Hurry, quick! If you love Brussels Sprouts get them now before they leave the store. In the US, fresh runs from about June to January. But DID YOU KNOW…they get their name from where they were originally mass cultivate – Brussels Belgium? They’ve been widely enjoyed since the 1500’s over there…but just in the 20th century did they gain in popularity in the US. Mostly from California, you can get them frozen all year round, but fresh is best.
LOADED with good stuff our bodies need, BS (you know what that means right? and it’s so fitting since they can smell like a fart if you overcook them 🙂 ) are a super food. Coming from the cruciferous veggie category, they contain the metals and micronutrients we need along with loads of Vitamins A, C, K, and B6, not to mention folic acid and fiber.
Lula’s BS recipes include but are not limited to Roasted (simple and our favorite), Dijon Garlic, and a magnificent festive Fennel & Pomegranate Salad. Relax…they won’t make YOU smell like a fart!
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
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!
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
OK, we’re here…it’s fall rapidly descending into holidays…so I thought I’d touch on some winter spices that everybody uses for BAKING…but since I’m not the Pastry Queen I’m going to talk a bit about nuance and savory cooking. Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices because it has such a nuanced flavor if you use the right amount that most people can’t tell it’s in there…it’s the big ole’ “What IS that flavor?!?” that I love to hear so much 🙂
Nutmeg was fought over (the islands that grew it) and considered so valuable that it was sterilized when it left an island so that it couldn’t re-seed or grow anywhere else. It comes from a tree that also produces mace (more on that next time). The DEATH penalty was enforced for anyone smuggling nutmeg. First the Portuguese and the Dutch battled over dominion. Then the Dutch and the English. I’m going to leave you with two fun facts:
1) The Island of Manhattan, then called New Amsterdam, is part of the United States because of a negotiation in 1667 ending this particular spice war.
2) Add a pinch of nutmeg whenever you use cream, milk, or eggs. No matter the recipe. You’ll thank me!
For more tips and tricks you can subscribe here for some weekly wisdom!
Native to South America, the quinoa seed comes in 3 different varieties, and I like them all – particularly together. Sometimes its hard to find the blend though, and when I can’t I’ll settle for red.
White quinoa is the most plentiful; it is the largest and has a nutty vegetal flavor and the softest texture of the three. Red is next in size and is crunchier because it has an outer seed coat that makes it even nuttier (any reason, you think, why this would be my fave?!?) Black is the tiniest and the crunchies with an even thicker seed coat.
The reason I personally like to mix them is because the white explodes and is fluffiest, the red has the best flavor and texture (to me – this is personal folks!), and the black will virtually always remain crunchy. Interesting flavors and textures always make for a more delicious meal! Lula’s Catering makes soups and stews with quinoa as well as entrée salads and side dishes. It’s packed with nutrition and is gluten free … a real winner! For more tips & tidbits from Lula you can always go here – just type in your key word question and I’ll probably have some sort of answer!! With love, Lula
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 !
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!
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.
In Lula's Kitchen, Love is ALWAYS our First Ingredient!