Category Archives: Summer

Eat the BLUE in that BERRY!

Lemon Shortbread with Blueberry-Floris Compote

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Blueberries slow aging, fight disease, and provide the same bacteria blocking action that cranberries do to help prevent urinary tract infections.
  3. 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!

You’re a PEACH!

Biting into a fresh, sweet, juicy peach is one of summer’s greatest pleasures.  But did you know that peaches are also a superstar in the nutrition department?

They’re low in calories, contain only a negligible amount of fat and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Also, despite peaches’ sweet flavor, they’re relatively low in sugar compared to many other fruits, and their robust fiber content helps minimize any quick spikes in blood sugar.

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering loves utilizing the peach in the summer – we love to pair it with lavender, and almond, as well as make salsa and chutney, and let’s not forget CHAMPAGNE!!  You’re looking at our Peach-Lavender Parfait and our Homemade Olive Oil Crostini topped with Brie and our Peach-Vidalia Relish.

Disclaimer:  The first two paragraphs are stolen DIRECTLY from the Sam’s Club Newsletter this month!!

An Easy Grilling Tip

OK – so we all know raw chicken is yucky, right?  Instead of using 2 sets of tongs and platters to “separate” the salmonella from the fabulousness (Lula’s for Lunch…and More! ‘s fabulous Tico Chicken pictured above) , try wrapping aluminum foil around your tong ends and layering your platter with foil, do your marinating and transferring to the grill…then when the chicken exterior is getting done, whip off the foil on both apparati (great word, right?!? – I made it up!) and continue using them to transfer your cooked chicken to your clean platter!  Lula is now bowing for the applause…

Sugarplums are REAL!

My friend Heidi Bright, Author of “Thriver Soup”, an incredible manual for those taking the cancer journey and their loved ones, offered this blog last week, and I just had to take advantage of her information!

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, / While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”

The children in this poem dreamed of sugarplums. What are sugarplums? I was amazed to learn in May that they were growing in my front yard.

In June 2016, I watched each morning as a robin picked all the little fruit from my serviceberry tree. During this past May, I read about these edible, nutritious delicacies. They have many names, including June, Saskatoon, prairie, shadbush, and pigeon berries, along with wild plum and chuckley pear.  And sugarplum.

This summer birds squawked nearby each morning as I picked the berries while red, because the fruit would not last long enough on the shrub to turn a darker shade.

They are shaped like small blueberries yet are more related to the apple family. Their mildly sweet, almondish flavor contribute plenty of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and nutrients to my breakfast.

They go great with diluted coconut butter, chia seeds, and soaked/dehydrated raw pecans. Maybe this coming Christmas, long after these berries are consumed, I’ll be dreaming of sugarplums dancing in my breakfast bowl.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

More than 50,000 plant species and possibly more than 80,000 on our planet are edible. Only about 3,000 of these species are regularly used as food. 103 species make up 90 percent of our plant food supply.  That’s paltry.

By expanding the types of foods we eat, we can expand the nutrients available to us. Perhaps check out Whole Foods, Jungle Jims, and some farmer’s markets this summer to discover some new tastes and textures.

Daddy’s “Pie Plant”

raspberry-rhubarb-fool-2

We’re talkin’ Rhubarb, here…known all over the US as “Pie Plant”.  I first tasted rhubarb when my daddy began growing it in our back yard for my mother to make pies.  He had grown up on Rhubarb Pie in Michigan and my mom had never heard of it!

Officially a vegetable, rhubarb has been treated as a fruit for centuries.  I find it to be a very interesting vegetable because of all of its contradictions:  used as a fruit but it’s a vegetable, its leaves are toxic (yes they will KILL you if you eat a bunch, or just make you really sick if you only eat one or two), and its root has been used medicinally for eons to cure several maladies, constipation for one!Chemicals in rhubarb have also been found to destroy leukemia cells and lung cancer cells.  Go figure!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie comes to mind when rhubarb is brought up in conversation, but Lula has a base recipe for several lovely dishes using RASPBERRY Rhubarb.  Enjoy this pic of our Raspberry Rhubarb Fool!  You can ask for a derivation of this combination anytime from February thru July usually – or until we run out!!

I’m Sweet on Sweet Onions!

App Peach Vidalia and Brie Crostini

Enjoy the Vidalia while you can…its harvesting seasons is short – but did you know that there are other types of sweet onions out there to enjoy?  The sweet onion is defined by its low sulfur content and higher water content than pungent onions.  Many consider the Vidalia king, but did you know the Bermuda onion is also a sweet onion?  How about Walla Walla from Washington State, or the Texas 1015 (also known as the Million Dollar Baby as it took just over one million dollars to research and develop it).  Others include Pecos, Sunbrero, Carzalia, and Sweetie Sweet, to name a few.   SC Sweets are from my home state of South Carolina, grown in the peanut belt.  When the sweet onions can be found, I make my Peach-Vidalia Relish.    If you ask real nicely, Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering will stuff a chicken breast with Goat Cheese and drizzle a little relish on top (thank you Debby!)   Please enjoy this picture of it placed atop a Dauphinois Crostini!

What’s YOUR favorite Basil?

Lula's Caprese Crostini

I tend to “decorate” with herbs…I have such a beautiful garden and it’s so easy to pluck a few varieties both flowering and non flowering.   Since it’s almost basil season I’d love to alert you to  a couple of GORGEOUS varieties of Basil that are purple instead of green!  The Purple Ruffles variety has leaves that look like a 1970’s handkerchief skirt.  The “Red Rubin variety has pink flowers!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering makes our Caprese Crostini with Genovese Pesto, garnished with Lime Basil, two OTHER varieties!

What ROTS in your Refrigerator?

Lavendar! '13

or…how to NOT waste herbs…

Many of you don’t have the luxury of snipping what you need out of your own herb garden and have to resort to supermarket packages of herbs.  Your recipe might call for a tablespoon of freshly minced basil and then what to do with that pretty full package?  Let me tell you…

Chiffonade it all (it’s not good to “chop” on delicate basil more than once).  If you need help with “chiffonade” email me here .  Keep an extra ice tray on hand for tasks such as this.  Put a teaspoon (or tablespoon or whatever you wish) of your herb into the ice cube pockets, cover them with olive oil, and freeze.  Once they’re hard you can dump them into a freezer bag, label the bag, and have “fresh” herbs for months to come!!  Yay, YOU!  Yay, #lulasforlunch !

Which Mint is Which Mint?

Drink Minted Lemon-Limeade

When a recipe calls for mint, what kind are they talking about?  There’s peppermint, there’s water mint, there’s spearmint…you’re probably getting spearmint from your grocer and it’s fine to put into any recipe calling for mint.  Peppermint is harder to find – you may have to end up growing it if you’re a mint connoisseur and really want some. Peppermint tends to be more pungent and peppery and is a bit less “delicate”  and usually used in candies and teas.  At any rate, don’t sweat it – just use whatever they’re selling if it’s an ingredient in a savory dish.    When it comes to a Mint Julep, spearmint is what is used to make the drink.  Just sayin’.  Mint is a lovely accompaniment and refreshing element to many beverages, like Lula’s Minted Lemon-Limeade pictured here.  SIP…AHHHHH…

A Beer Primer

Beer

I’m not a beer drinker.  There, I said it.  There are some beers that taste good to me, but in general, I don’t like the carbonation (I don’t drink pop either) and what it does to my ‘constitution”.  That being said, Cincinnati s a great beer town, and is becoming more  so every day with our new micro-breweries and pubs.  So, I thought, perhaps there are others out there who might like to know what they’re drinking, or talking about, when celebrating our city’s great tradition.  Here you go:

Beer (ALL beer – lager, ale, stout, bock, pilsener, porter, etc) is made from the same ingredients:  water, barley malt, hops, and yeast.  What makes a different taste, style, or type of beer is the addition of other ingredients, different types of yeast, and fermentation temperature.  Age also changes the flavor of beer.  So let’s touch on the 5 major “types” of beer and try and make sense of it:

ALE:    Ales are not aged, and are made with a yeast that floats to the top of the vat during fermentation.  They contain a little more alcohol than lagers.  They often have a hint of fruit in their flavor or aftertaste.  A type of ale is STOUT.  Darker and stronger than regular ale, a stout is brewed with toasted malt.

LAGER:  The yeast in lagers sinks to the bottom of the vat and is fermented slowly and at cool temperatures, and take one to six weeks to age.  Types of lager are:

PILSENER:  About a third fewer calories and about 20% less alcohol than regular lager.  Pale and golden, they are your “light” beers.

PORTER:  The stronger flavor of this lager comes from toasting the malt before brewing.  It is a  bit higher in alcohol content as well.

BOCK:  A dark German style of lager, bocks are traditionally spring beers, but these days they are brewed year round.  They are rich, and thicker (in Germany they are made by freezing the beer and taking off the top layer of ice to thicken it).  Bocks are brewed with roasted malts.

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses beer in some of our recipes.  Try our Ballpark Casserole – our Brats and Metts are poached in beer before grilling.  Or, this fall, order our Cheddar-Ale Fondue, served with our Brats and Metts as well as our homemade German Salt Rye!  You can always order our Beer Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sandwich from our Deli!  Cheers!