If you’re like me, you LOVE shellfish. But they’re not all the same…a fun icky fact for you: CRUSTACEANS have shells that are grown from a carbohydrate that they manufacture themselves called chitin, just like insects (way back when they were related… ) We’re talking shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab here.
MOLLUSKS grow their shells from materials they eat -mostly calcium carbonate – that is found in marble and limestone (not to mention egggshells!). Mollusks grow their shells once or twice a year when they need to (the house gets kinda cramped when they grow) during the warm months. You can see their growing cycle on their shells – the rings. So you can tell how old your clam (or mussel, or oyster, or scallop) is by counting the rings and multiplying by 1.5. There are scores of fun shellfish and mollusk options on our menu at www.lulasforlunch.com. Here’s to the party in your mouth!
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
Oh! I could get technical on you…but let’s not. All salt is sea salt. Mineral salt (the kind you shake on your food, whether it’s been iodized or not) is really old sea salt that has been “mined” from sea deposits left millenia ago.
Stuff labeled sea salt is “raked” (alot more to that but again, let’s not) from fresh deposits, is kissed by the sun, and is flakier. Trace residual seawater mineral content left at certain “levels” of the salt bed result in salt that can look, smell, and taste a bit different to accomplished palates, hence, gray salt or pink salt or any other color.
The way a salt crystal is shaped results in how it is perceived on the tongue (flavor). If you cook with expensive salts like Fleur de sel you’re TOTALLY wasting your money – when salt dissolves you can’t tell the difference. Get a bang for your buck and impress your table with a little bowl of whatever flaky sea salt you enjoy, and sprinkle the crystals on your finished plate, and you will totally enjoy the flavor burst in your mouth. I wish for you some yummy in your tummy! – Lula
Celery does more than serve as a swizzle stick for your glass of tomato juice. The stalks are packed with a plant compound called luteolin, which calms a type of immune cell in the brain and spinal cord that works to keep the brain in good working order. Luteolin is linked to lower rates of age-related memory loss, according to a study reported in the Journal of Nutrition. Because the study was carried out in mice, more research needs to be done to see if the results can be replicated in humans.
Celery also takes more calories to chew and swallow than it contains – which makes it a GREAT diet food. Unless, if you’re like Lula, you drown it in bleu cheese. 🙂 Celery is a chief component in flavor bases used in several world cuisines – the Latin community calls it Sofrito, the French call it Mire Poix, and southerners call it the Holy Trinity! Believe it or not it is an ingredient in Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering ‘s beauty before you : our Creole Shrimp ‘n Grits!
Pumpkin seeds are one smart snack. They’re rich in zinc, a mineral vital for memory and thinking skills. They’re also packed with magnesium, a mineral that fights inflammation and contributes to the creation of new brain cells.
In addition, pumpkin seeds contain a hefty amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to the good-mood chemical serotonin. As if that’s not enough, pumpkin seeds contain a wide variety of antioxidants that may slow brain aging. At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering , we toast our pumpkin seeds and use them in many salads as well as garnish entrees for a satisfying crunch! This picture is of our Citrus Avocado Salad. Now, drool!
Afraid of meringues? Souffles? EASY trick! First, make sure NO yolk gets into your separation. Second, your “whisking bowl” and your beater can have NO residue of any sort in or on it. Third, your whites should be room temperature, not cold. This will almost double your volume!!
Stone Crabs are in season from about October through April and are a RENEWABLE resource amongst shellfish. We only eat the claws, and the claws regenerate – so no killing of crabs; everybody wins. You can grill them over an open fire or steam them – you can use whatever cooking mechanism comes out of your trunk! Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering serves them with a Tarragon Remoulade! A simpler version is simply 1/2 Dijon Mustard and 1/2 good mayonnaise. You’ll need a small hammer, or a nutcracker works well, and a couple of picks or seafood forks for digging out the DELICIOUS, sweet meat. Happy Tailgating! – Lula
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
Greetings from Lula! When slicing, dicing, etc. on your cutting board, turn your knife OVER and use the blunt edge to “scrape” ingredients into the pot or bowl or whatever…this increases your knife’s life immeasurably, and you have to hone or sharpen only half as much! Happy chopping, Lula
We all have our favorite “blend” – skim, 2% etc., and we know what we like to taste when drinking a big glass of ice cold milk. BUT…can we just use whatever milk we have in the fridge to go into a recipe when it calls for milk? Well, you can try…but not really… As with all cooking, science plays a big part – and the chemical makeup of fat milk vs. no fat milk does make a difference.
When a recipe calls for just “milk” and doesn’t give you any direction, what to do? Just make sure there’s some fat in your milk. I always have on hand skim milk because that’s what I like to drink (hormone and pesticide free, of course!). I always have on hand half ‘n half because that’s what my beloved husband says I like in my coffee (yes it’s true…I have no idea what goes in my coffee – only Gordon does). Since half ‘n half is half whole milk and half cream, it’s got plenty of fat to make things taste dreamy, but more fat than we like on our hips. Cutting it with no fat skim milk by ½ seems to keep my recipes rich, but not too fatty. If you have 2% milk on hand at all times, I’d use that in its entirety as it has enough fat not to mess with a final recipe’s consistency. Just don’t use all skim milk in recipes unless it is specifically called for because recipe developers count on the fat in conjunction with their other ingredients to create the final product consistency they intended upon.
At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we have many different recipes for the same thing – for instance, our fat FREE Smashed Potatoes (we throw a couple of secret ingredients in there to fool your tastebuds into thinking how rich they are) or our Cream Cheese Horseradish Smashed Potatoes which uses skim milk to keep the fat content down, but the cream cheese keeps the luscious mouth feel and taste UP. So…if you want a lower fat version of something – just ask!!