Cabbage, Apple & Walnut Salad

Georgia O’Keeffe lived sparsely.  She painted sparsely.  And so it seems to make sense that she cooked sparsely as well.  The recipes you will find within A Painter’s Kitchen ~ Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe written by Margaret Wood with a forward by Deborah Madison are just that.  Simple.  Sparse.  And, in that regard, stunning.  Full disclaimer…I am a huge O’Keeffe fan.  From an MFA thesis comparing her creative process to that of Martha Graham –  to owning nearly every book ever published about her…I find her story to be beautiful.

I received this cookbook for Christmas one year and had put it aside for some time.  It ended up in a box separate from the others in my O’Keeffe section when we moved and was only recently unpacked when my fantastic husband spent the last day of his winter vacation building me built in bookcases to house my hundreds of dance history books (without even being asked…I am so lucky xx) and then there it was.  This little gem of a book with its somewhat lean recipes and small snippets of personal accounts of what it was like to be part of her household at Abiquiu.

Simple is often gorgeous.  And no where is this more true than with food.  To taste the actual food, the flavors, the textures – not cluttering it up with heavy sauces or fancy techniques (which we are all guilty of some of the time), but returning to a simpler way where you really enjoy the flavors for what they are offering you.  This is especially true in O’Keeffe’s cabbage, apple & walnut salad.  Apples and walnuts are a match made in heaven.  They scream fall and winter to me. Here where we are we had just begun to think spring was really here and now we are ankle deep in a snow storm.  So, with one last winter storm, I embraced the flavor combination and made this cabbage based salad to accompany some corned beef hash puff pastry pockets.  Because much like apples and walnuts, cabbage and corned beef are also a classic match.  I added a simple vinaigrette to this using canola oil, mustard, lemon and tarragon.  The cabbage did not overpower the dish as we opted to go a bit heavier on the apples.  I toasted our walnuts for optimum flavor and then tossed it all together.  It was perfect with the puff pastry pockets.  Light and flavorful.

If you love O’Keeffe’s art and are intrigued by her simple way of life you will really enjoy A Painter’s Kitchen.