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Happy Valentine’s Day! Is Cabbage the New Kale?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cabbage’s reputation has been transformed from peasant fare to superfood. It’s the new kale.    With the “fermentation rage” going on, I thought it might be a great time to prime you on the varieties of cabbage.

If you believe everything you read about the health benefits of this brassica, you should be eating it every day. For a start, it’s high in vitamins A, B, C and K, full of fiber, iron and potassium and said to have cancer-preventing benefits. If that isn’t enough, it ranks as the vegetable with the fewest amount of calories or fat (at a mere 25 calories per 3.5 ounces.) Oh, and it’s cheap.

Cabbage is extremely versatile. You can use it in stir fries, sautés and braises, with meat, poultry, fish or all on its own — think corned beef, sauerkraut, kimchi, coleslaw, soups, braises, raw, pickled and more.   You can find Lula’s tasty, beautiful appetizer (above) Brown Sugar Rubbed Pork Loin on Black Bread with Braised Cabbage and Apples here.  You can stuff cabbage leaves or use them raw as a natural container for sautéed vegetables or meat.

Cabbage Varieties To Know

Green Cabbage – Green cabbage is the most basic and common of cabbages. Use it in salads and slaws, stir-fry it, or slow-cook it in soups and stews to bring out its essential sweet nature. Look for heads that feel heavy for their size (which can range from softball to almost basketball size,) with tightly packed, moist looking leaves. Green cabbage can be used raw in slaws and salads and holds up to all kinds of assertive, strong flavors.

Red Cabbage – Red cabbage looks like green cabbage except, well, it’s red. Red cabbage heads tend to be a bit smaller than the green ones but look for tightly packed, moist-looking leaves and heads that feel heavy. Red cabbage is delicious thinly sliced in salads like slaws or can easily be cooked. The rich color of red cabbage offers a concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, as well as antioxidants and contain anti-inflammatory properties.

The only downside to red cabbage is that it can turns an odd blue color when cooked. Add vinegar or a touch of lemon juice when cooking to avoid blue food!

Savoy Cabbage – Savoy cabbage is also known as curly cabbage. With ruffled, lacy, deeply ridged leaves, these cabbages are gorgeous and tasty. The tender leaves tend to be more loosely layered and less tightly packed than green or red cabbage, although it can be used in much the same way — raw in salads, stir-fried, braised or added to soups and stews. Because the leaves are so tender you can use this cabbage a wrap for rice dishes or stir fried meat.

Napa Cabbage – Napa cabbage, also called Chinese cabbage or celery cabbage, has a different look than other cabbages. It has long light-green leaves and white stalks that appears more lettuce-like with a mild flavor that has a bit of a spicy, almost peppery kick at the end. Great for pickles, kimchi, stir fries and salads.

Bok Choy – Bok choy has a mild flavor most often used in stir fries, but is delicious braised and used in simple preparations. The cabbage flavor is subtle.

No matter what type you buy, look for cabbage heads that are firm, shiny, feel heavy for their size and, except for Napa cabbage, have tightly packed leaves. While you don’t want bruised or beaten-up vegetables, you can peel off and discard the outer leaves, so they need not be pristine.

Cabbage will keep best refrigerated, and will last several weeks.   If you insert cabbage into your diet on a regular basis, the “rumble in your tummy” will dissipate in only a few days and the nutrition is worth it!

A Note From Chef Lori

A Valentine’s (or any other amour) appetizer – our Heart’s Afire 5-Spice Quail Breast in Puff Pastry with Wilted Winter Greens and Apricot Mustard.

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Happy New Year! The Kindness of Strangers Part Deux

You might remember a couple of years ago I wrote about an exhausting holiday season wherein my catering cart containing equipment and supplies for 150 fell over in the middle of a downtown street.  I was amazed when elves descended upon me and cleaned everything up, neatly packing my vehicle before I could even say Joyeux Noel.  Our recent visit to New Orleans brought in the new year with exactly the same joy multiplied by 100.  I have never experienced a happier place in my life.  This newsletter is so full of overflowing fantastic karma I’m sure it will last the year through, and I’m not even going to talk about the food that much!!

We begin with a broken lock on our condo (which was fabulous), so while the gents fooled with it and talked with our host over the phone we princesses simply walked to the corner bar/restaurant, The Governor (a whole 50 feet).   I had to potty more than anything but I ordered a drink “to be nice”.  Upon hearing our plight, the manager who was closing up shop, stayed open for us and when I offered my credit card for payment said simply “don’t worry about it – we’ve all got to stick together”.

Then there was Kendrick – our driver who happily took us on a $260.00 tour of the Ninth Ward and Hurricane Katrina damage and remembrances for the price of a Lyft ride.  His explanations and stories were mesmerizing.  From the owner of Old Arabi Marketplace (thank you Sharon!) who packed our antiques and then took them AND us to the package store in her own car, to the glass blower at Studio Inferno who took us in back to view her casting and then giving us a private tour of Mitchell Gaudet’s socially and politically charged works, the sheer happiness that exudes from this town is infectious.  The people who went out of their way when just
seeing us looking lost, like Dover at the WWII Museum who took it upon himself to explain our best route (it’s an overwhelming place!), were so plentiful I cannot mention them all.

A thank you to Miss Yvonne of Yvonne LaFleur who HELD MY HAND throughout the entire store while trying to find what was just right (I’m so sorry the fox fur didn’t work out!).  Oh!  And thank you for the scarf lessons!

A special shout out to Nolan from Baggage Check at the Hotel Monteleone for warm generous hugs to both Gordon and me for no reason other than we were all loving life, and to Beniel from Haiti, who upon hearing that I liked his music, whipped out the CD and gave it to me when we got to the airport!!

NOW…a couple of musts if you haven’t found them yet:  The Camellia Grille for the BBQ’d Shrimp Omelet and grits – Best omelet in my life (Joe yours is a close second), and plain grits that need NO SEASONING.  Now you know I can make them as well as I can eat them, and I’m JUST SAYIN’…  Also, Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits for a FANTASTIC courtyard jazz serenade with tapas, “pick your own daily cheeses and meats” antipasti, and of course, the WINE….and I can never overlook Commander’s Palace, always one of the best meals of my life.  For downhome bayou gumbo that even I can eat (okra, yuck!) don’t miss Jacques-Imo’s and HEY! look this trio up and pay attention to the perfectly understated drummer:  The Mark Weliky Trio.  So much great food, great music, and great joy.  I think it might all come back to “we’ve all got to stick together”!

A Note From Chef Lori

Baby it’s cold outside…don’t forget our fabulous soups and stews this season – great for lunch or dinner, and most can be “converted” to shot appetizers for your cocktail party!

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Wishing You a Perfect Moment

 

I have a ridiculously analytical mind, even though I look and sound like a dingbat much of the time.   I catalogue perfect moments.  There are few of them in our lifetime and I hold them dear.

A lovely perfect moment I remember was Christmas 1998…I had two stepchildren in the house and they were hard to buy for as my husband really had no idea what they wanted or needed.  We didn’t have much money, but I wanted to get them what they WANTED – who wants a step mom who gives you clothes, right!?  We got them a Sony whatchamacallit to plug into the TV and play games.  They were ecstatic and I felt quite pleased with myself that we had really lit them up.  I always encouraged them to read, and led by example – I was always reading some book or other, and so they each got a book as well.  My husband was a sports and hunting nut so he got a magazine subscription to Sports Illustrated or Field & Stream or some suchness – I don’t remember – but I received a book I had asked for too!  The tree was lit and glowing, the kids had cocoa, the adults had their Holiday Cheer, and before I knew it, with Christmas music playing ever so softly in the background we were silent.  Simply silent.  Each of our heads was buried in our respective “literature” and we were each absorbed and virtually motionless, the only sounds the soft music playing and the whoosh snap of a turning page.   I happened to look up and catch this –  I hate to say it –  Norman Rockwell moment and I was PART of it…and I guess a dam of serotonin burst in my head because I was totally flooded with wellbeing, peace, and happiness, and I thought, “THIS is Christmas.  THIS is Christmas.”  I wish for you a perfect moment this holiday season as well!  With love, Lula

A Note From Chef Lori

 

 

 

 

Our kitchen will be closed from December 24 thru January 5 in order to visit far away family this season.  We look forward to literally serving you 🙂 in the new year!

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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!

Click here to visit our website

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!

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

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!

Butter – Salted or Un?

Sweet Cream Butter  was originally salted for preservation purposes.  It still is, and we have grown to love the flavor of salted butter.  If you pay close attention though, different brands of salted butter taste differently – because every manufacturer adds a different amount of salt.   One will usually get fresher butter if one purchases unsalted butter  as it naturally doesn’t last as long as salted butter – check the expiration dates!  If you want your baked goods recipes to always taste the same, use unsalted butter and add the required salt (a key chemical component in baking by the way).  Unsalted butter will last several months in the freezer.  We at www.lulasforlunch.com unabashadly LOVE animal fat, but if you want a recipe prepared without it, we will lovingly prepare that too!!

Please Help!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lula’s is “fluffing and folding” our website and marketing materials and I would love your input regarding your perceptions of our brand!  Please help by clicking here for a brief 4 question survey that will be invaluable to me.  Many many thanks in advance for loving Lula’s back enough to help!

A Note From Chef Lori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF you’re so inclined to “share the love” we are happily accepting reviews on Yelp to increase our web presence!

Click here to visit our website!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Note:  For the Winner Winner part of this Newsletter, scroll to the bottom!
May is for Memorials and Mothers and many other celebrations…and along with these things come picnics.  When I was a child there never was a picnic without fried chicken.  In fact, I can recount my life stages in fried chicken.  My first memory of fried chicken is my grandmother’s pressure cooked version with 10 or 13 or so herbs and spices before the Colonel’s existed… I associate this moist, room temperature crunchy chicken with church picnics and roller coasters…I was so little I could have easily flown out of the roller coaster car, but grandmomma would not be deterred…she kept a tight hold on me as I lifted out of the seat and her wig flew off and we had to shut the ride down so it could be retrieved from the guts of the all wooden contraption.  This was at Buckroe Beach – Virginia’s answer to Coney Island NY.  This amusement park only exists in memory now.  Thank you grandmomma for introducing me to roller coasters!  Gordon believes he may be a tad too stiff to continue these days…I’ll just have to go without him.  (pleeeeeeeease, honey?)

Then came Daddy’s fried chicken – cast iron (and sometimes aluminum – oh, no!!) frying pans, salt and pepper only – this is the skin we used to fight over when mom held hers up for raffle.  Every other chicken since has had a bar so high few have come close.

When I moved to Cincinnati for college, fried chicken was the least of my concerns and I don’t remember eating any at all until one day, my then boyfriend (a westsider) introduced me to the Cincinnati Reds.  Opening day tickets in the nosebleed section.  We were very young; this was fun!  Back in “the day” (you know, when Buckroe Beach was still open) – one could haul in just about anything to a stadium.  The family picked me up in their old jalopy and let me tell you the smell in that car was overwhelming – I became VERY hungry for the bucket (and it was a BIG bucket) of Ron’s Roost Fried Chicken that I was not allowed to touch until our noses began bleeding.  This chicken came so close to Daddy’s it almost made me cry.  Not being a westsider, this chicken was very elusive to me, but over the years I’ve managed to find an excuse or two to visit and always suggest Ron’s as a meeting place for friends, where the cooked to death green beans and the suspiciously “real” mashed potatoes create a perfect plate for me.

THEN there was the Charleston, SC visit to see my best friend Chris around 1992.  We arrived while he was still at work but he said he could meet us at the Radisson close to him – said they served a good lunch.  Good?  I figured, I’m in South Carolina – I should order fried chicken!!  So I did…and yet again another crying jag.  The plate came out so hot and crispy, I tore into a thigh (my favorite) and the juices and grease exploded in my mouth and nirvana encompassed me…the memory of this one time fried chicken lunch has never left me – I wanted to go back the next day but Chris wouldn’t allow it.  He thought I was ridiculous.

Then came Walt’s.   If you’ve never been to Walt’s Hitching Post in Ft. Wright KY, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Their cast iron fried chicken (along with the Greyhound Tavern’s deep fried ) are the two that come closest to a perfect marriage of my grandmomma’s and my father’s fried chicken. They also make a steak that rivals any fancy steakhouse at a more reasonable price.  Oh, and The Eagle in OTR does a great job with southern fried chicken too!

If you’re just not in the mood to go out and you have a Remke’s Market near you, this is our go-to for “I’m too lazy let’s get chicken”.  Yes, Lula eats take-out chicken, but only if it’s worth it.   In fact, on my most recent visit to see daddy, I found out he had discovered a place so good he doesn’t make fried chicken at home any more.  This fried chicken comes from the gas station down the street from Columbia Sailing Club (and it tastes ALOT like daddy’s).   If you didn’t know it already, gas station fried chicken is developing a cult following in the US these days, and I haven’t tasted it yet, but I’m told there is WONDERFUL gas station fried chicken in and around Cincinnati, called Krispy Krunchy.

Yup, sitting on the clubhouse veranda, eating gas station fried chicken, strawberry-pepita and potato salads and fudge brownies with walnuts, drinking in a sun with no clouds and a perfect 70 degrees with winds at about 7 knots (notice I take on the vernacular of a sailor – when in Rome…), I sigh deeply and contentedly with family surrounding me, and reach for another piece.  Of chicken – not brownie.

If you struggle with fried chicken and need a tip or two, I can give you my recipe if you email me at Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering .

A Note From Chef Lori

Lula’s was just chosen by The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s ORV Region as 2018 Supplier of the Year!!!  We are thrilled to be recognized and honored by this wonderful organization!

Click here to visit our website!

Happy Spring of Snow!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Spring Everybody!  As I write this I am witnessing a literal white out from my desk window.  Our neck of the woods received 6 inches of snow this week of the beginning of spring.  I know this because I measured it on my back deck.  This did not deter me, however, from INSISTING on a few spring preparations:  Tarragon Shrimp Salad, Grand Marnier Marinated Strawberries with Clotted Elderflower Cream, Roasted Artichoke Dip with Spinach and Shrimp, Cream of Asparagus or Leek Soup…the list goes on and on.  There are so many foodstuffs budding and brimming forth – beautiful free range spring lamb, and fresh rabbit can still be had, as well as Oysters (Rockalula!) and Mussels.  Rhubarb and Apricots are beckoning me (be on the lookout for our Raspberry Rhubarb and Apricot Sage Preserves finding their way into our recipes!)   I think “creativity” is the descriptor that keeps coming up in reviews that have earned us “Caterer of the Year” for 4 consecutive years with Angie’s List (see more bragging below in the second section!)

With the changing of each season I get so excited about the possibilities of the new bounty.  We have Easter and graduating mouths to feed, as well as new moms and parents to be, blushing brides and gallant grooms…the list goes on and on.  As you know we book out pretty thoroughly this season so if you have an event in mind its best to contact Lula’s sooner rather than later!   In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this picture of our Strawberry-Pistachio Trifle.  Drooling allowed.

A Note From Chef Lori

…and the hits just keep on comin’…we’ve won again (see proof below!), and it’s  because we love what we do and we love YOU.  Here are some descriptors YOU gave us this year:  “stunning”, “unique” “unmatched”, “inventive”, “attention to detail”, “beautiful presentation”, and, of course, “DELICIOUS”!!!

Click here to visit our website!

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!

Click here to visit our website