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Pizza On The Grill With Last Ingredient Blog

We’ve got another great recipe from Paige Adams at Last Ingredient Blog and this one is perfect for summer, pizza on the grill! Here’s Paige with recipes for the pizza crust, yummy pesto + topping ideas:

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Pizza is on regular rotation at my house, and it’s not because of my three-year-old. I’m the one who would be happy devouring a slice at every meal. Sheet pans, baking stones—you name it, I’ve made a pizza on it. The closest I’ve gotten to restaurant-worthy pizza is by putting the dough straight on the grates and grilling it. Thanks to the high heat of the grill, you get the kind of chewy crust with slightly charred edges you thought only was possible in a wood fired oven.

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The process is very simple. You roll out the dough, grill it for a few minutes on each side and take it off the grates to assemble the toppings. You then return the pizza to the grill to quickly melt the cheese. My preference is to go light on cheese rather than cover up that perfect crust. I focus on sauces like tomato and pesto along with flavorful toppings that don’t require much, if any, prep before they are added to the pizza.

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I like to make my dough and sauces from scratch, but store-bought, readymade ingredients will work, too. The olive bar at the grocery is the best spot for toppings. I stock up on roasted tomatoes, artichokes, peppers and of course, olives in all varieties and colors—just make sure they’re pitted. Charcuterie and delicate greens like arugula are also fair game, but they should be added after the pizza has finished grilling.

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(Shop Falcon Enamelware + Grid Small Rectangle Tray)

These are a few of my favorite combinations:

  • Pesto + roasted tomatoes + shredded Italian cheese blend
  • Tomato sauce + pesto + roasted tomatoes + olives + artichokes + shredded mozzarella
  • Tomato sauce + peaches + arugula + prosciutto + fresh mozzarella

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(Shop Galvin Black Flatware + Cast Tumblers + Cabana Black Tumblers)

Grilled Pizza

Makes 1-12-inch pizza
(You also can roll it out in individual smaller pizzas.)

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl
1 cup bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, whole-wheat flour and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once a shaggy dough has formed, turn it out on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.* Place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until it has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

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Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough. (Shop Falcon Prep Set + Stoneware Containers)

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Place the dough directly on the grates and grill for 2-3 minutes with the lid closed until it has grill marks and has puffed up. Turn the crust over and grill for an additional 2-3 minutes.

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Take the pizza off the grill and add your desired sauce and toppings. Return the pizza to the grill for a minute or so to melt the cheese.

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(Shop Oak Paddle Board)

*Note: The dough can be kneaded in a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment or using a food processor.

Homemade Pesto
Makes about a half cup

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup walnuts plus more for garnish
1/2 ounce Parmesan, grated, plus more for garnish
1 generous handful basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

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Pulse the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor until they are minced. Add the walnuts, Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper. Puree the mixture and while the motor is running, drizzle the olive oil through the feeder tube until the pesto is fully combined.

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Thanks Paige! Find more recipes at Last Ingredient Blog

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How It’s Made: Palm Wallpaper

Here at Unison we really value working with small, local manufacturers to produce our goods when possible. For our recent Palm Wallpaper collection we worked with Artisan Handprints, a Chicago-based wallpaper production company that’s been around for over 40 years.

We talked with Murray Plotkin, President + CEO of Artisan Handprints to learn more about his company and all things wallpaper. Read on to learn more + watch our behind the scenes video.

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Tell us a bit about your company history; how was it founded and who runs it today?

The company was started by my father, Nathan in 1974 here in Chicago. My father and grandfather had previously run a paint and wallpaper store on Lawrence Avenue and he started Artisan by purchasing screen printing presses that were being liquidated from another printing facility in 1972.

Artisan today is still a small operation, with myself  and three professional screen printers at the helm. Our wallpaper is printed using an offset process, meaning that the screen doesn’t actually touch the paper, allowing for better detail and results in an overall cleaner look.

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While machines are used for the printing process, each layer of color is registered by hand by each screen printer. So, the quality comes from the machine printing, but each printer is responsible for controlling the machine.

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What’s your average volume per day?

Well it really depends on the number of colors for each design and the number of rolls of paper we’re printing.  I can remember a time back in the day when I was under a strict deadline, in a 10 hour day I had printed a combined number of 1,000 colors.

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What’s been your experience working with Unison?

It’s been a phenomenal experience, everyone at Unison is very focused with a good color sense which is very important…it’s been a pleasure. At the core of our mission at Artisan is to make sure what the designer wants is expressed in the product, and it’s been great working with designers that are so focused and creative.

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What makes your product superior to other wallpapers out there?

We’ve developed a manufacturing operation that’s really optimal and we’re uniquely positioned to be able to work with smaller companies and young emerging designers. We offer a handmade product, that’s hand inspected and with pre-trimmed edges that ultimately makes it more user-friendly for the consumer.

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It’s great to see a re-emergence of these small companies interested in creating really exciting designs and I’m glad to be able to cater to an emerging wallpaper design market.

Check out the full behind the scenes video:

Here’s the finished product! Our Palm Wallpaper Collection is available in three color ways + shop our full wallpaper selection made by Artisan Handprints.

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Special thanks to Artisan Handprints for the beautiful product, and Potluck Creative for the great photos + video.

 

 

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Celebrating Earth Day With Prophet Gypsy Robot

In honor of  Earth Day, we recently collaborated with Jamie Tubbs, founder of Chicago-based Prophet Gypsy Robot known for her love of repurposing + reusing materials, to create some limited edition Unison x PGR Woven Wall Hangings using our scrap fabric. We caught up with Jamie and asked her about background, process + what’s next for PGR.  Proceeds from sales will benefit Chicago Artists Coalition, check our her wall hangings here.

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1. What’s your background with textiles and how did you begin Prophet Gypsy Robot?

My mom was a seamstress when I was little and we always had tons of fabric and scraps around. She never bought something she could make, and she rarely couldn’t make something. But the cost of clothing production dropped so much and apparel got so much cheaper to buy than make. She switched careers but never stopped teaching us to make things. Homemade household goods have stayed more comparable to store prices, and when I got my first apartment I got into making things like pillow covers and curtains. 

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2. Where does the name Prophet Gypsy Robot come from?

It’s about my design aesthetic. The Gypsy part refers to color, texture, pattern, maximalism, baubles, beads, fluff and all the things. The Robot part refers to restrained color palettes, clean lines, minimalism, simplicity, deconstructed weaving like the technique “weft over” which shows up a lot in my work and I just learned is an actual legitimate thing weavers do.

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These two aesthetics are always competing for first place in my heart and they seem directly opposed. So my work explores trying to visually communicate both of those at once. The Gypsy and Robot overlap most naturally when it comes to the shared value of repurposing.  

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The Prophet part incorporates another huge part of who I am, someone who likes to declare good things through a megaphone about people and where we are all going together. So, PGR is this little robot like Wall-E who goes around with a flower crown, saving and reusing all the things, preaching a message about how valuable and capable and seen you are, and that when we do our best together we bring life from death. 

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3. What made you start working with repurposed materials specifically?

Reflex. I’ve been thinking about how lower economic classes have an incredible skill for reuse and repurposing that we can leverage and create new streams of income and value that the future needs from us. Something that is just natural to anyone who grew up with less resources will be an important skill going forward because we need to find creative ways to use our resources in a more sustainable way again.

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For the past little bit of history, wealth has meant being able to just throw stuff away and not think about it. The rich of the future will be people who find great value in using our resources in the most sustainable ways possible. That will be a huge part of what makes something beautiful and valuable. Hopefully that happens before we have no choice, which is why I want to show that we can elevate stuff that’s been thrown aside to something that people find truly valuable. 

4. How did you choose the particular Unison scrap fabrics for each weaving? Did the prints determine your weaving patterns?

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When I was looking through all the Unison remnants I was like, “I can’t believe this is my life right now”. That’s my version of living the dream- alone with piles and piles of scrap fabrics ready to be turned into something! I had about 10 directions I wanted to go but the color pallet I stuck with was for the season and what I’m into right now- oranges and pinks and tone-on-tone and florals. I wanted the weaving pattern to be really simple and for the pieces to be about showcasing the colors of the fabrics, so I did one clean, angled line. They look awesome hanging together with all those simple clean angles. 

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5. What other upcoming projects are you working on?

Too many, which is awesome! I’ve got the One of a Kind Show at the end of this month and after that I’m working with friend and fellow maker Joslyn Villalpando ( of J.Villa Workshops) on a project at her school about repurposing (so excited to make stuff with kids!). I’m going to be offering workshops on the West Side at a store called Creativita once I work out all the details.

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I’m most excited about starting on a series I have in my head using all sorts of working class uniforms, and incorporating techniques from the global working class like boro stitching. “Boro” means “tattered rags” and the technique was created by wives of fishermen who mended their work clothes in such a beautiful way that now it’s a world wide fashion element. 

Thanks Jamie! Shop the Unison x PGR Woven Wall Hangings here.

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Mother’s Day Table Style

Mother’s Day is around the corner and we worked stylist Janelle Gonyea to style a modern brunch perfect for Mom. Read along to learn about Janelle’s style choices + watch her how-to video on creating your own mini flower corsages. Here’s Janelle:

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Mother’s Day is a good time to have fun and be playful with color. I tend toward classic colors layered with accents of jewel tones in pinks, violets, and berry tones. My own mom loves purple, so maybe that’s why! If we’re lucky, our moms have been a staple in our lives, and this is the time to show them our appreciation. What better way to do that than to host a celebratory brunch?

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The Grid Black Tablecloth is the perfect base for any table. It provides a neutral, yet bold, backdrop while allowing the tableware to really stand out. The Eve Brushed Gold Flatware layers in some luxury, while the Heller Fuchsia Mugs give a shot of color to tie the table together. The Omaggio Vases were a great pairing with this linen, because they have a variety of sizes to play with. 

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With any brunch, I like to keep things easy to access for the guests. I created a light side table complete with Stelton Gold + Chrome Carafes of coffee both caffeinated and decaf, a the Oak Paddle Board with a cheese spread, and chilled champagne in the Black Ceramic Champagne Cooler. To continue the look throughout the space, I added the Brushed Black Vase of purple blooms to complement the main dining table.

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(Virtu Cheese Knife Set, Kronos Champagne Glasses + Grid Rectangle Tray)

For the florals, I wanted the color to really stand out and accent the mugs, so I stuck with that same vibrant pink. Anytime I’m using a limited palette with florals, I try to use texture to add interest and differentiate the blooms. I topped off the place settings with a petite pin corsage for guests of honor, because who doesn’t like wearing inspired blooms?

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(Heller White Dinnerware, Grid Black Napkins + Cork Black Placemat)

To create a pin corsage of your own:

Choosing blooms is the best part of creating a petite wearable bouquet. Florals are in wild abundance in May, and any local flower shop should have a wide selection. You can focus on florals with full blossoms, go with all greenery, or some combination of the two. For these Mother’s Day corsages I chose dark plum scabiosa, checkered fritillaria, and pink heather boronia to complement the table setting.

1. To create these sweet little bundles, you’ll need floral clippers, your bloom choices, and ribbon or twine of your choosing.

2. Gather together the blooms you would like to use.

3. Clip the stems of each of the blooms to about 6″ while you piece them together.

4. Nestle the blooms together, starting with the largest bloom and moving outward to the greenery. 

5. Once you have an arrangement you are happy with, tie the blooms together with your twine or ribbon.

6. Clip the stems to a half inch to an inch of the tie.

7. Pin to your lapel or garnish your place setting and enjoy!

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Easter Cooking With Last Ingredient

Here’s the last in our 3 part series with Paige Adams from Last Ingredient Blog, this time Paige is serving up dishes for your Easter table. Here’s Paige:

Easter Recipes

Holidays are the best excuse to go a bit overboard in the kitchen and have family & friends over to enjoy a big feast complete with all the details and décor like fresh flowers and the proper linens on the dining table. With everything to take care of on my to-do list, I like to focus the menu on trusty, no-fuss classics with seasonal flavors. Of course I want the food to be perfect, but ultimately, the people are the most important part of these special get-togethers.

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For Easter, I love herby rosemary roasted chicken and fingerling potatoes. Chicken is a simple crowd-pleaser, and with this recipe you can make your main dish and side in a single pot. With any big meal, I like to use the stovetop since there isn’t time to rely only on the oven. A grill pan is great for asparagus that can be served at room temperature along with soft-boiled eggs and a few spring salads, all with elements that can be prepped in advance.

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Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Fingerling Potatoes

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 pounds assorted fingerling potatoes, halved or quartered lengthwise, depending on thickness

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

One 3-1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken

1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed

Half a lemon

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bottom of a cast iron casserole pot. Add the potatoes and toss with the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs & 1 thyme sprig, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

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Cut off any excess fat from the chicken and discard with the giblets. Rub the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. With the chicken breast side up, stuff the remaining rosemary & thyme sprigs and garlic into the cavity. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken and then place it inside the cavity before tucking the wings under and tying the legs together with kitchen twine. Nestle the chicken into the pot with the potatoes.

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Roast the chicken for 25 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Continue cooking the chicken until the juices run clear and the internal temperature in the thigh is 165 degrees F, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.

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Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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Grilled Asparagus with Soft-Boiled Eggs

Serves 4

4 large eggs

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon minced chives

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Place the eggs in cold water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from the heat. Let the eggs stand for 4-5 minutes before using a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Wait a few minutes before peeling the eggs and halving lengthwise.

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For the asparagus, preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill the asparagus, turning occasionally, until it is warm and has grill marks, but is still a bit crisp, about 4-5 minutes.

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Serve the asparagus and eggs together sprinkled with chives and the remaining salt and pepper.

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Thanks again, Paige and stay tuned for more recipes with Last Ingredient!

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Easter Table Styling With Janelle Gonyea

Easter is just around the corner and we asked stylist + designer, Janelle Gonyea to give us her take on spring table styling in all things Unison + her favorite florals. Here’s Janelle:

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For spring tables, I like to keep things light and unfussy. We had a chance to do elaborate and celebratory formal tables in the late fall and winter. Spring feels more like a light-hearted, cozy gathering with great style but minimal extravagance. (Shop Eve Chrome Flatware + Corelle Dinnerware)

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I tend to keep the place settings light, with clear glassware for a cool beverage like juice, mimosas, or spritzers. I lean toward pastel color palettes, or something clean and bright like whites, yellows, and greens. 

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Spring is one of my favorite seasons for flowers. Everything is coming to life, the palettes are in full splendor, and the scents are intoxicating. This is when we see delicate blossoms like muscari and hellebore, bright playful flowers like daffodils and tulips, and pretty beauties with lovely scents like lilacs and hyacinth.

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I think Spring has the widest range of interesting flowers to choose from. While I love to go to my local florists and encourage them to work their magic, there is also something nice about picking up a few small bunches of sweet flowers and having some fun yourself. (Shop Gather Vases)

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For this table, I used a mix of lush blossoms and accompanying texture, to help pull the whole table palette together. I chose flowers to complement the table linen, using pale pinks and grey, with a splash of red. (Shop Brass Finish Bowl)

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I wanted the texture to mimic the speckling of the linen, so I leaned toward fillers with small, delicate pieces, and allowed the bright red ranunculus and pink hyacinth to stand out focused in the middle of the table. (Shop Squiggles Tablecloth + Napkins + Fino Tumblers)

Watch Janelle’s table come to life in this handy GIF:

Thanks for all tips + tricks Janelle, we can’t wait to style our own Easter tables!

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Fruit Infused Water Recipes with Last Ingredient Blog

In this second part of our Spring Recipe Series with Paige Adams from Last Ingredient Blog, Paige shares recipes for three infused waters. These waters are quick, easy + super refreshing. Here’s Paige with the recipes:

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Infused Waters

I think it’s safe to say that flavored water is officially a thing. While I can’t refuse bottled or canned infused water, it could not be easier to make your own. Then you don’t have wonder what the mysterious “natural flavor” listed on the label actually means. A bonus of making your own infused water is how beautiful the colorful ingredients look floating in their pitchers. (Shop Cylinder Pitcher )

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Fresh fruit, veggies, herbs and spices are all fair game. Don’t be shy about experimenting with different combinations. I added sliced jalapenos to cucumber lemon water to give it some heat. If you want stronger flavor, muddle the ingredients and let them infuse longer. You can even add a splash of vodka or gin or freeze the water into ice cubes and add them to drinks later.

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Blueberries + Blackberries + Mint + Lime

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 small handful mint leaves

1 lime, thinly sliced

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Grapefruit + Raspberries + Rosemary

1/2 grapefruit, thinly sliced

1 cup raspberries

3 sprigs rosemary

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Cucumbers + Jalapenos + Cilantro + Lemon

1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 small handful cilantro leaves

1 lemon, thinly sliced

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Place the ingredients for each infused water in a pitcher. For stronger flavor, gently muddle everything. Fill the pitcher with cold still or sparkling water. Let the water infuse for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.

(Shop Epicurean Cutting Board)

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Get more recipes from Last Ingredient Blog

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Spring Salad Recipes with Last Ingredient Blog

We recently ventured over to Last Ingredient Blog founder, Paige Adams’ Wicker Park kitchen to cook up some yummy recipes with our cookware for Spring. In this three-part blog series, Paige takes over and guides us through preparing spring salads, cooking for Easter + infused waters.

Without further ado, here’s Paige:

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Spring Salads

After a winter filled with hearty meals and comfort food, I get very excited about spring produce and especially salads. What better way to show off delicate fruits and veggies than keeping things seasonal and simple? For a fresh and easy from-scratch lunch or dinner for friends, I like to serve a variety of salads, each with a different base—baby greens, grains and even toasted bread.

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What makes salads satisfying is using a mix of flavors and textures from the salty & sweet combination of strawberries and smoked almonds in a spinach salad to crunchy croutons and creamy cannellini beans in a spring panzanella to crisp green beans and radishes in a bowl of fluffy quinoa. Go light when dressing the salads. You can always add more or serve extra vinaigrette in a small bowl.

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 4

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

5 ounces baby spinach

1-1/2 cups quartered strawberries

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup chopped smoked almonds

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In a large bowl, whisk together the shallots, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper followed by the olive oil until fully combined. Tip the bowl around to coat the inside and pour the excess into a small bowl.

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Toss together the spinach, strawberries, onions, goat cheese and smoked almonds in the large bowl. Add more vinaigrette as desired.

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Spring Panzanella Salad

Serves 4

1/2 loaf crusty country bread (about 6 ounces)

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups baby arugula

1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus shavings for serving

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Tear the slices into rough pieces and place on a sheet pan. Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake the bread until it toasted and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

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In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and remaining salt, pepper and olive oil until fully combined.

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In a large bowl, toss together the bread, beans, arugula, grated Parmesan and vinaigrette. Top with shaved Parmesan before serving. (shop Epicurean Slate Utensils + Merchant White Bowls)

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Quinoa Salad with Green Beans, Peas & Radishes

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 pound green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced chives

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Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. (shop Epicurean Slate Cutting Board)

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In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. (shop the Knob Spice Grinder)

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Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the green beans and peas until bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl of ice water. After a few minutes, drain and stir the greens beans and peas into the quinoa followed by the radishes, scallions, chives and vinaigrette. (shop the Falcon Prep Set)

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Full list of Unison cookware used:

Epicurean Cutting Board

Eve Chrome Salad Servers

Merchant White Bowls

Epicurean Cutting Board

Epicurean Slate Utensils

Knob Spice Grinder

Thanks Paige! Stay tuned for more fresh recipes for spring, and check out more on her blog: Last Ingredient

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Celebrating Women Owned Businesses for #InternationalWomensDay

We celebrate women-run businesses all year long. But especially today —
it’s #InternationalWomensDay. As a salute, we chatted with some of our favorite Chicago boss girls and want to share their unique stories with you.

Danielle Lenczuk is the co-owner of gift boutique Bow & Arrow Collection.
Matti Sloman and Emily Winter are the owners of artist-run industrial
weaving studio The Weaving Mill Chicago. And Kelly Marie Thompson is the
proprietor of floral design studio Fleur.

Enjoy the Q&A and happy #InternationalWomensDay!

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Unison: How did you get started, and was there an awareness or desire to
build your business with women at the forefront?

Danielle: We have always had a passion for personal gifting and a desire
for us to create something together! We took a look at our skills and
realized that with the three of us, we could create something really cool
and meaningful to others. We are a girls support girls kind of store! We
actively support other women owned businesses. Not only do we focus on our
vendors but we put in the extra effort to make sure every type of girl is
appreciated in our store. The Bow & Arrow sisters strive to provide things
that are not only unique to Chicago, but unique to retail in general, by
incorporating our forever and current obsessions IRL. We think the best
part about Bow & Arrow Collection is that we get to do this together, as
sisters. We each bring something different to the table and together we are
stronger than any of us are alone. #sisterbosses

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Matti & Emily: The Weaving Mill is an outgrowth of the Chicago Weaving
Corporation, a textile company that started in the 1940s. The CWC began in
Wicker Park, moved to the suburbs in the mid 80s and in 2005 partnered with
social services agency Envision Unlimited to create a job training program
for adults with developmental disabilities. We took over the facility in
the summer of 2015 and have been running the studio together ever since.
The decision to work together was not primarily about women working with
women, but we do see it as one strength of our partnership.

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Kelly: I was very young when I first began Fleur, and to be honest I didn’t
have much background in running a business. I knew I loved floral design
and was good at it, but that’s pretty much it. Because of that I began to
reach out with a lot of questions, and soon realized that there are a lot
of people out there searching for guidance, reassurance and offering one
another encouragement. I think the acceptance that I had a lot to learn
and losing my fear of asking questions when I needed help is what drew me
to build a lot of relationships with other women owned companies.

Unison: What makes running your own business rewarding?

Danielle: Having a creative outlet that allows us to share our passion for
gifting is incredibly rewarding! We have had such a warm welcome from the
Chicago community filled with positive feedback and fun times. From our
supportive neighbors to kind customers, we cannot believe how gratifying it
is to watch our business grow. Being small business owners can be stressful
at times but the outpour of love & support makes the whole process
worthwhile.

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Matti & Emily: We work very closely in collaboration with one another, both
creatively and on the day-to-day operations managing TWM. We come to the
studio with different skill sets, as well as creative instincts and
interests. Keeping both of our voices present across all the work we do
together is fundamental to our studio practice. What has been satisfying
has been developing our own systems and strategies that complement both of
our working styles. By prioritizing open communication with one another, we
have developed shared expectations for each other, while allowing space and
freedom for our work as individuals.

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Kelly: I think it has a lot to do with accomplishment. I have a very goal
driven personality and I love the feeling when a project is completed, and
we’re ready to pour everything into the next one. Equally as important is
witnessing the happiness that people receive from Fleur. Making sure other
people are happy from our guests to my team is a number one priority, and
their joy makes me always want to do the absolute best that I can.
Happiness is encouraging.

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Unison: Do you feel there is more equality/acceptance of women run
businesses?

Danielle: We are extremely fortunate to be in an industry where women
support each other.

Matti & Emily: We recognize the tireless work of feminists in previous
generations that made it possible for us to think of ourselves primarily as
artists instead of women artists. We embrace and celebrate our feminist
histories. We know that this focus on work over gender is a luxury not
extended to many people, namely non-binary and trans people and we try to
challenge any complacency we might feel in our privileged gender positions.

Kelly: I think we have a long way to go. Without a doubt I’ve experiences
a lot of sexism, and I think that there are also a lot of women out there
who can be very judgmental.

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Unison: Do you support or engage with other companies that are also
women-run?

Danielle: It is a major focus of ours. The vast majority of our vendors
are women and we are constantly partnering with local women business owners
to collaborate on workshops, pop-ups, events, etc.

Matti & Emily: All the time! We have collaborated with artists and several
brands on projects, and we are constantly looking to mentors and teachers,
many of which are women. Our collaborators have included Rebecca Atwood
Designs, founded in Brooklyn by Rebecca Atwood; Studio Herron, Dee
Clement’s Chicago based business; Production Mode, a Chicago fashion label
by Jamie Hayes to name a few! We also get all our buttons made at Busy
Beaver Button Company, owned here in Chicago by Christen Carter.

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Kelly: In addition to our brick and mortar boutique, which is open to the
public we have a special events studio in the back half of our location.
We design an average of 70 weddings a year, and in the wedding industry
there is a huge amount of women owned companies. It’s wonderful and I love
it. We always have an ear to lend, a shoulder to lean on and an extra pair
of arms to lift one another. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a
warm and intelligent and kind industry.

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Unison: What advice would you give to women that would like to launch
their own business?

Danielle: Some things to keep in mind: don’t underestimate yourself, be
bold in your choices, collaborate with women instead of competing against
them, always trust your instincts and don’t compromise your vision. Stay
true to you & your brand.

BA5

Matti & Emily: Do not wait for permission or an invitation to declare
yourself ready. Trust your talents and be courageous enough to learn on the
fly. Do not let your ego or pride stop you from asking for help and advice
from others – getting help is not a sign of weakness. Allow yourself space
to evolve and be responsive to what is happening in your work.

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Kelly: It’s an invigorating and exciting thing, and don’t be afraid of what
other people say or think. Watch your numbers, and make decisions that
best reflect what your goals are. But be sure to have flexibility in your
plan, because you don’t always end up where you think you’ll be. Running
your own company isn’t always the most comfortable, but when you realize
that leaving your comfort zone from time to time is a good thing you’ll
really begin to grow.

Thanks ladies for all the insight and Happy #InternationalWomensDay!

Learn more and support these amazing ladies here:

bowandarrowcollection.com

fleurchicago.com

theweavingmill.com

 

 

 

 

 

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#ALittleFuller: Alex Fuller’s New Addition

We recently caught up with Chicago Designer + Unison Collaborator Alex Fuller to talk about his new baby boy Owen, becoming a parent and his upcoming design projects.

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It’s been a real joy to see you now as an adoring father. Tell us how life is going now with a tiny version of yourselves in your lives? 

Life is much fuller! See what I did there?! Sharing our world with Owen and teaching him about all the things we love and cherish is my favorite part of being a parent. Honestly, it’s every emotion all at the same time and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, maybe with 1 more hour of sleep a night.

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Owen is probably soaking up all the good art and design in your home. Are there places in Chicago you like to bring him to for more inspiration?

I love bringing him to the Smart Museum on the University of Chicago campus. It’s a perfectly curated collection of art that spans the big movements with nice little rotating exhibits. And it’s tiny and free! (Shop ABC print here)

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Now that you have a little one in your home, has that made you look at your space differently and how you use it? 

We have always been very aware of creating a livable space. We love the reductive nature of modernism but it must feel warm and inviting. And yes, child-proofing is also a real concern now.

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Looks like you probably love to share music with Owen. What does he like best? Are you surprised? 

We play so much different music all the time so it’s hard to tell. When Jessa was pregnant it was a lot of old reggae tunes. I think that chilled them both out. This week it’s Yo Yo Ma, Dirty Projectors and Chance the Rapper. I hope he develops a love for all music! (Shop Shapes Gray Baby Bedding here)

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You use your last name (Fuller) a lot in your Instagram hashtags – in fact your handle is fullfullerfullest. We love #alittlefuller to describe the ones with Owen. As he grows, do you expect to come up with more of them?

I’m sure! It’s too easy! We also love messing with his name. We like to say, “HellOwen, where ya gOwen?!

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Anything new on the horizon with your own work?

I’m actually working on my first font called, Fuller (of course). I’m also focusing more on my art book publishing project, 5 x 7 — 5x7books.com. We are participating in the Toronto Art Book Fair in June and launching a pop-up shop this Fall in Chicago. On top of that, i’m always exploring furniture and product ideas!

Thanks Alex + Jessa! Check out the full line of Alex Fuller’s products for Unison here.