I’ve never entered any food at the county or state fair level, but those sort of contests always have held some fascination for me.
The only winning recipe I’ve tried is Jennie’s Blue Ribbon Dills. (We call turmeric dills.) The pickle recipe is the creation of the mother of one of my wife’s former co-workers, Cindy Healey, and won the blue ribbon for pickles at a state or county fair.
It would be fun to enter a fair competition, although I have my qualms about being a contestant while being the food editor at the Grand Forks Herald.
If I did enter such a competition, one that surely would get some consideration would be Fleischmann’s Yeast’s "Bake for a Cure" contest held at 52 state and county fairs. For each entry, ACH Food Companies Inc., on behalf of its Fleischmann’s Yeast brand, will donate $10 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for all of the contests nationwide.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, often is referred to as simply Komen. It is an organization that supports breast cancer research. Since its inception in 1982, Komen has raised more than $1 billion for research, education and health services, making it the largest breast cancer charity in the world.
Today, the Komen organization is recognized as the leading catalyst in the fight against breast cancer, with more than 100,000 volunteers working in a network of 125 U.S. and international affiliates.
Susan Goodman Komen was a woman from Peoria, Illinois, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 and died three years later, in 1980. Komen’s younger sister, Nancy Goodman Brinker, feeling that Susan’s outcome might have been better if patients knew more about cancer and its treatment, and remembering a promise to her sister that she would find a way to speed up breast cancer research, founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in Komen’s memory in 1982. In 2007, the 25th anniversary of the organization, it changed its name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and adopted the explicit mission "to end breast cancer forever."
The Bake for the Cure competition offers two ways to win, welcoming entries in both traditional and batter bread styles. Make any flavor or shape of baked good using any type of Fleischmann’s Yeast; themes and decorative presentations encouraged.
Be a best bread winner. ACH offers $375 in local cash prizes and $3,000 in national prizes. The main category awards $150 for first place, $75 for second and $50 for third. In the second category, $100 is awarded for the “Best Batter Bread,” where you simply mix, rise and bake your entry. Qualifying bread recipes in the second category use just one rise time and zero effort spent kneading the dough.
All entries will be judged on flavor (40 percent), presentation (40 percent) and texture (20 percent). Each person can enter once per category, per fair. Contestants of all ages are welcome.
From the first-place winners of both categories at 52 fairs across the U.S., ACH Test Kitchens will pick one grand prize winning recipe from each of three regions: Northern, Central and Southern. These national winners will be selected and announced after the 2009 fair season (January 2010).
To see what it takes to win, check out the recipe for Orange Nirvana, by Jayne Judd Adams of Kentucky, the Central Region Grand Prize Winner in 2008, of Fleischmann’s Yeast’s "Bake for a Cure" contest. Or my favorite, Jennie’s Blue Ribbon Dills.
3 to 3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1½ tablespoons butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ounce cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1½ tablespoons orange juice
½ teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
Combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in large mixer bowl. Heat milk and butter to 120 to 130 degrees and add to flour mixture.
Add butter, egg and orange peel. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Punch dough down.
Roll into 14-by-9-inch rectangle. Spread orange marmalade down the middle of the dough, lengthwise. Make diagonal cuts 1-inch apart and 3 inches long down the two sides. Fold alternate strips of dough over the filling. Place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
Combine topping ingredients to make crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the braid. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Combine all icing ingredients and drizzle over coffeecake.
Yield: 1 coffeecake.
Jennie’s Blue Ribbon Dills
20 to 30 medium-sized to small-cucumbers
1 cup apple cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons canning/pickling salt
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
Wash cucumbers and rinse well. Wash dill and soak in pickling salt water (this removes bugs) and shake well.
Put dill in bottom of quart jars with garlic clove. Pack jars with cucumbers. Add ¾ to 1 teaspoon mustard seed and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder. Top with garlic clove and dill.
Cover with boiling liquid (vinegar, water, salt and sugar solution), leaving ¼-inch head-space.
Put on preboiled lids and bands (make sure rims are clean) and tighten. Put jars in water bath. Process for 15 minutes.
Yield: 2 quarts.