Category Archives: Tips

Who buys BIG OIL?!?

I go through some EVOO, Canola and Grapeseed. I’ve discovered when buying some of these big bottles that they have a seal I can puncture with a straw (we have stainless reusable ones ’cause we’re saving the planet, right? RIGHT!) ANYhoo…using that tiny hole to pour your oil can save BIG on cleanup when the GLUG GLUG GLUG gets out of control…or am I the only person that this happens to? I think NOT. You can subscribe to get this tips ands tricks once every week or so here , and look at pretty food pictures here!

Yes you CAN Freeze your Pasta!

Lula’s Linguine con Pesce Affumicato

How many of you out there make your own pasta? Did you know that you can make it in bulk and freeze the freshly made pasta for up to a month and it’ll be NO WORSE for it! Just hand toss with a little extra flour to prevent clumping, throw it in a bag or container and into the deep freeze it goes.

Store bought pasta also freezes well after you cook it, but not for toooooo long cause it’ll dry up around the edges pretty quickly. One of Lula’s Catering ‘s favorite winter dishes, Linguine with Smoked Fish (in this case trout) is seen above – served at a Christmas Feast of the Seven Fishes!

It’s fRESH sALMON SEASON!

Lula’s Maple-Bourbon Salmon

If you’re lucky you’ve gotten ‘hold of some fresh King, Sockeye or Coho recently, and I have a tip for you regarding those “prickly” pin bones. If you bought whole, pull out a mixing bowl. If you bought portions, pull out a cereal bowl. Invert either bowl and lay the salmon skin side down over the bowl. Yes, you WANT THE SKIN on wild salmon!! It’s LOADED with nutrients, and delicious when crisped. Email me if you don’t know how to do that.

The pin bones should be presenting themselves with this stretch. Take eyebrow tweezers (some use pliers I prefer tweezers) to the pin bones and gently pull. Easy peazy!

Chocolate and “The Toothpick Test”

Chocolate Apricot Cake w/Raspberries & Mint

Folks we all know about the “Toothpick Test” when baking, but did you know that you don’t want a fully set crumb (clean toothpick) when baking with chocolate?

The longer chocolate is exposed to heat, the more its flavor compounds dissipate.  For this reason, you always want a moist crumb (crumbs coming up on the toothpick) not an absence of crumbs.  Obviously, you can tell if its BATTER you’re pulling up instead of crumb – we don’t want raw and we don’t want “fully set”!!  Always err on the side of under done rather than fully done when baking with cocoa powder or chocolate!  Happy baking, Lula

For more tips, tricks, and ruminations, you can subscribe to Lula’s Newsletter here !

Cleaning Up Bread Dough

Rosemary Flash Bread, Roasted Garlic Love Butter

Folks if you’re making your own bread, I have a tip for you: after you’re through kneading and your hands are all yucky, wash them over the sink with a handful of FLOUR, not water. That’s right….grab a quarter cup or so of dry flour and scrub your hands till most of the dough has dried and flaked off. THEN rinse them with COLD water – hot water activates the starches and things will get gooey again!

Are You An Oven Clutz?

How does one get these fantastic smooth layers?  Well, I personally don’t know – I’m not very good at this – this beautiful cake from one of my new bride and grooms is courtesy of Servatiis.  What I DO know is that practically every time I use the oven (multiple times a day) I burn myself.  Check out my arms sometime.

I have discovered, when baking anything round in a pan like one of these cake layers or a quiche, that if I use a spatula and sneak it underneath the pan and rotate it instead of using oven mitts, I char myself less frequently.  Hope this helps for you too!  Other tips and tidbits relating to ANYTHING food and drink can be found  here, joyeously provided by Lula’s Catering !

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe for Stuffing!

Folks I stumbled upon another brilliant way to get rid of stuffing (IF you have any leftover!!!)  I always have it left over because it’s probably my favorite part of the meal besides gravy, and I make double the amount of stuffing to the amount of anything else I make!!

Fry up some breakfast sausage while you’re nuking your stuffing. If you would prefer, Italian sausage works beautifully as well.  Sometimes Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering  puts Italian sausage in our stuffing if I’m in that sort of mood for Thanksgiving.   Lay the sausage on top of the hot stuffing and top it with a fried egg.  Kind of like eggs ‘n toast but richer and BETTER!!!!   This should be accompanied by a steaming hot cup of coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice.  Just sayin’.   Happy coma, Lula

Coronavirus and Covid-19 – Wash Your Hands!

In light of what’s “going around” and some silliness I’m seeing on social media, I thought I’d skip this week’s “sustainability” blog and re-print from the CDC, WHO, and FDA experts.  Yes, Corona has been around forever, but Covid is the strain that we have no vaccine for.  Below is some gross info and a “wash your hands” primer that we all can benefit from reading:

Foodborne illness is a serious threat to the nation’s public health and many people put themselves at risk for illness by not adequately washing their hands, or by washing their poultry. Many people continue to wash their poultry because that’s what they grew up doing or seeing in their homes. But this is dangerous and can spread bacteria around the kitchen. Juices from raw poultry can transfer bacteria onto kitchen surfaces, utensils, and other food. Once bacteria lands on a surface it can remain active for up to 36 hours, unless the surface is sanitized.

Recent USDA research conducted in a test kitchen revealed some startling results: 60 percent of the test kitchen participants contaminated the inner sink after washing or rinsing raw chicken. Participants also frequently placed raw vegetables and lettuce in the same sink, which ultimately led to cross-contamination.

Researchers also observed that 99 percent of participants either didn’t wash their hands or didn’t accomplish all steps of correct handwashing. Inadequate handwashing has been identified as a contributing factor to foodborne illness, especially when preparing raw meat and poultry. Hands can become vectors that move potential pathogens found in raw meat and poultry around the kitchen, which can contribute to foodborne illnesses.

I understand that old habits may die hard, but I encourage you to wash your hands, not your poultry. If you are brining or marinating your poultry and must rinse or wash it, be sure to thoroughly clean and then sanitize all kitchen surfaces to eliminate the risk of cross- contamination. Also remember that proper hand washing after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs can greatly reduce the risk of bacterial cross-contamination.

I realize it might seem ridiculous for me to explain how to properly wash your hands, but research shows that we all need reminders to achieve basic public health prevention. Here are the five handwashing steps that everyone needs to remember:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel.

Eco Info! – Part 1 of 6

OK, so, not a beautiful picture of my food.  BUT…I ran across great, concise information from a vendor of mine and I thought I would share!  Over the next 6 weeks I’m going to share some terms with you and explain them – regarding our “trash”.  And sometimes I’ll add my two cents worth.   We’re going to start with the term RECYCLABLE. 

Recycling is based on the premise of “reduce and re-use” – breaking down and reusing materials that would otherwise be thrown away.  Recycling utilizes existing materials to reduce energy usage, decrease pollution, and conserve natural resources such as wood and water.  Repurposing waste products in an effective way helps slowly decrease the landfill sizes and increases air quality.

MY TWO CENTS WORTH:

In  the picture above, which items are recyclable?  THE MILK CARTON.  That’s it in our area.  Since China stopped accepting our waste in 2018 , we no longer have effective recycling (we really didn’t then either since what they do affects the planet too!)  Check with your recycler to see what items are currently USABLE for recycling.  Yup, they’ll still take everything you’re dumping in your green bin, but they’re sorting it and throwing it in a landfill.  Oh, my heavy head.

Citrus Juice

If you follow these two steps, you will almost double the volume of juice you get out of  lemons, limes, oranges, grapepfruit and the like.  First, pop them in the microwave.  One fruit for 15 seconds.  Each add’l fruit gets 5 more seconds.   Then, place them on the counter or cutting board and putting the force of your “elbow grease” behind them, roll them around a bit.  You’ll be amazed at the amount of juice you’ll get!  Lula uses citrus in a myriad of recipes…Pork Loin with Peach Mango Salsa,  and Salmon Piccata are two.  Go to www.lulasforlunch.com  and guess which menu items contain citrus…there are several on our Breakfasty/Brunchy menu alone!!! – Lula