OK, week two of “fall/winter” spices…I’m going to continue where I left off and discuss MACE – which is simply the thin, apricot colored, lacy outer layer of the nutmeg seed. Since there’s not as much of it, it has always been way more expensive. It resembles nutmeg in scent and flavor but is more delicate. Once again, this spice can be used in a variety of savory recipes as well as sweet.
At the height of its popularity the Dutch ruled the spice trade, and one year (1770) production exceeded demand by a year’s supply and the whole lot was BURNED – making Amsterdam the best scented city of all time! Fun Fact: Most American hot dog manufactures include mace in their recipe!! And NOW Lula is going to give away a closely guarded secret..put a dash in your BBQ sauces (think my Kentucky Black Bourbon…) YUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuum. Hit here for more tips and tricks! With love, Lula
I’ve got a tip for you when you leave for vacation. Put a half filled water bottle in the freezer on its side. Before you leave, set it upright. When you return, if the water is anything other than against and up one wall, you need to throw out your stuff! Make sense?!? You had an energy outage 🙁 If you love Lula’s sage ideas you can get them once a week here!
It might be a major diet component in the coming decades…but for NOW, we’re just going to discuss Kombu – a dried kelp that contains “umami” (specifically glutamic acid but what do you care?!?). If you missed that post look it up!
Kombu is used in Japanese (and my) cooking to enhance umami in many dishes – it can be found in Asian markets and these days quite a few grocery stores in dried form. Kombu is also a vegetarian source of the brain function enhancing Omega 3 fatty acid.
Just drop one 2×2 square per quart of liquid into soups and stews (think vegetable soup, tomato sauce) and pull it out when the liquid begins to simmer. You don’t want to forget it- bitter compounds form at a full boil. But you WILL add that indefinable “what is IN this that makes it so rich and tasty?!?” vibe if you pull it out at the simmer! If you liked this tidbit you can get one weekly here!
Did you know you can treat any squash seeds the same as pepitas (pumpkin seeds)? Do just what you would do with the pumpkin- separate the seeds from the pulp, put in a single layer on a cookie sheet and cook in a preheated 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Get creative with your seasonings! Cinnamon and sugar, or Rosemary & sea salt … the combinations are endless!! For more mouthwatering pics visit here !
Underneath its spiny exterior, pineapples pack a brain-boosting wallop. Bromelain, an enzyme found only in pineapples, keeps blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. These clots can break off from artery walls and interrupt blood flow to the brain, setting you up for a memory-damaging stroke. Pineapples are also rich in folate (aka vitamin B9), which can help make you more alert and better able to focus!
There are many grains out there to try; and not all alternatives to wheat are gluten free – here’s a primer on many of them, broken down by gluten free (a must for celiacs) and lower gluten (tolerated by many with gluten allergies) – we’ll discuss Lower Gluten next time.
Millet – high in fiber, mild flavor. Wild Rice – actually a grass found around fresh water. Amaranth – A seed and a COMPLETE protein (think filet mignon!) Sorghum – highly absorbent for sauces/dressings Black/Forbidden Rice-resembles wild rice but cooks more quickly and colors broth/sauce a deep brown-red. One of Lula’s faves! Oats – watch out that these come from a “Certified GF” mfg. Quinoa – another COMPLETE protein. Teff – 1/100th the size of a kernel of wheat! Buckwheat – another of Lula’s faves…try our crepes! Corn – try Silver Queen or any sweet white – amazing!
Hope this helps on your next grocery store adventure! More tips and tidbits like this can be found if you subscribe here.
OK, so you went to the store on Wednesday after work for the dinner you’re throwing on Saturday (Soccer Thurs, Basebal Fri, Ballet Sat morning – UGH…) !! Saturday rolls around and the broccoli and carrots you bought are just FINE, but your lovely lettuce leaves are drab and wilted. Perk it UP, no worries! Tear your lettuce into the size you want it and throw it into a bath of iced water (cubes from freezer + half water. Store it in the fridge for 30 minutes and BAM! (thank you, Emeril) perky, ready for ACTION lettuce! Lift it out and place on a tea towel, gently roll it up to relieve the lettuce of its extra moisture, and lubricate with the dressing of your choice!! Happy crunching! BTW if you’ve heard somewhere that a bit of vinegar in the water helps, don’t do it. Makes the lettuce taste “off”. More tips and tidbits can be found weekly here.
Citrus costs have skyrocketed. At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we use alot of citrus. It’s a major flavoring agent and provides depth and background to many dishes. It’s not cheap, though, so we save wherever and whenever we can. Buying bags of lemons or limes instead of the one you need at a time can save well over 50% and you don’t have to waste a drop (or a curl).
You can zest your citrus and freeze it, and after it’s zested, you can squeeze all of the juice out into a bowl (and depending on what method you’re using you won’t even have any seeds to contend with!). Keep a plastic ice tray for just such occasions and you will always have a measured supply of citrus on hand. Each “cube” spot holds the juice of approximately one lemon or lime. Fill your tray, freeze it, and pop them out into a baggie to keep in your freezer for easy, measured access.
If you want to know the best way to get maximum juice out of your citrus, you can search “lemon, citrus, or juice” at blog.lulasforlunch.com and a previous “how-to” will pop up!! Now SMILE, sourpus!! – Lula
Does this ever happen to your honey? Grainy, clumpy, not pretty…but there’s an easy fix or two…my favorite and seems to yield the best results: NEVER let anything touch your honey. Pour it into/onto a spoon or measuring device. Crystallization is mostly caused by moisture, and next, bacteria (not necessarily bad stuff that will hurt you). If you keep your honey moisture free you probably won’t have crystallization. If you do, however, just put the whole jar in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. That’ll do the trick. You can use the microwave, on-and-“off”ing every few seconds and stirring, but that’s way more trouble! Now, go enjoy a good cup of hot tea with some honey. – Lula
In Lula's Kitchen, Love is ALWAYS our First Ingredient!