We’re talkin’ Rhubarb, here…known all over the US as “Pie Plant”. I first tasted rhubarb when my daddy began growing it in our back yard for my mother to make pies. He had grown up on Rhubarb Pie in Michigan and my mom had never heard of it!
Officially a vegetable, rhubarb has been treated as a fruit for centuries. I find it to be a very interesting vegetable because of all of its contradictions: used as a fruit but it’s a vegetable, its leaves are toxic (yes they will KILL you if you eat a bunch, or just make you really sick if you only eat one or two), and its root has been used medicinally for eons to cure several maladies, constipation for one!Chemicals in rhubarb have also been found to destroy leukemia cells and lung cancer cells. Go figure!
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie comes to mind when rhubarb is brought up in conversation, but Lula has a base recipe for several lovely dishes using RASPBERRY Rhubarb. Enjoy this pic of our Raspberry Rhubarb Fool! You can ask for a derivation of this combination anytime from February thru July usually – or until we run out!!
I don’t know HOW MANY times I’ve put leftovers in containers (you know the cottage cheese container that you feel really bad about just throwing away – SAVE OUR PLANET! – so you wash it and re-use it as many times as possible before it goes into recycling)…and said to myself “Self, you’re incredibly smart and quick and have the best memory; of COURSE you’re going to remember what’s in this container next month when you’re scrounging for a quick lunch”!
NOT. So I started using folder labels to identify and date the food. Didn’t work – labels fell off. So I bought freezer labels but really resented how expensive they were. So I bought myself a permanent black Sharpie and started writing stuff on the lids. The lids got “full” (I’m really concerned about the environment). THEN I saw a tip SOMEwhere I can’t remember – and I’m going to share it with you. Buy a roll of blue painter’s tape at the hardware store. Five bucks, you can tear pieces off with your hands – no need for scissors, it won’t fall off in the freezer, that five dollar investment will pay off for 5 YEARS, and it’s easily removable when you need to switch labels. There. For more tips and tidbits subscribe here.
I hate it when my beautiful avocado stuff starts to “turn” and gets dull and brown. Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering has to make a pretty large volume upon occasion and sometimes it has to sit in the fridge for a couple of days – and there’s just not enough acid in the recipe to keep it in the “Kermit” family, SO…..I cover the surface with a thin film of WATER. The guac is dense enough (and fatty enough!) that it won’t absorb the water – so when I’m ready to use it I just tilt the container and pour the water off and voila! it’s just as vibrant as when I made it!
Happy Mother’s Day!
I miss my mom. She hasn’t left this earth, but she’s not really here either – she has Alzheimer’s. I would really like to feed my mom this Mother’s Day – she would love the menu (well…most of it, anyway…like these Deconstructed Truffled Deviled Eggs) and that’s saying something – she has never really even liked to eat!
Instead, I’d like to feed you. The good news is that you can mix and match Lula’s selections from our Mother’s Day menu. You can order for as few as 8 people on up. And we deliver the day before with presentation instructions so it’s foolproof and you can take all of the credit if you want! 🙂 Click here to see the goodies from which you can choose!
A Note From Chef Lori
Here’s another offering on our Mother’s Day menu…Raspberry or Strawberry Rhubarb Fool with Cardamom Dust – creamy, sweet, tart, cool…
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Here are some alternative flours and how to use them:
Rice Flour is pretty high in protein and can provide the structure you want in baked goods, but make sure it is finely ground. If you’ve bought a brown rice flour keep it in the fridge or freezer so it won’t go rancid – the germ and bran layer contains oil.
Nut Flours, when ground properly, simulate the grain of wheat flours but contain gluten producing proteins. You can’t produce bread or cake with these, but adding them to regular flour to lower the gluten content will make your finished product very tasty and tenderized. You really want to store these in the freezer with their high oil content – they’re so expensive you don’t want them to go rancid! Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses nut flours in a few of our pastry dishes.
Buckwheat Flour, even though the name contains the word wheat, isn’t wheat in any shape or form – it’s more closely related to rhubarb and sorrel!! Protein is high – about 13%, and people make crepes and soba noodles with it, as well as the Russian pancake called blini. Try , which can be made at your request with 100% buckwheat flour, or a combination of wheat flour & buckwheat – you get the same light texture but all of the fabulous flavor of buckwheat!
Chickpea, or garbanzo flour can be made from raw OR roasted beans. It as a really high protein content at around 20% and can be used for bread and other savory gluten-free baking.
Spring has sprung and with it so has the asparagus! Did you know asparagus is related to the lily? You can get green, purple, and white asparagus for a lovely bouquet. Don’t shave purple asparagus either – the fabulous color is only skin deep. Purple asparagus contains about 20% more sugar than the other two, and less fiber, so it’s sweeter and more tender.
Store ALL of your asparagus upright (cut stalk down) in a little bit of water in the fridge – it’ll last much longer! The next time you visit Lula’s website, or Lula’s Facebook Page, order our refreshing Chilled Creamy Asparagus Soup, our lovely Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart (or tartlettes if you’re having an appetizer party!) or our FABULOUS Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Roast Beef with our Homemade Wasabi Crème!
What a plant. This stuff is kind of like hemp in its varied uses and value. Look it up! I will only concentrate on Sorghum SYRUP which comes from a native African grass. Mostly made in the southeast and gulf states, every small batch and brand is different – owing probably to the soil and climate where the grass is grown.
Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering loves sorghum for its earthy, malty and molasses like flavors and odors – it contributes depth to recipes and creates that “what IS that flavor” question on the tip of your palate! It is a (no longer) secret ingredient in Lula’s Kentucky Black Bourbon Sauce and is key in our popular Sorghum, Cider and Sassafras Vinaigrette, gracing our Heirloom Beet Salad pictured above.
You don’t hear much about Golden Syrup outside of Great Britain, and even there you’ll almost exclusively find the brand Lyle’s, but it is well loved across the pond. It’s about 25% sweeter than sugar and is made from cane. It has a butterscotch and toffee flavor. the Brits like to use it in the flapjack, which is a bar cookie, not a pancake. It IS great poured over pancakes however!! It is also called “treacle“. Ever heard of the movie “Brimstone and Treacle”? If you’re a Sting fan you might want to check it out!
Nothing more than simmered down pure cane juice, the inhabitants of Louisiana LOVE Cane Syrup as it’s the easiest liquid sugar for them to get – about half of the sugar cane in the US is grown in Louisiana. Cane Syrup has a burnt caramel flavor, sometimes described as boozy. Louisianans use it over sausage, biscuits, and in cakes like fruit and spice. You should too!
Agave Nectar is all the rage amongst naturalists these days…it comes from the Blue Agave succulent that grows mostly in Mexico, which also gives us tequila. It can be used in baking and some folks prefer it – as it has a relatively neutral taste. As with all liquid sugars in recipes, you want to reduce the other liquid in the recipe by one quarter.