Category Archives: Anytime

Instant Macaroons

Well…not really.   BUT….I have good news regarding egg whites.  You don’t need to throw them away when you’re separating eggs for the yolks in baking.  FREEZE THEM!  Yes, they thaw perfectly fine and you can then whip up your whites for meringue whenever you want!  YAY!  If you don’t have any on hand right now, please enjoy

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this pic of Fleuri’s (one of our faves in Charlottesville VA) Meringue and Puff Swan!

 

The Value of Saffron

 macrosaffron_flower

By weight, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, and more expensive than many precious metals…this is due to the fact that saffron must be hand harvested from a special fall crocus flower.  Each crocus flower only produces 3 stigmas (strands of saffron), and it takes over a quarter million strands to produce a pound!

Saffron has been around multi-tasking since about 1000 BC – as I wrote in a previous post – it used to be scattered on the floor of gathering halls and theatres in Greece and Rome to help cover the “scent” of humans :).  Other uses are medicinal – as with most yellow and red foods, it’s really good for you!

As far as food goes…saffron is prized for its honey-hay like flavor and aroma, and of course, the golden yellow color it produces with just a pinch into any sauce, rice, soup, etc.  Buy your saffron in tiny amounts in whole stamen form.  The ground stuff isn’t nearly as good as it has more stuff from the flower to make it weigh more.  If you just can’t bring yourself to spend the $$ when a recipe calls for saffron, try substituting turmeric (VERY good for you).

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses saffron in bread, soups, stews, risottos like our Saffron and Orchid Petal Risotto, and even desserts!  Have you tried saffron in a dish?  Tell us how you liked it here !

Awful Offal (NOT!)

App Brandied Poulet Pate on Slate

Do you like Pate?  Bologna? LIverwurst? Hot Dogs? Chances are you like offal, you just don’t know it.  How about “Sweetbreads with Mignonette Sauce”?

In the United States we tend to squeal a bit when we hear “offal”, but the “parts of an animal that fall off during slaughtering ‘off fall’ ”  are enjoyed and respected the world over.  Eating not only the working muscle of an animal but all parts is the best respect you can show the life that feeds you (you’ve heard me talk about “nose to tail” before…).  Enjoying these variety meats also helps to keep the price of the more expensive cuts controlled.

Ever had oxtail stew?  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering’s Oxtail Stew is the BEST!!!

 

Make your own Herbed Vinegar!

app Baba Lula Ganoush

Wanna be fancy?  Wanna “look” fancy at your next get together?  Pick your vinegar:  Apple Cider, White, Wine, or Rice …let’s stop there and keep it simple.  Add 3 tablespoons fresh herb or mixture of herbs of your choice (mix a couple and make it a “house” vinegar”) for every quart of vinegar.

Don’t use ground herbs or spices because the vinegar will get cloudy.  Store it at room temperature, with a lid on, making sure your herbs are covered in the vinegar.  It will be ready in 24 hours, and after you use some, you can top it off again with the same original vinegar.  Just make sure your herbs stay covered.  If you’d like, you can remove the herbs after a couple of days.  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses our Tarragon Vinegar to make pickles that we put in several recipes ( see pic of our Baba Lula Ganoush garnished with them!)

Vinegar is a preservative, but it does have its limits.  The word itself is derived from the French “vin aigre” meaning  “sour wine”.  Don’t use more than around 3 tablespoons of your herb mix per quart because too much foreign “matter” can result in food poisoning.  Happy Creating!

What do Toothpaste and Tomato Paste have in Common?

The way you can squeeze every bit out of the tube…these days there are quite a few condiments in tubes that look a lot like toothpaste.  Whatever you call it – the “toothpaste winder” or the “tube squeezer”, you can use it for the condiments just like you would on a tube of toothpaste!  Frugal, anyone?!?  For more tips and tidbits  like these you can subscribe to Lula’s Blog here.

A Slice of Lemon, Please

Next time you order iced tea and the waitress asks, “With Lemon?” do yourself a favor and say yes.  If you make iced tea at home, a slice of orange will do almost the same good as the lemon, with a slice of lime coming in third.

Researches at Purdue University say adding the citrus slice helps you absorb far more of the antioxidants in tea, whether it’s green tea or black.

Citrus fruit is wonderful for you in many ways.  Lula’s for Lunch… and More! Catering incorporates citrus fruit into MANY of our dishes, sometimes overtly, and sometimes you’ll never even know it’s there!

lemons'nlimes

That’s BALONEY!

REPRINTED FROM Southern Living – Meghan Overdeep

Few lunchmeats leave us with more questions than the classic bologna. It’s perfectly round, impossibly pink, and as synonymous with brown bag lunches as juice boxes. But for something so common, most Americans know very little about bologna’s origin.

While we’re not going to get into the exact ingredients used to make the homogenous meat (mostly pork), we do want to explore another bologna mystery: why it’s pronounced “baloney” and not “bo-lo-nya.”

Not surprisingly, the answer takes us to Italy. In particular, to the northern town of Bologna (bo-lo-nya), where mortadella, bologna’s kissing cousin, was born. Mortadella is traditional cured sausage made from ground pork. The bologna we know and love was derived from mortadella.

So that clears up how it got its name. As for how we came to pronounce it the way we do, we turn to a recent HuffPost investigation.

Linguist Mark Liberman’s theory is that our bizarre pronunciation follows the pattern of Italian words ending in -ia (Italia, Sicilia, and Lombardia), which took on -y endings in English (Italy, Sicily and Lombardy).

“My hypothesis would be that it’s an instance of the old pattern,” Liberman told HuffPost. “But it’s ‘Bologna’ not ‘Bolognia’, right?”

Others believe that it could have sprung from Italians’ penchant for shortening and altering words like “prosciut” for “prosciutto” and “mozz” or “mozzarel” for “mozzarella.”

Lexicographer and Wall Street Journal columnist Ben Zimmer told HuffPost that he agrees with Liberman’s theory. “It’s clear that the sausage was called that from the mid-19th century, and I’m sure that was a time when other Italian place names were getting anglicized in that way,” he noted.

By the 1920s, people were using “baloney” (or boloney) to describe non-food-related things. According to HuffPost, writer Harry Charles Witwer referred to a big clumsy boxer as “a boloney” in 1920. It wasn’t long before it was being used as a slang term within the larger world of sports.

“It was at a time when sportswriters in particular were looking for funny words to describe these lumbering boxers,” Zimmer told HuffPost. “And whatever connection they were making to the sausage ? whether it was that they had sausage for brains or they kind of looked like big sausages ? it served its purpose as a funny-sounding word.”

And then somewhere along the line, the “funny-sounding word” took on the definition we use it for today: nonsense.

So, there you have it. As for the exact details regarding how the funny-looking meat got it’s funny-sounding name, we may never know. We’re just sure glad it did.

Lula’s Note:  One of my favorite sandwiches is the Muffaletta – an Italian sandwich containing mortadella.  If you want to try a good mortadella go to The Farmstand Café in Union KY – they have a fabu free range mortadella sandwich!  And if you ever want mortadella on your Antipasti Platter from Lula’s … just ask – we’re happy to customize!

A Nashville Birthday, Part 4!

Ok, so day 4 HAS to be the best day yet, a PEARL of a day…I slept in.  Again.  Knowing we were going to Hattie B’s for “brunch” (fried chicken, anyone?!?)  I had no need for breakfast – didn’t want to be full for the next “leg” (get it?) of our trip.  I had resisted Hattie B’s for the obvious reason that it’s so popular.  There’s always a line out the door, and sometimes around the block, in BOTH locations…there’s the Diner’s and Dives review…even Lonely Planet found it.  Now it’s growing all over the place (Atlanta, etc) and I was scared of all of this – you know my control issues.  Not to worry.  EVERYONE of us was thrilled with our food – and the wait was a total of about 15 minutes (after we drove away from the first location with the line around the block and went to the location I really WANTED to go to because of the junk store nearby I had found).  There are 5 heat levels for your chicken, from Southern to Shut the Cluck Up.  No one was adventurous enough to Shut the Cluck Up; mine was the first heat level from Southern, and everyone else tried medium or hot.  Some of the best fried chicken I have ever had.  I had dark, and everyone else loved their bosoms and said they were not dry. My sides were Pimiento Mac ‘n Cheese (did NOT disappoint) and Southern Greens (did NOT disappoint, though mine are a tad better).

Across the street and down the block is a store called “Cool Stuff Weird Things” – if you want fun bar/kitchen/man cave stuff you can find it here – neon signs, wood carvings, etc.  Elvis has definitely not left the building.   I ended up with 2 Michael Crichton books – Gordon just wasn’t as excited about the kitsch as I was!

Then, on to what I thought would be a drive by.  NOT.  The Parthenon is an exact full scale replica of the Athens, Greece Parthenon.  Inside is what amounts to 3 museums, plus the requisite gift shop.  Located in Centennial Park, The Parthenon permanently houses the art collection of James M. Cowan – all American artists.  Some stunning stuff.  Then there’s Athena – 41 FEET 10 inches tall, gilded with 8 pounds of 23.75 carat gold.  To give you an idea of the size, Nike, winged goddess of victory, stands on Athena’s right hand at 6 FEET 4 inches tall!  We probably spent 1.5-2 hours here – though we could have spent all day.

Next, a trip to Grinder’s Switch Winery.  We had no idea what we were in for – as its located Marathon Village in a warehouse with some “fun shops” I had read…took about 10 minutes to get there.  Everything is so EASY to get to in Nashville!!!  We got our wine on, then our whisky, then wandered into a fabulous jewelry shop where we were offered a glass of wine while we browsed…we sucked our cheeks in and arched an eyebrow and pretended we belonged there.  Vincent Peach Jewelry, it turns out, adorns the stars… and I WANT SOME!  Honey, if you get me the ring in the picture, I’m gonna commission some earrings to go with it!!

Slightly silly from boozing…we headed back to the house to not miss the kickoff of the South Carolina Vanderbilt (Vandy to locals) game.  It was a rainy day … glad we didn’t get tickets!!  I would have hated it if it was sunny…I hate football.  But it was the best 2 quarters of football I’ve ever seen thanks to our HUGE TV and the explanations of the other 3 who all love football.  Or…it might have been the best 2 quarters of football because we put out a spread of Scotch Smoked Salmon with all accoutrement (look up a pic of my smoked salmon and you’ll see what I mean!), my wonderful birthday cake,   and ¾ of the  humongous TOMATO PIE from the night before that was supposed to be an appetizer (for 8 people, maybe!!).  So…dinner taken care of!!

We only got to watch half of the game, because our reservations at The Listening Room were at 6PM.  What a wonderful place!  There were 4 musicians on stage, headlined by Fiona Culley, a British songwriter and singer now living in Nashville – trying to obtain permanent status.  There’s a $15. Minimum per person for drinks/food in addition to the $20 per head entrance fee on nights like these – and it’s totally worth it.  Naturally, since we had eaten at “home” – we spent our minimum on booze. J  This was, in my opinion, the best way to spend our last night in Music City.  And thank the universe for Lyft! If you want to read about days 1,2, and 3 click here!

De Arbol Chiles (Cayenne)

Ground Cayenne comes from the De Arbol Chile – which is found in abundance in New Mexico.  I’m currently reading a book about chiles (yes, there are whole BOOKS written about chiles!), and it made me remember a time long ago when I traveled to New Mexico and experienced many things for the first time.  I was so excited about the chile wreaths and decorations they make there that I purchased one and brought it back home to Cincinnati.  I hung it in my catering kitchen.  It was beautiful!  A couple of months later, I noticed what appeared to be “fruit flies” but smaller, one at a time, floating around the house.  A swat here, a swat there, no problem!  But within days, they were getting in my eyes, and crawling up my nose, when I walked into the kitchen.  I called mom.  They know everything, right?  Well, if they don’t, they care enough to find out.  After 2 or 3 calls back and forth after she consulted with friends, and alot of questioning, it turns out the chile wreath had been the host of thousands of microscopic eggs, which hatched and became fleeting residents of Cincinnati Ohio.  The remedy:  freeze the wreath.  It was winter by then so I just set it out on the back deck overnight and voila!  Problem “debugged”.  Wreath rinsed and back in place for all to enjoy!  Moral of the story: rinse your chiles before eating – even if you’re not a caterer!! – Lula