Do you have a good idea for a terrific strawberry dish that doesn't involve turning on the oven? We're gonna assume the answer's yes. Lucky you, because the 2012 California Strawberry “Berry Blast Off” recipe contest is now up and running. The competition is open to anyone who has a strawberry recipe that doesn't involve baking.

The recipe must be original, serve six people and be able to be prepared and presented in one hour. And, of course, strawberries should be the key ingredient. The sky's the limit on how creative you want to be. We're talking sweet or savory; breakfast, lunch or dinner; snacks, appetizers, desserts, dips, sauces, jams; you name it. You can employ any kitchen tool you want, such as a blender, grill, fryer or stove-top. But step away from the oven; don't even think about using that.

You have until noon on Monday, April 30, to send in your recipe. The best part is, even if your recipe doesn't win, you still get a prize. That's right, everyone who enters the contest will receive one freebie ticket to get into the California Strawberry Festival, taking place May 19 and 20 in Oxnard.

According to the contest rules, you can enter as many recipes as you want, but only one entry at a time in each submission. And, sorry, even if you enter a billion times, you will just score one free festival ticket. (Only one complimentary ticket per family, and no fair having your dog submit a recipe.)

The top five finalists will participate in a one-hour challenge, which will take place in the kitchen of the Courtyard by Marriott in Oxnard on Tuesday, May 8, at 11 a.m.

After that, two finalists will compete for a Grand Prize (a four-night Carnival Cruise for two.) This phase of the competition will take place at the festival on Saturday, May 19, at the Strawberry Promenade in front of an audience. You have to be 21 years old to use this prize. If you're fortunate enough to be younger than that and you win, a parent can accompany you on the cruise or maybe you can ask some other deserving over-the-hill person (hint, hint.)

The runner-up wins one night and breakfast for two at Oxnard's Courtyard by Marriott as well as a meal at the Tierra Sur restaurant at Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard.

There are three ways to submit recipes: email, fax or snail mail. Whichever way you choose, don't forget to include all your contact info.

To submit a recipe by email, send it to

Put the recipe in the body of the email and also as an attachment.

You also can fax the recipe to 805-385-4729 (attn: Berry Blast Off.)

Finally, you can trek on down to the nearest mailbox. Remember those? That's the big, blue box on your street corner labeled United States Postal Service. The snail mail address is:

California Strawberry Festival

Attn: Berry Blast Off

1661 Pacific Ave.

Suite 15

Oxnard, CA 93033

LA Weekly