Category Archives: Protein

It’s SEAFOOD Time!

 

Ruby Red Trout Skin

Summer tends to make us want to eat lighter, and fish feels that way to me…so with a little “Deadliest Catch” in mind, I’d like to give you a few tips about purchasing your seafood:

  •  Stay away from purveyors who don’t display their seafood directly on ice – all seafood needs to STAY as cold as possible at all times.  It’s the protein that spoils the fastest!
  • If you’re buying something premade and packaged (like a stuffed flounder), there should be virtually no accumulated liquid in the package.
  • Fish should smell like a cross between the ocean and a clean running creek. If it smells too fishy, something’s “fishy”.
  • It’s best to not be lazy about your shrimp.  By it shell on and clean it at home – the shell holds in moisture which keeps your shrimp plump and firm.  Besides, the shells can be used for a broth or sauce that will GREATLY enhance your shrimp!
  • If you’ve got a recipe you want to try but can’t find the particular seafood it’s asking for, ask your fishmonger.  Virtually EVERY fish has one or two perfect substitutions – get what’s freshest!

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering wishes for you the most fabulous summer ever – loaded with delicious fresh seafood!  The picture above is of a GORGEOUS Steelhead Trout (this particular filet weighing in at about 4.5 pounds… 🙂 )

 

Does Gluten make your Tummy Hurt?

CHICKPEA BREAD!

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.

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.
Risotto
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 www.lulasforlunch.com.   Here’s to the party in your mouth!

Some Lent Learnin’

Entree Curried TilapiaLula’s Curried Tilapia

So, for lots of us (and the grocery stores) fish is in store for the next few weeks – and I want to give you a helpful tip to keep your at home fish from being tough and dry.

Fish (any kind) contains ALOT of water and has a very loose protein structure that makes cooking fish a delicate process.  You just don’t want to over cook fish, because fish, more than any other protein, has dramatic “carry-over” cooking.

What is carry over cooking?  Well…you follow instructions when roasting meet to “let it rest” to re-absorb juices, right?  Well, it’s also finishing the cooking process right there on the counter.  That’s why most cookbooks/instructions tell you that medium rare is 130 degress…but they tell you to pull your meat from the heat at 125 degrees.

Same for fish, and funnily enough, when you cook your fish at a higher temperature, the carry over cooking is much more dramatic (ex. salmon at 250 degrees reaching a 125 temp will raise another 7 or so degrees sitting on the counter for 5 minutes, but salmon cooked at 450 degrees to 125 will raise another 27 degrees after 5 minutes!!  SO…..UNDERCOOK your fish at a LOW temperature and let it rest just like you do meat, and you’ll have moist, flaky, perfectly done fish!!  You’re welcome.  -Lula

Wagyu/Kobe

OK, let’s keep it simple.  All Kobe is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe.  Kobe is a registered trademark developed in Japan around 1983 to distinguish the strict rules surrounding the growth, feed, and finishing of the 4 types of Wagyu cattle in Japan.  True Kobe is ridiculously high in fat content (look at the picture!)! but oddly, much higher in unsaturated fat producing oleic acid, the stuff that makes for good cholesterol.

Beef labeled “Kobe Style” or “Wagyu” in the US is usually a cross-breed of Wagyu and Angus.

Awful Offal (NOT!)

App Brandied Poulet Pate on Slate

Do you like Pate?  Bologna? LIverwurst? Hot Dogs? Chances are you like offal, you just don’t know it.  How about “Sweetbreads with Mignonette Sauce”?

In the United States we tend to squeal a bit when we hear “offal”, but the “parts of an animal that fall off during slaughtering ‘off fall’ ”  are enjoyed and respected the world over.  Eating not only the working muscle of an animal but all parts is the best respect you can show the life that feeds you (you’ve heard me talk about “nose to tail” before…).  Enjoying these variety meats also helps to keep the price of the more expensive cuts controlled.

Ever had oxtail stew?  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering’s Oxtail Stew is the BEST!!!

 

Fresh COW!

When you’re at the supermarket and looking at steaks or even any type of ground cow (hamburger, etc), don’t be fooled into thinking the “most red” package there is the freshest.  Here’s the REAL skinny:

Myoglobin is purplish/blue, which is the muscle protein in meat.  When it’s exposed to air, it turns into Oxymyoglobin, which is red.  (kind of like your veins have blue blood, but when you’re cut and the blood is exposed to air it turns red!).  So…what does this mean for you at the store?  Bright red only means the meat is not wrapped in an airtight container.  Gray/blue/purple means it’s either EXTREMELY fresh and not exposed to air, or it’s going south (what happens to that bright red color over time).  Only your nose knows, not your eyes!  So check the “sell by” date.  Do yourself and the industry a favor, and help keep costs down – if you’re using the meat that night (or day), pick the package that has today’s sell by date on it.  Waste not, want not! –
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Let’s Go on a Caper with Capers

MM Veal Piccata

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 Tuna Tapenade 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!

Sleep and Food Part 3: Protein (or, The Turkey Coma)

Herb and Lemon Stuffed Rotisserie ChickenLean proteins are high in tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels and promotes good sleep. It’s the reason why we all end up in a turkey coma after Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t want to eat too much protein, or anything high in fat or deep-fried, but a dab of peanut butter on a banana, an egg on whole-grain toast, a little low-fat cheese on crackers, or a rice cake with lean turkey or fish can be satisfying and sleep-promoting snacks before bedtime.  Have you ever eaten protein before bedtime to help you sleep?  Did it work?  Let us know at http://lulasforlunch.com/blog !