Castle Rock’s Jackie Carioscia was not a fan of cooking until about the time she got married. Her first experiments in the kitchen began when she was 22 years old, living in Chicago and on her way to a career as a chemical engineer.
In the 10 years that have passed since then, Carioscia has entered countless contests, created a host of original dishes and become the go-to cook among her circle of friends.
Her efforts earned her a coveted spot on the 2013 Pillsbury Bake-Off list of finalists, who aim for a chance at Pillsbury’s $1 million grand prize.
She and her husband aren’t spending the grand prize money yet, but they are looking forward to the finalists’ trip to Las Vegas. Carioscia has entered the Pillsbury Bake-Off each year for the last decade. Each time, she enters dishes in a variety of categories.
This year she entered a dish in the Amazing Doable Dinners category, a marmalade crab crusted salmon recipe that was among the semi-final entries posted on Pillsbury’s website. Visitors to the site reviewed and tested the dishes, casting their votes for the finalists.
“This is the furthest I’ve made it,” Carioscia said. “I think I have a good chance. I only have to make the top 55 percent of that category.”
Carioscia’s winning dish was among four she submitted, abiding by instructions to limit the dish to seven ingredients, prep time to 30 minutes and include two of Pillsbury’s listed ingredient categories.
Her ingredients were Pillsbury’s best all-purpose flour and Smucker’s sweet orange marmalade. Combined with salmon, canned crab, onions and spices, the dish turned out “divine,” Carioscia said.
Her husband, Mike Carioscia, didn’t complain once about the handful of versions that came out of the kitchen as she perfected the recipe.
“I love that she’s always trying to come up all kinds of different recipes and 99 percent of the time they come up excellent,” Mike Carioscia said. “When it comes to cooking, she’ll send stuff out to friends and friends’ wives and they’re excited to get anything she cooks. When they come over, it’s always unique cooking.”
Recipes and contest information are available on the Pillsbury Bake-Off website at www.bakeoff.com. To view Carioscia’s recipe, follow the link from the home page to “And the Winners Are …”
Carioscia is among four finalists from Colorado, including Karen Harris from Castle Pines, who won with her recipe, bacon corncakes with warm maple cream.