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Merry Graham cooks up more wins

Posted: April 15, 2013 5:47 p.m.
Updated: April 15, 2013 5:47 p.m.
 

I’ve just returned from my retreat on Whidbey Island, Wash. It was a lovely week which I spent visiting with friends, drinking salted caramel hot coco at the Local Grown coffee shop and taking in a great community theater production of "The Full Monty." I also had a fantastic seafood dinner of salmon, fresh Dungeness crab and fresh crab cakes. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

SCV’s top home cook

Merry Graham of Newhall continues to show why she is the Santa Clarita Valley’s best home cook. The last six months have proved to be a bonanza for Graham who has racked up a series of wins in several recipe contests. The latest news for Graham:

Foster Farms Final Fresh Chicken Cook off in Napa was held at the end of last year. Graham won $10,000.

Graham won the third annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

Competing against the creations of five other finalists from California, Oregon and Washington, Graham’s Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice beat out nearly 1,200 West Coast recipes to win the $10,000 grand prize and a one-year supply of Foster Farms fresh chicken.

In the spirit of the contest’s focus on fresh, local ingredients, Graham’s recipe featured locally grown ingredients including lemons, asparagus and Foster Farms fresh chicken.

At the beginning of the year Graham won the grand prize and her daughter, Tiffany Michelle, won third place in Strut Your Duck Maple Leaf Farms.

Merry Graham won $4,000 and a year’s worth of duck. Tiffany won $1,000.

The panel of judges selected the three top winners in round two judging from the 10 finalists.

Grand Prize — Citrus Sesame Duck with Snappy Cherry Soba Noodles by Merry Graham.

Second Runner-Up — Thanksgiving Inspired Duck Pizza by Tiffany Michelle. Tiffany previously was a contestant on Food Network’s "Worst Cooks in America" reality television competition program.

Recently, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Makers announced Graham won the grand prize and $25,000 in the Chocolate Adventure. Her recipe, Margarita Moon Pies, wowed the judges.

The contest received nearly 1,500 inventive sandwich cookie recipes. Her recipe included the "adventure ingredients" tequila and chili peppers.

Graham recently took a break from cooking up her winning recipes with a trip to Texas to visit her granddaughters.

Rock, Walk and Wag

Are you ready to Rock, Walk and Wag? The event will feature free family fun with live music, food trucks, low-cost pet adoptions, vendors, bounce house and obstacle course, free microchips, low-cost vaccines and more.

Walkers are also being sought for the Perimeter Trail dog walk, which will raise money for spay/neuter services. The event will be held 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Central Park, 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. For more info, visit rockwalkwag.org or email michelle@angeldogsfoundation.org.

Cowboy Festival

Can you hear the hoofbeats heading toward the SCV? Yes, the 20th annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival will ride into town April 18-21. Thar’s a whole passel of activities for you pardners to check out. Best of all is the festival itself held Saturday and Sunday at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio in Placerita Canyon.

I can’t wait for that fantastic Cowboy Cobbler made in real Dutch ovens atop hot coals. The Cowboy Cultural Committee from Visalia sure knows how to cook real chuckwagon grub!

Glad to see performers Don Edwards and Sons of the San Joaquin will be back in the saddle entertaining on the Melody Ranch stage. Cowboy poet Baxter Black returns as well.

Other favorites include Hot Club of Cowtown, Sourdough Slim, Riders in the Sky and more entertainment than you can shake a stick at!

Michele E. Buttelman is the features and entertainment editor of The Signal. She can be reached by email at mbuttelman@signalscv.com. Follow SCV Scene on Facebook and on Twitter @SCVScene.

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