A Cardamom Primer

Cardamom is a “spice of many colors” – it’s hard to figure out.  It is used worldwide in both savory and sweet cooking.  It isn’t cheap – and beware of its less expensive (and less flavorful) cousin sold as “black” cardamom.

Indian cooking employs cardamom in curries; all over the Middle East it is used to flavor coffee, and Scandinavians use it (bleached white whole pods, mostly) in baked goods, particularly at Christmas time. At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering, we use cardamom as a “secret” ingredient in many savory as well as sweet dishes…

Cardamom can sell for upwards of $60/pound for the good stuff – Whole, Fancy Green Pods.  You will more likely find the ground inner seeds (Ground Cardamom) in your every day grocery store, for about the same price per pound – so look to spend about $8-10 for a jar…if you’re paying less, you’re probably getting the “not so fancy” black cousin.  It will not impart the depth or mystery that the good stuff does.  Happy Cooking!  – Lula

Lori Pierce (Lula)

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering

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Do you Prefer Red or White?

FISH, that is!  A fun fact: Salmon get their “rose” color from eating pink crustaceons…as do FLAMINGOS!!!

Fish are predominantly “white meat” …but there are exceptions with the more active fish, like tuna, which produces more red myoglobin in their more muscular areas.  In general, water is a “weightless” environment and fish are designed to survive using very quick, darting movements to escape prey, as opposed to say, the cow, who has to fight gravity and endure the onerous task of walking (or in the old days believe it or not, running – think of a buffalo stampede).  So, the protein fibers are shorter and thinner in fish than in land animals.  They break down much more easily when cooked – so take far less time.

Because of the weightless environment of water, fish don’t need the connective tissue (ligaments, cartilage, tendons – which produce collagen) for their muscles to be bound to each other and to the skeleton, and once again, yet another reason that they can be cooked very quickly.

In fact, PLEASE don’t  cook your fish more than 10 minutes for every inch of thickness (a lovely 4-6 ounce of orange roughy or salmon filet will only take about 2-3 minutes per side, in fact, if you’re sauteeing) … you’ll just get tough flavorless fish.  So…in short…a VERY smart meal for us working gals short on time but wanting big flavor.  Any questions on how to prepare email me at Lori@lulasforlunch.com and…the question still remains…Red or White?!?