Cook-Off Winners Grilling Way to Big Apple

Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Soaring temperatures and new gas grills, purchased with some funds donated by The Home Depot, were only some of the things heating up at Saturday's Southeast Regional 2010 Family PLUS Cook-Off, held at the Boys and Girls Club of Bluffton. With only an hour to cook a minimum of two dishes that included the mandatory "secret" ingredients of shrimp, okra and peaches, and despite the energetic Iron-Chef like competition, the Wilson family, which includes Dad, Chris, Mom, Kim and children K'Allen (8) and Christopher (5), of Bluffton, took first place honors after impressing five judges with dishes like tomato-basil pasta with sausages and spring vegetables medley, and grilled chicken, shrimp, fruit, and vegetable kabobs. The Wilson family's win makes them eligible to compete with four other southeast region families for an opportunity to represent the southeast region at the National 2010 Family PLUS Cook-Off in November in New York City. Local sponsors for this event included Piggly-Wiggly of Bluffton, Sam's Club of Hilton Head Island, Powerhouse Gym Family Fitness, Sigler's Rotisserie and Seafood Restaurant,

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Sue Ade
Sue Ade
Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton members, K’Allen Wilson (8), on left, with brother, Christopher (5), are pictured (upper right) with parents, Chris and Kim Wilson, accepting one of the prizes they received for placing first in Saturday’s Southeast Regional Family PLUS Cook-Off, held at the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton. (Partially visible behind Kim Wilson, is Douglas Barry, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry, Inc., who stood in as the family’s celebrity guest chef.) The Greens wowed judges with their colorful presentation for “Tomato and Basil Pasta with Spring Vegetable Medley,” “Grilled Chicken and Garlic Corn,” served with salad and grilled shrimp, vegetable, and fruit kabobs, and “Mixed Berries Sauce over Fresh Fruit.” The Family PLUS Cook-Off is a component of the Kimberly-Clark sponsored Boys & Girls Clubs of America Family PLUS Program, designed to strengthen family togetherness through cooking and eating. The Bluffton club was the only club in South Carolina to be awarded a grant to participate in the 2010 Family PLUS program.

The Home Depot, Lowe's, Paulie's Pizza, Kroger, Adventure Cove, Harry and David, Sign D-Sign, NLaws Produce, SYSCO, The Joyful Palate Catering and Event Planning, Roastfish and Cornbread Restaurant, Bluffton Today, Bluffton Oyster Company, Best Buy, IMPACT (Club's Parent Association), Adventure Radio and "Magic Marc" Dunston (magician). For further information regarding the Family PLUS Cook-Off and to view downloadable recipes from the Family PLUS cookbook, "Just Add Family: Delicious Recipes for the Entire Family," cut and paste the following link into your web browser: To reach the Boys and Girls Club of Bluffton, visit them at

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at


Southeast Regional 2010 Family PLUS Cook-Off


First Place Winners: The Wilson Family

Tomato-Basil Pasta with Spring Vegetable Medley and Sausages

Grilled Chicken and Garlic Corn with Salad and Grilled Shrimp, Fruit, and Vegetable Kabobs

Mixed Berries Sauce over Fresh Fruit


Second Place Winners: The Green Family

Bluffton Grilled Chicken with Grilled Peaches, Tomatoes, and Squash

Fried Sweet Potatoes Mixed with Grilled Okra and Sausages

Magic Marc's Salad with Peaches, Blueberries, Avocado, Sweet Red Peper, Red Onion with Thyme Vinaigrette and Parmesan Cheese


Third Place Winners: The Angeles Family

Shrimp Quesadillas with Bean Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad with Creamy Topping


The Mentor: Peggy Beck, Culinarian


"Love what you do," says Beck. "Food cooked with love tastes better."

Peggy Beck, owner of Bluffton-based The Joyful Palate Catering and Event Planning, mentored Boys and Girls Club of Bluffton members and their families in preparation of the Southeast Regional Family PLUS 2010 Cook-Off that took place on July 17. Among other things, Beck offered families tips on how to present their food at food competitions and encouraged families to "have fun." As mentor and cook-off advisor, Beck was instrumental in devising the event's pantry and secret ingredient items.


Grilled Poached Pears with Crabmeat and Wine Reduction

Recipe by Culinarian Peggy Beck, Owner

4 ripe pears, halved and cored (leave skin on)

1 1/2 cups red Zinfandel wine

1 1/4 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup blackberry preserves

1/2 pound (8 ounces) jumbo lump crabmeat

1/2 pound (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, whipped

Cracked black pepper, optional

Olive oil (for brushing on grill)

Preheat foil-lined grill to 450 degrees. Lightly brush grill with olive oil. Place wine, water, sugar and preserves into a large saute pan, combining well. Bring mixture to a boil, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat to a simmer, adding pears core side down, then simmer gently for 15 minutes; remove pears from pan. Increase heat to medium to reduce sauce to desired consistency; set sauce aside (sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.) Transfer pears to grill (core side down) and grill for 5 minutes to set grill marks. Turn pears over, and grill other side for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cores fill with natural pear juices. Place pears on a serving platter or individual dishes, placing 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cheese onto the center of each pear. Divide crabmeat over pears and spoon some of the reduction sauce over each pear, topping with a little cracked black pepper, if using.

Makes 8 appetizer size servings.

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