The 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off has been completely redesigned, but the prize remains the same -- $1 million.
Here's the scoop: The contest has been streamlined with fewer categories, fewer ingredients and, for the first time, America gets to vote on who goes to Las Vegas from Nov. 10-12 for the big cook-off.
One of the big changes is there are only three categories with three different deadlines. The first, Amazing Doable Dinners, closes Thursday. Next comes Simple Sweets and Starters, with entries being accepted from April 4-May 9. It's followed by Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts, with entries accepted from July 4-Aug. 8.
To encourage simpler, original recipes, cooks are limited to no more than seven ingredients, not including salt, pepper and water, and take 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time.
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Full details and entry forms are at www.bakeoff.com.
Voting will be done at the same website March 14-28 for the first category. Voting for the other two will be June 13-27 and Sept. 12-26.
Dinner, once a month
Desert Wind Winery in Prosser will be holding a series of monthly Friday night dinners beginning March 29. The diners are served family style will all the diners seated at one big center table. The dinners begin with a half-hour pre-dinner social that includes wine tasting and light appetizers. Occasionally there's live music.
Chef Kristin Martilla Johnson creates the menus with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients. Each of the meals will feature wines from a neighboring winery in addition to those from Desert Wind.
Cost runs about $55 per person. Reservations are required.
For more information, or to make a reservation, go to www.desertwindwinery.com/mojave. Or call 509-786-7277.
Wine & chocolate
The 15 wineries in the Lake Chelan Wine Valley are celebrating the delicious pairing of Red Wine & Chocolate with special events, dinners and tastings Feb. 9-10 and Feb. 16-17.
For a complete list of events, go to www.lakechelanwinevalley.com.
The Yakima Valley and Rattlesnake Hills wineries will also have Red Wine and Chocolate events this month. Yakima Valley dates are Feb. 16-17 and Rattlesnake Hills in Zillah are Feb. 16-18. Look for information on those events in the Food & Wine section on Feb. 13.
The book: Great Food Fast: Bob Warden's Ultimate Pressure Cooker Recipes.
Best for: Warden has gathered 120 recipes all made in just minutes in the pressure cooker. Whether it's pot roast for Sunday dinner or a hearty sausage dip for your next get together this book is sure to become one you reach for again and again.
*Loretto J. Hulse: firstname.lastname@example.org.