Above: Chef John Rivera Seddlar serves his Abiquiu Salad on Georgia O'Keeffe- themed plates.
MORE THAN AN INTERNATIONALLY renowned painter of poppies, clouds, and bleached cow skulls, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) was a lifestyle innovator. From the minimalist chic of her home décor to the simple organics of her dining table, she pioneered a standard that any urban hipster of today might envy. Two people she inspired through her approach to food carry on her traditions in Santa Fe.
For five years, Margaret Wood served as an assistant to the artist and recalled their times together in two Museum of New Mexico Press books, A Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe and Remembering Miss O’Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiú. In A Painter’s Kitchen, Wood included 70 recipes that exemplify O’Keeffe’s fresh-from-the-garden cuisine. Simple and straightforward, they succinctly define the artist’s philosophy of living.
Inside the Drury Hotel in downtown Santa Fe, chef John Rivera Sedlar has set a high bar for fine dining with its restaurant, Eloisa. Noted for his Los Angeles restaurants, Playa and Rivera, Sedlar is a scholar of Latin American food and a native son of the Abiquiú area. In addition to Eloisa’s Latin-inspired dishes, Sedlar offers a five-course tasting menu inspired by O’Keeffe, for whom his great-aunt once worked as a chef and chauffeur. The menu, “O’Keeffe’s Table,” puts an innovative spin on the artist’s basic ingredients and delivers each course on ceramic serving trays and glass platters designed in collaboration with Santa Fe artist Larry Swan.
“Georgia O’Keeffe is becoming a bigger icon away from her art,” Sedlar says of recently renewed interest in her lifestyle and cuisine. “Her visions and sensibilities have helped shape the way I see my homeland, and I express this vision through my cooking. It’s modern Southwest food, and it’s quite experiential.” Wood and Sedlar graciously shared these recipes.
Seared Lamb Chops with Calabacitas and Red Wine Sauce
From Eloisa restaurant in Santa Fe.
Makes 6 servings
- 12 large northern New Mexico top-quality lamb chops
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch rosemary
- Finishing salt (Maldon or Cyprus flake sea salt, preferred)
- 4 cups red wine
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 3 cascabel peppers
- 8 ounces sweet butter
- 1 small Spanish yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 medium yellow squash, diced
- 1 large poblano pepper, diced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the grill and marinate the chops in 2 tablespoons olive oil and rosemary.
- In a medium saucepan, mix the cascabel chiles, wine, fresh thyme, and onion.
- Over a medium simmer, reduce the liquid to half. With a slotted spoon, remove the herbs and chiles.
- In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, then add zucchini, yellow squash, and poblano peppers. Season to taste. Sauté vegetables until tender.
- Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and cook until medium rare, about 5 minutes on each side. Let chops rest on paper towels.
- Over high heat, warm the red wine sauce. Whisk in the butter until melted and the sauce is lightly thickened.
- Spoon vegetables in the middle of each dinner plate and place 2 chops over them. Cascade the red wine sauce over the chops and sprinkle meat with finishing salt.
Abiquiú Garden Salad with Beets, Watercress, and Green Beans
From Eloisa restaurant.
Makes 6 servings
- 18 1–2-inch beets—yellow, pink, and red—trimmed and blanched in salted water
- 1 large bunch very fresh watercress
- 1/2 cup green beans blanched in salted water
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, lemon juice, and the seasonings. Refrigerate.
- Cut the watercress just under the leaves, leaving a half-inch stem. In a small bowl, add half the dressing to the beets and toss until coated.
- Line up the beets on a large plate. Toss the green beans in the remaining dressing and place in between the beets. Hold small bunches of watercress by the stems and dredge the leaves in the dressing.
- Place the leaves over and next to the beets, pointing the stems up. Pour any leftover dressing over the salad.
Mashed Potatoes with Dandelion Greens
From A Painter’s Kitchen, by Margaret Wood.
Makes 6 servings
- 6–8 fine-grained potatoes
- 1/2 cup or more roughly chopped young, tender dandelion greens
- 2–4 tablespoons of butter or oil
- 1/2 cup milk, or to taste
- Herb salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Heat the water to boiling in a heavy 2-quart pan. While the water is heating, peel the potatoes, and cut them into quarters.
- Add potatoes to boiling water. After about 20 minutes, or when the potatoes are tender, drain the cooking water from the potatoes.
- With a heavy potato masher, mash the potatoes, using 2 tablespoons of butter or oil and cup of the milk.
- After the potatoes are mashed to a smooth consistency, add more butter or oil and/or more milk if necessary.
- Incorporate the dandelion greens, stirring well to mix them into the potatoes. Add herb salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
From A Painter’s Kitchen.
Makes 1 dozen muffins
- 1/4 cup dried apricots
- 1 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup raw wheat germ
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
- 1/4 cup oil
- Cover the dried apricots with boiling water. Let stand at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and pecans in a large mixing bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, beat the egg, then add the yogurt, honey, and oil. When the apricots are soft, roughly chop them.
- Add the wet ingredients and the chopped apricots to the dry ingredients. Mix only until slightly blended.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Grease a muffin tin and pour the batter so that each cup is half full. 6. Bake muffins for 20–25 minutes, or until browned. Serve with butter and fruit preserves, if desired.