With $25,000 in prizes for the first-place winner, the Manischewitz Cookoff has now become one of the biggest annual cooking contests. I was at the latest Manischewitz Cookoff and got to taste every recipe from the five finalists. The winning recipe, a takeoff on Thai “Pho” (pronounced “Fuh”) soup, was delicious. It was simple, creative … and kosher!
The innovative home cook is Josie Shapiro, 35, a mother of two from San Francisco.
It isn’t surprising that this ethnic dish would originate in the diverse city of San Francisco. Shapiro’s Vietnamese-inspired dish is what I call a “stoup” — a combination of soup and light stew! I loved it.
All the finalists’ recipes can be seen on manischewitz.com. The 2014 Manischewitz Cook-off has not yet been scheduled, but you can check out the website to get ideas and inspiration.
And There Is Another Chance For You
When it comes to cooking contests, the “Big Kahuna” is still the Pillsbury Bake-Off with a million-dollar first prize. The 2013 Pillsbury contest is organized a bit differently this year. Recipes are accepted in three categories at three different times. Openings for entries in the Amazing Dinner category are already closed. However, if you have fantastic recipes for Simple Sweets and Starters or Quick Breakfasts, you still have time to try for that million bucks.
The Simple Sweets and Starters category is open from April 4 through May 9, and Quick Breakfasts from July 4 through Aug. 8. Visit bakeoff.com for details.
I always troll the Pillsbury site for ideas, since it is surprisingly easy to adapt many outstanding recipes and make them kosher (even using Manischewitz products).
Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.