Marjorie Zalewski of Toledo should inspire anyone competing in a cooking contest. She entered 27 culinary items in the Ohio State Fair and came up with 17 prizes, 11 of them for her candies.
Among the blue ribbons, she took first places in un-iced pound cake, caramels, peanut brittle, dipped or dropped chocolate with turtles, and in truffles with Espresso Truffles. Second-place ribbons were awarded for Quick Crustless Soy Quiche in the Cooking with Soy competition, English Toffee (with nuts), molded peanut butter cups (using candy molds), peanut butter fudge, special occasion candy with Nutella Filled Shells; also winning second place honors was Pear Mincemeat Pie in two-crust pie with fruit category and Chess Pie in single crust pies category.
"All in all, I felt I did well, despite several disasters" she said. "My angel food cake fell because of the rainy weather." The bread pudding destined for the Cooking with Soy competition fell off the cart while being transported to the DiSalle Building for judging, and she picked up the wrong wine bottle for a second pear mincemeat pie - this one made with wine - even though she had used the right wine in the recipe. This disqualified her in that competition, which was Cooking with Ohio Wines.
Mrs. Zalewski did some advance cooking in Toledo and stayed with a friend in Columbus, where she did the last-minute cooking projects. With the help of her daughter, she transported daily projects to the fairgrounds. She was at the fair four days.
During the Cooking with Ohio's Soy Foods presentation, food consultant Connie Cahill demonstrated Chilled Soy Peach Soup, which was one of Mrs. Zalewski's winning recipes two years ago.
Labor Day weekend Sept. 3-6 will showcase Greater Cleveland cuisine with regional delicacies, live music, and family fun at Taste of Cleveland at the Tower City Amphitheater. More than 30 restaurants, microbreweries, and eateries will serve sample-size portions of signature dishes. Admission is $7. Food samples are individually priced. For information, visit www.cleveland.com/taste.
The Traverse Epicurean Classic will have food and wine from celebrity chefs Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. Venues in and around Traverse City, Mich., will include international tastings, kitchenware expos, auctions, special events, dinners, and cooking classes. There also will be food and wine programs at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute.
Among those participating are Pete Peterson, chef at Tapawingo in Ellsworth; Stu Stein, chef of the Peerless Restaurant in Ashland, Ore., and author of The Sustainable Kitchen; Edward Lee, chef at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, and Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, culinary instructors and co-authors of The BBQ Queens on Fire.
For information, visit www.epicureanclassic.com.
The Aug. 10 food page featuring Greek Classics prompted several requests for Avgolemono Soup. Here's a from-scratch recipe from The Foods of the Greek Islands by Aglai Kemenzi.
1 3-to-4-pound free range
plus 3 pounds chicken backs, necks, and/or wings
1 large onion, halved
2 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salt
10 to 12 whole peppercorns
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh dill
2/3 cup medium- grain rice, such as Arborio
2 large eggs
4 to 6 tablespoons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the chicken and chicken parts in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam and reduce the heat to low. Add the onions, carrots, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns. Cover and simmer 2 hours, adding a little more water as needed until the chicken starts to fall from the bones.
Transfer the chicken quarters to a large plate. Remove the meat and cut half of it into bite-sized pieces; cover and refrigerate. Refrigerate the remaining chicken for another use. Strain the stock, discarding the solids, and refrigerate it for a few hours, or until the fat congeals on top. Remove and discard most of the fat.
In a large pot, heat the oil and saute scallions over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Add half cup of the dill and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 3 cups of hot stock mixture into the eggs. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Add the chicken and the remaining 1/2 cup of dill. Taste and adjust seasonings with lemon juice, salt, and/or pepper. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes more; do not boil. Serve hot.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings as a first course