Simple Sautéed Chard

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It’s over! Year one at Otis is in the books—only two more years to go. Jonji is still plugging away at his school work, studying neuroscience and all other matter of complex things that my brain doesn’t want to even try to understand. I guess that’s why I chose art school.

Finals weren’t too bad for me. What I should really say is, “finals” weren’t too bad for me, because I really only had one regular final test. That test was for my History of Graphic Design class, and let me tell you: I struggled hard to study for that one. I am extremely out of practice in normal studying methods, which made me feel as though I was grinding my brain in a mortar and pestle. All of the rest of my final assignments mainly had to do with Process Books, which is the art school equivalent of a final. Our teachers seem to think it’s okay to give us six weeks to do one booklet project, then expect us to make an entire book for each class, documenting our progress throughout the semester, in a week and a half. Oh, and it has to look professional. Fortunately for me, I am now a typography nerd and don’t mind the process books as much as everyone else. But still, it was a grind.


Last weekend Jonji and I went to Santa Monica to meet Todd, Jessica, John, and Jessie for breakfast. We went to the Blue Daisy, where we got a pleasant outdoor table in the corner, away from the pink, hanging, flower-like lamps that were crowding the interior space. It was a great time, and after breakfast we walked the streets of Santa Monica in search of coffee. Once we’d found it, we ordered coffee and I managed to slice my finger open on the plastic lid. Fortunately, I had three soon-to-be doctors sitting with me, and therefore didn’t have to call an ambulance. After enjoying a few minutes in the coffee shop, John and Jessie left the group, and the rest of us trekked on toward a toy store Todd wanted to check out. Almost directly in front of the store, my one nice pair of sandals decided to break and I was left to shuffle one foot along the ground as if I had a painful limp. I attempted to walk as if nothing had happened, but that was near impossible. After the toy store, Jonji and I parted ways with Todd and Jessica and went into Gap to look for any shoes that might be on sale. No shoes, but instead I got to see Jonji pick out a bunch of t-shirts and then decide not to get any of them. Needless to say, I was nearing my patience threshold when we left Gap sans new shoes and I was forced to limp/shuffle all the way to the parking lot.

Our plan was to hit the beach after brunch but, alas, it was extremely windy and actually kind of chilly. Apparently I am destined to stay as pale as an olm (a cave-dwelling eyeless salamander). Instead, we went home and worked on homework, as per usual.

My class had Sophomore Reviews on Monday, which was really a chance for a panel of teachers to see how prepared (or unprepared) we can be, how organized we are, and how coherently we can discuss our work. We each had five minutes to show a PDF of the year’s work, plus our process books, and then listened to the teachers’ critique for ten or fifteen minutes. Overall, my review went well. The main critique the panel had was for me to “get weirder” in my work. As I said to them, I am very weird as a human being, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

On my first day of summer break (yesterday), I managed to finish the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, which is terribly depressing because the third book has yet to be released. So much for my endless days of fantasy book reading over the summer. Come on, Patrick Rothfuss, let’s get this show on the road!

Since the last few weeks have been a bit hectic, my meals have lacked a ton of creativity. However, it got me thinking about why I started Feast in the first place. My vision was to show people that cooking should not be feared, but rather seen as a fun, quasi-artistic interaction between oneself and the human fuel that is food. My recipes are meant to include those who may not know a lot about cooking. Therefore, this week I have decided to bring an extremely simple recipe to the virtual table. Often, the simple recipes are just as good as the complex ones. Sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to spend two hours on dinner, but I still want to eat something tasty and healthy. Lately the solution to that problem has been sautéed chard.

Simple Sautéed Chard

serves 4

1 large bunch chard, preferably rainbow or red
1 tbsp butter
a few good glugs of olive oil (roughly 2 tbsp)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Slice the stems out of the chard leaves by folding the leaf in half, then slice along the stem (not through it) from about 2 inches from the top all the way down Do not discard the stems! Roughly chop the chard leaves into strips, then wash in a salad spinner. Dry a little, but leave some water on the leaves.

Cut the stems into small chunks roughly 1/4 inch wide. Rinse in a strainer, then set aside.

In a large pan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Once the butter starts to sizzle, add the chard stems, 1/4 tsp salt, and chopped garlic. Cook for a few minutes, until the stems have softened slightly. Add the chard leaves and stir. Sprinkle with another 1/4 tsp salt and stir to combine. Cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chard has wilted. Squeeze a little lemon juice (about 1 tbsp) over everything. Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning.

I like to serve my chard alongside easy mashed potatoes and chicken, or with Pot Roast.

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