6th Annual St Urho's Day Mojakka Cook-Off
Sunny late-winter weather brought out the Finns to sample the efforts of eight mojakka chefs. Here are the overall winners.
(judges' comments in italics):
Brenda Denton used her culinary skills to again capture the trophy in the Kalamojakka category.
"Pizza Ken" Waletzko was awarded first in the Potluck category.
Gary Ekman's Kalamojakka recipe won the People's Choice trophy once again.
- 1st Place Kalamojakka
Bushwacker's Mojakka, Brenda Denton, Duluth. Brenda, who also won the kalamojakka category in 2006, made her version of last year's winning kalamojakka.
"Difficult choice as both entries were good. The winning choice had a full-flavored broth, good fishy taste, and some butter flavor. Nice balance with only potatoes."
- 1st Place Lihamojakka
Beef and Venison.
Keith Bong, Cloquet, MN. Keith modified an old family recipe, using both beef and venison.
"Broth was closest to a traditional mojakka. Most allspice flavor of the four entries in the category. Good mix of vegetables with tender beef."
- 1st Place Potluck Mojakka
Ken Waletzko, Willow River, MN. Ken was a first-time participant at the mojakka cook-off. As owner of Kettle River Pizza in Askov, he is used to creating new dishes. He used smoked salmon flavored with capers and stuffed olives.
"Quite a medley! Intriguing smoky flavor."
The Gary Ekman People's Choice Award is based on voting by those in attendance. Three soups dominated the balloting, with Pat Ekman taking home the trophy for "Grampa Gary's Kala Mojakka" made with lake trout. Her granddaughter assisted in the cooking. The award is named for Pat's late husband, Gary Ekman, a two-time winner of the People's Choice Award. It was his recipe that won for the third time.
Mojakka recipes can be as varied as the Finnish immigrant families that populated the area around Lake Superior. That variety shows in the soups served at the annual mojakka cook-off. In addition, creative chefs make up their own recipes based on the basic formula of root vegetables in a meat or fish broth and flavored with allspice and peppercorns. The participants (in no particular order) were:
The Friends of Animals Humane Society of Carlton County, Inc., and their animal shelter in Cloquet were the beneficiaries of this event. Over $700 was raised for the charity.
Winners were awarded trophies created and donated by All-Star Awards of Cloquet. Other contributors included:
- Posters. Northern Printery, Cloquet
- Trophies. All Star Awards, Cloquet
- Milk & butter. Franklin Foods, Duluth.
- Location for the Cook-off, bowls, spoons, bread, etc. Bert & Judy Whittington, Northeastern Hotel, Cloquet.
- Promotion. Tim Winker, Wink Timber Media Agency
- www.Mojakka.com and www.SaintUrho.com
Door Prizes:Perkins Restaurant, Cloquet
The Pantry Restaurant, Scanlon
Bergquist's Gifts, Cloquet
ARCO Coffee, Superior, WI
Priscilla harvela, Stanley Home Products, Esko
Friends of Animals, Cloquet
- Connie Wirta, features editor, Duluth News-Tribune
- Dean Levanen, former winner
- Olli Rahkola, FinnFest 2008 committee.
- Lake Superior Magazine, March 2008, Mojakka Memories by Juli Kellner.
- 2/28/08 - Cloquet Pine Journal
- 3/13/08 - Cloquet Pine Journal
- 3/14/08 - KUWS-FM, Wisconsin Public Radio, Interview with Tim Winker.
- 3/16/08 - WDIO-TV, 10:00 pm News, and Good Morning Northland on 3/17/08.
- 3/17/08 - Duluth News Tribune, "Comfort Food for Finns", Page 1
- 3/19/08 - Duluth News-Tribune, TASTE Section
- 3/20/08 - Cloquet Pine Journal: Page 1, photo; Page 3, results.
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