Georgia O’Keeffe – the mother of American modernism, one of the greatest 20th-century American artists, most famous for her large-scale paintings of flowers. Her painting “ Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” is the most expensive painting by a female artist ever sold at auction, which went for $44.4m. O’Keeffe herself disliked being called a “woman artist”, she wanted to be considered an “artist”. She once said: “Men put me down as the best woman painter…I think I’m one of the best painters.” She also strongly denied the common assumptions that her flowers paintings are depictions of female genitalia.
O’Keeffe, one of the most successful American artists, also became a feminist icon due to her great achievement as a female artist in the male-dominated art world.
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe
The way I see O’Keeffe’s flower paintings is quite simple: beautiful, delicate and sensual. I admire her for living her life the way she wanted it and every time I look at her paintings it makes me want to paint and live my life my way.
For my next dish inspiration, I chose her “White Lotus” painting. The image which seems to be a dissection of a lotus flower made me think of a fennel sliced in half. Fennel salad is a classic, but I wanted to give it a new twist, so I replaced oranges with physalis and orange oil, and lemon juice with passion fruit vinegar. I added sweetness with dried fruit, nutty taste and texture with quinoa and almonds. The overall look of this salad is quite flower-like, I think, and reflects the colour palette of this painting.
Fennel has a unique aromatic taste, close to that of liquorice and anise, and its texture is similar to that of celery, having a crunchy and streaked texture. I see many people throwing away its feathery green leaves, which is a real shame because they are delicious.
The Greek word for fennel is “marathos”. The famous battle of Marathon (490 BC) where Athenian army defeated the Persians was fought in the fields of fennel.
- 1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced or shaved with a mandolin
- 100g physalis
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 5 dried prunes
- 5 dried apricots
- 5 dried dates
- 1 passion fruit
- 2 tbsp toasted almond flakes
- 1 tbsp fennel fronds, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp orange oil
- 1 tbsp passion fruit vinegar
- 1 tsp acacia honey
Rinse the quinoa and place it in a pot of 1,5 cups of boiling water and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain into a fine sieve, run under cold water, shake to remove excess liquid.
Toast the almond flakes in a dry frying pan.
Trim the root from the fennel bulb and remove the fronds. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise then cut each half into thin slices. Chop the fennel fronds. Cut physalis fruits in half, setting two whole pieces aside together with the passion fruit halves for garnish. Cut dried fruits in small bits.
For dressing mix orange oil, passion fruit vinegar, honey and fennel fronds in a small bowl.
Place sliced fennel, quinoa, dried fruits, physalis and roasted almonds in a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over and gently toss all of the ingredients together.
Decorate each plate of salad with physalis and half passion fruit.