south carolina: (foodie) paradise

folly beachmy happy place: folly beach, south carolina.

i don’t think i could conjure up a more idyllic landscape than the view from my grandparents’ deck in folly beach, outside charleston, south carolina.   looking out over the serene waterways and marshes, you’re captivated by the deep greens and blues of a place untouched.  the waters are full of activity and wildlife….porpoises swim by your kayak, oyster beds line the marsh, and crab traps catch a bounty of delicious blue crab with each pull.

aside from an excuse to see my lovely memaw and gramps, i think the main reason i can’t stay away for long is the seafood – man, the seafood!  always fresh and often caught right on their dock.photo (11)

a couple months ago, i ventured down to folly with a friend for some beach and sun time, but it inevitably became a culinary adventure when a hurricane swept through — and my grandparents are the best tour guides for this sort of vacation. some highlights:

oysters at the ordinary – a gorgeous bank-turned-trendy restaurant. the “hip” spot in town, according to my gramps.

fried chicken & sweet tea at the legendary jestine’s kitchen.  followed this up by delicious coca-cola cake which we ate too quickly to snap a picture of!  we loved it so much, i was inspired to recreate it for my friend meagan for her birthday (that’s her – below!):

IMG_5329

classic sunday brunch at high cotton: southern breakfast cassoulet, followed by pecan pie.

and finally, some home cookin’!  my memaw makes the best fried shrimp, which we had alongside sauteed mackerel, corn on the cob, collard greens and pickled okra.

while  southern food is traditionally heavier (dishes tend to be prepared with deep-frying, slabs of butter, rich BBQ sauces  and creamy cold slaws), i’ve certainly found it’s easy to eat healthy & fresh in south carolina.  the plenitude of fresh seafood nearby makes it  easy – a stop at the docks for fish, a quick sauté and maybe some bread crumbs, and you’ve got a simple foundation for a meal.  paired like my grandma does with this delicious, lightened-up collards greens recipe makes southern food certainly not something you’d feel guilty about!

below is a recipe i found on foodnetwork for healthier, but traditionally southern, collard greens.  i made this for my memaw on a past visit, and she loved it so much that she’s made it part of her regular repertoire – a true testament to its greatness!

RECIPE: VEGETARIAN SOUTHERN-STYLE COLLARD GREENS serves 4

(taken from the foodnetwork)

//ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound collard greens, chopped
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • s+p

//directions:

  1. in a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and butter
  2. saute the onions until slightly softened, about 2 minutes, then add the red pepper flakes and garlic
  3. cook another minute
  4. add collard greens and cook another minute
  5. add the vegetable stock, cover and bring to a simmer
  6. cook until greens are tender, about 40 minutes
  7. add tomatoes
  8. season to taste and serve with fried shrimp or fish!

share your thoughts!