Last Sunday: I Can't Believe I Made This Pie

Lattice?! Really?! Lattice...really.

So, we all know now that I love my Sundays. I don't usually plan them out, but I have to admit, last Sunday, a little planning was involved. And by "planning" I mean coordinating my Instacart delivery.

I needed some reinforcements for making this pie. The list of ingredients for this puppy wasn't too long, but I still needed to get my hands on some rhubarb, etc.

Sidebar: finding rhubarb in September involved a little detective work. In the end, since the rhubarb I found in store looked really sad and near produce death, I opted for the pre-cut frozen version. I thawed it out and no one was the wiser. It worked perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • Perfect Pie crust: (this makes 2 recipes, enough for a pie shell with a lattice top)
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

  • Strawberry rhubarb filling:
  • 1 pound rhubarb, ends trimmed and sliced into ½-inch thick pieces
  • 2 cups stemmed and sliced strawberries
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar, plus 2 teaspoons for garnishing crust
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional

I created the filling first by combining everything in one bowl. 

First up, the strawberries...so pretty. 

Here's that thawed rhubard I mentioned. Also pretty, but not as pretty as the strawberries. Just sayin...

And then came the sweet stuff. Sugar on top:

Mixy mixy...

Still mixing:

Adding a little fresh lemon juice to brighten things up a bit. Yay citrus. 

Sidenote: As a child I ate lemons. Why? I have no clue. Must have been some sort of mineral or vitamin deficiency. As an adult I can't stand sour anything, but the smell of a fresh lemon still gets me like:

found on giphy.com

found on giphy.com

Filling, done.

Then I wanted to not think about it at the last minute so I separated the egg yolk ahead of time.

Nothing like a fresh organic egg am I right?

This is what I brushed (read: had no brush so I finger painted this portion; more on that in a minute) on top of the lattice.

Did I mention I decided to bake this pie on a rare hot day in San Francisco?

Nothing like turning up the heat in an oven just in time for a super late west-coast summer. Like I said, I try not to plan out my Sundays and in some cases, this bites me in the you-know-what. Ok fine, ass. Moving right along...

The fruit got all happy after having spent some time mingling in the sugar.

This smelled incredible by the way. 

Then it was time for the ole' pie crust. Which means, it was time for some butter:

There's a LOT of information out there on the w, w, w when it comes to the "perfect pie crust." Just Google it and prepare to be inundated with best pie practices.

Team butter over here. Unsalted, organic, amazing. The good stuff.

All due respect to those with family recipe traditions that involve it, but personally, I just can't handle the thought of Crisco on this one.

What's that thing in the upper right hand corner you ask?

Um, that is a pastry blender friends. 

If you don't have a food processor handy, this is what you can work out that dough with. Literally though, it's a workout.

So the butter, flour, sugar, and salt were tossed into the bowl and the work began.

I finally got the butter down to pea size after blending like a champ.

IMPORTANT NOTE: keep that butter cold. This is a universal pie hack/truth. Keep it as cold as humanly possible. It will make or break your pie crust.

ALSO: As I mixed I sprinkled in ice water until the dough held together. I also drank said ice water because my heart rate was up. Pie workouts, the struggle is real.

Cue: my dough ball.

Sidenote: I can totally see "dough ball" being a nickname for a future pet.

From here I flatted the dough into a disk (about 6 inches wide) and popped it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Chilled is the name of the game.

30 MINUTES LATER...

I floured the counter, cut the dough ball in half (put one half back into the fridge), flattened out the other dough half using this french rolling pin (I feel like I can maneuver better with it than a heavier, more traditional version; but that's just me), and eye-balled it.

I was scared.

found on giphy.com

found on giphy.com

I knew winging it would be risky, but I kept on, keepin' on. I woman'd up.

Rolling away until I got where I thought I wanted to be.

Next up: the transfer.

My emotional state at that time you ask?

Oh you know, I was petrified. Moving across the country? No problem. Transferring a pie crust into a pie pan? Shaking in my ankle boots. So goes my life...

Back to the pie pan: I bought this option after reading way too many reviews on Amazon, and I'm so glad I did. It was perfect.

I learned how to transfer said questionable crust over by flouring the rolling pin, flipping the pie dough onto it, and them moving the pin over the pie plate so I could flip that dough sheet back on top without any unnecessary tearing. 

Next up: I rolled out the other half of dough into a small rectangle about ⅛-inch thick. Some trimming happened to get to a rectangle shape.

Then, back in the fridge it went. Again.

From there I scraped the filling into the chilled pie shell.

Looking good right? I was in shock at how well this was turning out. 

I popped the pie back into the fridge (1 hour max) and moved into lattice-making mode. 

So, making the lattice isn't all too hard:

I flopped out the dough that was in the fridge while filling the pie. 

It was in rectangle form so that helps when it came to cutting the strips.

In the end, I cut about 9 because I had that much dough to work with (that is what's so great about this recipe, there's plenty of extra dough to cover the pie plate and always enough to make that lattice).

I went one at a time, flipping and flopping to make it work. Just try it out. You'll eventually get the hang of it, I swear.

Still need help? Watch THIS.

Then I pinched around the edges to make the crust cute, because obviously crust has to be cute.

From there, I preheated the oven to 400°F.

After beating the egg yolk and finding (a little late into the recipe mind you) out that I had no pastry brush, I dunked my fingers into the yolk and haphazardly coated the top of the crust. Mmmm, weird goey'ness.

This is where that pie shine comes from. So profesh, especially when applied with pointer fingers, no?

The final step before moving this pie into the oven (place towards the bottom) was sprinkling the top with 2 teaspoons of yep, more sugar.

I baked my pie baby for about 50 minutes.

The oven light was on the entire time because I was freaking out about the crust burning (little did I know that you can tent it 3/4 of the way through with foil to avoid this, geez). You could also just opt for this pie crust shield. Genius. What will they think of next?

By the way, while this was baking, the smell in my home WAS HEAVEN. 

If I could bottle it, I would.

Actually, no, I wouldn't. It smelled too good. Everyone smelling that scent would constantly be on the hunt for the next baked good.

Fun for a Sunday afternoon, not so much for a dinner date. Ok fragrance deal, off.

And here is the money shot:

I made this. No really, I actually MADE THIS pie! I'm so happy with how it turned out.

I let it cool for a bit, I'd say 30 minutes, just so the filling would firm up.

This was the toughest part.

I was dying to sink my teeth into a piece, but alas, I was feeling very adult-like, and as such, decided to flex my patience muscle (it happens once every 6 months).

THE VERDICT?

This pie was freaking delicious. With vanilla bean ice cream? I mean...overboard delicious. Another level.

As a result, I had to hand it off to friends that Monday so I wouldn't consume the entire thing at home alone (visions of Miranda and her trash-can brownies did enter my mind once or twice).

found on tenor.co

found on tenor.co

One more shot, with a little filter-action, of this strawberry rhubarb pie:

 

Oh and Sur la Table says this: "the pie will keep at room temperature under a cake dome for up to 2 days. For longer storage, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes to warm the filling and re-crisp the crust."

On to the next pie recipe...I'm thinking apple but I'm open to suggestions.

Let me know if you give this pie a shot! You totally should. 

Confession: I feel like a complete badass now that I know I can conquer a lattice crust.

It's the little things in life right? 

Until next Sunday...

This Sunday: Saying "Hello" & "Goodbye" to Mara Hoffman's Slit-Front One Piece. Still Swimsuit Shopping...

The hunt for the one-piece of my dreams continues. Next up, Mara Hoffman's Slit-Front swimsuit that just got marked down.

Mara Hoffman Slit Front One Piece Swimsuit, $218, $109- www.shopbop.com

Mara Hoffman Slit Front One Piece Swimsuit, $218, $109- www.shopbop.com

So...where to begin? This will be quick. 

The print is gorgeous and very Mara Hoffman.

This suit is Coachella material if I've ever seen it. All I would need now is a metallic body tattoo and round frame sunglasses. 

It's also true to size, which I was totally surprised about.

I usually buy my normal size and then one size up when making my home my swimsuit-trying-on-fitting-room. And yes, usually the one-size-up option just feels better. But not today...

So why did I say "hello" and then "goodbye" to this one? Here's the review:

WHAT I LOVE:

  • The print. As you can see, it's a bold one and I'm all for it. It will probably elicit love in some and "WTF?" in others. I was in the former group. Pure love.
  • The keyhole slit at the neckline. It shows skin without being a skimpy two-piece on days when I just want more fabric. You know what I'm talking about.

WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE ALL THAT MUCH:

  • I have been blessed with a bootie and hips. Curves are a part of my genetic makeup and thanks to squats, they have only been accentuated. Thing is, as a result, pants and bottoms can get pulled, making the fabric cinch around my upper thigh and dig. For those ladies with an hourglass or pear shape, you know what I mean. The bottom half of this swim suit is cut a little bigger and as such, was way too tight around my upper thigh. Not a fan.
  • I also couldn't handle the tying on the back. I love that you can adjust the width to whatever you feel like, but it just never felt secure. 
  • Hence..."bye bye"

HOW IT LOOKS ON THE MODEL:

Super-cute, just not for those with curves on the lower half mainly due to comfort issues. When seams dig in, it's a no-go.

If you're more column-like in silhouette, this is a definite option for you!

KEEP READING:

This Sunday: Meet The One-Piece That Restored My Faith in Swimsuit Shopping

A trip to Lake Tahoe was the catalyst for me to hit the swimsuit shopping circuit this summer. I have my go-to's in swimwear, but they're all two pieces and I wanted another option. Plus, thanks to the trends right now (a sentence I rarely say), a one piece is a very viable option.


So, I went on the hunt for one-piece swimsuits on-line because I can't be bothered with a fitting room situation and that lighting. I'm not too good for it, I just would rather gouge my eyes out with a plastic spoon than spend my free time putting on and taking off behind a slated door at a department store. 

Here's what I found:

Red Carter Pop Culture Reversible One Piece Swimsuit- was $185, on sale for $129.50 at www.shopbop.com

I fell in love with the print, was freaked out a bit by the cut, but when I saw that it was reversible I had to click. I bought this puppy in two sizes because I was making my home my personal fitting room.

I just time buying in bulk and returning what I don't like around billing statements so things process quickly and balance out in the end. Pretty simple, just takes a little planning (and I'm speedy on returns because I can just drop them off two feet away from where I live so it's a bonus). 

So, what did I think?

I loved it. 

The print is obviously bold and not for the timid. It also happens to be the perfect camouflage. 

The neckline dips low, but the racerback managed to keep everything in place (everything= C cup). 

And then I flipped it inside-out to get the full-on, black and white pattern. Love this but liked the color more. 

There's your close-up on that print. It's pretty stunning. It is trendy, yes, but it's on sale so I don't feel as bad about that and I think this will hold for the next few years. Let's recap:

WHAT I LOVE:

  • The print is really gorgeous in person plus it hides anything I don't want to be seen
  • The material is slinky and well-constructed. It's actually very comfortable. I could sit in this and not be worried about a wardrobe malfunction
  • It's on sale. How could I not love that?
  • It's also not too high on the hips. It has an 80's vibe without looking ridiculous is what I'm trying to say

WHAT I DON'T LOVE SO MUCH:

  • I still have issues with spending over $100 on swimwear, mind you I don't flinch on spending twice that for jeans so go figure. I'll get over it though, but I'll always look for a sale and shop swim in September when it's marked down
  • The low front is very va-va-voom. If I need something sporty, this isn't the suit
  • If you want coverage on your bootie, this is NOT the swimsuit for you. I am OK with it for now (pending a few more sessions with my favorite Jillian Michaels routine), but it's definitely for those who don't mind showing the world what they're working with as they walk away

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE ON A MODEL:

In the end, I was so happy with this pick. I kept it, went to Tahoe, never wore it, and now have an excuse to book a beach getaway. "Best laid plans..."

KEEP READING:

This Sunday: I Can't Stop Wearing These Bracelets. Getting to Know Adriana Neves...

After working in luxury retail for over a decade (yea, that happened), I've grown to root for the emerging and independent designer that puts in major sweat equity with unflinching passion, knowing full-well that, to say the future is uncertain would be an understatement.

I respect the hell out of anyone going after their passion with integrity, a little insanity (it's necessary at times), undeniable talent, and grit, especially when they can produce something that is so simple, and so easy to weave into my everyday life. Because um, it's all about me? Lol.

 

GETTING TO KNOW ADRIANA NEVES & WHAT SHE CAN DO:

I was lucky enough to get an email from Adriana Neves a few months ago. That communication was quickly followed by a little delivery to my house in San Francisco for a product review. Love that.

WHAT SHOWED UP:

Three bracelets to layer up or wear solo, plus a curved necklace that I've discovered, goes with pretty much anything I have in my closet.

REVIEW TIME:

Now, I pride myself on being brutally honest with my reviews, and this one will be no different.

I'm picky. It's true. Years spent in the industry touching, feeling, even smelling (yes, it was a known trick to smell leathers on designer handbags so you could get a sense of quality; gasoline-esque fumes on the latest "Prado" bags are not just reserved for the gems you can find on Canal Street) means I'm just that girl. The one that can find a flaw in a millisecond, but also knows nothing is perfect.

SO WHAT DID I THINK?

These pieces from Adriana Neves are on my wrists and/or neckline a minimum of three times a week. Fact.

I wear them all, the, time. And I tend to get compliments whenever they make a cameo. 

Find them on www.adriananeves.com: ENTER CODE THESTYLESHAKER25 to receive 25% off through September 2016 only!

Find them on www.adriananeves.com: ENTER CODE THESTYLESHAKER25 to receive 25% off through September 2016 only!

WHAT I LOVE:

  • The overall aesthetic is something I'm drawn to for everyday essentials. So many clients have asked how to incorporate jewelry into a look to elevate things a bit. Here's how.
  • The weight of the necklace feels right. It's sturdy, not flimsy.
  • Price points are incredibly reasonable. Yes, we all know you can hop on another discount site, spend less, and get something maybe similar-ish (?not quite), but it will a. not last, b. smell like a jar of pennies, c. turn your skin fun colors that aren't so fun at all, and d. do all of the above. 

WHAT I DON'T LOVE:

  • I wish I could have tried out the rings, but hey, I get it. Adriana was generous enough to send over what she did for a fair and honest review. So fine, I'll just pony up and get a ring. I can handle that.
  • Truly, this is a one-bullet list. I adore this designer and her collections. You will too. And, for September, at a discount of 25% EXCLUSIVE to TheStyleShaker.com.
  • Enter code: TheStyleShaker25 at checkout to redeem. Yea, it's good to be a StyleShaker people.

Ok, back to my Sunday couch time.

Wishing you a Happy Sunday, as always. See you next time-

KEEP READING:

This Sunday: Even I Didn't Expect to Love These Neutral D'orsay Pumps, But I Do. I Really, Really, Do.

Set the scene:

I'm in Nashville visiting the fam and mom and I hit a nearby DSW because, well, we needed avocados and the Kroger we went to was next door to a brand, spanking new DSW (that wasn't planned at all of course), so we found ourselves strolling the shoe aisles yet again.

I was on the lookout for work basics like pumps. Mom, well she was just on the lookout in general. 

As soon as I saw these I had two distinct thoughts within a millisecond of each other:

1. Nah, those? Franco Sarto? (This was the luxury retail buying office snob rearing her not-so-cut ego again; hey at least I'm honest about it)

2. Um, wait, I kind of love them. Ok, where's the 8 1/2? 

I wear heels quite a bit, but that doesn't mean I prance around in four-inchers all day, every day. The heels on these are 3 inches and the pitch (read: angle between the heel and arch) is at a very comfortable angle. 

If you don't wear heels, read another post, these will not be an option. I'm just sayin...

If you do, there are just a couple of things you need to know:

1. Buy foot petals and heel huggers. This is one more reason that I buy a half size up. There's space for additional padding and that means happy feet.

2. You can still (at the time of writing this) buy them HERE. Did I mention they were under $50? Oh, and did I mention I'm buying them in black? Yep. They're that comfortable. You can read the reviews and you will see I'm not the only person singing their comfy praises.

3. You may or may not want to treat them for water protection. I live in California and have not seen rain in months (sad, but true) so I'm good to go. 

4. They go with ev-er-y-thing. This is why I always have a variation of this type of shoe in my closet for warmer or just temperate weather.

When you're standing there looking at your shoes wondering what to wear with those pants/jeans/etc. these are the puppies that will save you the agony of trying on eight pairs before getting to a decision.

KEEP READING:

This Sunday: Finding Peace in Pancakes. Mmmmm, Yay Carbs.

Sundays have always been a sacred day for me, ever since I was little. And not because I was ever very religious. I just always believed that Sunday was my day, no one could touch it, no to-do  list could put a gray cloud over it, and so on. 

It was my time, and it was usually spent doing things with limited to know expectations. Several of those things revolved around family, which meant, several of my Sunday activities (or lack there of) revolved around food. 

And this Sunday, I'm carb-loading because FYI carbs are not the devil. So over that thought process. Plus, I freaking love pancakes and I know how to make 'em. Hence, this:

I have a love-hate relationship with change. I love it. The many (annual and sometimes bi-annual) apartment moves I make will illustrate this very clearly, much to the dismay of family members trying to track down where to send letters. 

I also crave stability, but when I get it, I tend to throw myself into something unstable again. What? Yea, well at least I'm hyper aware of my patterns right? That said, there's one place I can shut all of "it" off, "it" being the new projects I'm working on or the to-do list I seriously need to cross some line items off of. That place is the kitchen. 

When I'm setting up for making pancakes, I can't think about what I need to do in five minutes, five hours, or five days. All I can think about is watching the bubbles rise on the batter so I know when to flip.

It ain't fancy, but they, were, DE-LI-CIOUS. And yes, those teeny circles were stamped on thanks to me not being able to find my stainless pan (another post-move-may-have-donated-what-I-wanted-to-actually-keep situation but so goes life). Dots or no dots, my pointillism pancakes were divine, and devoured in no less than 10 minutes (it wasn't a pretty sight so I'll spare you that visual).

A former roommate of mind used to always talk at (note the word "at") me while I was cooking in the kitchen. One time she said, "I can never cook for myself. It's too depressing. I don't know how you do it. It makes me feel so alone." Again, she's saying this at me while hovering over my shoulder. Have I mentioned how happy I am to a. still be in the Bay Area, and b. be able to afford my own place? 

Anyway, I have never felt that way. Quite the opposite in fact. 

I love making food for myself. Sure, I like making it for others, but on Sundays, I adore cooking breakfast for moi and then reveling in the glacial pace at which I move through the phases of cooking, consuming, sipping, and then slipping into a food coma. 

I love cooking for people I love too. But there's something about having it all to myself. 

I find peace in pancakes. I swear to you, it's like taking a day-cation at my home and it is a tradition I write about so I can remind myself to keep it for years to come. Maybe there will be a few more people in the house down the line, I welcome that, but for now, this is my time and I'm going to drink up every moment while I can.

Speaking of drinking:

I attribute my obsession with my coffee "setup" to my older brother. I now have a burr grinder (this one), a Bonavita electric kettle (this one; and truthfully I have no clue how I lived without it), and the perfect coffee beans that I measure out and grind (12 oz water, 4 tablespoons is my magic combination) up.

If I'm going to drink coffee, it's going to be a great cup of coffee. 

Happy Sunday. 

KEEP READING:

This Sunday: Can't Talk Right Now. I'm Kinda Busy With My Giant Shopping Picks Puzzle.