A Nashville Birthday in 5 Parts!

57 is starting out pretty darned well.  An on-time departure on Wednesday 19h put us in Versailles KY after an incredibly lovely “horse farm detour”, for a taste of a restaurant I have been looking forward to for a couple of years.  This might be my favorite day of my “birthday trip” to Nashville – I guess the anticipation of what was to come and our first meal out of the door being fantastic contributed.  Wallace Station did NOT disappoint – GO THERE if you can!  In fact, it’s really not far and worth a drive in the country as its own destination.

Located in an old general store in an old railroad town, Wallace Station served me one of the best sandwiches I have ever had – Hot Country Ham and Pimento Cheese, panini pressed.  I’m pretty finicky about both my ham AND my pimento cheese, so high praise indeed.  My side was Bean Soup with Cornbread.  Of course I make the best cornbread in the world, but this was a close second.   Gordon got a cold sandwich and I’ve gotta tell you I was so into mine that I have no idea what he got, but he loved it.  Next time, if I can resist a re-order, I’ll get the Inside Out Hot Brown.  Don’t expect fancy; and relax about the flies.  Don’t miss their bakery case either – we were too full but had to order a lemon bar (about 5×5”) and a savory scone to go because why not?   These were enjoyed in our fabulous “home” in Nashville’s Germantown a couple of days later, because when we met my brother and his wife lo and behold she had made me a fabulous birthday cake – Butter Pecan Coconut!!  SOooooo moist!  So, lunch at 11, cake at 4, and Skull’s Rainbow Room at 6:30 for some more fabu dinner (swordfish) and jazz.   We’re too freakin’ old to be able to wait or the 11PM Burlesque Show; maybe next time I’ll force some caffeine…. And so the pounds begin.  Tune in next week for day 2.

You Want To Get To The ROOT Of The Matter, Don’t You?

Celery Root, that is!!  Also called Celeriac, this is a variety of celery that is cultivated for its root, not its stalks.  It is NOT the root of the traditional celery stalks you keep in your fridge (you have some on hand at all times for flavoring soups and stews, as well as snacking, right?!?)

Celeriac (pictured above in Lula’s for Lunch…and More! ‘s Creamy Pear and Celeriac Soup) has a knobby, dirty, formidable looking root that you will want to peel.  Because it’s starchy, in general you want to pick the smaller of the roots available to you.  The end product will be sweeter.  The more you cook it the sweeter it becomes.  It makes a great, “different” puree when you’re looking for a base for proteins (think parsnip instead of potatoes), and it provides one of those mysterious “what’s IN this?” flavors to sauces, soups and stews.  Now GET IN THAT KITCHEN and try something different!

Game Meat

Did you know that game (venison, boar, etc) are healthier for you than other kinds of meat?  They are much higher in good Omega 3’s and lower in bad Omega 6’s.  In addition, you can eat them with a clear conscience (IF you’re an omnivore, that is!)  knowing for sure they lived well and naturally.  The next time you have an opportunity, open your mind (and mouth) and give them a try. – Lula 

De Arbol Chiles (Cayenne)

Ground Cayenne comes from the De Arbol Chile – which is found in abundance in New Mexico.  I’m currently reading a book about chiles (yes, there are whole BOOKS written about chiles!), and it made me remember a time long ago when I traveled to New Mexico and experienced many things for the first time.  I was so excited about the chile wreaths and decorations they make there that I purchased one and brought it back home to Cincinnati.  I hung it in my catering kitchen.  It was beautiful!  A couple of months later, I noticed what appeared to be “fruit flies” but smaller, one at a time, floating around the house.  A swat here, a swat there, no problem!  But within days, they were getting in my eyes, and crawling up my nose, when I walked into the kitchen.  I called mom.  They know everything, right?  Well, if they don’t, they care enough to find out.  After 2 or 3 calls back and forth after she consulted with friends, and alot of questioning, it turns out the chile wreath had been the host of thousands of microscopic eggs, which hatched and became fleeting residents of Cincinnati Ohio.  The remedy:  freeze the wreath.  It was winter by then so I just set it out on the back deck overnight and voila!  Problem “debugged”.  Wreath rinsed and back in place for all to enjoy!  Moral of the story: rinse your chiles before eating – even if you’re not a caterer!! – Lula

The Secret to Great Pancakes

We all love pancakes, right?  My favorite are extra fluffy melt in your mouth on the inside and crispy (slightly overdone!) on the outside…Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering’s pancakes are called “Crepey Cakes” because they’re so light and dreamy like a crepe, but with more “heft” – we use whole grains in our batter.

It doesn’t matter whether you like whole grains, make your own, or they come from a box – a couple of tips to always insure your pancakes aren’t doughy and leaden:  1) Pour your liquids in first and mix them up.  2) whatever liquid your recipe calls for, add 1/4 more liquid (milk or water) – so, if you’re making pancakes for 4, and your recipe calls for 1 cup milk, ad 1 1/4 cups milk.  3) Scatter your dry ingredients over the liquid and using a fork or a whisk, not a spoon, lightly fold stuff toge ther til incorporated but some lumps remain.  Pancake batter is in effect a “dough” and you don’t want to activate the gluten too much or they’ll become tough.  4) and probably most importantly, let your batter REST for 10-15 minutes before you dribble it into the pan.  Don’t stir your batter to get it into the pan.    We’re (me and all the people in my head) happy to answer any questions you may have about your batter – email them under “Ask/About Lula’ on the website www.lulasforlunch.com  Have a satisfying breakfast!  Or brunch, lunch, dinner…I LOVE pancakes for dinner!!

The Crazy Kitchen

Rustic Buffet

A quote from Eustace Conway: “One of the reasons people are unhappy is they don’t talk to themselves.  Keep a conversation going with yourself throughout your life to see how you’re doing, to keep your focus, to remain your own friend.”  This validates me!  I talk to myself all the time, especially in the kitchen, and my husband used to think I might be crazy.  He is more used to me now, and knows I’m crazy.    I am a comfort to me, and I think I’m lucky to have that!  I hope the comfort from Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering http://www.lulasforlunch.com  shows up in your food.   My best, Lula

A Potent Prescription

A man went to the doctor and told her that he hadn’t been feeling well lately.  The doctor performed a quick exam, then left the room and came back a few minutes alter with three bottles of large colored pills.

“Take the green pill with a big glass of water when you wake up,” the doctor said.  “Then take the blue pill with a big glass of water after you eat lunch.  Just before you go  to bed, take the red pill with another big glass of water.”  “Geez, doc, that’s a lot of medicine,” the patient protested.  “What’s the matter with me?”

“You’re not drinking enough water.” -reprinted from Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering’s  always amusing  MECHANIC – Ernie’s Garage.water jug

Happy National (see below) Day!

Happy National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!  I am SO not kidding.  Reference: The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Obviously, this originated with the embarrassment of zucchini riches that August brings…thought you might enjoy this tidbit!    Fun fact:  the largest zucchini on record is 8 feet, 3 inches long!  How does Lula’s Catering use Zucchini?  Well…some of you are familiar with our Zucchini Cilantro Soup, but you REALLY should try our Ancient Grain Zucchini Pancakes!!

A Full Heart

My heart is so full, I think it just might burst.  EVERYONE has moments of doubt on a pretty regular basis; the best of us laugh it off, zen our way through it, pep talk ourselves into propulsion, or move forward on the shoulders of our giants.  But make no mistake, we as human beings are doubtful.  We’ve evolved beyond survival and have too much time to think about our shortcomings.

Cyclical doubt is my modus operandi as I’m sure it is for most of you – highs and lows, highs and lows.  Reflecting on 13 years of loving you through Lula’s food, I wonder about how I could possibly slow down and how that might affect the coffers in my heart.  One day I began ruminating about a client and how they’re doing – haven’t heard from them for over 5 years.  Low and behold I get an email – they’re not corporate moguls, but have asked me to help them celebrate a life event in the past, and 5 years later they pop up and tell me they want me to help them celebrate again.  I excitedly help them plan, and the process titillates me to wonder about other clients I haven’t heard from in a while.  Within 2 weeks, 3 others had popped up from 2-5 years ago, telling me they can’t imagine celebrating without me!  THEN…a heartbreaker – a birthday party occurring when I am traveling celebrating my own birthday.  My family’s plans are set and paid for – no turning back.  So what do you think happened?  A 60th birthday milestone date was CHANGED so that Lula’s could be a part of it.  A total embarrassment of ridiculous riches.  I’m so in love with my life!!  And you have made it so.

 

A Note From Chef Lori

 Thanks to all of you who participated in our survey – look for our new website (same address!) in January, reflecting your wise counsel!!

Click here to visit our website!

MSG – Hell Hath no Fury

app Boudin Stuffed Shrooms

Monosodium Glutamate got lots of attention starting in the 60’s, when “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was researched and MSG was named the culprit.  Some, but not all people don’t react well to MSG, even though it is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies (with the largest concentration of it in our nervous system).  MSG is the sodium salt of Glutamic Acid, and it naturally occurs in mushrooms, seaweed, and wheat gluten, as well.

Most manufacturers and restaurants are msg (added) “free” these days…but it is NOT reason for a hissy fit if you feel like your sinuses are swelling or you start sneezing and you find out that something you ate contained a little bit of MSG, or had naturally occurring MSG in it.  In fact, salt and sugar are WAY more dangerous for you than MSG.  Chances are, you’ve been consuming naturally occurring msg your whole life and have never felt a thing!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering does not add MSG to anything we make, but we do love our mushrooms, our seaweed, and our bread. 🙂 Please enjoy this pic of our Boudin Stuffed Mushrooms above!

In Lula's Kitchen, Love is ALWAYS our First Ingredient!