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.
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
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 .
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.
OK, so you went to the store on Wednesday after work for the dinner you’re throwing on Saturday (Soccer Thurs, Basebal Fri, Ballet Sat morning – UGH…) !! Saturday rolls around and the broccoli and carrots you bought are just FINE, but your lovely lettuce leaves are drab and wilted. Perk it UP, no worries! Tear your lettuce into the size you want it and throw it into a bath of iced water (cubes from freezer + half water. Store it in the fridge for 30 minutes and BAM! (thank you, Emeril) perky, ready for ACTION lettuce! Lift it out and place on a tea towel, gently roll it up to relieve the lettuce of its extra moisture, and lubricate with the dressing of your choice!! Happy crunching! BTW if you’ve heard somewhere that a bit of vinegar in the water helps, don’t do it. Makes the lettuce taste “off”. More tips and tidbits can be found weekly here.
Citrus costs have skyrocketed. At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we use alot of citrus. It’s a major flavoring agent and provides depth and background to many dishes. It’s not cheap, though, so we save wherever and whenever we can. Buying bags of lemons or limes instead of the one you need at a time can save well over 50% and you don’t have to waste a drop (or a curl).
You can zest your citrus and freeze it, and after it’s zested, you can squeeze all of the juice out into a bowl (and depending on what method you’re using you won’t even have any seeds to contend with!). Keep a plastic ice tray for just such occasions and you will always have a measured supply of citrus on hand. Each “cube” spot holds the juice of approximately one lemon or lime. Fill your tray, freeze it, and pop them out into a baggie to keep in your freezer for easy, measured access.
If you want to know the best way to get maximum juice out of your citrus, you can search “lemon, citrus, or juice” at blog.lulasforlunch.com and a previous “how-to” will pop up!! Now SMILE, sourpus!! – Lula