Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Iowa State Fair

I  judged a Holiday Cookies & Dessert contest last Thursday.  Below are the First, Second, and Third place recipes.  The first place winning recipe was incredible!  It was a sophisticated dessert that was moist and full of rich flavors.   
 First Place Winner
Norita Solt
Holiday Mincemeat Pudding with Caramel Sauce

2 cups mincemeat pie filling
3 eggs
2 cups dry complete pancake mix
1 cup sour cream, divided
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 cup bundt cake pan.  In large mixing bowl, combine mincemeat pie filling, eggs, pancake mix, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Mix by hand until well blended.  Pour into prepared bundt pan.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Remove cake from pan, onto a plate.  In small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 cup brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Serve over slices of pudding.  Makes 12 servings

Second Place Winner
Katherine Kilkenny
This cookie was delicious!  It may be decorated for Halloween, but it would make a perfect addition to my Christmas cookie basket.  The almond bark coating on the outside of the cookie, kept the chocolate center moist and slightly gooey.  I didn't want to stop eating this one!

Halloween Oreo Truffles

1 pound package Oreo cookies
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (20 ounces) vanilla almond bark

Using food processor, grind cookies to a fine powder.  In large bowl, combine cookie crumbs and cream cheese, using an electric mixer.  Mix well.  Roll into small balls, place on wax paper.  Refrigerate at least 45 minutes.  Melt almond bark in microwave for 2 minutes or until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds until melted.  Dip cookie balls in melted almond bark, coating completely, place on wax paper.  Cool.

Third Place Winner
Deana Wright
I love the combination of sweet and savory.  This cookie has that wonderful combination.  It is a strange combination, but it really works!  When I make these cookies, I am going to experiment with leaving out the Jello powder.

Rustic Flag Potato Chip Cookies

Red and Blue Jello powder
3 cups crushed crispy potato chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 pound white chocolate chips

In medium microwaveable bowl, melt chips in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring after every 30 seconds.  Divide chocolate into 3 bowls.  Add 2 tablespoons blue Jello to one bowl, 2 tablespoons Jello to another bowl, and keep one bowl plain.  Mix well.  Add equal amounts of potato chips and pecans to each bowl.  Mix well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.  Cool.  Arrange cookies into a flag design.  Sprinkle additional Jello on top if desired.

It has been a really fun and busy week!  Between cooking demos, the contest, and signing cookbooks, I have not had much time to get out and take pictures of the fair. 

Speaking of cooking demos, I love doing them!  It takes a lot of preparation to put one on, but I love every minute of it.  I have one hour in the behind the stage kitchen to prepare and set everything up before the demo.   I do the cooking demo in front of a live audience.  

 Cooking Demos
The audience at one of my cooking demos, 10 minutes before I started.

When it comes to food at the Iowa State Fair, pork reigns supreme!  In the past 30 years, more that 560,00 Iowa Chops have been grilled and served at the fair.  On average, a fair patron receives a pork product about every 4 seconds.

I think Paula Deen would love the Iowa State Fair.  Why you ask? Because it has a Butter Cow and you know how much she loves butter!  I always make a visit to the Butter Cow.  It wouldn't be the State Fair if I didn't.  The Butter Cow has been an attraction at the Iowa State Fair since 1911.  
In addition to the Butter Cow,
this year they have a butter Green Eggs and Ham display.

As I hustled to see the Butter Cow,
I snapped a few pictures of things I saw along the way.

It's Iowa, so you know there is going to be prize winning corn.

Prize winning 1,323 pound pumpkin.

Big D, the Champion Big Boar, weights 1,212 pounds.

Last but not least, the Ugly Cakes!  This is a competition open to kids only.  The object of the competition is to make the ugliest cake possible, using only edible food items.  

First Place Winners

Second Place Winner

Third Place Winner

Check back on Friday, for more Prize Winning recipes!

I will be drawing a name from my followers to win copies of my cookbooks, MY KIND OF COOKING and BUSY WOMAN'S SLOW COOKER COOKBOOK, 
on Friday, September 3rd.   

Sign up as a FOLLOWER for your chance to win!

Check out the great giveaways at my blogging buddy, Bo's Blog (say that three times fast), Bo's Bowl.   Not only does he have great giveaways,  his recipes are incredible!  One visit to his blog and you will see why I faithfully follow it.
Another great giveaway can be found at my friend Pam's blog, Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner.  Please check out her incredible blog and sign up for your chance to win!


  1. I love the ugliest cake winners! Too cool and very creative.


  2. I would have loved to see your demo! Iowa state fair looks awesome! I have been to the Wisconsin State Fair! Happy Cooking!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. The demo looks like it went well. Love that pumpkin, how many people will that feed!!!! Diane

  4. Linda it looks like you had great fun with the judging and all. The winning dishes all look delicious but, that first dessert really caught my eye. The butter displays are incredible! Wish I was there!

  5. P.S. Bet your Vanilla Malted Pudding was a hit too! Way to go!

  6. What a fun and interesting state fair! The ugliest cake contest, is real cool.... actually they are very good! Very creative and cheeky!

  7. looks like you had A LOT of FUN!!!!!

  8. Too funny! I miss my Texas State Fair! That ashtray and frog were my favs! and cookies made from potato chips? hmmmm

  9. I love the ugly cakes! Very creative.

  10. Thanks for sharing...I love fairs..some of those cakes are strange! :D

  11. ugly cakes is an unusual and interesting contest!
    loved oreo truffles!

  12. Your name was nor between the winers, but the important is the participation and the fun of those events.

  13. Linda sounds like your having a blast...I'm not really so sure about to potato chip and Jello cookies...I guess it's just something you have to try...My favorite cakes are the gulf oil spill and the ashtray.

  14. Linda, I made your Peachy Pork Roast for dinner tongight!! In Evan's words, "KILLER." Man, it was good! Thank you again and again for the cookbook and apron!! I love them!

    PS the mincemeat pudding sounds fabulous.

  15. Jane, the Ugly Cakes are the most popular display in the food depart.

    Jennifer, I wish you were at the demo too! We could do it together, wouldn't that be fun!

    Diane, I have no idea how many people that pumpkin would feed but it would be fun to know.

    Pam, I wish you were here too! We could go and get a pork chop on a stick.

    Kitchen Flavors, the Iowa State Fair is so much fun!

    JeriLyn,it would be fun if you and Dan could come to the fair sometime!

    Chef E, I have heard the Texas State Fair is incredible. I an going to have to go there.

    Hydrant Girl, I look forward to seeing the Ugly Cakes each year.

    Julie Harward, they are strange but fun.

    Uma, the Oreo Truffles are great!

    Salsa Verde, they won't let me enter the contests. I am only allowed to judge them.

    Bo, I am having a blast! The Jello Cookies are surprisingly tasty. When I make them, I am going to leave out the Jello and see how it tastes.

    Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow, Your are welcome! I am glad you like the cookbook and apron, I was happy when I saw it was your name that was picked!

  16. The fair sounds like it was fun! I especially liked the ugly cakes and that giant pumpkin!

  17. Just stumbled upon your blog, I have to say you have a very interesting and informative blog :)!

  18. I wanna cook a butter cow brisket :)

  19. I love going to the fair, it is so Americana. Those were some pretty creative ugly cakes.

  20. I love those butter displays! How great. Can't wait to see the next round of winners!

  21. I live in a small town and love these fairs. Your pictures are great and show what fun it was. Thanks.

    Plan B

  22. Hi, My mom met you at the State Fair and passed your information on to me. Food isn't a primary conversation on my blog but it is a topic.