Category Archives: Tips

An Easy Grilling Tip

OK – so we all know raw chicken is yucky, right?  Instead of using 2 sets of tongs and platters to “separate” the salmonella from the fabulousness (Lula’s for Lunch…and More! ‘s fabulous Tico Chicken pictured above) , try wrapping aluminum foil around your tong ends and layering your platter with foil, do your marinating and transferring to the grill…then when the chicken exterior is getting done, whip off the foil on both apparati (great word, right?!? – I made it up!) and continue using them to transfer your cooked chicken to your clean platter!  Lula is now bowing for the applause…

The Almond as Dessert

 

Recently, a friend called me in despair because she couldn’t get her cookie recipe right.  I asked about her ingredient list and she told me she had used Marzipan as the recipe had called for Almond Paste.  Mystery solved!  Though they are both made from almonds, they are DEFINITELY not interchangeable. 

 

Almond Paste is made (check the label) from almonds (first on the label if it’s a decent almond paste) and some sugar or sugar product  and cooked till creamy then canned.  Marzipan is value added almond paste – the added value being more sugar.  It’s stiffer, and much sweeter, and used more to decorate and make candy rather than in baked goods.  So there you have it – if you love almonds (and dessert), try some recipes with either of these two ingredients!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering wishes for you a VERY satisfied sweet tooth!

 

 

Labeling your Leftovers!

I don’t know HOW MANY times I’ve put leftovers in containers (you know the cottage cheese container that you feel really bad about just throwing away – SAVE OUR PLANET! – so you wash it and re-use it as many times as possible before it goes into recycling)…and said to myself “Self, you’re incredibly smart and quick and have the best memory; of COURSE you’re going to remember what’s in this container next month when you’re scrounging for a quick lunch”!

NOT.  So I started using folder labels to identify and date the food.  Didn’t work – labels fell off.  So I bought freezer labels but really resented how expensive they were.  So I bought myself a permanent black Sharpie and started writing stuff on the lids.  The lids got “full” (I’m really concerned about the environment).  THEN I saw a tip SOMEwhere I can’t remember – and I’m going to share it with you.  Buy a roll of blue painter’s tape at the hardware store.  Five bucks, you can tear pieces off with your hands – no need for scissors, it won’t fall off in the freezer, that five dollar investment will pay off for 5 YEARS,  and it’s easily removable when you need to switch labels.  There.  For more tips and tidbits subscribe here.

Keep your Guacamole GREEN!

I hate it when my beautiful avocado stuff starts to “turn” and gets dull and brown.   Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering  has to make a pretty large volume upon occasion and sometimes it has to sit in the fridge for a couple of days – and there’s just not enough acid in the recipe to keep it in the “Kermit” family, SO…..I cover the surface with a thin film of WATER.  The guac is dense enough (and fatty enough!)  that it won’t absorb the water – so when I’m  ready to use it I just tilt the container and pour the water off and voila!  it’s just as vibrant as when I made it!

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.

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!

BACK to the Sugar – Liquid, Part 4 – Agave

Agave Nectar is all the rage amongst naturalists these days…it comes from the Blue Agave succulent that grows mostly in Mexico, which also gives us tequila.   It can be used in baking and some folks prefer it – as it has a relatively neutral taste.    As with all liquid sugars in recipes, you want to reduce the other liquid in the recipe by one quarter.

Dry Sugar Part 5 – Demerara

A light brown, partially refined raw sugar, Demerara originally was called so because it actually came from Demerara – once a colony that has now become the country of Guyana.  The sugar has large crystals and is somewhat brown in color, but there are no additives.  It is crunchy with a warm caramel flavor.  It is an excellent topping for baked goods – it won’t break down and melt during the baking process.

Demerara has become so popular that it is now produced in many other countries, and is generically referred to as “turbinado” which is more of a descriptor of the PROCESS, rather than a type of sugar.    The terms are pretty much interchangeable.  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses demerara A LOT in many applications…because it’s DEEEELICIOUS!

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!

The Vampire Diaries – or, GARLIC 101 Redux

Science is bearing out lots of ancient folklore regarding the medicinal uses of garlic. Ancient Egypt recorded exactly 22 medicinal uses for garlic – from healing open wounds to extending one’s life if eaten religiously. The more “intact” you can keep the garlic (fresh cloves vs. powdered, for instance) the better the benefit.

We use lots of garlic at Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering – sometimes overtly, and sometimes it’s in our ‘secret” sauces as a “secret” ingredient. You’re always eating healthy with Lula’s. Here are some things that garlic has been proven to help with: Garlic kills bacteria, and can lower the risk of stomach cancer. Garlic slows the growth of many cancers. Garlic lowers blood cholesterol, and helps prevent heart disease. Let us know YOUR garlic experiences at http://lulasforlunch.com/blog – we look forward to your input!