I like spicy food, and while I didn't grow up eating horseradish, I am a fan now.
So, that brings me to the two pieces of culinary news about the annual International Horseradish Festival in Collinsville. You can enter two recipe contests. The first is the Amateur Recipe Contest, which is open to any non-professional cook creating any type of dish,
"We've had everything from the typical crab dip to homemade horseradish ice cream," said Festival spokeswoman Elizabeth Davis. "We at the festival don't see horseradish as a condiment; it's an ingredient that, when used creatively, can enhance an array of dishes."
Contestants will show their hot stuff at the festival on June 1 at 1 p.m. The winner receives a cash prize and has his recipe featured on the festival's website, Facebook page and in a new edition of the festival cookbook.
The second food contest is for amateur mixologists in the Smirnoff Vodka Bloody Mary Contest at 11 a.m., Sunday, June 2. The winners receive a cash prize.
"If you think a Bloody Mary is just canned tomato juice, vodka and some ground root, you cannot be more wrong," Davis said. "We've seen people bring homemade tomato juice, homemade pickles, homemade spices and create these amazingly complex beverages."
There is no cost to enter either contest, but contestants for the Amateur Recipe Contest must register by May 30. The Bloody Mary Contest is open to contestants 21 years or older and they must register by May 28. Visit the contests page at www.horseradishfestival.com for additional information and rules.
The International Horseradish Festival is held May 31 to June 2 at Woodland Park in Collinsville. Visit www.horseradishfestival.com and like the festival on Facebook for details.
Veteran contestant Sompit Daniels, of Collinsville, won the 2012 International Horseradish Festival Amateur Recipe Contest with this recipe.
"I've won a couple times," she said. "I like to experiment and improvise; I use horseradish on everything!"
Born and raised in Thailand, Sompit, 66, said she has always like spicy food. She will be entering this year's contest as well.
She said this is a good recipe for using leftover meat.
Spicy Beef Coleslaw
1/4 cup horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 carrot shredded
1/2 small sweet red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, optional
2 cups shredded grilled steak (can use any favorite leftover cooked meat)
10 to 12 endive or lettuce leaves
Mix first five ingredients in a large bowl.
Add remaining ingredients, and gently toss to combine.
Fill each lettuce leaf; add garnish of your choice. Serve.