Our food series were something new that we tried this year that have definitely been well worth the effort. Not only have they pushed us creatively in the kitchen, but they’ve allowed us to try our hand at food styling which is challenging, meticulous and tons of fun! 

The day usually consists of getting up super early to prep ingredients that we’ve bought the day before. Learning what to prep, what will lose its color or texture has been a learning experience {like the time we baked a chicken, covered it until shoot time and lifted the lid only to reveal a very shriveled and sad looking piece of poultry!}. Setting up for food shoots is very similar to preparing a meal for a party- everything must be ready to go, ready or not! We loved the colors of this orange salad and the fact that you can make it year round. It would be perfect to whip up now to cleanse the body of post-holiday indulgences!


As mentioned last week, I am guilty of buying cookbooks {especially ones with pretty covers and pictures!} and rarely actually cooking out of them. I recently picked up this gorgeous Sicilian cookbook {get it here!filled with rustic recipes and beautiful scenic imagery. But this time around, I was determined to crack it open and learn something new! For our second edition of Cooking Out of Your Comfort Zone, I took on the Insalta di Arance!


Recipe: Insalata di Arance (Orange Salad)


3-4 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
8 oranges
1 cup roasted olives {or your favorite combo from the olive bar!}

For the dressing:
5 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
salt and pepper


Start by preparing your dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and fennel seeds in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut off the peel from the oranges, removing all of the white pith. Cut the flesh into rounds. {Editor’s note: I mixed CaraCara and Valencia oranges to get a pretty mix of color. You can even try grapefruit!}. Slice your fennel – I recommend using a mandolin to really get them thin. It’s my new favorite kitchen tool! In a large bowl add the fennel and olives. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve!


Since fennel has such a strong flavor, I eye-balled how much I wanted in the salad. I would say that it serves 6, not 8.

This recipe was very simple to make and I love that it turned out looking just like the  picture in the book! It was so refreshing and juicy with really bright flavors. I loved the vibrant colors it added to the table. A perfect potluck dish to wow your friends at your next barbecue!

If you missed it, you have to bookmark this recipe for Spicy Garlic Shrimp on Coconut Rice with Mango Basil Salsa!

original photography for apartment 34 by Simone Anne // styling and art direction by erin hiemstra

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  1. i am a huge culprit of buying cookbooks and never using them. it always seems when i am looking for a new recipe i head to my iPhone instead of my bookshelf. definitely resolving to try some new recipes this year…from my cookbooks 🙂

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

    1. Let’s make it our new year’s resolution to crack those babies open more!