Are you a berry, berry good chef? Well, prove it as part of the Berry Blast Off Recipe Contest, just one feature of the 2009 California Strawberry Festival to be held May 16 and 17 in Oxnard. Indeed, the plum prize for the grand winner is a Carnival Cruise, but there’s a cherry on top for every entrant: free admission to the festival. Here’s what it takes: any original recipe for “a non-baked strawberry delight (use of grill, fryer, or stove-top permitted) utilizing strawberries as a key ingredient.” Five semifinalists will take part in an Iron Chef-style cook-off, and then two semifinalists will enjoy the fruit of their victories in a final showdown at the festival itself. You can make any kind of dish-sauce, dessert, main course, dip, drink, jam, spread, appetizer, snack-but creativity counts, so put your melon to work and come up with something peachy. The deadline for recipes is April 30; for details, see or call (888) 288-9242.


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