Reflective State of Mind

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This quote seemed like the appropriate inspiration I needed to start this MLK Day. It’s a reminder that we do still have a long way to go. But I’m so thankful, on this day and everyday, to live in a city that is so diverse and accepting of whomever, no matter their race, sexual orientation or dreams. And while we have to thank so many people for their struggle and fight to shape the world into what we enjoy today, there is one man in particular, who deserves notable praise: Dr. King.

Our yesterdays, todays and tomorrows would not have been the same without his dreams. And with that, on this beautiful Monday morning, I hope you recognize the freedoms granted to you today, and everyday and use them to dream big.

How big you ask? Bigger than the present. Bigger than the future. Bigger than yourself.

Let’s all march onward, together.

graphic created by Apartment 34

Last Chance! Enter to win $150 to Rifle Paper Co.

In case you weren’t aware of the awesomeness that is Rifle Paper Co., we stumbled across some amazing shots that will surely bring you to the light!

They’re from Rifle’s very first lookbook, “In Bloom”, inspired by their flower illustrations {that you can find on their gorgeous paper goods!}. Styled by Brooklyn floral designer, Amy Merrick {whose work you might recognize from the popular Kinfolk cover of the flower ice cream cone?!} in partnership with creative director Anna Bond, paper creations are mixed with real-life florals to bring a beautiful display of 3-dimensional inspiration to life for all of us to enjoy. We love how it’s nearly impossible to tell where real or still begins or ends. This is definitely some of the most stunning styling work we’ve come across of late!

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If you’d love to get your hands on some of the work that inspired this shoot, we’re holding the finale giveaway of $150 to Rifle Paper Co as part of the 24 Merry Days. There is still some time to enter, but hurry – this giveaway ends tonight!

To enter for a chance at $150 at Rifle Paper Co. and to see our favorite finds CLICK HERE!

 

images found on The Aviary via Rifle Paper Co. // photography by Alpha Smoot

Best of 2013: {Cooking Out of Your Comfort Zone}

One of the best things about this job is the places we go and the people we meet. A very good case in point would be our dear friends Lenore and Ana of Three Babes Bakeshop and our amazing road trip to the country.

Looking forward to a break from city life, we packed up the car early on a Thursday morning for a three hour drive towards California’s Central Valley. After passing what seemed to be an endless sea of apple orchards and climbing a windy dirt road, surrounded by golden grass swaying in the wind, we reached our destination- the home where Ana grew up and where Lenore spent much of her childhood. For this shoot, we wanted to be in the heart of the place that inspired Ana and Lenore to venture into the pie business, a place they are very passionate about…and what a magical place it is!

At the mid-century abode, {built and designed by Ana’s parents!} complete with the tallest and most covetable fiddle leaf fig tree you ever did see, we baked pie, roamed the open land with the dogs, dipped our feet into the cool pool and of course indulged in the sweetest organic peach pie, ever. How we wish every shoot could be as relaxing and transportive as this one was but then we wouldn’t appreciate them as much when they are! 

I have always loved to cook. It’s a way to unwind, unleash some creativity and let’s get real – I just really love good food. But cooking is one thing, and baking is entirely another! While cooking lets you get away with experimentation, baking requires precision and know-how! But dessert is always the grand finale of a meal so I would like to have a couple of recipes that I feel comfortable making.

That’s why I’m so excited the girls of Three Babes Bakeshop said yes to letting us in on one of their go-to pies. Pie is definitively an intimidating thing to make. Thankfully, you’re about to get a lesson from the ultimate experts on this special edition of Cooking Out of Your Comfort Zone! We can take notes together!!

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Founders Anna and Lenore have been besties since 3rd grade and have been named some of the best pie makers in the country. The list of pies up their sleeves, made from only local and organic ingredients, are the best I’ve come across. Toffee Apple Pie, White Nectarine Blackberry, Banana Tres Leches Pie – just listing them out has me drooling!

Last week we took a special trip up to Anna’s childhood home in California’s Central Valley, where she showed us her gorgeous ranch and shared her grandfather’s family recipe for Peach Melba Pie! This is the perfect pie for the heart of the summer season, but it also comes with some serious history behind it. Anna’s grandfather had the opportunity to bake this pie for JP Morgan, and the man loved it so much, he convinced Anna’s grandfather to move from Mexico to the U.S. to be his very own pastry chef. Talk about a great story to tell your guests when you bake it at home!

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Now for the nitty-gritty, how to make this gorgeous thing!

Three Babes Bakeshop Peach Melba Pie

Filling
2.25 lbs peaches
2 tbl brown sugar
2 tbl cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest

Crust
1 stick plus 1 tbl butter
⅓ cup ice water
1½ tsp vinegar
1½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1½ cups flour

Cream, for brushing crust
Coarse sugar, for finishing crust
Kosher salt

Making Your Crust

Step one: Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and place in the freezer.

Step two: In bowl, put the water and stir in the vinegar, sugar, and salt until dissolved, and place in the freezer to chill.

Step three: Measure the flour into a chilled bowl. Remove the butter from the freezer and, using a pastry cutter, cut into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Use your hands to break up any large pieces of butter.

Step four: Sprinkle the flour and butter with the water and vinegar, a little at a time, tossing the mixture at first and then pressing together with a spatula, until the dough just comes together. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

Step five: Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough and then fit it into a buttered pie plate. Trim the excess edge of the dough so that the overhang barely touches the counter. Save the trimmings, and form them into a square or rectangular disc. Wrap both the bottom shell and the disc of scraps the with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Step six: Roll out the disc of scraps into a rectangular shape and then cut strips of lattice for the top crust. Chill the strips on a sheet pan in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

Making Your Pie Filing

Slice the peaches in half, then remove the pits and slice into ¼ inch wedges. Mix in the sugar, salt, cinnamon and zest, and then add in the cornstarch. Mix gently until the cornstarch is fully incorporated. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Pour the filling into the shell.

Constructing Your Pie

Weave the strips of chilled lattice over the top of the filling. Trim the overhang of the lattice strips, and roll the edge of the bottom crust tightly up around the pie, so that the lattice and bottom crust become one rope that rests on top of the pieplate’s edge. Press the outer crust between two knuckles of one hand and the thumb of the other to flute. Brush all the exposed crust with cream, and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar and a dash of kosher salt. At this point, if the pastry has gotten a bit warm from fluting and weaving the lattice, place it directly into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Bake the pie on a sheet pan lined with parchment for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350˚F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Phew. Did you get all that?? Pie making is definitely a process that requires patience.

But the Babes have given up their family secret just for us and I think it is entirely worth the effort. I’m going to save the crust recipe and use it for every and any pie I may make in the future. It’s so flaky, light, and crunchy. Pie perfection.

Warning: once you make this pie, you’ll want to try all of the different combinations the Babes offer. Luckily, you can order them here if you’re in the Bay Area and here if you’re elsewhere. Ever since I dove into this peach pie, I’ve been dreaming of trying their classic Salty Honey Walnut. Let’s just say I know what I’m indulging in this weekend!

We had so much fun up at the ranch; check out some of the outtakes on our Facebook page later this afternoon!

original photography for apartment 34 by aubrie pick, art direction by erin hiemstra, styling by bianca sotelo