Category Archives: Anytime

Who buys BIG OIL?!?

I go through some EVOO, Canola and Grapeseed. I’ve discovered when buying some of these big bottles that they have a seal I can puncture with a straw (we have stainless reusable ones ’cause we’re saving the planet, right? RIGHT!) ANYhoo…using that tiny hole to pour your oil can save BIG on cleanup when the GLUG GLUG GLUG gets out of control…or am I the only person that this happens to? I think NOT. You can subscribe to get this tips ands tricks once every week or so here , and look at pretty food pictures here!

Yes you CAN Freeze your Pasta!

Lula’s Linguine con Pesce Affumicato

How many of you out there make your own pasta? Did you know that you can make it in bulk and freeze the freshly made pasta for up to a month and it’ll be NO WORSE for it! Just hand toss with a little extra flour to prevent clumping, throw it in a bag or container and into the deep freeze it goes.

Store bought pasta also freezes well after you cook it, but not for toooooo long cause it’ll dry up around the edges pretty quickly. One of Lula’s Catering ‘s favorite winter dishes, Linguine with Smoked Fish (in this case trout) is seen above – served at a Christmas Feast of the Seven Fishes!

Chocolate and “The Toothpick Test”

Chocolate Apricot Cake w/Raspberries & Mint

Folks we all know about the “Toothpick Test” when baking, but did you know that you don’t want a fully set crumb (clean toothpick) when baking with chocolate?

The longer chocolate is exposed to heat, the more its flavor compounds dissipate.  For this reason, you always want a moist crumb (crumbs coming up on the toothpick) not an absence of crumbs.  Obviously, you can tell if its BATTER you’re pulling up instead of crumb – we don’t want raw and we don’t want “fully set”!!  Always err on the side of under done rather than fully done when baking with cocoa powder or chocolate!  Happy baking, Lula

For more tips, tricks, and ruminations, you can subscribe to Lula’s Newsletter here !

Quinoa – The Red White and Black Of It

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

Cleaning Up Bread Dough

Rosemary Flash Bread, Roasted Garlic Love Butter

Folks if you’re making your own bread, I have a tip for you: after you’re through kneading and your hands are all yucky, wash them over the sink with a handful of FLOUR, not water. That’s right….grab a quarter cup or so of dry flour and scrub your hands till most of the dough has dried and flaked off. THEN rinse them with COLD water – hot water activates the starches and things will get gooey again!

Are You An Oven Clutz?

How does one get these fantastic smooth layers?  Well, I personally don’t know – I’m not very good at this – this beautiful cake from one of my new bride and grooms is courtesy of Servatiis.  What I DO know is that practically every time I use the oven (multiple times a day) I burn myself.  Check out my arms sometime.

I have discovered, when baking anything round in a pan like one of these cake layers or a quiche, that if I use a spatula and sneak it underneath the pan and rotate it instead of using oven mitts, I char myself less frequently.  Hope this helps for you too!  Other tips and tidbits relating to ANYTHING food and drink can be found  here, joyeously provided by Lula’s Catering !

Formal Seaweed?!?

How cute is this?  You can find this dried Bowtie SEAWEED in the Asian section of a good supermarket.  Seaweed is LOADED with nutrients, extremely low in calories, and can be enjoyed in virtually any soup or casserole without a hint of the “sea”.   Seaweed is now being cultivated, it’s become so popular.  If you LIKE seaweed, order it raw in a seaweed salad at many Asian restaurants.  I love it both ways.    If you haven’t tried it,  be BRAVE, do so, and be GOOD to yourself!!  With love, Lula

Ever Heard of Kernza? Deep Roots help Save the Planet!

Below is an excerpt to a great article helping explain one aspect of sustainability.  Click on the link at the bottom for more…

“Human life on this earth does not exist without healthy soil,” Tessa Peters, commercialization manager at The Land Institute, says. “We need grain crops [for foods] like bread, rice, pasta, and all of those are based on an annual agriculture, which is extractive. The development of a perennial agriculture that’s regenerative is essential to human life, because it means that we are not washing soil away, so we are able to survive the current existing climate crisis.”   MORE HERE

Eco Info Part 6 of 6! – Carbon Footprint

OK, so these aren’t “carbon” footprints, but they might as well be, because they’re human, and we produce carbon.  In the foodservice industry, an establishment’s carbon footprint is impacted by its use of greenhouse gases, which are emitted by generated waste, water consumption, and transportation.  Restaurants (and caterers!) can minimize their carbon footprints by reevaluating their energy consumption, using sustainable packaging, and reducing waste.

Gordon (the the fabulous hubby) makes fun of me because I reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as I can.  I guess it did start out as a memory imprint from my mother, who, being raised in the great depression, learned from HER mother to waste nothing.  Little did I know it would become so necessary for the survival of the human race!  If you’d like more “eco info” – common terms explained, peruse the back issues of Lula’s blog from the last couple of months.  And I’m here for questions too!  So go ahead and leave your footprints in the sand…they wash away and you’re having no harmful impact!!  With love, ALWAYS, with love, Lula!

Eco Info Part 4 of 6! – Compostable

Compostable materials disintegrate into natural elements in a compost environment, and make OUTSTANDING soil mixer for your garden.   Commercial composting facilities use ideal amounts of sunlight, temperature, and moisture to create an environment that rapidly breaks down materials.   My dad and mom were the original composters.  We had a huge area behind our “cottage” in the back yard, with  3 walls, and daddy would stir it around every few days (I’m talking a mound so big kids couldn’t climb it).  On our kitchen counter, on a paper towel, were ALWAYS eggshells, banana peels etc to get dumped every day in that compost heap.  Then daddy would take the finished compost and use it in our huge garden, where we had fresh vegetables growing 9 months out of the year.

When I was about 30 or so, I found a cute ceramic countertop compost “bin” for their kitchen and it was a Christmas present.  Probably the best thing I ever got them – they loved it.  No more uglies on the counter!  When they came down in price I bought stainless ones for practically the whole family.  Above is a picture of Lula’s Catering ‘s Compost Bin.

Always check the materials your composting facility accepts before sending your waste.  Go green by requesting a composting bin from your local facility – some places provide them for free!