy goat cheese and a sharp vinaigrette. I could eat it every day.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Stacy Carlson
    Stacy Carlson
  • wkfld
  • Lynn Holman
    Lynn Holman
  • bookjunky
  • Kirsten Stone Ormsby
    Kirsten Stone Ormsby
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Stacy C. February 21, 2016
Would love the French basket recipe. Sounds delish. Can't wait to try the tart!
wkfld February 20, 2016
Made this before u won and it was already a winner in my house. Making again this weekend. Contats!
Lynn H. February 18, 2016
Can't wait to try this tart! I found the recipe last night. Congratulations on your win.
Vanessa L. February 19, 2016
Thanks! I hope you enjoy the tart!
bookjunky February 18, 2016
Looks yummy! Re: meatballs, I sympathize! I suggest a mixer and these Vollrath "dishers" http://www.amazon.com/Vollrath-47147-Stainless-Steel-Disher/dp/B0001MSEXW/ref=pd_sim_79_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=41X3FUBjyhL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160,160_&refRID=1KGGXR1370KT7943EB4T. They come in all sizes for every use and they are the bomb.
Kirsten S. February 17, 2016
Sounds delicious! I will have to give it a try. Congrats to you girl!
Vanessa L. February 19, 2016
Thank you!
Stephanie February 17, 2016
You had me at 'Caramelized Onion'. Congrats!
Vanessa L. February 17, 2016
You can never go wrong with caramelized onions!
arlene A. February 17, 2016
what beautiful knitted, textured jacket and blanket in your photo.
Vanessa L. February 17, 2016
mrslarkin February 17, 2016
Congrats, Vanessa! I love your sushi picnic photo!
Vanessa L. February 17, 2016
Thank you!
ChefJune February 17, 2016
Congratulations, Vanessa! I hope one day you'll share your grandmother's recipe for Swedish Meatballs. The good ones are SO wonderful.
Vanessa L. February 17, 2016
They are! I'll make sure to share her recipe soon. :)