Beyond the derby, the livestock auction and the Ferris Wheel, county fairs were the place to test your cooking skills against your neighbors. For generations, many have won blue ribbons for their prized apple pies, and pickled beets; that tradition continues at the Colusa County Fair with the third annual Colusa County Commodity Cook-off.
On Friday, June 6, 2012 at Festival Hall, six contestants competed with hopes to gain bragging rights for receiving the top pick in the main dish and the dessert divisions.
This year’s ‘best of show’ went to a delicious Apple Walnut Cake prepared by Carol Cain of Arbuckle.
From a simple recipe that was once given to Cain, she modified the ingredients to include local walnuts, and a delicious caramel glaze.
“The recipe includes fresh diced apples, Colusa County walnuts, and a super moist cake,” said Cain, “I then poked holes into the cake, pouring the glaze over the top allowing it to soak in.”
This was Cain’s first cook-off competition.
“I enjoyed competing with people I know. I haven’t done that since I was a kid in 4H,” said Cain, “I will be participating again, next year.”
Cain also took second place in the main dish division for her Dutch oven chicken and rice.
In the main dish category, a chicken and rice casserole prepared by Alma Hickel of Colusa, took first place, and third place went to a Cal Rose-y Rice Salad prepared by Shelly Gravance of Colusa.
“I thought the Cal Rose-y Salad was very unique,” said Cain, “It had prosciutto, and local colusa county tomatoes that have been dried. It was good.”
In the dessert category, a blackberry cobbler prepared by Carol Pearson of Colusa, took second place and in third place went to an almond biscotti prepared by Gravance.
“It was a great experience,” said Cain, “the judges critique was very helpful, I am looking forward to next year!”
The Casino Resorts executive chef Keith Erickson and community judges Cynthia Peterson and Barbara Scheimer judged all of the entries based on pre-set criteria.
The 2014 Colusa County Commodity cook-off was sponsored by Colusa Casino Resort. Providing over $800 in prizes to the contestants.
Bernice Dommer, the organizer of the popular commodity cook-off said, “We are looking at making it even bigger and better next year!”