OK, let’s get all sciency about blueberries. Because it’s important. Blueberries may just be the #1 Super Food…and we all need to take advantage of THAT! Here are a couple of reasons why:
Our bodies are incapable of producing several essential antioxidants, and you get a dose of all three of these when you eat a handful of blueberries: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and the mineral Manganese.
Blueberries slow aging, fight disease, and provide the same bacteria blocking action that cranberries do to help prevent urinary tract infections.
Compounds in blueberries help prevent all kinds of dementia.
Blueberries are available year round in the supermarket – no, they’re not as fabulous as going out and picking them yourself in July, but you have NO EXCUSE to not eat them year round and HELP YOU BE A BETTER YOU!
Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering utilizes blueberries in salads, barbeque sauces, and of course, desserts, to give you a few ideas…while you’re conjuring up your own please salivate to the picture of our Lemon Shortbread with Blueberry Floris Compote above!
Apparently I’m kind of obsessed with sugar, which is odd since I’m not a real sweets fan. I looked over past blogs to see if I’d given this information before and I haven’t, so I think you’ll appreciate all of the names on labels that really mean sugar. Here’s why it’s important: SUGAR IS PHYSICALLY ADDICTIVE. Just like a narcotic. It affects dopamine receptors and causes the brain to behave as if it’s reacting to a narcotic pleasure loop. And sadly, almost anything “white” has hidden sugar in it. Here are most of the names you will find on the back (or FRONT!) of a food label that mean SUGAR:
*High-fructose corn syrup(we all knew that didn't we?)*Xylitol
*Evaporated Cane Juice
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!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!!
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! 🙂
In Lula's Kitchen, Love is ALWAYS our First Ingredient!