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Enjoy grass-fed beef at Strongbow. The Valparaiso eatery, known as turkey paradise, will feature a special wine dinner Sept. 22 starring investigative reporter/television journalist Bill Kurtis.

Kurtis has just re-joined WBBM-TV as co-anchor of the 6 p.m. news with Walter Jacobson.

"We're excited about this," Strongbow owner Russ Adams said. The newsman will discuss the merits of organic beef and mingle with guests, he said.

A&E veteran Kurtis founded TallGrass Beef Co. in 2005. He raises pasture-fed Red Angus cattle on his 10,000-acre Red Buffalo Ranch near his boyhood home in Independence, Kansas.

The dinner will star five food stations, with wine paired with recipe selections. The menu includes Tallgrass beef on hearty greens or warm flatbread, local caviar and Tallgrass, steak Diane, and assorted desserts.

There also will be a build-your-own hot dog station starring "all-beef" dogs.

"No turkey this time," Adams said.

Strongbow already features some Tallgrass beef on its menu. Executive chef David Hemdal has experimented with chops and cuts for various specials and recipes.

Tickets are $80 for the event. Call to reserve. FYI: (219) 462-5121 or (800) 462-5121

Gear up for tailgate season

Let Ivy Tech help you plan your next tailgate menu. Ivy Tech Community College will present a one-day class on tailgating fare Sept. 18 at the East Chicago De La Garza campus, 410 E. Columbus Drive. Cost is $75. Call to reserve a spot. FYI: Contact Josephine Blockson at (219) 981-4430

A winning salsa

Congratulations to Laura Baiel of Lowell, winner of the Lowell Labor Day Festival's Salsa Contest last Saturday.

Baiel's "Elbee's Damn Good Salsa" took top honors for its combination spicy-sweet flavor and hearty consistency.  Her "Salsa Del Norte" was last year's winner.

The contest, organized by Sue Peterson of the Lowell Chamber of Commerce, featured seven contestants.

I joined fellow judges Sue Sutphen and Lowell Town Council President Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, in rating entries.

Baiel's husband Jim also entered the contest and took third place for his "Green-O Salsa." Vickie Rodriguez of Lowell received second-place honors for "Firecracker Salsa."

"I'm happy I won," said Baiel, noting her husband's concoction also was praised.

"I thought if I had to lose, though, I wanted it to be to him," she said.

Jim Baiel joked he was "disappointed" that he couldn't beat his wife.

"But I just entered for fun," he said.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach her at (219) 933-3365 or