Four Pennsylvania cooks were declared winners in the eighth annual Pennsylvania "Simply Delicious, Simply Nutritious" Vegetable Recipe Contest Cook-Off.

Kenneth Ward, Hulmeville, became the first male first-place-prize winner with his "Colorful Corn Chowder."

Shauna Yorty, Lebanon, won first place in the Snap Bean/Lima Bean/Pea category with "Shauna's Super Summer Salad." Other first-place-prize winners were Kathy Rohrbaugh, Shrewsbury, and Frances Dietz, York.

The Cook Off was held Aug. 5 at the Olewine Center for Culinary Arts at Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg. George Greig, state Secretary of Agriculture presented the $100 cash prizes to the winners.

Dietz, a veteran contestant and prize winner in previous years, won first place in the Beet/Carrot/Turnip category with her "Roasted Beet and Candied Walnut Salad," which one of the judges described as a "very nice blend of flavors and textures, unique." Her entry received the highest score of any entry 36 of a possible 40 points.

Rohrbaugh, also a veteran contestant and prize-winner, won the Broccoli/Cabbage/Cauliflower category with her "Oriental Cabbage Salad," described by a judge as "refreshing" and a "nice blend of flavors sweet with a little heat."

Ward, a second-year finalist, won the Sweet Corn category. His "Colorful Corn Chowder" featured carrots, potatoes, red bell peppers, onions and bacon along with the corn.

Yorty's salad included snow peas, carrots, zucchini, raisins and couscous with a poppy seed dressing a winning combination of "great flavors" that produced a "nice and refreshing salad" according to one of the judges.

Four finalists in each category competed for the top prizes. Judges choose the finalist recipes for the Cook-Off from 66 written recipe entries submitted by 30 cooks from across the state.

Recipes were scored on four criteria: creativity, nutrition/healthfulness, ease of preparation, and overall appeal. Entries had to contain as a major ingredient at least one vegetable in the category. Recipes were required to be created or modified by the contestant or a member of the contestant's family.

All the finalist recipes are available on the Vegetable Marketing and Research Program's website at www.paveggies.org [2] or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Program at: PA Vegetable Mktg. & Res. Program, 815 Middle Road, Richfield, PA 17086.

Finalists in the competition included:

Broccoli/Cabbage/Cauliflower

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Smoked Turkey and Orzo Salad Cindy Kerschner, Schnecksville

African (Ethiopian) Cabbage Stew B.J. Reed, Chambersburg

Fruited and Curried Cole Slaw Frances Dietz, York

Snap Beans/Lima Beans/Peas

Snap Beans with Pancetta and Roasted Garlic - Deb Lyon, Bangor

Snap Bean Salad - Mary Ann Deeble, Tamaqua

Pittsburgh Peas and Noodles - Jennifer Bornes, Mechanicsburg

Sweet Corn

Three Sisters Succotash - Kathy Rohrbaugh, Shrewsbury

Spicy Corn Salsa - Bonnie Mortimer, Mount Pleasant

Healthy Fettucini Alfredo - Deb Lyon, Bangor

Beets/Carrots/Turnips

My Yarden Salad - Shauna Yorty, Lebanon

Red Beet, Barley and Mozzarella Salad - Cindy Kerschner, Schnecksville

Orange-Maple Roasted Carrots - Becky Frey, Lebanon

These finalists each received a $25 gift certificate to the farm market of their choice.

Judges for the contest were: Linda Anderson, family and consumer sciences teacher in the Allentown School District; Autumn Patti, chef instructor at Harrisburg Area Community College; Debbie Gregory, extension educator, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Huntington County; Kyle Nagurny, chocolate lab manager at The Hershey Story and cookbook author.

Here are the winning recipes:

Oriental Cabbage Salad

Kathy Rohrbaugh

Serves 6 to 8

5 cups cabbage, shredded

1 red pepper, small, cut into very thin strips

1 carrot, shredded

1 cup Mandarin oranges

1/2 cup cashew pieces

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh

Pinch salt

Pepper flakes, if desired

Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix chili sauce, olive oil, honey, rice vinegar, lime juice, and salt. Add dressing to cabbage mixture and toss to coat.

Shauna's SuperSummer Salad

Shauna Yorty

Serves 10

2 cups snow peas, blanched

3 cups carrots, shredded

2 zucchinis, shredded

1 cup raisins

12 ounces Brianna's Home Style Poppy Seed Dressing

10 ounces couscous, plain

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook and cool couscous. Mix all ingredients in a large salad bowl and serve cool. Enjoy!

Colorful CornChowder

Kenneth Ward

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 pound bacon, diced

1 cup onion, finely diced

cup red bell pepper, coarsely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups potatoes, peeled and coarsely diced

1 cup carrots, coarsely diced

3 cups chicken broth, regular or low sodium

4 cups sweet corn, reserving cup for topping

3 cups milk

3 tablespoons butter

Pepper, fresh, to taste

Salt, optional

In a medium skillet fry diced bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels and crumble when cool. Remove all of the bacon drippings except for 2 tablespoons. In the 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings, add onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Cook 3 minutes over medium heat stirring continuously. Place this mixture in a large pot. Add potatoes, carrots, chicken broth and corn.

Cook 10 minutes over medium-high heat or until the vegetables are tender. Add the milk and butter. Season with pepper and salt if desired. Reheat until hot. Serve in bowls and top with the crumbled bacon and reserved corn kernels.

Roasted Beet and Candied Walnut Salad

Frances Dietz

Serves 4

3 beets, medium-sized, leaves and stems removed

2 ounces walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

cup Greek salad dressing

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

3 tablespoons cranberries, dried

3 green onions, sliced

2 cups mesclun mix or baby spinach

cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled

Black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap beets in foil. Roast in oven for 50 to 60 minutes until tender when pierced with paring knife. Unwrap and cool. Peel and dice. To make candied walnuts, combine walnuts and sugar in small skillet. Heat over medium heat until sugar begins to melt. Stir until all the sugar is melted and is a light amber color. Pour onto greased baking sheet. Cool and break apart. Combine salad dressing, mustard, salt and pepper and celery seed.

Toss beets, cranberries and green onions with half of the dressing. In another bowl, toss the greens with the remaining half of the dressing. Arrange greens on 4 salad plates. Top with the beets, nuts, cheese and a grinding of pepper. Recipe Contest is sponsored annually by the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program, and is designed to generate creative new recipes for consumers to use to enjoy "Simply Delicious, Simply Nutritious" Pennsylvania vegetables. The finalist recipes for the previous years' contests are also posted on the program's website at www.paveggies.org [2].