By JULIE BUSH
OBSERVER Staff Writer
Once again, OBSERVER readers put their best recipes together and cooked up a storm, with delicious and creative results.
The 16th annual Reader Recipe Contest concluded with a very wide variety of recipes. Taking first place overall was Bernice Sedlmayer, with her Beef on Weck Pizza; second place went to Roberta Dewey, for her Coffee Cheesecake with White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse; and third place was Lynn Herdzik with her Beef on Weck soup.
Bernice Sedlmayer of Dunkirk, a retired dietary aide at the Chautauqua County Home, took the grand prize in the Recipe Contest with her creative and delicious Beef on Weck Pizza. When she received the phone call that she had won, she was very excited.
"I was babysitting my 2-week-old granddaughter when I found out," Sedlmayer said. "When April (Diodato, OBSERVER Lifestyles editor) told me I started jumping up and down, spinning around the kitchen. I was so happy. I kept saying, 'Are you kidding me, are you kidding me?' I couldn't believe it!"
Sedlmayer loves to cook and hates to get rid of perfectly-good leftovers. Her pizza puts a scrumptious spin on an old Western New York favorite and prevents any beef on weck from being left to waste.
"I had leftover roast beef and I don't like to throw anything away," she said. "So I decided to use it to combine the beef with pizza. I do (the contest) for the pleasure."
Sedlmayer has participated in the contest for many years; she won in one of the new categories this year.
"Everybody was repeating the same recipes that people had heard before," she said. "This year adding the new categories it challenged people more to think about something new, something that people haven't seen or tasted before. That's how I came up with my Beef on Weck Pizza."
Judging the recipes for the contest were Chef David Reynolds from the White Inn, Fredonia; Sandy Testa of the White Horse Inn in Cassadaga; Mary Damiano, nutritionist and owner of NutriPerx, Dunkirk; and Devin Jones, chef at Fireside Manor, Dunkirk.
"The Beef on Weck Pizza was definitely the best dish out here," Reynolds said. "It was a Western New York-style dish. It was very original. The crust was good - it was very good."
Second place in the recipe contest went to Roberta Dewey of Fredonia for her rich and decadent Coffee Cheesecake with White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse. She has been entering the recipe contest for more than 10 years. When she received the call that her cheesecake won second place she was "thrilled to death."
"I do it because I love to bake and cook for family and friends," Dewey said. "Everybody loves Oreos, so I made the crust out of that. I had raspberry filling in the freezer so I thought that would taste good with the coffee flavor. I was brought up where you make everything from scratch. I've taught my grandchildren how to garden and bake."
While many of the entrants have been longtime participants, some of the first-time participants made it as finalists. Jose "Charlie" Rodriguez, a first-time participant, put a different spin on traditional Golumbki, adding a savory homemade Sofriito. His recipe took first place in the main dish category.
Herdzik, a Dunkirk resident, also entered the contest for the first time this year.
"It was very original. It had a nice caraway-flavored broth. The beef was very tender," Reynolds said.
Above all this year, the judges rewarded creativity - and on contest day, whether the dish was by a rookie or a veteran, it was truly anyone's game.
And the winners of the 2010 Reader Recipe Contest are...
I Love WNY:
1. Beef on Weck Pizza, Bernice Sedlmayer, Dunkirk
2. Beef on Weck Soup, Lynn Herdzik, Dunkirk
3. Marinated Flat Iron Steak Salad, Susan Egan, Forestville
1. Hot Cheddar Mushroom Spread, Brenda Drummond, Dunkirk
2. Corn Casserole, Ramona Piazza, North East, Pa.
3. Stuffed Hot Peppers, Emily K. Smith, Forestville
1. Family Pepperoni Bread, Holly Domon, Fredonia
2. Cannoli Cups, Bernice Sedlmayer, Dunkirk
3. Easy Fruit Cobbler, Brenda Drummond, Dunkirk
1. Golumbki, Jose "Charlie" Rodriguez, South Dayton
2. Best Ever Sticky Ribs, Roberta Dewey, Fredonia
3. Polish Reuben Casserole, Brenda Butler, Dunkirk
1. Beef on Weck Pizza, Bernice Sedlmayer; 2. Coffee Cheesecake with White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse, Roberta Dewey; 3. Beef on Weck Soup, Lynn Herdzik
1. Diabetic Jell-O Salad, Ramona Piazza, North East, Pa.
2. Chicken Southern Style, Roberta Mastrelli, Dunkirk
3. Buffalo Pie, Diane Everett, Dunkirk
1. Coffee Cheesecake with White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse, Roberta Dewey, Fredonia
2. Orange Creamsicle Fudge, Lola Kinney, Brocton
3. Tropical Delight Cake, Natalie Beilen, Dunkirk