Category Archives: Fall

I am a NUT for Nutmeg!

OK, we’re here…it’s fall rapidly descending into holidays…so I thought I’d touch on some winter spices that everybody uses for BAKING…but since I’m not the Pastry Queen I’m going to talk a bit about nuance and savory cooking.¬† Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices because it has such a nuanced flavor if you use the right amount that most people can’t tell it’s in there…it’s the big ole’ “What IS that flavor?!?” that I love to hear so much ūüôā

Nutmeg was fought over (the islands that grew it) and considered so valuable that it was sterilized when it left an island so that it couldn’t re-seed or grow anywhere else.¬† It comes from a tree that also produces mace (more on that next time).¬† The DEATH penalty was enforced for anyone smuggling nutmeg.¬† First the Portuguese and the Dutch battled over dominion.¬† Then the Dutch and the English. ¬† I’m going to leave you with two fun facts:

1)   The Island of Manhattan, then called New Amsterdam, is part of the United States because of a negotiation in 1667 ending this particular spice war.

2) ¬†¬† Add a pinch of nutmeg whenever you use cream, milk, or eggs.¬† No matter the recipe.¬† You’ll thank me!

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Seasoned Squash Seeds = Savory or Sweet Snacks!

Lula’s ABC Soup (Apple, Butternut Squash & Curry)

Did you know you can treat any squash seeds the same as pepitas (pumpkin seeds)?  Do just what you would do with the pumpkin- separate the seeds from the pulp, put in a single layer on a cookie sheet and cook in a preheated 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Get creative with your seasonings!  Cinnamon and sugar, or Rosemary & sea salt … the combinations are endless!!  For more mouthwatering pics visit here !

Sweet Potato or Yam, Ma’am?

Tis the season…and Oh, the drama! Which is it? They are NOT related and another fun fact, the sweet potato isn’t even related to the potato! First, let’s scientifically (but not TOO scientifically) differentiate:

Sweet Potato:¬†¬†¬†¬†Originated in Central/South America.¬† A relative in the Morning Glory family.¬† Skin a plethora of colors.¬† Flesh a plethora of colors – the lighter the starchier.¬†¬† The bad news is…you can never tell the color of the flesh until after you buy them!

Yam:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Originated (and 95% still comes from) Africa/Asia.¬†¬†A member of the Lily family.¬† ¬†Mostly soft fleshed.¬† Can grow to over 100 pounds!¬† Sweet Potatoes are frequently mislabeled in the US because African Americans called them Yams as they resembled them.¬† Yams are hard to get in the US.¬† You’d have to go to an international market.¬† You WILL see sweet potatoes labeled as yams in grocery stores.¬† But if you look closely, they are also labeled sweet potatoes, because it’s the law.¬† A wonderful use of sweet potatoes, on the menu now at Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering is our Roasted Sweet Potato Salad! You can order as a side with your lunch or entree at¬† Yummy Yummy!!

You Want To Get To The ROOT Of The Matter, Don’t You?

Celery Root, that is!!  Also called Celeriac, this is a variety of celery that is cultivated for its root, not its stalks.  It is NOT the root of the traditional celery stalks you keep in your fridge (you have some on hand at all times for flavoring soups and stews, as well as snacking, right?!?)

Celeriac (pictured above in Lula’s for Lunch…and More! ‘s Creamy Pear and Celeriac Soup) has a knobby, dirty, formidable looking root that you will want to peel.¬† Because it’s starchy, in general you want to pick the smaller of the roots available to you.¬† The end product will be sweeter.¬† The more you cook it the sweeter it becomes.¬† It makes a great, “different” puree when you’re looking for a base for proteins (think parsnip instead of potatoes), and it provides one of those mysterious “what’s IN this?” flavors to sauces, soups and stews.¬† Now GET IN THAT KITCHEN and try something different!

Stone Crab Claws – the Perfect Tailgate Food!

Stone Crabs are in season from about October through April and are a RENEWABLE resource amongst shellfish.¬† We only eat the claws, and the claws regenerate – so no killing of crabs; everybody wins.¬† You can grill them over an open fire or steam them – you can use whatever cooking mechanism comes out of your trunk!¬† Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering serves them with¬† a Tarragon Remoulade! A simpler version is simply 1/2 Dijon Mustard and 1/2 good mayonnaise.¬† You’ll need a small hammer, or a nutcracker works well, and a couple of picks or seafood forks for digging out the DELICIOUS, sweet meat.¬† Happy Tailgating!¬† – Lula

Thanksgiving Leftovers Tip

Folks I stumbled upon another brilliant way to get rid of stuffing (IF you have any leftover!!!)¬† I always have it left over because it’s probably my favorite part of the meal besides gravy, and I make double the amount of stuffing to the amount of anything else I make!!

Fry up some breakfast sausage while you’re nuking your stuffing.¬†If you would prefer, Italian sausage works beautifully as well.¬† Sometimes¬†Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering¬†¬†puts Italian sausage in our stuffing if I’m in that sort of mood for Thanksgiving.¬† ¬†Lay¬†the sausage¬†on top of the hot stuffing and top it with a fried egg.¬† Kind of like eggs ‘n toast but richer and BETTER!!!!¬†¬† This should be accompanied by a steaming hot cup of coffee and a¬†glass of freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice.¬† Just sayin’.¬† ¬†Happy coma, Lula

Hot Tea Weather

I love a good cup of herbal tea…”regular” tea gives me a headache.¬† Did you know herbal tea isn’t tea at all?¬† The technical term is “tisane” for any infusion with hot water¬†of leaves, herbs, bark etc., ¬†that are NOT tea leaves.¬†There is only one kind of tea: Camellia Sinensis.¬† The various names you like or hear have to do with place (where the leaves come from) or flavorings.¬† For instance, if you like Earl Grey, you’re probably enjoying the bergomot orange oil¬†added to it.¬† Real tea comes in¬†four types:¬† black (fermented), oolong (semi-fermented), green (unfermented) and white – traditionally only from buds not leaves, and sun dried to prevented further oxidation).¬† Lula’s famous Lavendar Honey Tea is made with fermented (black) decaffeinated tea and lavendar from our garden (as well as honey, of course!)¬† We combine the best of both worlds to bring you a unique and delightful flavor, which can be enjoyed cold OR hot!

A History of Transparency – or, Pecan Pie


‚ÄėTis the season, and I thought you might be interested in the humble beginnings of one of America‚Äôs favorite holiday desserts.

Transparent, or Syrup, Pie, has been around the US¬†for eons ‚Äď it uses the most basic of readily available ingredients and even the poorest usually have them on hand: eggs, butter, and a sweetener in the form of whatever‚Äôs local (honey, maple, sorghum, cane, molasses).¬†¬† The Industrial Revolution came along and the US began to have a surplus of corn, and of course, we had to figure out what to do with it, so,¬† at the beginning of the 20th century, a cheap liquid sugar was invented using cornstarch, by the Corn Products Refining Company ‚Äď and they called it Karo.¬†

In the late 1920’s-early 30’s an executive’s wife (of the heretofore mentioned Corn Products Refining Company) made a transparent pie using Karo, and added pecans.  Notice the wife’s name is not in the history books.  As usual in a capitalist society, let’s create that need then fill it!  The CPRC began heavily marketing KARO pie and an American staple was born. 

This same pie, with added cream, is called syrup pie.  It tastes (no WAY!) creamier and more custardy, but is still extremely similar to transparent pie taste.  It’s a little runnier and you need to adjust your solids to your liquids if you’re going to try this avenue.  A great way is to substitute only egg yolks instead of whole eggs as the yolks contain less water than whites.

My bottom line is ‚Äď if you like historical recipes, go ahead and try Karo Pie (google google google!).¬† But if you really want a great tasting Pecan Pie, use an original sweetener ‚Äď my favorite being maple ‚Äď but that‚Äôs for YOU to decide.¬† I also add bourbon because I‚Äôm, well, me!

Those Crazy Gourds

It’s butternut squash season… a few hints and tips:¬† Choose one that’s “dusty” looking – shiny means it was picked too soon.¬† DID YOU KNOW…uncut squash can last up to 3 months at room temperature?!?!?¬† This is, obviously uncut and skin on.¬† So if you like it, stock up!¬† You can be eating squash in February/March when it’s all gone from the store!!¬† Butternut squash lends itself to both sweet and savory preparations.¬† One of my favorites (surprise) is soup – with sage. Lula wishes you heady gourdy delight!