California Artists Cookbook


"I have always pictured the Muse of Gastronomy as a beautiful, sensuous, voluptuous woman who delights in life and all its pleasures. Along with the muses of dance, theater, and painting, she is welcome into the realm of each particular art..." - James Beard


A layered salad from Judy Chicago, an omelet by Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud's Mizitra sauce, and dinner at Joan Brown' eccentric book of California artists eating at home –– we set the table with Izabel Lam's surreal flatware, and take a look. 


Ansel Adam's Sorrel Soup:

4 tablespoons of butter

1 medium onion

5 cups of chopped sorrel leaves

4 tablespoons of flour

6 cups of homemade chicken stock

1 cup of plain yogurt 

1 cup of heavy cream 

Salt & pepper 

1. In a heavy pot, sauté onions in melted butter for 10 minutes.

2. Turn down the heat and sitr in sorrel leaves, cooking until tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Gently add flour over the leaves and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring with each addition. 

4. Add chicken stock, turning up the heat a bit, and cook for 10 more minutes.

5. Purée in two rounds, return both to the pot to add the yogurt and cream.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste and heat again before serving.


Joanne Rruff's Cream of Carrot & Cider Soup:

24 peeled carrots

4 tablespoons of sweet butter 

3 medium onions 

1 liter of french cider 

4 cups of heavy cream 

2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

Salt & pepper 

1. Slice carrots, which should amount to about 5 cups. Roughly chop onions.

2. Sauté carrots and onions in butter and cover with a lid for 15 minutes. 

3. Add 1/2 cup of cider, raising the heat until it cooks down.

4. Add the rest of the cider and cream, cook on medium for 20 minutes. 

5. Save 1 cup of liquid and put cooked vegetables into a food processor to purée.

6. Add purée back to the pan to add salt and pepper, and gently heat again before pouring into bowls and topping with cilantro. 


Ruth Asawa's Loquat Pie:

2 quarts fresh loquats with stems & flower tips removed, skinned, pitted.

Juice of one 1 lemon

1 cup of sugar 

2 tablespoons of flour

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell of your choice

2 tablespoons of butter 

1. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and flour before adding to a larger bowl of loquats and lemon juice.

2. Stir this mixture gently –– without breaking the fruit. 

3. Spread the fruit mixture into a pie shell, speckling with butter on the top. 

4. Bake in preheated oven at 425 °F for 10 minutes. 

5. Reduce heat to 350 °F and continue to bake for 30 minutes. 

6. Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours. 


Penelope Fried's Mangoes for Reflective Moments:

4 large ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced 

2 tablespoons of lime juice

1/4 cup rose petal syrup 

3/4 cup whipped cream or 1 cup crème fraîche

1/4 cup fresh rose petals 

Edible silver leaf (found in Indian delicacy shops)

 1. Mix sliced mangos with lime juice and display on a beautiful plate. 

2. Combine cream and 1 tablespoon of rose petal syrup, use the remainder of the syrup to lightly dress the mangoes.

3. Dolllop the cream over the mangoes. 

4. Arrange rose petals and silver leaf to please the eye.  


For the table –– shop Izabel Lam flatware at LoQ Objects.


Image 17: Ruth Asawa by Imogen Cunningham (1957), all other photos and recipes from California Artists Cookbook (1982).