Counce ‘sauces up' winning microwave dish

February 02, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — Local residents and snowbirds gathered Thursday night at the Civic Center here for the second-to-last night of the Carrot Festival cooking contests, featuring dishes prepared by microwave.

Today's Sweepstakes Cook-Off will be at 5 p.m. in the Holtville High School home economics' room. First- and second-place finishers of the previous cooking contests will compete for the sweepstakes trophy and cash prizes. Last year's winner was Danna Romo of Holtville.

Thursday night Karol Counce of El Centro, a home health aid and avid cook, walked off with first place for her "Carrot Fiesta Corn Torte." This standard recipe has been around for awhile and has been taken to many potlucks. Counce enhanced her recipe with extra cheese and three cups of carrots. She said she "sauced it up" by adding extra chiles.

Last year she placed second in the sweepstakes. This year she will fix her "Mandarin Orange Cake" for the judges in hopes of taking the sweepstakes prize. She has entered the cooking contests the last three days and concedes to being "exhausted."


Another busy cook, Shelly Osuna of Holtville, took second place with "Carrot Chile Relleno Casserole." Until last night she had never cooked with a microwave.

"I just use it to warm up food," she said.

Finishing third was Mona Locher of El Centro with "Chunky Carrot Red Chili." The spicy dish called for lots of red chile peppers, 4 pounds of cubed pork, onion, garlic, diced green chiles and a can of V-8.

Angela Marlow of Holtville received honorable mention for "Really Chocolatey Carrot Cake." She said it is an easy cake to fix if one starts with a box of devil's food cake mix.

To the cake mix she added sour cream, unsweetened chocolate, eggs and two cups of chopped carrots

While waiting for the judges' decision, Mary Helen Dollente and Vera Wilson, both of Holtville, demonstrated the art of making tortillas. Audience members helped roll the tortillas and got to eat the tortillas, too.

The contest winners were given cash, ribbons and craft items. Judges were Susan Omlin and Barbara Narvais, both of Holtville, and Linda Chalupnik of Brawley.

The Rev. Jamie Dollins also attended with his wife, Serena. Dollins is pastor of the Holtville United Methodist Church. The Dollins brought their cooing 6-month-old son, Forrest, to the contests.

The clergy was well-represented Thursday. The Rev. Michael Patzloff, formerly of Holtville, was among the contest visitors. Patzloff now is pastor of a church in Tecumseh, Neb.

"Coming back for Carrot Festival is the easiest way for me to see my friends," said Patzloff.

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