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Recipe contests have winning ways

If you have a fabulous original recipe that gets rave reviews whenever you serve it, think about entering it in one of many upcoming recipe contests. The result could bring you cash, prizes, or trips. You could even have your recipe included in a cookbook.

Whether you create new recipes or select one of your tried-and-true favorites, make sure that you follow the rules completely when entering a recipe contest. Sometimes it's quick-and-easy recipes that are featured. Sometimes it's an ingredient that needs to be included.

For example:

  • Oyster recipes are sought for the National Oyster Cook-off. You could be selected as one of 12 contestants to compete at the cook-off on Oct. 20 in Leonardtown, Md. Recipes must use a minimum of one pint of oysters or one dozen fresh oysters in the shell. Four categories include: hors d'oeuvres, soups and stews, main dish, outdoor cookery, or salads. The top three finalists in each category will receive $300; the grand prize winner selected from those finalists will receive an additional $700 and a silver tray. For information and rules, phone 301-475-4404. Deadline for entry is Aug. 6.

  • Sutter Home Winery is holding a Build a Better Burger contest to celebrate the all-American burger and show how wine pairs well with foods at a backyard barbecue. The contest requires only that ingredients be formed into a patty and fit into a bun or other bread product. The cook-off will be noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 22 at Sutter Homes' Zinfandel Ranch in California's Napa Valley. For contest entry information or to obtain tickets to attend the cook-off, visit www.sutterhome.com/burger or send a request with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Build a Better Burger Contest, Sutter Home Winery, P.O. Box 248, St. Helena, Calif., 94574-0248. Deadline for recipe entries is Aug. 31.

  • The Canned Food Alliance is sponsoring the “Great from the Grill” recipe contest for consumers ages 18 and older. The only requirement is to submit a grilling recipe using at least two canned-food ingredients. The grand prize winner will receive a new Weber Genesis Grill plus $1,000 to buy the “fixins” for a backyard barbecue feast. For official rules and to enter, visit www.mealtime.org. Deadline for entries is Aug. 31.

  • The McIlhenny Co., maker of Tabasco brand products, is looking for the “hottest” fire-fighting cook nationwide in the second national Cook & Ladder Competition. Submit your favorite mess hall dish or off-duty original recipe, which includes one of the four Tabasco brand pepper sauces. Appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts will be judged on taste, appearance, originality, and creativity. Firefighters with professional culinary training are not eligible. Ten finalists will be selected and flown to a cook-off at Peter Kump's New York Cooking School in New York City on Feb. 5, 2002. Grand prize is $10,000. To receive contest rules and an entry form, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition, c/o Hunter Public Relations, 41 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010. Entries must be postmarked no later than Sept. 1, 2001.

  • The 40th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest with a $1 million grand prize will be held Feb. 24-27, 2002, in Orlando. Entrants must submit their original quick-and-easy recipes that use one of a list of eligible Pillsbury products and fit the contest categories. The Web site www.bakeoff.com provides easy online entry as well as hints, recipe examples for each category, and success stories. The contest is open to amateur cooks, ages 10 and older. Entry blanks are also available by calling 800-533-1822. Entry deadline is Oct. 15, 2001.

  • To celebrate its 80-year history, Frank's RedHot sauce is seeking RedHot hot-sauce tips or recipes along with fun party ideas. Eighty individuals - one grand-prize winner and 79 finalists - will win. The grand-prize winner will enjoy an all-expense-paid party for 80. Each of the finalists will receive an $80 gift certificate. Information: Write to Frank's RedHot Tips, 411 Park St., Upper Montclair, NJ 07043 or enter on-line at www.bender-hammerling.com. Entries must be postmarked by Oct. 15.

    Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor. E-mail her at food@theblade.com.

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