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Heritage Farm Museum and Village hosts Country Roads Cook-Off and Antique Car Display Saturday, Sept. 7

Sep. 04, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- "Country Roads, West Virginia."

In just a few days, the smell of the campfire followed by the aroma of bacon, onions, potatoes, cornbread and more and tastes of cast-iron meals begin to fill the Heritage Farm Museum and Village, as part of its Way Back Weekend series.

The farm hosts its third annual Country Roads Cook-Off and Antique Car Display from 10 a. m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, with seven teams using ingredients that are West Virginia grown competing in one of two categories: individuals cooking on a stove/hot plate/crockpot or those cooking over a wood fire.

Judging and samples begin at 12:30 p.m., followed by awards presentation at 1 p.m. Winners are chosen by a panel of judges using criteria adapted from the Country Roads Cook-Off and attendees to the farm that day cast ballots for a People's Choice Award. The two top award recipients receive $150 for first place and $75 for People's Choice.

Judges are Tyson Compton of Huntington Business and Convention Center; Melanie Shaffer, news anchor with WSAZ Channel 3; and Steve Williams, Huntington mayor.

Dan Fulks of Chesapeake won People's Choice last year for his pinto beans and cornbread and onions (made with two ham hocks and salt), cooked in cast-iron kettle passed along to the Fulks family after the death of Alfred Bills in 1995 who used it many years to cook beans for 4-H'ers.

Chris Bugher was overall winner last year for a trout rendition topped with pickled green onions over a reduction of sassafras jelly after preparing over open fire.

The previous year's winners were Sue Richardson for her pork and peaches combination. Pat Januszkiewicz won for cast iron pan seared stuffed trout with white lightning sauce.

Although a few teams are still committing, this year's participants include John Marra, Jason Oesterreicher, Bill Rosenberger, Sue Richardson, Dee Wills and Pat Januszkiewicz.

Working with cast iron cooking competitions since 2006, Januszkiewicz, who is helping coordinate the cookoff with Joshua Sowards, director of camps and conferences at the museum, enjoys researching recipes and working with local farmers and food sources as it brings local cooks, chefs, judges and tasters together in a friendly, competitive environment.

Along with Sowards and the Perry family, including the farm's founders, Mike and Henriella, this coordinator also works with 21st Century Farm2U Collaborative to create another memorable experience at the Way Back Weekend Cast Iron Cook-off.

"Food has the power to connect people on many levels," she said. "Translating food traditions into events like the cast iron cookoff is a fun way to bring a community together."

This certified operating room nurse who has worked in surgical services 40 years, noted that almost everyone has a story about a cast iron skillet, Dutch oven or griddle that has been in the family, reminds them of someone or brings back the remembrance of cornbread, beans or other foods.

"Cooking in cast iron connects family history with love and good food, one generation to the next," Januszkiewicz said.

For some people, cooking and competition are not the reasons they attend.

"Not all teams enter the judging," said Januszkiewicz. "Teams may enter for the fun of the day and the experience of the event."

"It's a full day at the farm," said Sowards. "Guests are able to see how food is cooked in cast-iron and learn about the essential nature of food as it's incorporated into our daily lives for health and wellness. They learn the heritage that cast-iron cooking has in Appalachia as well."

Other activities include touring the museum, petting zoo for children, wagon ride, blacksmithing demonstration, antique car display food and more.

Admission is $8 and $6 children ages 2-12.

A graduate from Good Samaritan School of Nursing-University of Kentucky and University of San Francisco, Januszkiewicz compared the skills of an operating room nurse to a cook.

"The skills to manage a fast-paced operating room are the same as those used in the kitchen," she said. "You need the right resources at the right time, a solid plan and the knowledge to implement the plan -- safety, cleanliness, timeliness and compassion.

"In the kitchen the outcomes are less dramatic than in the operating room. Nevertheless, just as rewarding, especially around the table with family and friends," she added.

Her interest in food and cooking began at an early age and continued through the years. She has taken classes at the California Culinary Academy in Napa and San Francisco, Calif., with Julia Child in Berkley and at various venues throughout her travels. In 2009, she was a chef instructor with the Jamie Oliver Project, now Huntington's Kitchen.

Registration is due today, submitted with a $15 check that will be refunded the day of the event. Forms are available by stopping by the farm at 3300 Harvey Road or visiting www.heritagefarmmuseum.com. For more information, call 304-522-1244.

Recipes from her collection:

SMOKED SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA

1 pound smoked sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1 cup instant rice

1 (8-ounce) can tomatoes

4-5 drops hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cut sausage into 2-inches pieces, brown in 10-inch skillet. Sauté onion, green pepper and celery until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low heat until thoroughly heated.

WEST VIRGINIA CORNBREAD

(for 8-inch iron skillet)

2 cups self-rising cornmeal

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 can cream-style corn, drained

Mix ingredients together. Pour in greased cast iron pan or skillet. Bake at 370 degrees 45 minutes or until golden brown.

CHERRY CRISP COBBLER

2 (30-ounce) cans cherry pie filling

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Line 12-inch Dutch oven with heavy foil. Put pie filling into oven; spread evenly. In separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, oatmeal and pecans; stir to mix well. Add vanilla to melted butter; stir to mix. Using fork, mix in butter until pea size crumbs form. Spread topping evenly over cherries. Cover Dutch oven and bake using 8-10 briquettes on bottom and 14-16 briquettes on top 30 minutes. Serve topped with whipped cream.

Note: Briquette must be hot coal stage.

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