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Food

kalePopeye and his spinach need to make way for the new “Queen of Greens.”

Vitamin-rich kale has long been a staple of southern cuisine but is gaining world-wide popularity for one simple reason — it’s one of the healthiest foods you can eat.  While all unprocessed vegetables are good for your health, kale offers a few added benefits, protecting against several cancers while lowering cholesterol.

“It’s basically the closest relative to wild cabbage,” said Lindsay Martin, a wellness coach and dietician at Hilton Head Health. “It’s considered one of those cruciferous vegetables, which have been shown to have numerous health benefits.”

By Sally Kerr-Dfood-sally-hotdogs004ineen

I grew up in the north – Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to be exact. So summer and grilling had a very short seasonal window, unlike here in the Lowcountry.  Up in the frozen north, we couldn’t wait for that first backyard barbecue when we pulled out the dusty old grill from the garage.  Now, my grill gets fired up pretty much all year round — I even use it to roast my Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys (hey, it frees up the oven). 

bbq_chick_ques

The culinary creation you see above is called the “P-Nutty BBQ Chicken Quesadilla,” and it is 8-year-old Hilton Head Island girl Mallory Russell’s entry in the “Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest.” While barbecued chicken may seem an odd substitute for, say, jelly, the people at Jif must have been impressed, as Russell has been named one of 10 finalists nationwide who will compete to win $10,000 toward educational products.

UPDATE: She won. Click here to read all the details.

So now that we’re past Halloween, without question the most pumpkin-heavy holiday on the calendar, you think you’re done with these bright orange gourd. Think again. The humble pumpkin is not just a smiling home for a candle during trick or treating. This is an incredibly versatile squash.  You can boil, bake, steam, puree, mash or cube and roast the flesh.  They’re savory or sweet and you could even use them as a vase or serving “dish.” Plus pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A, and only about 100 calories per cup.

This chili is up … and it’s good!
The tech of tailgating has elevated the art of outdoor pre-gaming from its humble roots of charred franks slowly shriveling on charcoal to a nearly gourmet experience.

The ingredients in these iconic Lowcountry dishes may seem familiar, but the recipes are decidedly not. With these coastal-inspired ideas you can turn shrimp and grits into a shrimp and cornmeal spoonbread soufflé, or roast your Lowcountry boil on the BBQ.

Hilton Head Best BurgerAfter accepting the difficult assignment to locate Hilton Head Island’s best burgers, I did two things right away: bought a new pair of running shoes, and renewed my gym membership.

With that important preliminary work out of the way, I proceeded to ask everyone I knew where I might track down the island’s best burgers, and I got a meaty response: 14 in total. That meant I had a lot of burgers to eat and not a lot of time to do it.

Three local chefs. Four recipes. One perfect holiday meal.

Taste of the Season

Looking for a little holiday culinary inspiration? Look no further: In October, Monthly asked three Taste of the Season chefs for their favorite holiday dishes and assembled them into one perfect holiday dinner you can make at home — assuming you have the time and considerably more cooking abilities than we do.

Consider this also a sneak preview of the cuisine you can sample from more than 35 of the Lowcountry’s top chefs at the 21st annual Taste of the Season, taking place Dec. 3 at the Marriott Resort & Spa on Hilton Head. The event finds chefs competing for the honor of “Best Cuisine” and confectionery artists vying for the top honor of “Best Cake.”

Unexpected American RedsMost wines produced in the United States are made as single grape (varietal) wines from a rather limited number of grapes.

But as wine drinkers become more adventurous, wineries are exploring less-frequently planted grapes to create blends — a common practice in Europe, but one that’s still relatively unusual here. This month’s column concerns both types; these wines will often be found under the “Interesting Reds” label.

The grape Blaufränkisch (“Blue Franc”) is grown mainly in Austria. But the Steele Winery in California has a 2008 Shooting Star Blue Franc that’s nice example — and a better value than an Austrian import. It’s a light red, scarcely oaked to make it appealingly fruity, and with light tannins that lead to a clean, dry finish. It’s ideal for salmon or chicken.