Category Archives: Book

A Beer Primer

Beer

I’m not a beer drinker.  There, I said it.  There are some beers that taste good to me, but in general, I don’t like the carbonation (I don’t drink pop either) and what it does to my ‘constitution”.  That being said, Cincinnati s a great beer town, and is becoming more  so every day with our new micro-breweries and pubs.  So, I thought, perhaps there are others out there who might like to know what they’re drinking, or talking about, when celebrating our city’s great tradition.  Here you go:

Beer (ALL beer – lager, ale, stout, bock, pilsener, porter, etc) is made from the same ingredients:  water, barley malt, hops, and yeast.  What makes a different taste, style, or type of beer is the addition of other ingredients, different types of yeast, and fermentation temperature.  Age also changes the flavor of beer.  So let’s touch on the 5 major “types” of beer and try and make sense of it:

ALE:    Ales are not aged, and are made with a yeast that floats to the top of the vat during fermentation.  They contain a little more alcohol than lagers.  They often have a hint of fruit in their flavor or aftertaste.  A type of ale is STOUT.  Darker and stronger than regular ale, a stout is brewed with toasted malt.

LAGER:  The yeast in lagers sinks to the bottom of the vat and is fermented slowly and at cool temperatures, and take one to six weeks to age.  Types of lager are:

PILSENER:  About a third fewer calories and about 20% less alcohol than regular lager.  Pale and golden, they are your “light” beers.

PORTER:  The stronger flavor of this lager comes from toasting the malt before brewing.  It is a  bit higher in alcohol content as well.

BOCK:  A dark German style of lager, bocks are traditionally spring beers, but these days they are brewed year round.  They are rich, and thicker (in Germany they are made by freezing the beer and taking off the top layer of ice to thicken it).  Bocks are brewed with roasted malts.

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses beer in some of our recipes.  Try our Ballpark Casserole – our Brats and Metts are poached in beer before grilling.  Or, this fall, order our Cheddar-Ale Fondue, served with our Brats and Metts as well as our homemade German Salt Rye!  You can always order our Beer Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sandwich from our Deli!  Cheers!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day

As I write this newsletter, my daddy is sitting in a hospital waiting to go home.  He’s been there several days after a collapse at home and a diagnoses of pneumonia.  This is his second hospitalization for pneumonia this year and naturally, everyone in the family is concerned.  Daddy has an amazing spirit, though, and I’d like to share some of the things that keep him going:

Daddy is very slow to anger, but when he blows, find the nearest cast iron bathtub to crouch down in.  For daddy, explosion is sometimes the best medicine.

Daddy would rather be on the water (ON, not IN) than ANYwhere else in the world.  Preferably in silence.

Daddy is a man of few words (hence the silence above).

At 83, Daddy still races in regattas, and still wins.

Clint Eastwood looks a great deal like my daddy.

Daddy has a very dry sense of humour, and he’s so slick you don’t even know that sometimes it’s directed AT you.

Daddy has a hard time saying no to the people he loves.  This makes them love him more.

Daddy is a well respected Harley “dude”, at 82 graduating from a Heritage Softail to a Freewheeler Trike.

Once daddy makes a promise, you can count on it.  You can really count on my dad.

Daddy hobnobs with some extremely hi-falutin’ people.  You’d never know it.  Daddy’s never thrown a name around (Jimmy Buffet for one) or tried to impress anyone with his connections (Russian Olympic Sailing Team, America’s Cup winners, Silicon Valley billionaires).  As you can see I am not above throwing names around on behalf of my daddy.

Daddy doesn’t get to indulge in his favorite foodstuffs very often anymore because of his health problems, so in honor of him this Father’s Day, Lula’s is offering some of the things he loves.  Click here to see Lula’s for Lunch…and More! father’s day menu.  I love you daddy, and I miss you!

Daddy’s “Pie Plant”

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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!!

An Asparagus Primer

Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Roast Beef w/Homemade Wasabi Creme

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!

A History of Transparency – or, Pecan Pie

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‘Tis the season, and I thought you might be interested in the humble beginnings of one of America’s favorite holiday desserts.

Transparent, or Syrup, Pie, has been around the US for eons – it uses the most basic of readily available ingredients and even the poorest usually have them on hand: eggs, butter, and a sweetener in the form of whatever’s local (honey, maple, sorghum, cane, molasses).   The Industrial Revolution came along and the US began to have a surplus of corn, and of course, we had to figure out what to do with it, so,  at the beginning of the 20th century, a cheap liquid sugar was invented using cornstarch, by the Corn Products Refining Company – and they called it Karo. 

In the late 1920’s-early 30’s an executive’s wife (of the heretofore mentioned Corn Products Refining Company) made a transparent pie using Karo, and added pecans.  Notice the wife’s name is not in the history books.  As usual in a capitalist society, let’s create that need then fill it!  The CPRC began heavily marketing KARO pie and an American staple was born. 

This same pie, with added cream, is called syrup pie.  It tastes (no WAY!) creamier and more custardy, but is still extremely similar to transparent pie taste.  It’s a little runnier and you need to adjust your solids to your liquids if you’re going to try this avenue.  A great way is to substitute only egg yolks instead of whole eggs as the yolks contain less water than whites.

My bottom line is – if you like historical recipes, go ahead and try Karo Pie (google google google!).  But if you really want a great tasting Pecan Pie, use an original sweetener – my favorite being maple – but that’s for YOU to decide.  I also add bourbon because I’m, well, me!

Sweet Potato or Yam, Ma’am?

Tis the season…and Oh, the drama!  Which is it?  They are NOT related, and another fun fact, the sweet potato isn’t even related to the potato!  First, let’s scientifically (but not TOO scientifically) differentiate:

Sweet Potato:    Originated in Central/South America.  A relative in the Morning Glory family.  Skin a plethora of colors.  Flesh a plethora of colors – the lighter the starchier.   The bad news is…you can never tell the color of the flesh until after you buy them!

Yam:        Originated (and 95% still comes from) Africa/Asia.  A member of the Lily family.   Mostly soft fleshed.  Can grow to over 100 pounds!  Sweet Potatoes are frequently mislabeled in the US because African Americans called them Yams as they resembled them.  Yams are hard to get in the US.  You’d have to go to an international market.  You WILL see sweet potatoes labeled as yams in grocery stores.  But if you look closely, they are also labeled sweet potatoes, because it’s the law.  A wonderful use of sweet potatoes, on the menu now at Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering is our Roasted Sweet Potato Salad! You can order as a side with your lunch or entree at www.lulasforlunch.com  Yummy Yummy!!

National Month of Thanksgiving – Thank YOU to PERKINS!!

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SO!  I try to be “mindful” and grateful all year, but if I don’t address “thanksgiving” in the month of November someone will think I’ve forgotten it!!!  Who can forget the best meal of the year *(in my humble opinion)?!? I switch Christmas up every year, but Thanksgiving must be turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy and succotash and winter greens salad and roasted Brussels sprouts.  Ok, I guess it must be pumpkin pie too.  BUT…right now, because of a trip back home (South Carolina if anyone is new to the monthly diatribe); and a literal swerving off of the highway because I spotted that endangered species PERKINS PANCAKE HOUSE, I want to write a grateful irregular ode (to be precise, for my grammar fans) to the breakfast I ate my entire life for lunch, dinner, AND a midnight snack as well.

I miss Perkins.  Perkins used to be ubiquitous where I grew up (SC), and until a few years ago, also in the Midwest.  Perkins has helped form every stage of my life.   I had my first Reuben sandwich at Perkins on a family trip to visit the homestead in Virginia.   The real Reuben, the original.  GRILLED with mustard not thousand island dressing!  I also remember ordering pancakes ANYwhere else and being disappointed.  To this day no restaurant can measure up to the fluffy, light as air, savory unctuousness of Perkins pancakes slathered in butter (no syrup for me thank you – they don’t need it!)

My first husband and I fell in love over Perkins pancakes.  We flirted by hunkering down in the booth and flicking applesauce off of the end of spoons at each other.  Remember the days when a little soufflé of applesauce was a garnish for a plate of pancakes/omelettes etc?  There was also an orange slice and a piece of a kale leaf for garnish.  My best friend Chris was always horrified – “SO bourgeois!!” when I ate the garnish.  He also seemed to think that fortune cookies were to look at not to eat.  I love fortune cookies – they’re not too sweet!  Eat them I will.  By the way…just an FYI…when you receive parsley on your plate as a garnish, the custom comes from actually EATING the parsley offered as a breath freshener!

My first job with a real paycheck (not the first two BUSINESSES I “ran” – the first at 5 when I went door to door selling coloring book pictures for a nickel, and the 2nd at 10 when I handwrote business cards and went door to door selling babysitting services) was at Perkins.  I don’t know when child labor laws were enacted in the US but I was 14 when I worked at Perkins.  This is where I discovered all of the hot cocoa you can drink, with or without marshmallows…I have to say I did get tired of the cocoa, but  bacon and pancakes, never…This job was also my first taste of thankless effort – one time a table of 10 (the largest group I had ever had up until that point) who worked me to death asking for this and that and keeping me running for a couple of hours also flipped me a quarter at the end and said “Here honey, you’re worth every cent!”   I’ll never forget the manager telling me he needed my social security number for my paycheck and I refused, telling him “my parents said NEVER give out your social security number!!”  He was patient and simply said “just go home and ask them – I’ll bet they’ll say it’s ok this time.”

My most recent memorable experience at Perkins occurs at 54 years of age…this time in Sandusky Ohio.  Gordon and I hit Cedar Point every chance we get to ride roller coasters and eat gross park food (corndog, anyone?) before we’re too old and brittle to be able to take it.  Last fall we decided to go to Perkins for breakfast before our big playdate.  We run from ride to ride as if it won’t be there if we’re not fast enough.  We’re giddy and silly and officially 10 years old again.  I guess Gordon thought he could still EAT like a prepubescent boy and he ordered whatever the biggest fried thing on the menu is with all of the sides and 3 PLATES were set before him.  I ordered my old standby, which you can still get if you ask – “The Traveler” which is 2 eggs your way, 2 pancakes, and 2 pieces of sausage or bacon.  I always get the bacon, extra crispy.  Gordon’s plate consisted of a 3 egg omelet (Granny’s Country) and hashbrowns.  For his “bread” side he ordered biscuits.  But he wasn’t satisfied there…no, he had to have a side of sausage gravy to go with those biscuits.  THEN he proceeded, as a matter of honor (or at least a measure of a man) to clean all plates.  We rolled and rumbled to and through the park to our first ride of the day (every time, because it’s STILL our favorite), the Millenium Force.  I’m too busy screaming and laughing to notice his general pallor, swiftly moving from merely pale to green…and I’ll leave it to you to envision the rest of our day.  Suffice it to say, Gordon OWES me a trip to Cedar Point!!!  Honey, are you listening?!?  If you have a favorite restaurant that has woven its way through your life, I’d love for you to share here: http://lulasforlunch.com/ask_lula/mailcode195/contact1.php  And I’ll close, like I began…THANK YOU to PERKINS!!!

No WAY the Holidays are Almost Here!!


We book up FAST for November and December so book your soiree early!!  We are so excited to celebrate with you this season.  We have lots of yummy new flavors to weave into your traditional menus to make new tasty memories! wreath

Those Crazy Gourds

It’s butternut squash season… a few hints and tips:  Choose one that’s “dusty” looking – shiny means it was picked too soon.  DID YOU KNOW…uncut squash can last up to 3 months at room temperature?!?!?  This is, obviously uncut and skin on.  So if you like it, stock up!  You can be eating squash in February/March when it’s all gone from the store!!  Butternut squash lends itself to both sweet and savory preparations.  One of my favorites (surprise) is soup – with sage. Lula wishes you heady gourdy delight!

Lettuce Feeds the Soul !?!

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Have you ever had a perfect moment?  Let me define…a perfect moment is not really just a moment (what is a moment anyway?  Is it a minute?  Could it be a second, as in “we had a ‘moment’ when we looked at each other” …for me, a moment is a singular experience.  A “perfect moment” is a perfect singular experience when peace and pleasure wrap you in a warm blanket and time stands still.  I’ve only had a few in my life – of course, probably until 20 years ago I wasn’t able to even be still enough to recognize a perfect moment, hence, there WAS no perfect moment!!

Oddly, my perfect moments are not usually associated with food except one at Bouchon in Santa Barbara where I cried into my rose (pronounced rosAY as I do not know how to work the funny character buttons) over the silky fennel gazpacho, but the other week, when I was working with produce from a client’s farm, I swear I had a spiritual experience handling of all things, lettuce. I was so wrapped up in the perfection of the lettuces, the vibrancy and life in the lettuces.  I caressed the lettuce.  I smelled the lettuce.  I worshiped the lettuce.  The lettuce was silk, and it was perfume, and it was alive.  It smelled of earth, rain, sunshine, and green.  I have never observed, hand to eye, such pristine, beautiful examples of the complexity, and simultaneous simplicity of nature.  I lost time.  Nothing could stultify this mesmerization – not the mundane tasks of washing the lettuce nor tearing the lettuce (tenderly).  I had 7 different varieties in front of me and was moved to make a bouquet and photograph it.  Of course in this world of IT and social media I had to “share” my perfect moment – and I’m re-sharing it now with you, along with the end result – a beet salad with roasted beets from their farm as well.  It is lightly coated with this fall’s newest member of our “dressing family” – Sorghum, Cider & Sassafras Vinaigrette.    Worship the lettuce, indeed.  It is, in fact, God.

No WAY the Holidays are Almost Here!!

Beet Salad with Sorghum Cider Sassafras VinaigretteWe book up FAST for November and December so book your soiree early!!  We are so excited to celebrate with you this season.  We have lots of yummy new flavors to weave into your traditional menus to make new tasty memories!