Potato Salad


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Like a good pound cake, a solid potato salad recipe needs to be in your repertoire as a cook.  It's a favorite at potlucks, picnics, and cookouts.  For me, it's like mac and cheese- a staple and favorite in the category of comfort foods. 

It does require some advanced planning as most potato salads are cooked and then chilled, and the recipe isn't a 10 minute wonder, but it is relatively quick and most certainly easy to pull together.

My standard recipe is usually the one from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, the one with the red checkered cover.  Its base is one of mayo and mustard, with a fairly pronounced mustard flavor.

This recipe, taken from the May issue of Southern Living, has some mustard but the flavor is a bit more subtle.  As my husband described it, the flavor seems a little lighter and more summer-y.  I actually liked the way the dressing in this salad was a little more downplayed so you really noticed the creaminess of the potatoes themselves and the flavors of the other ingredients.

I tweaked the recipe a bit, and you'll find that information in my notes after the recipe.  I have included a link to the recipe and accompanying article for your convenience.

Picnic Potato Salad
adapted from the May 2010 Southern Living

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and grated
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover 40 minutes or until tender; drain and cool 15 minutes. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch cubes.

2. Combine potatoes and eggs.

3. Stir together mayonnaise and next 7 ingredients; gently stir into potato mixture. Serve immediately, or cover and chill 12 hours.

Cook's Notes
  • Because they are more readily available in this small town, I used baby red skinned potatoes.  They're a great sub. 
    • Always use the less starchy versions for potato salad so they don't fall apart after being boiled.
  • I omitted celery.  I didn't have any and didn't want to buy any.  So there.
  • I didn't have spicy brown mustard and didn't want to buy some for just this recipe.  I combined regular yellow mustard and Grey Poupon's Whole Grain Mustard in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Instead of sour cream, I used Greek yogurt.  It's what I had on hand and is a great substitute. 
  • All these changes, and still everyone loved it.  If you like the bolder flavored potato salad, add more mustard or even cayenne pepper.  This is what the husband who loves spicy things does.

The boiling of the potatoes and the mixing of the dressing.  How much easier can it get?  Make this for your next cookout!

Lemon Dill Salmon


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Over the past three years, I have developed a love for salmon.  When it's fresh and not too old, it's got a distinct, stronger flavor, but not that nasty old fish flavor.  I hear it's a healthy meat to eat, with lots of Omega fatty acids necessary for our health.  It's also great grilled. 

I present to you my method of grilled salmon:
  • Place a salmon filet (or several) on a prepared cedar plank.  By prepared, I mean one that has been soaked at least 30 minutes so that it won't turn into charcoal while you grill.
  • Squeeze half of a lemon over the salmon
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper, and dill over salmon.  How much dill you use is your choice, but I like a lot- at least 1-2 tablespoons.
  • Slice 1/2 to 1 lemon and place on top of salmon fillets.
  • Grill over direct coals for about 10 minutes or until salmon is done
Be careful that you don't overcook salmon!  The salmon should not be completely lightened in color and very easily flaking with a fork.  It should flake, but still have a little bit of cohesiveness.  It should still have some give if you poke it with a finger.  It will have lightened in color a bit from its raw state, but if you stuck a utensil in it, it'd be darker closer to the skin.

If you like dill, you will love this salmon!  The lemon and dill are good flavor contrasts to the richness of the salmon.  This last time I served mine over a bed of chard I picked from the garden and lemon risotto. 

Delicious!  Consequently, we did overcook the salmon.  It wasn't as good as the first time, but still good.  Take advantage of this great weather and grill some salmon!

**This week I am on a mission trip to Mexico.  There will be at least one more post, but if you comment I apologize for not responding before Monday, June 28!

Greek Yogurt


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For the past couple of years, I have, to my consternation, seen recipes calling for the use of Greek yogurt and not been able to find any.  About a year ago this enigmatic food came to my local Ingles grocery store.  I decided that, unless they put it on special sale, I could never buy it because it was hugely expensive.  Well, luckily it did go on sale and I tried it and was hooked.  I like regular yogurt, but Greek seems so much creamier, that even the plain variety is pretty good, and when mixed with fruit, granola, and/or honey, it's the stuff I daydream about.  It works as a substitute in recipes calling for sour cream and sometimes even mayo.  It's a great dairy product. 

It is, however, too expensive for me to buy regularly.  So, what then is a girl to do?  Make her own.  That's right.  Greek yogurt is not some special concoction only known by a select few.  It's really just regular yogurt with much of the liquid removed. 

I came across this recipe or method on Southern Living, in the how to division of the food section.  There's a great video here. 

Before tasting the end result, I was a little worried- would this taste as good as what I buy in the store, or would it fall short?  Would it have the same creaminess?  Amazingly, I can't tell a difference between this yogurt and store bought.  Unless I have a coupon, I will never buy Greek yogurt again.  I will be making it.

To make Greek yogurt, buy a large carton of the yogurt of your choice, and allow the liquid to drain out over several hours through a coffee filter lined sieve into a bowl.  Discard the liquid (if you can find a use for this please let me know what you do!), and store in a container in the fridge. 

See pictures below for the method!
1.  Purchase a carton of yogurt.  I prefer plain because of the low sugar content and the different additions I can make.  For any legal purposes, this is not an official endorsement of Laura Lynn brand. :)

2.  Get a large bowl.  Place inside it a large sieve.  Place inside the large sieve a large coffee filter.  Pour in yogurt.

3.  Cover with plastic wrap and drain at least 8 hours.  I did this overnight.  Here's what it looks like afterward:

4.  Look at all that liquid!  I know you can't tell it from the picture, but it's at least a cup and a half.  Again, just pour that out or let me know if you can think of something to do with it!

5.  Now I know why Greek yogurt is more expensive!  I placed the yogurt back in its original container and saw how much I lost.  It's reduced to about 1/2 to 2/3 its original volume.

Now, just use the yogurt like you would any other kind of yogurt- eat plain, with toppings and add-ins, or sub in for sour cream or mayo in certain recipes.  I used this in a quiche in place of mayo and in a cake in place of sour cream.  Both turned out great, but that's another post.

Pinto Beans


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Around here, pinto beans are a staple rural meal.  Eaten with cornbread and greens, they are a meal fit for a king.  For those who are health and money conscious, it'll feed an army for next to nothing. 

The best results come from dried beans that you reconstitute yourself.  You can cook them in a slow cooker all day while you go about your business, and in the evening when you're ready to eat, they're delicious and tender.

The common Southern way to make these involves a ham hock.  The Givens household doesn't eat pork, so I had to figure out a way to season the beans without the ham hock.  The first few pots weren't so great.  I remember the distinct taste of dirt the first time.  Now I think I have a pretty good formula. 

When making pintos from dried beans, it takes a bit of planning because you need to soak the beans for at least six hours and then cook them in a pot on the stove for about an hour and a half or in a crock pot for 4-8 hours.  It's totally worth the time.  They're even better the next day, so those of us who like leftovers will love this one.
Pinto Beans
feeds 2-4 people, with leftovers.

1 lb pinto beans
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Sort through beans, picking out any that don't look great and rocks.  Rinse beans.  Place in a large bowl and soak 6-8 hours. 
Drain beans again, and place in a crock pot (or a pot).  Cover completely with water at least up to 1" above the top of the beans.  Add salt, onion, and garlic.  If using a crock pot, heat on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours or until beans are soft.  If using a pot on the stove, heat to boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for at least 1 1/2 hours or until soft. 
Serve with cornbread, chopped onion, sourkraut, or chow chow and love it!

Salad Pizza


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A couple weeks ago, my church had what we call house fellowships- get togethers in homes throughout the area.  The idea is to better acquaint ourselves with those people living close to you.  We were to bring to said house fellowship a drink and a finger food. 

At any sort of get together involving food, I always want to have the dish everyone loves.  Unsure of what to bring and not really wanting to bring something that required any silverware or even a plate in the case that none of that was provided, I tried to think about what I had eaten/made in the past that would be a hit.  After perusing the cookbooks and food magazines, I settled on something that I only found a variation of in one magazine: salad pizza.  I called my mom for the recipe I was most familiar with and began.  It was a success, with pretty much everyone at the fellowship telling me they enjoyed it.  Yay!

Salad pizza, also known as veggie pizza or cold veggie pizza, hit it big in the 80's and 90's wedding/baby shower scene and other get togethers where real meals aren't served.  It's a great warm weather dish because it's nice and cold.  It's also extremely easy to throw together, and it's economical.  Although it's not health food, it is nice that there are raw vegetables on it.  This is why I call it salad pizza- you basically throw salad toppings on a crust and sauce and call it done.  Make it for your next party!

Salad Pizza

2 cans crescent rolls
1- 8oz block cream cheese, softened
1 package ranch dressing mix (the dry stuff)
1 cup shredded cheese
At least 2 cups assorted fresh vegetables, diced

Open the two cans of crescent rolls, unroll, and flatten onto a 9"x13" or 11"x15" pan. Think of making a pizza crust.  Seal any seams, and make it as uniform as possible.  Bake according to package directions and until the "crust" is a light, golden color.  Take out of the oven and let cool.

While the crust is cooling, mix together the cream cheese and ranch dressing mix.  Spread all over top of cooled crust.

Top with your vegetable assortment and the cheese.  Refrigerate until ready to serve and refrigerate any leftovers.

Cook's Notes
  • I used an 11"x15" pan.  I don't have a 9''x13'' one.  The rolls still covered most of the surface of the pan.
  • I didn't measure my vegetables, but I am pretty sure I had more than two cups.  I used an assortment of finely shredded romaine lettuce, yellow bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, and thawed corn and green peas from a freezer bag. 
  • I had seriously sharp white cheddar cheese that I grated with the finest holes on my grater.  It worked well with the pizza, but I'd be willing to bet that most cheeses would work.

Pimento Cheese


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I love pimento cheese, don't you?  Pimento cheese is one of those foods that holds a special place in my heart because I have eaten it all my life.  It's nostalgic.  It's also delicious, but there are imposters, so beware.  When my tastes started to mature a bit, however, I stopped eating it.  As a kid, my pimento cheese came from the grocery store, in tubs near the prepackaged coleslaw and chili, and were made by a company called Ruth's (sorry Ruth, no offense).  That kind of pimento cheese now tastes....what's the word?.....weird.  That's the best I can do to muster my vocabulary skills to find a fitting word.  It's mushy and has flavors that aren't found outside a chemistry lab.  While the nostalgic quality is there, the viable deliciousness is not. 

Thanks to my friend Jordana's mom (hi, Reggie!), I learned that not only can pimento cheese be homemade, but it's delicious!  If the chemical qualities of what is found in the grocery store isn't reason enough for you to try to make your own pimento cheese, maybe the unsurpassed deliciousness of homemade pimento cheese will entice you.  I started making it a couple years ago and have played with the recipe a little here and there.  That's the beauty of homemade anything; usually it's less expensive, healthier, and you can tweak it to yield the taste that suits you best.  Sticking in the cheddar cheese category usually yields the most original flavor, but play around with it.  We usually use white cheddar.  I personally like a milder taste, but Drew likes it made with extra sharp cheddar.  I have also tried subbing in some monterrey or pepper jack cheeses.  My mother-in-law likes spice, so she includes cayenne pepper in hers.  Pimento cheese makes frequent, regular appearances in the Givens household.  Have I also mentioned that it comes together in about 5 minutes? 

Here's a very basic recipe:

Pimento Cheese

8 oz cheese, grated
2 Tb. mayonaise
1/2 small (4 oz) jar diced pimentos
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the mayo, pimentos, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring until well combined.  Add in cheese and mix until everything is evenly mixed and incorporated. 

Cook's Notes
  • This is the very basic recipe I use.  It is simple and good!  I have tried a variation which includes adding minced onion, toasted chopped pecans, and worcestershire sauce.  While that variation tasted great and held more interest for our taste buds, it was more like a cheese ball and not true pimento cheese. 
  • This is actually a half-recipe from a Paula Deen cookbook.  If you hate having things like half jars of pimentos in your fridge, feel free to double the recipe.  While the posted amount is perfect for the two of us for about a week, you may need/want more. 
  • This stuff is great if you grill it in a sandwich.  Oh, words cannot do the experience justice. 
  • Since I experiment with everything, I would like to try some made with cream cheese as the storebought varieties usually have a creamier consistency than this yields.  Does anyone have a recipe that has proven successful?

Basic Pound Cake


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No Southern girl is worth her salt if she can't make a good pound cake.  Pound cakes often get a bad reputation as being too dry, too dense, or just plain unappealing because they either are not well made or they come from a store, pre-packaged and as old as the Queen Mother.  In their true form, pound cakes are a delicious deviation from your standard butter cake because they are appropriately sweet, dense, velvety, and moist.  A good one is perfect on its own but can be enhanced topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or ice cream. 

I, being a Southern girl, felt unworth my own salt because I had never attempted to make a real (by real I mean a full pound of butter) pound cake.  Until now.  Or, rather, until Mother's Day.  You see, every gift giving occasion I have a bit of a dilemma to contend with.  Most of the people in my life are ridiculously hard to buy a gift that you feel confident giving to them.  Take my great grandmother.  She is 103 years old.  I will give you a minute to read that sentence again.  What do you get for a 103 year old?  She's not able to see well anymore, so books are out.  Her hearing isn't what it used to be, either, so music is out, too.   When trying to get ideas off my mom, she mentioned that pound cake was her favorite dessert and that I could make her one of those. 

This suggestion must have been orchestrated by God Himself, because just the previous week my grandmother gave me a special Southern Living Desserts magazine (possibly still on newsstands) featuring a recipe called Million Dollar Poundcake.  This came at the same time that the Southern Living May issue featured a basic, Two Step Pound Cake that was nearly identical to the Million Dollar Poundcake, except for extract choices.  I went with the Two Step recipe.  I had two similar recipes and the perfect occasion to try it out. 

This pound cake is large; it is not made in a loaf pan but a tube pan.  As you will see, it contains a full pound of butter and doesn't apologize for it.  For those of you who don't know a lot about the chemistry of baking, butter and other fats give moisture to baked goods.  Therefore, the more the better! 

To my unending delight, my grandmothers both said that it was one of the best pound cakes they had ever had.  I believe Mother's Day was a success.  I, unfortunately, was only able to eat a few crumbs from where I trimmed the excess off the top of the pan to level the cake.  Here is the recipe below:

Two Step Pound Cake
from May 2010 Issue of Southern Living

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup milk
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
Preheat oven to 325°. Place flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla (in that order) in 4-qt. bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Beat at low speed 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.

Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch (16-cup) tube pan, and smooth. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Cook's Notes
  • The only pan I had that would work for this recipe was my 10 cup Bundt pan.  It would really be best if you had the suggested size as my batter overflowed in the oven, creating a small fire on the oven coils.  NordicWare makes this size; it is their larger angel food pan.
    • Lesson 1- put a sheet pan or heavy duty aluminum foil under your pan to avoid an overflow creating a big mess in the bottom of your oven
    • Lesson 2- if you do cause a fire, listen to Firefighter Drew and just shut the door.  The lack of oxygen will put the fire out.
  • It is important to properly mix it because the only leavening in this cake is the air incorporated during the mixing.
  • This recipe is forgiving!  I forgot to add one of the ingredients in the order listed and it still came out great.
  • Due to the temperamental nature of my oven and the fact that my pan was too small, my cake only took an hour to bake.  Watch your cake!

Black Bean Burgers



I promise, that despite the fact that everything I have posted so far has no meat, we do eat meat.  In April of this year, though, our church underwent a corporate fast.  For many reasons Drew and I chose to do a Daniel fast.  A Daniel fast is found in the Bible, in Daniel chapter 10.  In all effects, it is a mostly raw vegan fast.  Shout out to Hallelujah Acres!  From this three week experience, we came away eating a lot less meat than we normally do.  It's not for idealistic reasons; we just crave it less and want vegetables more.  Enter the black bean burger! 

From the time I saw this recipe and its picture in the February 2009 issue of Gourmet, my interest in this meatless burger was piqued.  It wasn't until May of this year that I made the thing, and it will now be among the dishes I make on occasion.  Aside from salads, there's not a lot we repetitively make in the Givens household, so "on occasion" means we like it!  For those of you seeking a VERY affordable and healthier meal, this is it!  What gets cheaper than beans? 

If you're not afraid to eat a meatless burger, and even if you are a bit afraid, I encourage you to try something like this.  It's filling, but you don't feel absolutely sick-stuffed afterwards.  It has an interesting and delicious flavor from the black beans and spices that makes you realize that this is no ordinary burger.  The texture is different; unless we did something wrong, it's still fairly soft on the inside, like a thick bean burrito. 

The process of making the burgers was very easy.  Being that we don't love cilantro, I omitted it.  This is what I love about cooking that used to scare the pants off me before!  After realizing that omitting and substituting ingredients in a cooked dish usually just results in a little variety and not in a chemistry disaster, I felt so much more free to improvise in certain areas.  Frying the burgers in the pan was dead simple, too.  The hardest part about this meal is trying not to absolutely squish the burgers while eating them.

We topped ours with sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, avocodo, and the normals of ketchup and mayo.  This summer I hope to make them when we have garden fresh tomatoes as well.  By the way, if you've never had avocado or guacamole on a regular burger, you should try it.  It's so good, it will make you want to slap your mama.  Provided, of course, you like avocados. 

If you click the Gourmet link below, it will take you to the webpage of this recipe and a more photogenic burger.  I think the burger in the picture would be better with avocado. 

We served ours with baked sweet potato fries. 

Black Bean Burgers
from Gourmet

2 (14-oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 soft hamburger buns
•Pulse 1 can beans in a food processor with mayonnaise, bread crumbs, cumin, oregano, and cayenne until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cilantro and remaining can beans. Form mixture into 4 patties.

•Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve on buns.
*Cook's Notes*
  • I made this recipe even more budget friendly by cooking black beans.  About1/2 pound dried black beans, when cooked, will yield about 2 cans' worth.  Feel free to make more than you need for black beans and rice, or whatever you like. 
  • As aforementioned, I omitted the cilantro because we don't like cilantro.  I may have added some coriander seed for more a more downplayed flavor.  In case you didn't know, cilantro and coriander are the same thing.
  • This made four whopping patties.  I think next time I would make 5-6 smaller ones so that
    • it's not quite so much on your bun at once
    • I know cooking will be more consistent, and
    • it may help them to stick together more- unsure of that one.

Pan Roasted Ramps



I remember in high school that there was a paragraph in the Code of Conduct guide that stated a student could be sent home if he or she had an offensive body odor, such as one that came from eating ramps.  Being new to the mountains, I had never heard of ramps before, and was kind of amused when I found out that they were a wild plant eaten in the area where I lived and its scent resembled something like very strong garlic.  Imagine my great surprise when, 10 years later, I'm a foodie who discovers ramps are all the rage in the food world.  Lauded for their unique and delicate taste, they're something of a cross between an onion and garlic.  If you're still wondering what a ramp is, check out wikipedia.  As Michael Scott would remind us, Wikipedia is great because anyone can post about a subject, so you know you're getting the most accurate information. 

As Drew and I were perusing the Asheville Farmer's Market a couple weeks ago, what should I happen to find?  Ramps.  Curiosity got the better of me, and $2.50 later, I was carrying home a bundle of ramps.  We put them in the trunk of the car, but the very pungent aroma still cleared everyone's sinuses.  A day later, I used the Pan Roasted Ramps recipe found in Tom Colicchio's Craft of Cooking.  Some of my first posts will be from this book as it's such a great book to focus on a single ingredient.  That, and it's a library checkout, so I make many things in the time I have borrowed it.

I pan roasted the ramps and put them in a salad.  I am pleased to report that their smell subsided.  Neither of us were too offensive to be around.  In fact, roasting them mellowed out the smell so that the house smelled pleasantly of the garlic-onion combination.  The taste was, indeed, a cross between garlic and onion, but nice and mellow from the roasting. 

I can't say I'm as sold out as the chefs who rave about them, but the ramps weren't bad.  We likely won't be making them a regular part of our cuisine, but I at least know why students would risk being thrown out of school for offensive body odors. 

Pan Roasted Ramps
from Craft of Cooking

2 lb young ramps

2-3 tb peanut oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tb unsalted butter
2 sprigs thyme
Trim the ramps by cutting off and discarding the stringy bottoms and separating and reserving the leaves. Wash both the stems and leaves thoroughly.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over med-low heat. Add about half the ramps (enough to fill but not crowd the pan), season with salt and pepper, and cook until the ramps begin to color, about 5 minutes. Add half the butter and thyme. Roll the ramps, lightly browning on all sides and cooking until tender, about 5 more minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining ramps.

To serve, wipe out the pan and heat over med. Add a skim of oil and all ramps. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and reheat 1-2 min.

Cook's Notes
1.  I didn't purchase an entire two pounds; I had more like 1/2 to 1 lb.  Therefore, I reduced all other ingredients by half. 
2. I didn't need to sauté and brown the ramps in batches. 
3.  For my stove at least, the med-low heat is important or you get too much browning before the inside of the ramp is done.
4.  I discarded the green stems rather than using them as a garnish.  Sorry, Tom! 
5.  Sorry for no pictures- blogging with photos is new to me!

First Garden Harvest



Though I have grown up in small town or rural settings most of my life, I didn't have the first clue about gardening, unless you count the fact that sticking seeds or plants in the ground can yield produce.  I have had family and others I know who gardened, and because of that I am appreciative of fresh vegetables and fruits, just picked.  Being somewhat health conscious, my husband Drew and I have purchased as much produce as possible from local farmers' markets and roadside stands in the past couple of years.  We tried without success in previous years to raise tomatoes, but this year was going to be different.  We tilled up the ground and made raised beds.  We started seeds in peat pellets indoors before the end of the threat of frost.  We purchased baby plants.  Among the plants we purchased was rainbow chard.  We watered.  We weeded.  We prayed.  It worked!  Sunday night we ate some of the chard from our own garden.  I felt like we were getting away with murder, eating delicious food we didn't buy in a grocery store.  I perused my cookbooks and settled on Tom Colicchio's recipe for sautéed swiss chard found in his cookbook, Craft of Cooking.  If you're not familiar with Colicchio, his restaurants are well known for revolutionizing dining and making use of foods by showcasing a single ingredient.  In this case, the chard leaves were separated from the stems, rinsed well, and then blanched in boiling water.  The two components are then reunited to be sautéed in garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil and then eaten.  It was simple, and delicious.  Here's the basic recipe:

Sauteéd Chard
adapted from Craft of Cooking

2 lb chard
Kosher salt
3 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. garlic clove, peeled and sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim any discolored stems or leaves in the chard. Separate the leaves and stems and wash both in several changes of water. Cut the stems into 2.5 inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the leaves (plunge them into the water and then remove with a slotted spoon as soon as the water returns to boiling, refresh in ice water, and then blot dry with a clean towel). Add the stems and cook until almost tender, about 3 min. Drain stems and refresh in ice water. Set aside with the leaves.

Combine the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over low heat. When the garlic begins to color add the chard leaves and stems. Warm the chard in the garlic oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

Cook's Notes:
1.  I didn't weigh the chard, so I don't know if I had 2 lb or not, but the garlic flavor and the EVOO ratio seemed to work out. 
2.  When you see the chard at the store or farmer's market, you'll think it's a ton and you'd never eat all of it.  Chard, like spinach and other greens, cooks down so much that 2 lb isn't a lot.  The picture at the top of the page is the chard I used for this recipe and we got 3 side dish servings out of it.