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May 16, 1996|CINDY DORN

CONTESTS

Cheese Wheels: Cooking Light magazine is looking for a few "light" cheese recipes. And it's paying big bucks. The recipe must include at least one specialty cheese from Wisconsin, including aged Cheddar, asiago and baby Swiss. The winner gets a week for two at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Fla., including air fare and $5,000 walking around money. For contest rules and eligible cheese list, write to Cooking Light With Wisconsin Cheese Recipe Contest, 2100 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209. But hurry: Entries must be postmarked by June 28.

Community Chest: Cookbooks compiled in 1995 or 1996 by nonprofit organizations are eligible for entry in the seventh annual Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards, which recognize outstanding books published for fund-raising purposes. Entries are judged on layout and design, title, theme, story line, reflection of regional culinary traditions, recipe content and the organization's fund-raising efforts. Winners receive contributions of $1,500 (first place), $1,000 (second place), $500 (third place) and $250 (regional winners). For an entry form, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards, Hunter & Associates, 41 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010-2202. Entry deadline is Sept. 30.

Brownie Points: If you think you make the richest, most chocolatey brownies around, you'd better enter Baker's National Best Brownie Contest. The three categories are Serious Chocolate Brownie, Year-Round Family Favorite and Kid's Favorite. Category winners take home $1,000; the grand prize winner gets an additional $500. Recipe entries must include Baker's Chocolate; those using a brownie mix will not be accepted. For rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Baker's National Best Brownie Contest, Hunter & Associates, 41 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010-2202, or call (212) 679-6600, Ext. 212. Entry deadline is June 1.

Today

Dine and Dash: A one-hour evening class for busy people, featuring salt-crusted beef tenderloin; potato, caramelized onion and goat cheese gratin; chocolate boules. 6:30 p.m. $15. A Store for Cooks, 30100 Town Center Drive, Laguna Niguel; (714) 495-0445.

The Art of Smoking: Remi's fourth annual black-tie Cigar Gala is at Track 16 Gallery and Robert Berman Gallery this year. Cigar master Ave Uvezian hosts the champagne reception, followed by a multi-course dinner from Remi chefs. 7 p.m. $125. Bergamont Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building C, Santa Monica; reservations required: (310) 394-8667.

Saturday

One Country, Many Flavors: Some of Southern California's most popular restaurants offer samples at the ninth annual Taste of the Nation event held by Share Our Strength. Best of all, 100% of the $60 ticket price goes to hunger relief organizations. 7:30 p.m. $60. Universal Studios, Universal City; (310) 288-3663.

Strawberry Jam: It's time for Oxnard's annual California Strawberry Festival, with food and beverages, contests, Strawberryland (for kids) and a 250-booth arts and crafts show. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Also Sunday. $6; children 2 to 12, $4; children under 2, free. Strawberry Meadows of College Park, 3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard; (805) 385-7578.

It Takes a Miracle: Lora Brody teaches bread machine "miracles," including parchment bread, hummus bread, hot cakes, pizza and pesto bread. 1 p.m. $50. Amestoy House Cooking School, 8950 Highway 150, Ojai; (805) 646-7970.

Chili and Cold Water: At the Great Coldwater Canyon Chili Cookoff and Carnival to benefit St. Michael's and All Angels' School, you can taste 12 types of chili for only 75 cents a cup, then vote for your favorite. Also food, beverages and carnival rides. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $5. St. Michael's and All Angels' School, 3646 Coldwater Canyon Ave., Studio City; (818) 985-3717.

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