Category Archives: Lula’s for Lunch

Keep your Guacamole GREEN!

I hate it when my beautiful avocado stuff starts to “turn” and gets dull and brown.   Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering  has to make a pretty large volume upon occasion and sometimes it has to sit in the fridge for a couple of days – and there’s just not enough acid in the recipe to keep it in the “Kermit” family, SO…..I cover the surface with a thin film of WATER.  The guac is dense enough (and fatty enough!)  that it won’t absorb the water – so when I’m  ready to use it I just tilt the container and pour the water off and voila!  it’s just as vibrant as when I made it!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Merry Christmas!I miss my mom.  She hasn’t left this earth, but she’s not really here either – she has Alzheimer’s.  I would really like to feed my mom this Mother’s Day – she would love the menu (well…most of it, anyway…like these Deconstructed Truffled Deviled Eggs) and that’s saying something – she has never really even liked to eat!

Instead, I’d like to feed you.  The good news is that you can mix and match Lula’s selections from our Mother’s Day menu.  You can order for as few as 8 people on up.  And we deliver the day before with presentation instructions so it’s foolproof and you can take all of the credit if you want! 🙂  Click here to see the goodies from which you can choose!

A Note From Chef Lori

Here’s another offering on our Mother’s Day menu…Raspberry or Strawberry Rhubarb Fool with Cardamom Dust – creamy, sweet, tart, cool…

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Lula’s Sugar Series – The Wet Stuff LAST Post – Sorghum

What a plant.  This stuff is kind of like hemp in its varied uses and value.  Look it up!  I will only concentrate on Sorghum SYRUP which comes from a native African grass.  Mostly made in the southeast and gulf states, every small batch and brand is different – owing probably to the soil and climate where the grass is grown.

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering loves sorghum for its earthy, malty and molasses like flavors and odors – it contributes depth to recipes and creates that “what IS that flavor” question on the tip of your palate! It is a (no longer) secret ingredient in Lula’s Kentucky Black Bourbon Sauce and is key in our popular Sorghum, Cider and Sassafras Vinaigrette, gracing our Heirloom Beet Salad pictured above.

Lula’s Sugar Series – The Wet Stuff Part 5 – Cane Syrup

Nothing more than simmered down pure cane juice, the inhabitants of Louisiana LOVE Cane Syrup as it’s the easiest liquid sugar for them to get – about half of the sugar cane in the US is grown in Louisiana.  Cane Syrup has a burnt caramel flavor, sometimes described as boozy.  Louisianans use it over sausage, biscuits, and in cakes like fruit and spice.  You should too!

BACK to the Sugar – Liquid, Part 4 – Agave

Agave Nectar is all the rage amongst naturalists these days…it comes from the Blue Agave succulent that grows mostly in Mexico, which also gives us tequila.   It can be used in baking and some folks prefer it – as it has a relatively neutral taste.    As with all liquid sugars in recipes, you want to reduce the other liquid in the recipe by one quarter.

Dry Sugar Part 5 – Demerara

A light brown, partially refined raw sugar, Demerara originally was called so because it actually came from Demerara – once a colony that has now become the country of Guyana.  The sugar has large crystals and is somewhat brown in color, but there are no additives.  It is crunchy with a warm caramel flavor.  It is an excellent topping for baked goods – it won’t break down and melt during the baking process.

Demerara has become so popular that it is now produced in many other countries, and is generically referred to as “turbinado” which is more of a descriptor of the PROCESS, rather than a type of sugar.    The terms are pretty much interchangeable.  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses demerara A LOT in many applications…because it’s DEEEELICIOUS!

BROWN Shugah – Sugar Series Dry Part 2

OK!  So, we’ve talked about what I’m calling “cupboard sugar” (white granulated), and now let’ talk about the OTHER cupboard sugar – BROWN.  Funny – brown sugar IS white sugar, only with molasses added (more about this particular liquid sugar later).    The more molasses is added, the “dark”er the brown sugar is – so you can guess what’s happened when your supermarket brown sugar is labeled “light” or “dark” brown sugar.  Since molasses is a liquid, it will evaporate.  When your brown sugar hardens this is what’s happened.  To prevent this as much as possible, simply wrap up your sugar tightly so air can’t get in (I use a rubber band after I’ve rolled up the bag as tightly as possible squeezing all of the air out – high tech, I know!)  If it DOES happen, warming the sugar in a 250 degree oven for five minutes should do the trick.  Let the sugar cool before you use it.  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering tends to use more dark brown sugar than light simply because we love its dense, deep flavor.  As an aside…I hope the picture associated with this article is not lost on you…sometimes I just can’t help myself with the humor and politics!!

 

Here’s the “Skinny” on Sweets (NOT!)

various types of sugar

For the next few weeks I’m going to prime you on sugar in all its forms.  We’re going to start with the “dry” – a 5 part series, and head into liquid – a 7 part series.  Let’s start with what you have in your cupboard/on your counter (at least I do – as bad as sugar is for you I want my white granulated sugar in my coffee every morning!!)  Because everything coming out of my kitchen is scratch, I don’t feel so badly about the tablespoon or two of the refined white stuff I have every day, because there are no “hidden” sugars in the other stuff I make.

GRANULATED WHITE SUGAR: refined from either cane or beets, is the most versatile of all sweeteners – with no distinct flavor of its own.  We can substitute other stuff if we like but this most ubiquitous of sugars is a staple in every home, for use in baked goods AND savory cooking – it (as do all sugars) tempers acidity in some foods like tomato sauce, and aids in browning in baked goods like bread.  I just have to add another pic because it’s too good not to.  This is the “love”, folks! 🙂

sugar-lips-fruit

Scent and Memory – a Powerful Combination!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange-Creme Ganash
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange-Creme Ganash

As you smell a fresh pine tree, cookies baking, bayberry or orange, do flashes of past Christmas holidays come flooding through your mind?  This very aromatic season is an easy way to describe the phenomenon of scent and memory.

The process of smelling is a thing of beauty.  Smell is a chemical sense detected by sensory cells called chemoreceptors in the nose that detect smell and pass on electrical impulses to the brain.  The brain then interprets patterns in electrical activity as specific odors and olfactory sensation becomes perception – we recognize this as smell.  The only other chemical system that can quickly identify, make sense of and memorize new molecules is the immune system (Sarah Dowdy, How Stuff Works).

Gratefully reprinted with permission from my good friend Pat Faust, Gerontologist – and her blog “My Boomer Brain”

Japanese Etiquette – or, Watch How You Eat Your Sushi!

app sushi w.ginger

Just kidding – eat it any way you like – but you might be interested to know that pickled ginger on the plate is not supposed to be a condiment.  While wasabi paste is supposed to be enjoyed WITH the sushi, the pickled ginger is meant as a palate cleanser AFTER you swallow!  Just sayin’…  At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! we like our ginger mild, so I pretty much scarf it down with all things sushi/sashimi!