Contest cooks heat things up despite desert chill

January 30, 2002|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — The cold weather didn't keep away the determined women who entered Tuesday night's cooking contests.

Many of the same cooks who entered other years tried their hands in the main dish and the salad/vegetable divisions. There were a few new entrants, including a transplanted New Yorker.

The top three recipes in the main dish classification all called for pasta.

Angela Marlow of Holtville won in main dish with "Lemony Good Carrot & Pasta Combo." Many of the entrants confess to getting a bit creative with the names of their dishes. Like some of the other cooks, Marlow wasn't sure what she had named the winning dish until she thought about it a second.

A prevention specialist with the county Office of Education, Marlow has been an avid cooking contest competitor for eight years. Last year she placed second in the festival sweepstakes division. Her tasty dish Tuesday called for red peppers, chicken, broccoli, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, pasta and three cups of carrots.


"Summer Asian Noodles" earned second place for Tiffany Phillips of Holtville. Her palatable dish called for turkey or chicken, zucchini, green onions, rice vinegar, ginger root, peanuts or cashews and fresh cilantro in addition to vermicelli pasta and julienne carrots.

Mona Locher of El Centro placed third with "Chicken Carrot Lasagna." The frequent Carrot Festival contestant won the sweepstakes prize for baking and preserves at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta last year. Her dish called for smoked pork sausage, chicken, onions, celery, peppers, mozzarella cheese, Alfredo sauce, lasagna noodles and lots of carrots.

Kindergarten teacher Shelly Osuna of Holtville won the salad/vegetable division with "Sweet and Crunchy Salad." This was her fourth time entering the contest. Last year she earned third place in the sweepstakes division. She got Tuesday night's recipe off the Internet. It called for chicken-flavored noodles, coleslaw mix, mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and two cups of carrots.

Osuna said she had a good feeling about entering the contest because of the Chinese symbols she had painted on her nails. These symbols represent human, power, love, fire and happiness.

Locher's "Golden State Carrot Bake" took second place. The recipe included carrots, onions, yellow squash, bacon, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken bouillon and cheddar cheese.

Amy Pyke of Holtville garnered third place with "North Woods Carrot Chicken Salad." A cook since her elementary school years, Pyke appears to be following in the footsteps of her mother, Denise Pyke, an employee with this newspaper and former sweepstakes winner. Amy's recipe called for wild rice, chicken, bell pepper, pea pods, carrots and cashews with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing.

Judges for Tuesday night were Margaret Strahm, Karol Counce, Delu Plourd, David Avila, Susan Omlin and Marty Espinosa. Prizes for the Soroptimist-sponsored contest were provided by Government Agencies Federal Credit Union, Bolthouse Farms, Floyd Nelson Jr. & Sons Inc., Susan Omlin and Mercer Ranches, Inc.

The seniors/snowbirds division will be judged at 3 today. Judging for the adult breads, desserts and miscellaneous divisions will be at 6 tonight. Both contests will be in the Civic Center in Holt Park. The public is invited to sample the dishes after judging.

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