February 06, 2017

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Food for thought: Chocolate Ginger Hazelnut Biscotti

I am having a hard time finding a good biscotti in this town. Mostly they are almond, a bit boring and not even crunchy! Seeming only once baked and not the requisite twice baked cookie, hence "biscotti". I used to make them all the time when I lived in Seattle, but got out of the habit of baking here in LA because it's always so hot. Baking is more enjoyable to me when it's cold and or rainy...or possibly that's when I'm craving the comfort of baking. It has been both of those things here a lot lately so I broke out my old recipes and gave them some upgrades. 

This recipe is fantastic and easy and can be changed to add cranberries or apricots or just nuts, don't like chocolate, take out the cocoa powder! Biscotti also keep well for weeks, getting better by the day. 

Chocolate Ginger Hazelnut Biscotti

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 Tbl melted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups floor

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

Preheat oven to 400. Toast nuts until browned, about 8 minutes, then remove bitter skins by rolling them in a towel.

In a food processor, combine sugars, extract, butter and eggs, process until combined. Add dry ingredients, process until combined, add nuts and ginger and process a couple times to mix them in.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll into two logs about 10" long. Pat the logs to 2 1/2" wide. Place a couple inches apart on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake 20 minutes until firm and browned. Remove from oven, reduce heat to 325. While still warm cut logs diagonally, lay cut sides down on sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes more until dry. Cool on wire racks and enjoy!

January 30, 2017

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Pressed: Michael S. Smith, designer for the Obamas, picks Mod Bowl as favorite

Michael S. Smith, designer for the Obama's picks our Mod Bowl as a favorite on the Goop site. 

Read the whole story here.

January 26, 2017

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Food for Thought: Scones on a rainy day

Sunday was cold and rainy and a perfect day for making my favorite scones. These are so tasty and easy to make, you could easily swap out the dried apricots for cranberries or dates or raisins. Have fun and Enjoy! Shown here on our beautiful abstract board with pepin french rolling pin.

Apricot Ginger Scones

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ Tbs baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup chopped candied ginger
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup apricot nectar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, cut in butter with a pastry blender, or two forks, or your fingers! Until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the apricots and ginger and toss well, making sure each piece is well coated in flour and not clumped up with other apricot pieces. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine buttermilk, apricot nectar and egg; add to the well and mix with dry ingredients, until dry ingredients are moistened (dough will be sticky). Add a sprinkle of flour and knead 4-5 times while still in the bowl. Take out of the bowl, pat into a 9” circle on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut dough into 8 wedges. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until golden.

January 22, 2017

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The Wooden Palate x Voltaggio Brothers: Centerpiece Art

We had the best experience (although at times frantic) prototyping and making knife and fork centerpieces for the Voltaggio Brother's MGM Steakhouse in Washington DC. Michael Voltaggio originally came to us with ideas for a steak board he could serve on at his LA restaurant, Ink. We invited him to the shop, he climbed around in our stacks of wood, got inspired, gave us a few directions and said "have at it!"

We made some cool little boards, thick beautiful pieces of burned oak with a juice router and his initial engraved into them. He loved it and immediately gave us our next mission, "make me a stand for my fork and carving knife. It will be the centerpiece of the table, it needs to be stable, it needs to be cleaned easily"

We knew he liked the look of the black burned wood, so we started with that. We wanted a more natural, artistic piece that was something reminiscent of a tree wrapping around the knife and fork but we also wanted it to be edgy and original like Michael and his food. We found some beautiful pieces of live oak and cut them into little stumps, charred them and started playing from there. With different metals and ways of holding the utensils. Always keeping in mind that they would be in a restaurant, fast paced, heavy use environment. After many prototypes and a lot of metal working we came up with a beautiful and very stable piece. We showed Michael. He loved it! He put the order through to MGM and we were on our way. 

But the order never came in and we were crazy busy, up to our necks in holiday work, barely keeping up, the knife stands were forgotton. I got a call from one of Michael's people asking when the knife stands would be in DC..uh oh..We got a call from Michael, "Will I really not have my centerpieces for restaurant opening next week?...were they never ordered?" Ryan and I were on speaker phone..we looked at each other in shock. We had emailed the mgm a few times asking about the order but hadn't heard anything and we weren't sure of opening dates or maybe they had changed their minds? Ryan and I both answered at the same time "No, you'll have them for opening!"  Michael was furious with whoever had let the order fall through the cracks but so happy we said we could make it happen it time. 

But could we? There were so many parts to this little masterpiece. And we were in the thick of our busy season! This was Saturday afternoon already almost closing time, they needed to be in DC by Wednesday! That means everything done and packed by Tuesday. We asked everyone to stay late that day and to please work Sunday. Everyone generously stepped up! We immediately went to work cutting and turning and charring the little stumps. Then the metal work, bending and twisting and welding. We found a place that could do a one day turnaround on iron oxide blackening of the metal stems..It was coming together! We worked nonstop day and night from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday night Fedex shipping cutoff time. We signed and numbered every single one of them and literally sped to Fedex to drop them off.We were so proud of what we pulled off in such a short amount of time with our team. 

What an exhausting but happy day for us pulling it off and for chefs Michael and Brian Voltaggio getting their centerpieces on time!

January 19, 2017

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Food for Thought: Quiche on Quartet

Just this early fall I threw a baby shower for my beautiful friend, Deandra. It was a perfect day, rare for us in early fall. It's usually the hottest time of year for us in Los Angeles, with scorching temperatures lasting all day and night. But this Sunday the weather was on our side. The Baby shower was easy and casual, as requested by mama to be. Along with paying tribute to our guest of honor there was lots of catching up and mingling, great music, henna tattooing and fantastic food!

A few of us brought different dishes made with lots of love and you could tell!..salads, quiches, frittatas, bread puddings and cakes..what a spread! I got to do one of my favorite things- displaying the divine dishes on our serving pieces. Just gorgeous! 

I'd like to share with you a favorite pick of the mama to be that I made for the shower...Bacon Zucchini Quiche..to be enjoyed by yourself or with loved ones anytime of the day..quiche is a lovely meal, especially with a salad..And a Quiche on our Quartet board is a thing of beauty.

Bacon and Zucchini Quiche

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 recipe Flaky Tart Dough (follows)
  • 10 large eggs
  • 2 cups creme fraiche
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 5 slices center-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium or 2 small zucchini, peeled lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons
  • 1/2 cup gruyere

Directions

  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 16-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off any excess flour; fit dough into a 2-inch deep-dish tart pan with a removable bottom, gently pressing it into the sides. Using a sharp knife, trim the dough evenly with the edge of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; chill tart shell until firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Line the tart dough with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Transfer to oven and bake until light brown, about 25 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper and continue baking until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together 1 egg and flour on high speed until smooth. Add the remaining 9 eggs and continue mixing until well blended.
  5. Place creme fraiche in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth; add milk and continue whisking until well combined. Add to mixer along with salt, pepper, and thyme; mix until well combined. Strain mixture into a large bowl through a fine mesh sieve.
  6. Place bacon, zucchini ribbons, and cheese in prepared tart shell. Pour over egg mixture until tart shell is full (you may not need to use all of the egg mixture). Bake 20 minutes; reduce temperature to 325 degrees, and continue baking until filling is slightly firm, rather than liquid, and crust is a deep golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes more. Transfer quiche to a wire rack to cool until set, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat, cover quiche with aluminum foil and bake in an oven heated to 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Flaky Tart Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup ice water
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 5 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together salt and water. Keep very cold until ready to use.
  2. Place flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly until mixture forms large crumbs. Add the salt water mixture and continue pulsing until a dough has just formed but is not smooth.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, evenly divide dough. Form each piece of dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

 

January 16, 2017

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Tangerine Rosemary Martini

The tangerines on our tree at the shop are in abundance right now, perfect for foraging and turning into a winter cocktail. Rosemary seemed to be the perfect woody compliment to the sweet tart tangerine. Ryan and I made these to sip on while watching the Golden Globes last week but they are delightful for any occasion! This martini looks especially good atop our coasters and Jean tray.

Tangerine and Rosemary Martini
Ingredients 
 
Honey Rosemary simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup honey
4 large sprigs Rosemary
Tangerine and Rosemary Martini
2 ounces vodka
juice from 1-2 tangerines, about a half cup
1 Tablespoon honey rosemary simple syrup
sprig of rosemary for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan, bring water and honey to a boil. Stir until the honey is dissolved. Keep an eye on it, the simple syrup will bubble up as soon as it starts boiling. Pour the warm simple syrup into a glass container and add the sprigs of rosemary to steep. Transfer to the fridge to cool.
  2. In a martini shaker, combine all the cocktail ingredients with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
June 28, 2016

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When a Friend calls...

 

When our friend Jill Elmore (chef to Jennifer Anniston) texts to say she can't find any beautiful countertop paper towel holders anywhere, the challenge to make one was on! This would not be just any paper towel holder - it would be a beautiful combination of wood and brass that would stand proud on the counter.

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March 02, 2016

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Food for Thought: Composting at Home

 

As a kid growing up in Seattle, I distinctly remember my mother assigning me the chore of emptying the kitchen compost collection into the large compost bin in our back yard. It was on the third level of a tiered yard, and I dreaded the walk all the way up the steps, the chills of revulsion as I lifted the lid and saw the writhing mass of worms breaking down the mulch. I would toss the compost into the bin as quickly as I could, completely grossed out by the idea of dirt and bugs and rot. Looking back, home composting has become one of the fondest memories I have.

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January 27, 2016

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Artful Wooden Spoons

Who doesn't love a wooden spoon? Remember the perfectly worn one your mother or grandmother had in your childhood? Whether being used every day or displayed as a piece of art, wooden spoons seem to elicit a certain kind of devotion.

Within each handmade spoon are infinite opportunities for artistic expression. Length, size, wood, grain, whimsy... Utility meets art in a new classic design by The Wooden Palate.

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June 02, 2014

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Food for Thought: Whipping Up the Perfect Guac

Even with recent lime shortages across much of the country, spring is still the perfect time to whip up a bowl of guac for your first porch sits or barbecues of the season. Always a party favorite, our guacamole recipe is a fresh take on the classic dip that has been around since the time of the Aztecs. We spruce up your average guac by tossing in pomegranate seeds and pepitas. Pepitas are a great source of magnesium, zinc and healthy fatty acids while the pomegranate adds a certain flamboyance you're sure to love. Pair it with some crispy tortilla chips or slap a glob into your favorite burrito, and all will be good in the world. 

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