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Columnist
Creative sandwiches could mean cool cash for school
By Deborah Pankey | Daily Herald Food Editor
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Published: 8/18/2010 1:56 PM

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Putting American cheese on his peanut butter and jelly sandwich is about as creative as my son Henry gets, but if you've got a budding chef in your family who has a hankering for peanut butter, here's a contest for you.

The 9th Annual Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest is open for entries through Oct. 22. The first 250 entries received by Sept. 10 will be eligible for a Jif gift pack with product and back-to-school essentials.

Sandwiches will be judged on creativity, taste, appearance, nutritional balance and ease of preparation. Five semifinalists will be selected to compete at a live judging event in New York and the grand prize winner will get a $25,000 scholarship fund. Four runners up will each receive $2,500 scholarship funds.

The big prize in 2009 went to Rachel, a 10-year-old from Clovis, Calif, for her fruity peanut butter and chicken lettuce wrap (pictured).

At the movies: You may not be able to spend a year in Italy, India and Indonesia refocusing your life and exploring the local cuisine, but you certainly can indulge in some of the fare featured in this month's blockbuster "Eat, Pray, Love."

Corner Cooks, a unique cooking venue in Winnetka, is hosting an "Eat, Pray, Love" Girls Night Out at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16. The evening will feature a buffet dinner of fare from the countries Julia Roberts visits in the movie.

The $30 meal includes limoncello martinis and margherita pizza with Neopolitan-style crust, mini grilled shrimp skewers with fiery lemongrass-chile sambal, Indonesian chicken satay, curried cauliflower and vegetables over couscous and 'Baci'-style hazelnut and chocolate mousse cups.

Corner Cooks as at 507 Chestnut St., Winnetka. Make reservations at (847) 441-0134.

Too cool for school: The kids are back in school and now it's our turn to learn a thing or two.

Todd Poore, the mixologist at Francesca Tavola in Arlington Heights, will teach students who to mix up five specialty martinis from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28.

"We love that our customers can come into the bar here and have a great time talking with our bartenders so why not learn how to shake up some cocktails along the way?" says Francesca's Tavola general manager, Carissa VanNevel. The lesson will focus on seasonal sips, including the Cactus Kick Martini, pictured.

The class costs $30 per person (plus tax and tip) and includes appetizers. Space is limited; call (847) 394-3950 to register. Francesca's Tavola is at 208 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights.

- Deborah Pankey

• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at food@dailyherald.com or (847) 427-4524. Friend her on Facebook.com at Deb Pankey Daily Herald. Listen to her discuss food and restaurant trends on Restaurant Radio Chicago, 5 to 6 p.m. Saturdays on WIND 560 AM.