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!!
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!
Yes, folks, this is an IQ test. Just kidding. I’m trying to say that Risotto is not a type of rice. Risotto is a specific PREPARATION of rice.
There are between 7 and 8 THOUSAND kinds of rice in the world, and many different ways to prepare it. Americans are used to long grain rice which tends cook drier and be less sticky (example Uncle Bens Long Grain Rice which is par-boiled to make it the LEAST sticky of all rice – fluffy and separated). Then there’s medium grain and short grain (Arborio is one type, usually used in risotto preparation)…in essence, the shorter the grain the more sticky the rice is (starch exposed).
Risotto is an Italian preparation which, in general, means sauteeing the rice in fat first, then adding liquid and constantly stirring to release as much starch as possible to make the end result creamy, and finishing with cheese or other dairy to make it even MORE creamy. Additions along the way such as meat, fish, vegetables are all options for every chef to make the dish his or her own.
Lula’s for Lunch..and More! Catering makes many different types of risotto. My favorite, I think, is a derivation of Risi e Bisi (an Italian Rice and Pea Stew) that I make with Asparagus and Shrimp in the spring. I use my brother’s Muscadine wine from his vineyard in North Carolina, Cane Creek, to deglaze the pan, and deepen and compliment the other flavors dancing around in the pan. This is a dish best ordered with service; I won’t serve it unless it’s perfect, which means JUST out of the pan!
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 for Lunch…and More! 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
“Mothers are not short-order cooks. What’s on the table is what’s for dinner for the whole family. If you don’t like it, breakfast will be really good tomorrow.” -Cat Cora http://www.lulasforlunch.com serves really good breakfast today OR tomorrow!!!
You’re dying to know..you can’t fool Lula. What in the world ARE capers? Answer – capers, sometimes called caperberries, are the unopened, pickled flower buds of the trailing Capparis spinosa shrub that grows in desert regions. Most of these shrubs grow in the Sahara and surrounding regions. They can be found, however, in various climates that are dry and arid – southern France, for example, and any other place (Texas comes to mind) with similar climate.
There are 170 or so species, and we know they’ve been used in cuisine since around 600 BC. The younger the caper, the better. In France, gourmets pick the berries every two days off of the shrubs to ensure the best flavor. Capers are one of the primary ingredients in any “piccata” dish. Lula’s for Lunch..and More! Catering uses capers in our Chicken, Veal (it goes without saying free range!), Pork, and Salmon Piccatas, as well as in our TunaTapenade Salad and our Nicoise creations. You can find these selections at our Lula’s for Lunch website and order them any time – because capers come pickled they are not “seasonal” – though people tend to prefer light, refreshing piccatas throughout spring and summer. Which is happening now. Put a little piquancy in your life! Enjoy!
With Easter upon us it’s a fun time to find out answers to some of the questions we ask about eggs: *It takes a hen 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. Thirty minutes later, she starts all over again! *Eggshells have around 17,000 pores that can absorb flavors and odors. It’s best to store them in cartons to prevent absorbing these “outside influences”. This picture is of eggs from Gordon’s dad’s farm.
White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and white earlobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red earlobes. Hens can produce EVERY color in between depending on their genetic color coding – to include baby blue, pink, orange, yellow, etc.!!
Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D. *Yolk color depends on the diet of the hen. Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light-colored feeds to enhance colors. Artificial color additives are not permitted. That’s why you can tell if a hen was fed a good diet or allowed to range freely, when the yolk is a deeper color. *Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg laying career. It is unusual, but not too rare, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all!
During the spring equinox, it is said that an egg will stand on its small end. Although some people have reported success, it is not known whether such results were due to the equinox or to the peculiarities of that particular egg.
Asparagus is coming into season…a good time to educate you about the difference between White and Green Asparagus. White Asparagus are nothing more than Green Asparagus that have been deprived of sunlight (either real or artificial). No photosynthesis has been allowed to take place. I have heard that white asparagus are milder and less “bitter” than green, but I have also heard exactly the opposite. A blind taste test has proven to me that it makes no never mind which I use – so I use green on my beautiful white plates unless for some aesthetic reason white will “go with the outfit”!! Check out the beautiful pic of our Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Roast Beef with Homemade Wasabi Creme – a client favorite from http://www.lulasforlunch.com !
Cilantro is not only the most widely used herb in the world, its flavor and aroma provoke the strongest palate and olfactory opinions amongst all spices and herbs.
Cilantro is actually the leafy part of the Coriander plant, the seeds of which, called Coriander, are sweet and lemony in scent, all at the same time. Try Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering ‘s Coriander Shrimp and Asparagus Salad sometime – it’s lovely! So, what’s your take on Cilantro? Answer this question: Do you LOVE it or HATE it?!?
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In Lula's Kitchen, Love is ALWAYS our First Ingredient!