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nannydeb  Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Mascarpone Tart

Nannydeb's particular brand of cooking genius is twofold -- on the one spatula, she is the queen of creative cuisine, and on the other, she masterfully develops smart solutions for putting ingredients to the best use possible without sacrificing flavor. Her food is at once sophisticated and homey -- pretty much what you'd expect from a cook whose mother made wine out of grapefruit at home.

Her winning Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Mascarpone Tart and runner-up Rich Chocolate Cake with Coconut Filling and Ganache showcase the brilliance behind nannydeb -- go rich, take no prisoners. Well, judging by the fact that this is the first week in a very long time that there was no butter on the Food52 grocery list for our photo shoot, we're in your camp. Lemon Blueberry? Bread Pudding. Mashed Potatoes? With Mascarpone (and dill and chives). A prolific and involved Food52er, this Texan is cooking up a storm all over the site, so raise your glass (accompanied by a Toasted Almond Macaroon with Amaretto White Chocolate Ice) -- it's about time we give a Texas toast to this wonderful cook.

Read the profile Q&A with nannydeb.

  • What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
    marinated octopus in Madrid

  • What do you cook when home alone?
    beans & greens, popcorn

  • Your most treasured kitchen possession:
    my "baby Oskar" food processor that my mother bought for me when I went to college (still works and is used weekly)

  • Your ideal meal:
    shrimp, rich sauce, salad, champagne, chocolate cake

  • The number of bottles of wine you own:
    about 15, nothing special that I'm saving

  • The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is:

  • Kitchen pet peeve:
    everybody always ends up congregating in the kitchen and in the way

  • Your favorite cookbook:
    my autographed copy of the Essential New York Times cookbook!