Wine and April 15 deadlines

Beef Tenderloin With Cherry Port Sauce and Onion Confit?

Paired with a Redwood Creek Cabernet Sauvignon?

As campfire cooking goes, that sounds better than anything I’ve ever even attempted to make on a campfire.

The recipe and wine pairing won Alex Shapiro the first Redwood Creek Campfire Classic in 2005.

The 2008 Redwood Creek Campfire Classic, a celebration of wine and campfire cooking with a top prize is $10,000, has a Tuesday deadline for entries. Sounds a lot more appetizing than the tax deadline.

This year it is divided up into regional competitions before the main competition. I will help judge the Midwest regional at the Chicago Botanic Garden. (Beside my love of food and wine, my expertise is to be the outdoor end of the equation.)

And, if you’re wondering, it will be one of the things I am most looking forward to this spring.

I would take entering the contest serious, if you are serious about food and wine in a campfire setting. The judges at the final level are Cal Dennison, a Redwood Creek winemaker, and Bob Blumer, host of “Glutton for Punishment” and “Surreal Gourmet.”

In 2005, Shapiro, then a 32-year-old living in Bucktown, saw a note about the contest in the Sun-Times outdoors page, and entered. He won with a recipe he prepared for his finance at a rustic cabin in the Indiana Dunes.

I think the best thing I’ve ever made outdoors was fresh caught brook trout, fried in butter by the stream and lightly salted. There was no wine, only a drink from the stream where I caught it.

That was good, but recipes in Campfire Classic sound far better.

For information on Redwood Creek, go to

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