Ellynne Brice Davis’s Tomato Stack Salad won top honors in Top Tomato 2009. (James M. Thresher/For The Washington Post)

Time is running out: Sunday is the deadline to enter the Food section’s Top Tomato readers’ recipe contest. This year’s prize for the best recipe involves some personal time with none other than the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten.

Basic rules: Recipes must be original, must come from folks who don’t cook professionally and must contain no more than 13 ingredients, including salt, pepper and water. Up to five recipes per contestant may be submitted.

Some helpful tips: List the ingredients in the order they are used in the recipe directions. It’s best not to enter recipes you have sent into Top Tomato in previous years. If you plan to send a recipe for a soup or sauce, make sure it’s something special: We get lots of those. Something else we get lots of and don’t need more of: “recipes” for eating tomatoes out of hand, over the sink.

Winning dishes will be featured in an August edition of Food. You do not have to live in the Washington area to submit. The deadline for entries is Sunday, Aug. 2, at midnight. Send recipes by e-mail, with “TOP TOMATO CONTEST” in the subject field, to food@washpost.com. Or by mail to: Recipe Contest, The Food Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number.

If you have questions, send them via e-mail and we’ll answer right away.