Category Archives: Anytime

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

The Secret to Great Pancakes

We all love pancakes, right?  My favorite are extra fluffy melt in your mouth on the inside and crispy (slightly overdone!) on the outside…Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering’s pancakes are called “Crepey Cakes” because they’re so light and dreamy like a crepe, but with more “heft” – we use whole grains in our batter.

It doesn’t matter whether you like whole grains, make your own, or they come from a box – a couple of tips to always insure your pancakes aren’t doughy and leaden:  1) Pour your liquids in first and mix them up.  2) whatever liquid your recipe calls for, add 1/4 more liquid (milk or water) – so, if you’re making pancakes for 4, and your recipe calls for 1 cup milk, ad 1 1/4 cups milk.  3) Scatter your dry ingredients over the liquid and using a fork or a whisk, not a spoon, lightly fold stuff toge ther til incorporated but some lumps remain.  Pancake batter is in effect a “dough” and you don’t want to activate the gluten too much or they’ll become tough.  4) and probably most importantly, let your batter REST for 10-15 minutes before you dribble it into the pan.  Don’t stir your batter to get it into the pan.    We’re (me and all the people in my head) happy to answer any questions you may have about your batter – email them under “Ask/About Lula’ on the website www.lulasforlunch.com  Have a satisfying breakfast!  Or brunch, lunch, dinner…I LOVE pancakes for dinner!!

The Crazy Kitchen

Rustic Buffet

A quote from Eustace Conway: “One of the reasons people are unhappy is they don’t talk to themselves.  Keep a conversation going with yourself throughout your life to see how you’re doing, to keep your focus, to remain your own friend.”  This validates me!  I talk to myself all the time, especially in the kitchen, and my husband used to think I might be crazy.  He is more used to me now, and knows I’m crazy.    I am a comfort to me, and I think I’m lucky to have that!  I hope the comfort from Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering http://www.lulasforlunch.com  shows up in your food.   My best, Lula

A Potent Prescription

A man went to the doctor and told her that he hadn’t been feeling well lately.  The doctor performed a quick exam, then left the room and came back a few minutes alter with three bottles of large colored pills.

“Take the green pill with a big glass of water when you wake up,” the doctor said.  “Then take the blue pill with a big glass of water after you eat lunch.  Just before you go  to bed, take the red pill with another big glass of water.”  “Geez, doc, that’s a lot of medicine,” the patient protested.  “What’s the matter with me?”

“You’re not drinking enough water.” -reprinted from Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering’s  always amusing  MECHANIC – Ernie’s Garage.water jug

MSG – Hell Hath no Fury

app Boudin Stuffed Shrooms

Monosodium Glutamate got lots of attention starting in the 60’s, when “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was researched and MSG was named the culprit.  Some, but not all people don’t react well to MSG, even though it is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies (with the largest concentration of it in our nervous system).  MSG is the sodium salt of Glutamic Acid, and it naturally occurs in mushrooms, seaweed, and wheat gluten, as well.

Most manufacturers and restaurants are msg (added) “free” these days…but it is NOT reason for a hissy fit if you feel like your sinuses are swelling or you start sneezing and you find out that something you ate contained a little bit of MSG, or had naturally occurring MSG in it.  In fact, salt and sugar are WAY more dangerous for you than MSG.  Chances are, you’ve been consuming naturally occurring msg your whole life and have never felt a thing!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering does not add MSG to anything we make, but we do love our mushrooms, our seaweed, and our bread. 🙂 Please enjoy this pic of our Boudin Stuffed Mushrooms above!

Do You Have ANY Willpower?!?

In my house there’s very little danger of chips of any kind going stale…but just in case you have more willpower than I do, did you know…storing potato chips in the refrigerator keeps them fresher longer?!?!?!

There are 2 reasons for this:

  1. Refrigerators are a low moisture environment so there’s simply less moisture for the chips to absorb than pantry air.
  2. Potato chips are high in starch content and when starch molecules cool they crystalize to become firm.

If you like handy-dandy tips  like these about once a week from Lula’s Catering  you can subscribe here and we’ll just keep you brimming with food knowledge!!!

Psycho Sausage – The Multiple Personalities of Chorizo

 

Did you know there are two Chorizo’s out there?  There’s Spanish, and there’s Mexican.  Most recipes won’t tell you which to use – you need to understand the origin of the dish to select accurately.

 

Spanish Chorizo looks like a pepperoni or summer sausage, because it is dry cured like they are.  It is made with Sweet Paprika (there are two types of Paprika as well!!) and can be eaten sliced right from the “stick”.  You would use this in Paella, for instance.

 

Mexican Chorizo, even though it can come in a casing, has the consistency of bulk sausage and contains more fat.  It is seasoned more with chiles and vinegar.  You need to cook Mexican Chorizo – either in the casing or squeezed out of the casing – just like you would ground beef or bulk sausage.

 

At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we use Mexican Chorizo in our South American Strata, and it’s DEElicious!!  Or, ask for our Texi-Mexi Empanadas – served with our amazing Avocado-Cilantro Crème.

 

 

Sunflowers…Yet ANOTHER Milk Alternative!

 

We’re all familiar with dairy alternatives in the form of Soy and Rice Milk, and personally, since my age is now limiting my lactose intake, I’m using Almond Milk in my coffee, but yet another milk has hit the scene…it’s called Sol, and it’s made from sunflower kernels!  Sol contains the same amount of calcium as cow milk – roughly 30% of your daily allowance.  So if you have a lactose problem, your choices have just widened.  I personally haven’t tasted it yet – let me know what you think!  Let Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering know if you have a dairy problem and we’ll certainly work around it!   We here at  www.lulasforlunch.com wish you some Yummy for your Tummy!