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Winner of Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner

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Congratulations to My Pantry Shelf, whose Sausage and Kale Dinner Tart won this week's contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinnerearning her a handsome Staub Oval Gratin Baking Dish from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from VikingOXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!

My Pantry Shelf  Sausage and Kale Dinner Tart

Q&A with My Pantry Shelf

  • Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. 
  • In high school, I worked at Earthbeam, a natural foods store in Burlingame, California. I learned so much about fresh foods and whole grains.  It definitely influenced my habits in the kitchen.

  • What's your least favorite food?
  • Bland, processed food.

  • What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
  • Oh, I have been having a real good time in the kitchen this year, so it is hard to choose.  Of late, my favorite is probably focaccia bread I have been making using the recipe from Baking with Julia.

  • Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
  • I recently left my recipe notebook on the stove, not realizing that the gas burner was on.  You can guess how that turned out.

  • What is your idea of comfort food?
  • I love to make pasta with a chunky tomato and sausage sauce. 

  • Apron or no apron?
  • No apron.  I'm not afraid to get messy when I cook.  

  • If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
  • I wish I had the opportunity to make a fabulous meal for my grandma Betty.  She was a tremendous cook -- mostly traditional Danish dishes.  She passed away before I became serious about cooking.  

  • You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
  • I do love to cook alone and have been known "encourage" my kids to leave the kitchen so I can cook in "peace," but I do love cooking with them as well.  They are already pretty capable for little people.

  • When it comes to tidying up, you usually: a. clean as you cook, b. do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, c. leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.
  • Here is my chance to publicly thank my husband for the hours upon hours he has spent cleaning up after my adventures in the kitchen.  I usually clean up as I cook, but there is still a pile for him at the end of the day. Thanks Scott!