Category Archives: Tips

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

Tomato Paste RULES!

Fresh fresh fresh…my )(*$)#&(.  Chefs have been using tomato paste (and making it – but YOU don’t do THAT please!) to enhance everything from seafood to beef dishes to sauces for millenia.  Tomato reduction contains umami!  We all have recipes in our collection that call for a teaspoon or a tablespoon of tomato paste.

What to DO with the other 4 ounces (or 10 depending on the can you get?  It comes in tubes now that will store in the fridge for forever, but you pay a premium.  Lula’s Catering ‘s method is – buy a can.  Put a piece of waxed paper or a pastry sheet on a cookie tray, dollop the whole can out in tablespoons on the paper, throw the sheet in the freezer for a few hours, pop it out, bag it up, and throw it in the freezer to have at the ready for the next YEAR.    You’re welcome! For weekly tips and tidbits to help you in the kitchen you can go HERE.

Subtly Cinnamon

Sweet Potato-Bourbon Shortbread w.Maple Pecan Streusel

EVERYBODY knows about cinnamon, right?!?  I guess you know that there are two types of cinnamon – both are the bark of trees.   There is the Cassia tree, and there is the Ceylon tree.

Volatile oils give cinnamon its strength.  Ceylon Cinnamon has the lowest volatile oil content (1-2%) and is the preferred cinnamon in Europe and Mexico.  In my opinion, it has more complexity and finesse than Cassia Cinnamon, which is much more in your “face” with volatile oils ranging from 3-7% depending on its originating terroir.    Lula’s Sweet Potato-Bourbon Shortbread with Maple Pecan Streusal, among many other desserts AND savory dishes, contains Ceylon Cinnamon, and sometimes you don’t even know!!

Korintje Cinnamon from Indonesia is the flavor most recognized by American palates as it is the most readily available in our supermarkets.  For fun, seek out China Tung Hing Cassia Cinnamon – you’ll notice it has a bigger “bite” in recipes, and a subtly different flavor from what you’re used to.

What you might NOT be familiar with, are Cassia BUDS.  They are precious and hard to find – resembling a clove in appearance, though perfect and pink.  Obviously, they are the bud of a cassia tree before it flowers – can you imagine the flavor of flowering cinnamon?!?  These buds are prized, and laid in the sun to dry.  They are used in pickling recipes, meat marinades and yummy warm holiday drinks.  Happy Hunting – and if you find some let Lula know!!  For more info like this you can get weekly click HERE!

MAD for Mace!

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

Fridge on the Fritz?!?

 

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!

You’d Better Get Used to Seaweed!

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!

Seasoned Squash Seeds = Savory or Sweet Snacks!

Lula’s ABC Soup (Apple, Butternut Squash & Curry)

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 !

Another “Brainy” Food – the PINEAPPLE!

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!

The Holy Grain Grail Part 2, and Watch Lula on Channel 9 at 10AM!

OK, before we get to the grain…it’s Organic Harvest Month! Tune in to ABC Channel 9 (WCPO) at 10AM today and learn different ways to celebrate from Lula!  Now…on to some MORE good stuff:

Fun, tasty other Grains that do contain some gluten:

Rye Berries – Low Gluten, one of my faves.  LOVES me some rye and pumpernickel breads!

Wheat Berries – This is the whole kernel with bran and germ intact.  Chewy, sweet, and nutty.

Barley – eat this hull-less or hulled, but not pearled – it contains more bran that way.

Farro – This is an ancient wheat grain that is great in salad and soup – you can even make “farroto” with it – in place of risotto … it’s very creamy when the starch releases!

Freekeh (or Farika)  – This is smoked or roasted under-ripe wheat that makes an EXCELLENT alternative tabbouleh.

Spelt – This is a fun one – used in ALOT of our breads.  Spelt has a smooth shiny outer layer that stays intact when cooked.  Think Sautes.

There!  Get your HEALTHY grain on!  For more tips and tidbits click here .

The Holy Grain Grail Part I

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.

GLUTEN FREE

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.