food & wine celebration to benefit veggie u – how to support & how to win

We are a fortunate bunch. It seems that just about every day there’s some amazing food-focused event happening, from pop-up restaurants, to charity dinners to festivals. Everyone pitching in equally to help – chefs and diners alike. Especially in the summer, there’s no shortage of things to attend. And they are all worthy of our attention and support. But there is one event in particular that holds a special place in my heart because it supports something I fully believe in and have myself supported, both personally and through Cleveland Foodie. And I have asked you to support it too – and you generously have, helping me raise $7,840+ over the past two years!

July 16th marks the 9th annual Food & Wine celebration to benefit the Veggie U children’s program. This annual gathering features gourmet cuisine prepared by chefs from all over the country plus wines from top vineyards, cooking demos and a silent auction. The Veggie U program educates 4th graders across the country on the importance of making wise food choices and understanding where their food comes from. You can learn more here.

The event takes place on the beautiful grounds of The Culinary Vegetable Institute. It’s an unbelievable evening – great crowd, food, wine, setting and of course, cause. Unfortunately, I can’t make it this year thanks to the arrival of baby #2. But you can go. Tickets are on sale now for $145 each. It’s well worth every penny, I promise you. And you truly are supporting an amazing organization and helping to make a worthwhile difference in these kids’ lives. And if you’re a regularly reader of this blog, I know it’s something you’d happily support.

Like last year, I  have a pair of tickets up for grabs to one lucky reader thanks to the good folks at Veggie U. To be entered into the random drawing, please leave a comment to this blog post (sorry – to be fair, Facebook doesn’t count) by June 30th telling me your favorite dish to make in the summer. Good luck – and thank you for supporting Veggie U!


  1. Erik
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    My favorite dish to make is a humongous ice cream sundae with warm chocolate syrup all over it!

  2. Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Warm tomato fresh from the garden, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper

  3. Sarah Rivera
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    My favorite dish to make is a quinoa salad with zucchini, garbanzo beans, and cumin! Great ingredients, super healthy, and light!

  4. Elena
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Grilled salmon with a tomato salsa

  5. Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Guess I’m with Tamara:

    Fresh pasta tossed with chopped garden tomatoes, garden basil, EVOO, grated cheese, fresh cracked pepper and salt.

  6. Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Has to be smoked baby back ribs. Low and slow.

  7. Jyll
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Grilled peaches with mascarpone cheese

  8. Emmy
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Panzanella salad with perfectly ripe tomatoes (hopefully from my garden)

  9. Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    right now, it’s grilled pizza on homemade crust with a class of wine with veggies fresh from the garden (although, most of them haven’t fruited yet – so I’m still waiting :))

  10. Beth Meyer
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I love to make tomato corn pie!

  11. Tiffany
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Anything and everything corn! Lots of corn salads with lime juice, tomatoes, fresno chilies, and zucchini. Serve with a nice grilled ribeye with some chimichurri…. mmm!

  12. linda savage
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    That’s easy. A BLT with ripe, garden tomatoes, crisp bacon, crunch lettuce and a schmere of Mayo. Perfection! My mouth is watering just thinking about it

  13. Christine
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Favorite summer dish is actually grilled zucchini, squash, asparagus, and potatoes dusted with G|Cooks citrus sea salt blend- followed up with my favorite dessert from Raymond Blanc- fresh lemon tart. Oh, and a cold glass of Pinot Grigio :) just divine!!!

  14. Kelly Scott
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Grilled kabobs & sweet corn

  15. Jill
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Vegetable gratin with squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and onions.

  16. Jackie
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Watermelon gazpacho!

  17. ron
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    It is a very tight competition between heirloom tomatoes a little bit of basil, sea salt and balsamic and Ohio sweet corn off the grill. I have actually taken an extra suitcase filled with Ohio corn on business trips to the west coast so the people I know there can try the best corn in the world

  18. Jessica
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Grilled Ohio corn can’t be beat!

  19. Posted June 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    So many favorites, but I’ll have to go with a fresh caprese salad with heirloom grape tomatoes, plenty of basil (all from my garden), buffalo mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. Pair it up with an oaky chardonnay, and it is summer-time bliss!

  20. izzyeats
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Love to make fruit crisps with fresh berries and fresh basil pesto.

  21. peg
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Peach and blueberry cobbler

  22. Dave
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I love cooking different things as the season progresses. Starting with ramps, fiddleheads, asparagus and morels in the spring, moving onto strawberries and early summer produce, I can’t wait for local tomatoes and corn to come in and then of course to close it all out the wonderful varieties of squashes that come in the fall.

  23. Jen
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I love to grill vegetables and chicken and then drizzle (drench) them with a fresh basil, lemon, garlic and olive oil dressing.

  24. Julie
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I love to toss warm pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil grown in my 7 yr old daughters garden! Add a little parm, salt, pepper and olive oil…PERFECT!

  25. Wendy Lacerva
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    My favorite summer meal reminds me of something my mother-in-law made me after my first son was born. (he is going to college this August!). It was just a bunch of garden fresh veggies each sautéed till golden brown and put into a casserole dish and topped with some sautéed chicken breasts, fresh chopped tomatoes and fresh basil. Bake till warmed through and sprinkle with Parmesan. I have cooked all my life, went to culinary school and now work for a fabulous catering company but to have someone make you a delicious fresh meal without asking is the BEST. . .
    congratulations on the new baby!

  26. Posted June 24, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    thin sliced zucchini, sauteed in olive oil with fresh oregano, mint and a sprinkle of salt. served over pasta with fresh grated romano cheese.

  27. June
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Heirloom tomato pie!

  28. Adam
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    During the summer I love grilling pretty much any and everything I can. Fresh Local peaches are a lesser known, but delicious choice to grill.

  29. Amy Mould
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Grilled Eggplant and Tahini Yogurt Sauce. Yum :)

  30. Rosemarie
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I love making a black bean and corn salsa with fresh cilantro, onions and fresh tomatoes. Yum! Especially when everything but the black beans are fresh and local!

  31. Kasie
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I love to throw some watermelon on the grill with whatever we happen to be grilling and add it to a salad with feta and a balsamic glaze.

  32. Jane
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Super fresh bruschetta on Trader Joe’s Asiago Cheese Batard with a glass of shiraz!

  33. chistina swarm
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Fresh anything from the garden to the table can not beat basil,oil and tomatoes…Anyways the Chef Garden is amazing and Veggie U is worth every penny one gives… Congrats on baby #2

  34. Dick
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    I love to grill fresh zuchinni, squash, and onions with olive oil and basil in aluminum foil packets. Yummy!

  35. Sean
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Arugula salad with watermelon, blue cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette

  36. Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Love Wisconsin brats on the grill with kraut and an ice cold beer! :)

  37. Kim
    Posted June 26, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Grilled Corn cut off the Cobb, Diced Fresh Tomatoes, Diced Avocado, Crumbled Queso Fresco, Chopped Cilantro, drizzle with a little bit of Olive Oil, mix all together and Season with Salt and Pepper. Love to serve this Salad with Grilled Chicken topped with homemade Jalapeno Pesto!

  38. Erin Betz
    Posted June 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Cabbage, Corn, Carrot & Bell Pepper Slaw with Cilantro and Orange dressing…just amazing and light in the summer with so many flavors that pop in your mouth! Crossing my fingers, I have been wanting to attend the Food & Wine Celebration for years!

  39. Jessica
    Posted June 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Anything grilled- chicken, steak, ribs, fish and yummy summer veggies and local fruit!

  40. Beth
    Posted June 27, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I’m with you Michelle, I love a good strawberry pie (or strawberry rhubarb) when they are in season.

  41. Amy Nilsen
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Any type of grilled veggie is my fave!! Tonight I’m attempting a grilled Kale recipe!

  42. Jon
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Watermelon martinis and grilled chicken.

  43. emily
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Grilled veggies from the Shaker Market, burgers on the grill and homemade ice cream…my favorite summer meal!

  44. Stephanie
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    My go-to dish is Oriental Salad. Just romaine, broccoli,and green onions but it’s the dressing and crunchy almonds, sunflower seeds and Ramen noodles that make it so yummy.

  45. andersons
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    LOVE anything grilled, but especially loving the new dishes we are making since we joined Fresh Fork this year. We are getting a lot of great veggies that we might not normally buy (and a lot that we do buy too) which is forcing us to try a ton new recipes and foods. It has made summer so delish already!

  46. Jessica Johnson
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Simple, yet delicious…a caprese salad with fresh basil, heirloom tomatoes, mozz and balsamic syrup.

  47. Liz Baca
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Our family’s favorite summertime food is hand-formed pizzas, which we grill over hardwood charcoal….scratch tomato sauce, fresh mozz., and everyone’s favorite toppings. I like torn basil and tomatoes on mine. The turn out like a wood-fired pizza…thin, crisp, slightly charred, and super satisfying.

    The kids love to design their own pie…so do adult party guests.

  48. Cristy
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    We love to make grilled summer veggies and halloumi cheese with basil, coarse salt, freshly ground pepper and olive oil.

  49. Greg
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Insalata caprese with lush, ripe heirloom tomatoes just-picked basil and fresh local mozzarella . . .

  50. Maria
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Mozzerella Caprese! So light and flavorful– perfect for summer!

  51. Carly
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m a classic girl with favs of grilled chicken, grilled hot dogs, my mom’s homemade potato salad and fruit salad! I am low maintenance!!

  52. susan
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Shish Kabobs!

  53. Claudia
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    We’ve been having fresh strawberries with homemade whipped cream a lot for dessert the past few weeks. We were enjoying them while we could get them in our CSA

  54. ted
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Make potato salad – 3 lbs small red skin potatos quartered/boiled, make mayo – 1 cup evoo, 1 egg, 1 tblspn lemon juice – blend slowly, add to potatoes w spicy whole grain mustard (grey poup), green onions, celery, chopped boiled eggs, red pepper, salt/pepper, fresh flat leaf parsley. I think that’s it. Its even good before refrigerating while potatoes are still a little warm.

  55. Jessica
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    My favorite summer dish is a caprese salad – simple, but there’s nothing better than fresh tomatoes and basil mixed with gooey slices of mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic. yum!

  56. Josh
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Lots of local sweet corn on the cob at the peak of its season with some good butter and salt.

  57. Posted June 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I like making quinoa salad with cilantro, tomatoes, corn, black and garbanzo beans, and asparagus!

  58. Kristy
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Salad with our garden’s tomatoes and cilantro.

  59. Renee Weese
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    My favorite dish is just cut/diced fruit as an after dinner desert, or just add some homemade dressing and use as a lunch salad.

  60. Barbara G.
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Nothing beats grilled veggies brushed with balsamic vinegar, Greek olive oil and sea salt on good crusty bread. Yummm.

  61. Jessica
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Mixed greens with chopped raw beets from the farmer’s market, local goat cheese, and balsamic mustard vinaigrette.

  62. Leslie
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Fresh salsa with tomatoes, jalapenos & cilantro from my garden!

  63. Miriam
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Beer-butt grilled whole chicken and corn on the cobb with mint feta butter! Just need some sliced tomatoes from the garden on the side! Yummm…

  64. Michelle V
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks everyone! Via, #45 / andersons was the lucky winner.

  65. andersons
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I am SOOOOO excited! Thank you so much for running this contest- My husband and I are REALLY excited.

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