“Did [Georgia] O’Keeffe eat as she painted, as she dressed, as she spoke?” asks photographer Robyn Lea in Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe. “When we bring her favorite dishes to our table, can it help us rethink the role of food, art and nature in our own lives?” Out by Assouline, the cookbook features a host of recipes from O’Keeffe, some she collected, others her very own, creating what Lea calls “a culinary road map to the kitchen, garden and table” of the great artist. Here is O’Keeffe’s recipe for borscht, the vibrant magenta color of which, the author points out, can also be found in her Green Lines and Pink, 1919, Music Pink and Blue No. 2, 1919, and Red and Pink, 1925 paintings.
Brightest Borscht with Sour Cream and Fresh Dill
4 large beets
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 tbsp sugar
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Juice of 2 lemons
4 to5 tbsp sour cream, plus more for garnish
A few sprigs chopped dill, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim and wash the beets, leaving the skin on. Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover them with about 21/2 quarts of water. Add the 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot and simmer for about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove the beets with a large slotted spoon and place them in a sieve to drain. Reserve 11/2 quarts of the cooking liquid. Allow the beets to cool, then peel and grate them.
In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of the cooking liquid, then add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Slowly drizzle the hot liquid into the egg yolks, whisking to combine, then stir in the lemon juice. Pour the egg mixture into a large bowl and add the remaining cooking liquid and grated beets. Add the sour cream, then season with salt and pepper, stirring to combine well. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. Garnish with dill, pepper, and more sour cream.