Make a simple evening meal like an artist
Turn a mid-week dinner into a fine art event, via our new book, The Kitchen Studio (cat not included)
Care to turn your evening cookery routine into a work of art? Then get The Kitchen Studio. In this new book, we’ve collected together 100 recipes from world famous artists, including El Anatsui, Jimmie Durham, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Zhang Huan and Olafur Eliasson.
In every instance, the artist has not only shared the details of a very creative dish, but also provided a fun, engaging illustration of the recipe too. There’s plenty of variation, from simple snacks and treats through to more lavish meals.
For a few of the inclusions, you might want to set aside a good part of the day to prepare the recipe. In other instances, the dishes fit right into a weekday evening routine. Take Israeli artist Keren Cytter’s offering: Chicken in the Oven with Sumac and Okra in Tomato Sauce.
“It’s a dish I like to make for lunch and dinner for friends, and for myself,” she explains. “I like it because it’s cheap (basically chicken with potatoes) and it’s special because of the okra. There’s no story behind this dish. I started to cook it a couple of years ago after finding a batch of okra in the supermarket, and rediscovering my love for chicken thighs.”
The recipe requires two onions; two chicken thighs; a tablespoon of garlic powder; a tablespoon of sumac; one garlic head, halved; two potatoes; one to two tablespoons of vegetable oil; 12 okra; two tomatoes, chopped; and some salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Julienne (thinly slice) an onion. Take the chicken thighs, rub them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sumac. Place the sliced onion and halved head of garlic on parchment (baking) paper or silver foil and place the chicken thighs on top. Cook it in the oven for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Julienne (thinly slice) 1 onion. Take the chicken thighs, rub them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sumac. Place the sliced onion and halved head of garlic on parchment (baking) paper or silver foil and place the chicken thighs on top. Cook it in the oven for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, and cut them into slices not thicker than ½ inch (1 cm). Bring a small pan of water to the boil, add the potato slices and boil them for 10 minutes, then drain. Chop the remaining onion.
Heat the oil in a large pan (use one with a lid) over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fry for seven minutes. Add the okra and the boiled potato slices and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, let it boil, lower the heat and cover the pan with the lid. Let it cook until the chicken in the oven is ready, or for at least for 15 minutes. Serve the chicken on top of the onion with the side dish of okra and potatoes beside it.
For an equally simple dish from a very different part of the world, you could try to recreate Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s dish, Grilled Lamb Chops with Potatoes, Mushroom Sauce and Salad.
“Icelandic lambs roam free in the highlands during the summer, feasting on herbs, mountain grass and crystal-clear stream water,” he writes. “Their short life is one of beauty. The farmers treat them well and talk about them with deep respect. My family has a farm in an area called Skaftártunga, which is a great sheep-raising area surrounded by volcanoes and glaciers and on the foothills of Iceland's enormous highlands. Sheep farming and herding has been the area's livelihood for 1,000 years.
“On the farm we love to put some lamb chops on the grill or, if the weather is bad, just slightly brown the meat in a pan and roast it in the oven,” he goes on. “Here comes a simple dish of lamb that is just as classic as it gets.”
To make this meal (which serves four) you’ll need a kilo of potatoes; olive oil, for drizzling; eight lamb chops; fresh thyme leaves, and salt. For the mushroom sauce you’ll need two two tablespoons butter; 400 g of mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped; fresh thyme leaves; a teaspoon of salt; 100 ml of red wine; 200 ml of double (heavy) cream. For the salad it’s one pint cherry tomatoes, quartered; two bunches of fresh salad greens; three tablespoons of olive oil; a tablespoon of basil vinegar; a teaspoon of Dijon mustard; and a teaspoon salt.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390ºF). Cut the potatoes into wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Put them in an ovenproof dish. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.
When the potatoes are almost cooked, preheat the grill to high. Take the lamb chops, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme and season with salt. Grill them for 3–5 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan (skillet), add the mushrooms and fry with the thyme leaves until the mushrooms are tender. Add the salt, then add the red wine and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the cream and the resting juices from the meat if you have it.
For the salad, toss the tomatoes with the salad greens in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and salt to make a salad dressing. “Serve with red wine and menthol cigarettes,” Kjartansson writes, “and have a perfect evening.”
So that explains the packet of Salems in his picture. To get more detailed recipes, as well as many more dishes from artists, order a copy of The Kitchen Studio here.