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Click here to read the recipe for Red Chard and Portobello Mushrooms


Southern Savory

Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Kris O'Shee loved to eat what her nanny called a "mixed sandwich,"— which was simply peanut butter, jelly, and mayonnaise whipped together and spread between two slices of white bread. Other growing-up memories include traditional Southern fare — hush puppies, fried catfish, pork chops.

But Kris was not meant for a mixed sandwich life. She lived in London for several years, studying the Martha Graham technique and taught at the London Contemporary Dance School. Today she lives in Washington, DC.

Kris's turbulent family backgrounda saga of marriages and divorces, steps and halves, feuds and betrayals, immense tracts of land around Memphis — seems somewhat a contrast to the peacefulness and radiance that Kris exudes. But her upbringing is evident in her love for greens, such as red chard. She feels there is a connectedness in food, dance, and spirituality.

Kris's attitude toward food and cooking reflects her interest in seeing how different elements relate to each other. Which is why experimentation is the key to this simple dish. Whether adding seasonal vegetables, bell peppers, red onions or slivered almonds, you will be creating a kind of "mixed red chard."

Try to use organic red chard if you can find it. But either way, the dramatic red stem turns this easy dish into a beautiful one.

Red Chard with Portobello Mushrooms

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

2 bunches of red chard, or about 2 pounds total, well washed
1 tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into 1-inch-wide pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Chop off the ends of the stems of the chard. Tear the leaves into smaller pieces.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic does not burn.
  3. Add the portobello mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms begin to get tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the red chard and sauté until the chard is just wilted, about 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 60
Total Fat : 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 0 grams
Sodium: 420 milligrams
Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
% Calories from fat: 33 %
% calories from saturated fat: 5 %

By Bich Minh Nguyen

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