Larry Lettera/ Camera One, Wagner Photos NYC
Lately I've written a few columns about people who have won cooking contests. Often readers wonder if they, too, could come up with a winning recipe.
So, here's one chance to test your creativity and enhance your wallet as well.
Call for entries to the Eggland's Best "Your Best Recipe" contest is open now through Aug. 12. Home cooks can submit their best original recipe online at www.egglandsbest.com/yourbestrecipe.
A $1,000 prize will be awarded in each of the following four categories: breakfast, appetizer, main course and dessert and one at-home chef whose dish showcases the most creative use of Eggland's Best eggs will be awarded a $10,000 grand prize. The entry deadline is Aug. 12.
Helping to judge recipe entries are chef and cookbook author Candice Kumai, who also serves as a judge on Food Network's "Iron Chef America," as well as Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietitian.
Both will evaluate each recipe based on the criteria of taste, presentation, availability of ingredients and creativity. The best five recipes from each category will be displayed on the Eggland's Best website for a semifinalist voting round. Those online votes will be calculated as part of the total score of each recipe.
I've noticed that in recent years, more recipe contests have added an online voting component. Blame it on "American Idol," I guess. It creates more buzz when contestants get their friends, family and social networking pals to go online and vote.
But I'm not sure if it says anything about the quality of the recipe. It's doubtful that many of the online voters actually tried the recipe to see how it tasted.
Since this is the first contest by Eggland's Best, I can't give you the sure formula for winning. But I can give you some tips from contestants who have been successful in winning other recipe contests:
Each contest is a little different, so read through the contest information to get a feel for what kind of recipes the judges are seeking. A complex "gourmet" dish? A very simple-to-make meal?
Hedge your bets by entering several recipes. According to EB's rules, you can enter up to two recipes in each of the four categories (breakfast, appetizer, main course and dessert).
Follow all the rules exactly. Many recipes get disqualified right off the bat. One rule in this contest is that the recipe must use at least two of Eggland's Best eggs.
Come up with a recipe that showcases the sponsor's product (in this case, eggs).
List ingredients in the order that they are used in the recipe. The list of ingredients should come before the directions.
Specify exact amounts of ingredients (not "a little bit of vanilla," but "1 teaspoon vanilla").
Consider the appearance of the finished dish. You may want to specify a garnish to give it more appeal.
Make sure your recipe is original. Don't copy one out of a magazine. However, it's often just a matter of taking a classic and switching it up with several different ingredients or maybe using a different cooking technique to make it your own.
Here's a fairly basic recipe from Eggland's Best website, Creamy Scrambled Eggs. You might want to use it to as a blank canvas for your own creativity.
Then again, you might just be in the mood for scrambled eggs and not concerned about entering a contest at all!
Creamy Scrambled Eggs
12 large Eggland's Best eggs
1/4 cup fat-free milk
6 ounces low fat cream cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup margarine
Chopped fresh chives
Process first five ingredients in a blender until frothy, stopping to scrape down sides.
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat; reduce heat to medium-low.
Add egg mixture and cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to set on bottom. Draw a spatula across bottom of skillet to form large curds.
Continue cooking until eggs are thickened but still moist; do not stir constantly.
Sprinkle with chives.
Valerie Phillips is the former Deseret News food editor. She blogs at www.chewandchat.blogspot.com.