All posts by Lula

The Carapace Conundrum (Crustacean or Mollusk?)

If you’re like me, you LOVE shellfish.  But they’re not all the same…a fun icky fact for you:  CRUSTACEANS have shells that are grown from a carbohydrate that they manufacture themselves called chitin, just like insects (way back when they were related… )   We’re talking shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab here.
MOLLUSKS grow their shells from materials they eat -mostly calcium carbonate – that is found in marble and limestone (not to mention egggshells!).   Mollusks grow their shells once or twice a year when they need to (the house gets kinda cramped when they grow) during the warm months.  You can see their growing cycle on their shells – the rings.  So you can tell how old your clam  (or mussel, or oyster, or scallop) is by counting the rings and multiplying by 1.5. There are scores of fun shellfish and mollusk options on our menu at   Here’s to the party in your mouth!

Egg White Volume

Afraid of meringues?  Souffles?  EASY trick!  First, make sure NO yolk gets into your separation.  Second, your “whisking bowl” and your beater can have NO residue of any sort in or on it.  Third, your whites should be room temperature, not cold.  This will almost double your volume!!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Tip

Folks I stumbled upon another brilliant way to get rid of stuffing (IF you have any leftover!!!)  I always have it left over because it’s probably my favorite part of the meal besides gravy, and I make double the amount of stuffing to the amount of anything else I make!!

Fry up some breakfast sausage while you’re nuking your stuffing. If you would prefer, Italian sausage works beautifully as well.  Sometimes Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering  puts Italian sausage in our stuffing if I’m in that sort of mood for Thanksgiving.   Lay the sausage on top of the hot stuffing and top it with a fried egg.  Kind of like eggs ‘n toast but richer and BETTER!!!!   This should be accompanied by a steaming hot cup of coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice.  Just sayin’.   Happy coma, Lula

“Money” Greens

Collard Greens, which are eaten year round down south but particularly on New Years Day, are eaten that day because they supposedly bring good financial health, as they resemble money when folded.  I want you to be “armed and ready” for the new year so you’re getting this offer in plenty of time!   Collards (as well as Tuscan Kale, Kale, and Mustard Greens) are absolutely LOADED with good for you vitamins A, C, K, and Calcium, as well as contain a good amount of antioxidants and protein (3 grams per 1/2 cup cooked), no fat, and are incredibly low in calories.  They are in the broccoli family.    Enjoy! – Lula

The Grocery Guide…Misleading Labels Chapter 6 “Natural”

Beware the verbiage “natural” on labels other than on meat, eggs or poultry – these are the only categories that the USDA monitors.  To be able to use the term natural, processors must insure that the product contain no added color or artificial ingredients, and can be processed only minimally, but can still contain additives for enhanced flavor,such as broth.  For any other food product out there – anyone can put “natural” on the label and it doesn’t have to mean a thing – the term natural is not a regulated term at all!  So…remember – bacon fried in butter is “natural” – but it still isn’t good for you!!!  At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we can always tell you every ingredient in every bite.  So if you have a concern – ask!

The Grocery Guide…Misleading Labels Chapter 2 – Fruit

The Grocery Guide…Misleading Labels Chapter 2 – Fruit


I’m sure after last week you’re now used to checking the food packaging labels for WHOLE grain vs. Multi Grain…now let’s move on to FRUIT.  Did you know there are absolutely NO FDA requirements for the amount of whole fruit or what type of derivation of the whole fruit exists in a product? 


A drop of fruit juice in a food product, for instance, enables the manufacturer to claim “Made with Real Fruit!” Though this seems ridiculous, it’s true.  Fruit Extract qualifies, Fruit Juice qualifies…and a product containing more refined sugar than fruit qualifies as long as there’s a drop of fruit anything in the product. 


So once again, the label tells the tale.  You’re looking for the simple word “fruit”, or “apples” (or whatever fruit it’s supposed to contain) in the first 2 or 3 items on the label to ensure that the product is relatively wholesome.  You still have to check the sugar grams etc., but at least you know you’re getting a bit of fiber and nutrients if one of the first 3 ingredients on the label is “fruit” without any other parenthesis or disclaimer.  Since Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering ‘s ( ) food is all scratch, you never have to worry about these issues when ordering – ALL of our ingredients are WHOLEsome.  Look for next week’s entry on LOW FAT and REDUCED FAT.


Springtime brings forth an abundance of sweet, fresh, full of flavor vegetables.  Now is a good time to eat them raw (even green beans and asparagus are great raw this time of year)!  IF you’re just not into that, a great way to maintain as many nutrients as possible and extract even MORE flavor from your favorite veggies is to roast them.  Toss them with a little extra virgin olive oil, some kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  That’s all.  Put them in a 450 degree oven or on your grill, wrapped in foil with a couple of holes poked out, for about 10 minutes, unless your favorite veggies are sugary (starchy) like beets, parsnips, carrots … they take longer because they’re more dense – anywhere from 5-10 minutes.  Cut your veggies in uniform size and they’ll all get done at the same time.  Guess how many veggies are represented in the photo attached…the answer is at under Seasonal Selections!  To your health, and TASTEBUDS!  – Lula

Healthy Eggs Primer – Foolproof Hard “Boiled” eggs

The Secret: Don’t boil them!  Place your eggs in cold water in a pan.  Bring the eggs to a SIMMER, and the MOMENT the water simmers, cover, remove from heat, and let sit 10 minutes.  You will never have green eggs or a green/black ring around them, and they will be tender but solid. They taste better, and they carry more nutritional content!  Happy Deviling.. – Lula

Brown Stock Primer #1

FINALLY I’m getting around to answering a question posed to me a few months ago (cooking keeps me busy you know!) … What is the difference between Stock and Broth, or are they the same thing?  NO…they are not.  Though in modern cuisine the words are used interchangeably, classical cooking method teaches us that stock is prepared from bones (along with each chef’s mysterious secret ingredients), and broth is prepared from meat and veggies, and anything else you want to throw in.

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Olio Nuovo

New oil, or Olio Nuovo as the Italians say, is the first extra-virgin olive oil off of the press at harvest time.  It is brilliant green and has tiny particles of olive in it.  Up until the last year or two, only Italians have enjoyed this intense, fresh and RICH oil at harvest time (about late September through January), but NOW, we Americans can get it from our California producers via web.  A really great one I’ve tried is from McEvoy Ranch .  Another producer that sells this great stuff online is California Olive Ranch .  Though I haven’t tried this one it gets great marks.  If you’re an olive oil lover, just go to one of these websites and order a bottle and they’ll ship it to you so you can indulge in a unique sensory and taste experience.  You’ll miss it after it’s gone, and look forward to next season! – Lula