Food & Wine

Food for Thought: West Richland cooks take first in chili contest

Two West Richland chili cooks placed first in the Washington State Chili Cookoff held recently in Pacific Beach.

Lisa Beaver took the top prize in the red chili category while her husband, Chris Beaver, placed first in the chili verde (green) category and third in the red chili category.

Their wins make the two eligible to compete in the World's Championship Chili Cookoff from Oct. 11-13 in Palm Springs. The World's Championship is sanctioned by the International Chili Society, which holds more than 200 cookoffs annually.

The State Chili Cookoff, like the World's Championship, is a blind tasting.

There were 26 competitors from seven states in the Washington contest, including several former world champions.

Fragrant fields

Hermiston's Lavender Festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Purple Ridge Lavender Farm, 29081 Bridge Road, Hermiston.

The event features wine tasting, lavender lemonade and cookies, artists in the fields, a quilt expo, Model T cars, antiques, food and live music.

The farm also will be offering U-pick lavender as well as oil and plants.

The suggested donation for general admission is $5, or general admission including wine tasting is $10. Proceeds benefit the Agape House of Hermiston, which has been helping the less fortunate since 1986 with a food bank, clothing dispensary and other services for the hundreds of homeless and working poor.

For more information, call 503-756-1294 or 541-561-3945 or go to

Another lavender business is the Blue Mountain Lavender Farm in Lowden, which is open through Sunday. Owner Karen Grimaud offers two acres of fragrant fields for U-picking with lavender lemonade to quench your thirst.

Be sure to ask her for tips on cooking with this aromatic herb made famous in the cuisine of French Provence.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday and Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, go to

Lighting briquettes

If you have trouble getting briquettes to light, follow these tips from Kingsford:

Place several new briquettes in a metal can or bucket and apply lighter fluid. Add these briquettes, using long-handled tongs, to the grill and light with a long match.

Never add lighter fluid to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream and burn you. Also, never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire. Both can cause an explosion.

New Read

The book: The Art of Brazilian Cooking by Sandra Cuza.

Cost: $24.

Best for: Brazilian cusine is known for bold flavors, ripe fruits and vegetables, and fresh fish, meats and herbs. The author gives readers a taste of the regional foods of Brazil -- where African, Portuguese and Indian cooking come together -- along with some history behind each recipe. One of the few Brazilian cookbooks written by an American-born author, this cookbook features authentic Brazilian cuisine adapted for the American palate.

*Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513