I go through some EVOO, Canola and Grapeseed. I’ve discovered when buying some of these big bottles that they have a seal I can puncture with a straw (we have stainless reusable ones ’cause we’re saving the planet, right? RIGHT!) ANYhoo…using that tiny hole to pour your oil can save BIG on cleanup when the GLUG GLUG GLUG gets out of control…or am I the only person that this happens to? I think NOT. You can subscribe to get this tips ands tricks once every week or so here , and look at pretty food pictures here!
Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit folks (note Halloweeny pic above), but a good storm (from a very bad hurricane) helped me to remember that the HELL that is summer might just be almost over. I realize not all concur and would prefer hot sand to snow but not me! Whether you love heat or cold, you can still love soup. Lula’s Catering offers chilled soups throughout spring and summer to keep my (and your) soul satisfied. Soup, like all food, can elicit memories…
My first soup was my grandmother’s vegetable – nothing more pure on this planet exists. Summer’s bounty + a ham hock and my grandmother’s love is unparalleled. A base of water and tomatoes (and again, my grandmother’s love) turned the basics from the earth into soul satisfying, mouth watering deliciousness. My mother made this soup too, but it was a mere shadow of my grandmother’s – she didn’t even like to EAT much less cook.
The other soup I remember from early childhood was Campbell’s Onion Soup – bought and served when I was sick. Ours was not a Chicken Noodle or Chicken and Dumplin’ household – it was really just Vegetable, or Chili when homemade, and Onion when sick. I barely mention the Oyster Stew served EVERY. CHRISTMAS. MORNING. which we all disliked but it was TRADITION, dammit! My grandfather was the only lover of this soup and in honor of him, I guess, the tradition continued after he died until my folks were no longer able to host Christmas Breakfast themselves. Siblings have yet to raise the banner…
When a job and a car gave me autonomy at age 16 I began exploring restaurants and discovered French Onion Soup. I brought home the idea and created my recipe and begged to serve my family dinner that night. Bread, Cheese, Broth, Wine & Onions along with a salad is a meal right? Daddy HATED it. Meat and potatoes it was not. THEN I had the luck and opportunity to travel to Europe and discovered that incomparable chilled soup Vichysoisse. I loved the taste and idea so much that I began experimenting with any derivation I could think of and YOU are the recipients of some of those perfected ideas (dare I say?!?). Chilled Cream of Asparagus in the picture can also be served hot but I prefer this one like revenge – served COLD. This is a smiley face. I have yet to figure out how to insert emogees into my newsletter. More important things to do. So, in short – I am looking forward to celebrating all things SOUP in the weeks and months ahead. Scroll down to see last year’s invention which was greeted with so much delight one client said “I could BATHE in this soup!”
More Soup for the Soul!
BEHOLD Lula’s HANKY PANKY SOUP garnished with homemade rye croutons and scallion! For those of you not in the Greater Cincinnati Region, a Hanky Panky is an appetizer of Spicy Sausage “dip” with cheeses on Rye Toast Points. Lula has turned it into a client favorite SOUP – with Orzo and Caraway. For GF needs we use Quinoa.
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How many of you out there make your own pasta? Did you know that you can make it in bulk and freeze the freshly made pasta for up to a month and it’ll be NO WORSE for it! Just hand toss with a little extra flour to prevent clumping, throw it in a bag or container and into the deep freeze it goes.
Store bought pasta also freezes well after you cook it, but not for toooooo long cause it’ll dry up around the edges pretty quickly. One of Lula’s Catering ‘s favorite winter dishes, Linguine with Smoked Fish (in this case trout) is seen above – served at a Christmas Feast of the Seven Fishes!
If you’re lucky you’ve gotten ‘hold of some fresh King, Sockeye or Coho recently, and I have a tip for you regarding those “prickly” pin bones. If you bought whole, pull out a mixing bowl. If you bought portions, pull out a cereal bowl. Invert either bowl and lay the salmon skin side down over the bowl. Yes, you WANT THE SKIN on wild salmon!! It’s LOADED with nutrients, and delicious when crisped. Email me if you don’t know how to do that.
The pin bones should be presenting themselves with this stretch. Take eyebrow tweezers (some use pliers I prefer tweezers) to the pin bones and gently pull. Easy peazy!
Folks we all know about the “Toothpick Test” when baking, but did you know that you don’t want a fully set crumb (clean toothpick) when baking with chocolate?
The longer chocolate is exposed to heat, the more its flavor compounds dissipate. For this reason, you always want a moist crumb (crumbs coming up on the toothpick) not an absence of crumbs. Obviously, you can tell if its BATTER you’re pulling up instead of crumb – we don’t want raw and we don’t want “fully set”!! Always err on the side of under done rather than fully done when baking with cocoa powder or chocolate! Happy baking, Lula
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Native to South America, the quinoa seed comes in 3 different varieties, and I like them all – particularly together. Sometimes its hard to find the blend though, and when I can’t I’ll settle for red.
White quinoa is the most plentiful; it is the largest and has a nutty vegetal flavor and the softest texture of the three. Red is next in size and is crunchier because it has an outer seed coat that makes it even nuttier (any reason, you think, why this would be my fave?!?) Black is the tiniest and the crunchies with an even thicker seed coat.
The reason I personally like to mix them is because the white explodes and is fluffiest, the red has the best flavor and texture (to me – this is personal folks!), and the black will virtually always remain crunchy. Interesting flavors and textures always make for a more delicious meal! Lula’s Catering makes soups and stews with quinoa as well as entrée salads and side dishes. It’s packed with nutrition and is gluten free … a real winner! For more tips & tidbits from Lula you can always go here – just type in your key word question and I’ll probably have some sort of answer!! With love, Lula
Folks if you’re making your own bread, I have a tip for you: after you’re through kneading and your hands are all yucky, wash them over the sink with a handful of FLOUR, not water. That’s right….grab a quarter cup or so of dry flour and scrub your hands till most of the dough has dried and flaked off. THEN rinse them with COLD water – hot water activates the starches and things will get gooey again!
Folks I don’t know when I’ve ever been so tired. Blissfully tired. Every time I get frustrated that I cannot find my rhythm, I remember that the ONLY rhythm I’ve ever had was Covid. Week in, week out, new menu. See what’s available and lookin’ good…plan menu, publish menu, take orders, order/shop, prep, cook, deliver…and do it AGAIN. Week after week for about 13 straight months. Then people got vaccinated. Started celebrating with family. Then with friends. Now my business families are back at it with open houses and lunch ‘n learns. But the rhythm isn’t THERE. It’s not supposed to be, and I am reminded that’s one of the reasons I love what I do so MUCH!
Another reason is accolades. I think most of you know that I LIVE for praise. About my food. Nothing brings me more joy than actually being there and seeing your face consumed with pleasure, and hearing you congratulate me for making you feel so good. I hear “fantastic!”, “glorious” , “oh my god I’ve never tasted anything so delicious!” “and DIFFERENT”!!! “It’s different“. Highest praise ever. There’s a REASON I describe Lula’s as “Unique, Boutique Cuisine” !! It keeps me from getting bored, and it keeps you delighted. Yay, ME!
PS…I’ve gotten my hands on some fresh Arctic Char – if you want some Piccata Style, with some Spinach and Forbidden Rice Salad. You’ll have to call 859-360-0251 or email lori@Lulasforlunch.com to get your order in – quick, while supplies last! With, in, and for love, Lula
Lula’s Catering lori@Lulasforlunch.com 859-360-0251
I’ve been told I make the best Ahi Tartare in the land…here’s a pic of last week’s offering at a financial seminar/happy hour. YES, you can combine learning with happy drinks and happy food!
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Any upcoming nuptials this Summer?
In ancient Babylon, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead (fermented honey beverage) he could drink for a month after the wedding. Because their calendar was lunar or moon-based, this period of free mead was called the honey month or what we now call the “honeymoon.”
While we at Lula’s Catering don’t offer any mead beverage options, you really should try our Homemade Honey-Lavendar Iced Tea the next time you cater in!! – Lula
Folks I said there wouldn’t be a menu for a while and there ISN’T. You can’t click through and see meals anymore, but a friend harvested some fantastic ASPARAGUS, and I have an abundance of CHORIZO right now, so I”m offering on a first come first served basis Lula’s Creamy Asparagus Soup (gf) and Chorizo and Sweet Pepper Quiche. You can order the quiche without crust if you’d like it to be gluten free, or if you’d prefer an eggier dish, I can do a frittata for you. Another dear friend harvested Serviceberries for me and since I’ve never worked with them I’m not offering them to YOU – I’m going to experiment and perhaps you’ll see them as another offering in the near future.
The Creamy Asparagus Soup can be enjoyed hot on a stormy day like today, but I actually like it best chilled. It’s fantastic as an accompaniment to a light salad or a piece of that quiche (see pic below to have your mouth water)! When it’s hot, I can fill myself up easily with just a piece of crusty bread dunked in. You’ll have to call 859-360-0251 or email lori@Lulasforlunch.com to get your order in – quick, while supplies last! With, in, and for love, Lula
Lula’s Catering lori@Lulasforlunch.com 859-360-0251
I’ve been told I make the best quiche in the land…besides the love, I don’t skimp on ingredients. Our Chorizo and Sweet Pepper Quiche is layered with a fantastic Chipotle-Jack Cheese and sweet onions, as well as lovely garden grown “belle” peppers!! It serves 8 easily and can be frozen for future indulgence.
About Chef Lori
Chef Lori Pierce, owner of Lula’s, creates unique, boutique cuisine to impress your guests and clients in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. Our custom recipes and menus delight an intimate gathering of 10, a celebration for 100, and anything in between.
At Lula’s, Love is ALWAYS our first ingredient!