Saturday, May 26, 2018
Features and More

Four Floridians are finalists in Pillsbury Bake-Off, set for Orlando

Salted Caramel Macaroons? Mini Carrot-Spiced Cupcakes With Molasses Buttercream? Caramelized Onion and Peppered Bacon Flatbread?

These are just three of the 100 finalists for this year's Pillsbury Bake-Off, proving once again that this is not your great-grandmother's Bake-Off. Well, it isn't and it is. For the first time in a while, there seem to be more recipes that involve scratch cooking with a small assist from a convenience product. This year, there is honest-to-goodness baking, and recipes with upward of 10 ingredients.

The names of the finalists' recipes reflect American cooking trends, if not in your kitchen, then certainly in cookbooks, magazines and restaurants. Many of the titles read as if they've come from the menu of a trendy urban eatery. Orange-Cream Macadamia Tart and Caramelized Pear, Spinach and Chicken Pizza, for instance. That's a far cry from the No-Knead Water Rising Twists that won the first Bake-Off in 1949. It's likely that Theodora Smafield of Michigan, the first winner, had never heard of mango salsa, salted caramels or caramelized anything. She was probably a heck of a cook, though.

This year, Martha Stewart, the queen of the involved home project, is the host. That's quite a change, too, from past hosts who were more often game show or TV hosts (Bob Barker, Alex Trebek, Arthur Godfrey).

The finalists will compete in Orlando on March 25-27 for the $1 million prize, the biggest purse in all of amateur competitive cooking. The categories for the 45th Bake-Off are Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy and Sweet Treats.

In the beginning, the only required ingredient was Pillsbury flour. After all, the Bake-Off was a baking competition. Over the years, as Americans' cooking and eating habits changed and food conglomerates began to eat up other manufacturers, the Bake-Off was transformed.

Today, there is a long list of eligible products that can be used. Besides Pillsbury flour, there are Pillsbury refrigerated and frozen bread products, plus products from Progresso, Muir Glen, Smucker's, Hershey's, Eagle Brand and Land O'Lakes, among others. All are owned by General Mills or are otherwise sponsors of the Bake-Off.

Florida has four contestants in the finals, though none from the Tampa Bay area. Their entries, too, reflect modern food mores plus a bit of Sunshine State cuisine. Andrea Yacyk of Sebastian offers a nod to Florida with Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls, and Naylet LaRochelle of Miami gives sloppy joes a South Florida Latin beat with Sloppy Jose Gorditas. Maryann Rems of Windermere will be making Cherry-Jalapeno-Cream Cheese Tartlets, and Dawn Onuffer of Crestview in the Panhandle is turning refrigerated oatmeal cookie dough, cream cheese and instant cappuccino mix into Cappuccino Toppers.

The recipes, the host and even the signature aprons to be worn by contestants have a contemporary twist. Three Project Runway reality show contestants have designed aprons for the competitive cooks, and the winning one will be unveiled at the competition.

Honestly, who knew the Bake-Off could be so hip?

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586.

   
Comments
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

The pups are an important addition to the populations of this rare Florida species, and the first red wolf births at the zoo since 1993.
Published: 05/25/18
Veterans get in free at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more with Memorial Day deals

Veterans get in free at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more with Memorial Day deals

Memorial Day is a time to say "thank you" to our veterans. The following is a list of free offers for them to enjoy. Some even last all summer.• Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are offering U.S. veterans and up to three guests get free admission to the th...
Published: 05/25/18
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR — Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."It’s got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. That’s not bad." Indeed, there’s a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Published: 05/25/18
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

It’s where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.It’s where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the program’s biggest road games.It’s where folks showed up in...
Published: 05/24/18
Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior on-set, at his production company, and during press junkets, according to a report.CNN reports that 16 people have spoken out against Freeman’s alleged misco...
Published: 05/24/18
Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

TAMPA — The Ballet Nacional de Cuba performed Giselle, its signature ballet, on Wednesday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Fifty-four dancers charmed a packed house, culminating in about two hours an effort that took more tha...
Published: 05/24/18
Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Lakeland’s a little out of the way, but I’m always eager to check out the bar scene there when passing through or attending an event. Every place I’ve visited just seems so pleasant.I regret missing the boat on the city’s first brewery, Lakeland Brew...
Published: 05/24/18
tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

The saga of Barley Mow Brewing Company and its eventual offshoot/successor Sea Drift Ales & Lagers is a complicated one. The most interesting part is how the latter came to be as a result of brewery-distributor tensions, in which Barley Mow pulled an...
Published: 05/24/18
Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Caladesi Island’s "crystalline quartz" sand and "sparkling clear" water left an impression on Dr. Beach, who ranked it in his annual list of the country’s top 10 beaches.Dr. Beach, or Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, is a professor and director for the Lab...
Published: 05/24/18