Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baked Figs

Baked Figs

I was in middle school when I first learned about Georgia O'Keefe.

My Mom took me to a lecture at the Art Institute of Chicago and I remember looking at the paintings and thinking, am I seeing what I think I am seeing?  According to the lecturer, the answer was yes and I was hooked.  Painting in that fashion in the 1920's was brazen and progressive for that time.  Challenging societal norms is something that I don't think people plan to do but that happens because they were never very good at fitting their square peg mind sets into societal round peg holes.

Although Georgia's work is fascinating, it is how she lived her life that has been an inspiration to me.  She married a peer, Alfred Sieglitz, who was older and somewhat of a mentor to her.  He helped her grow and gain traction in the art world and then they ended up living much of their lives apart, him in New York, her in New Mexico.  She practiced yoga, traveled and had a reportedly "prickly" personality.   She was from the Midwest, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, became discouraged with her craft and then found her way back to what she loved and where her passion and talent resided.  I look at Georgia and think, it's ok to take a path that not everyone understands but that works for you.

So, this dish and picture are a nod to Georgia O'Keefe.  An independent spirit who truly followed her bliss.

Recipe from A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

24 Ripe Figs
Thyme Branches
Olive Oil

Cut the figs in half, top to bottom, through the stem, with a sharp paring knife.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Scatter a few thyme branches in the bottom of a shallow oven proof dish, just large enough to hold the figs.  Place the figs cut side up in the dish .  Spoon a few drops of olive oil over them.

Bake the figs for about 20 minutes, until they puff a little and look juicy.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


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