The Almond as Dessert


Recently, a friend called me in despair because she couldn’t get her cookie recipe right.  I asked about her ingredient list and she told me she had used Marzipan as the recipe had called for Almond Paste.  Mystery solved!  Though they are both made from almonds, they are DEFINITELY not interchangeable. 


 


Almond Paste is made (check the label) from almonds (first on the label if it’s a decent almond paste) and some sugar or sugar product  and cooked till creamy then canned.  Marzipan is value added almond paste – the added value being more sugar.  It’s stiffer, and much sweeter, and used more to decorate and make candy rather than in baked goods.  So there you have it – if you love almonds (and dessert), try some recipes with either of these two ingredients!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering wishes for you a VERY satisfied sweet tooth!


 

The Mysterious Pomegranate

Asian in origin, the pomegranate is considered special for 3 general reasons: 1) They are available only in fall/early winter – their elusivity gives them exclusivity! 2) Virtually all of the pomagranates sold in the United States are grown in one valley in California. 3) They are heavy in anti-oxidants and are packed full of medicinal qualities – from easing stomach aches to shrinking tumours.

Folks tend to shy away from working with pomegranates because they are not the easiest food to work with, plus, they stain just as badly as beets – so wear gloves or be particularly neat!!

Here’s an easy way to get the arils (seeds) out of the pomegranate:  Fill a medium-large bowl with cold water.  Cut the “crown” end of the pomegranate off (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you hold one).  Slice down the sides lengthwise from the missing crown – just scoring the flesh.  You can then pull apart the fruit in sections and drop them into the water.  Then sort of love-up on the sections with your hands – gently rolling and squeezing.  The arils will break away and drift to the bottom, and the white membrane will float to the top.

Sprinkle the seeds (about ½-3/4 cup per fruit) on salads, or juice them for about ½ cup of juice.  You can reduce the juice to a syrup along with some balsamic vinegar for a wonderful glaze for chicken or pork.  Because they’re red, they’re naturally a great fit at holiday time.  Or, just drink the juice for those fabulous health benefits!  Try Lula’s ( www.lulasforlunch.com ) Sweet Potato Pops w/Pomegranate when it’s in season – they’re YUMMY!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psycho Sausage – The Multiple Personalities of Chorizo


Did you know there are two Chorizo’s out there?  There’s Spanish, and there’s Mexican.  Most recipes won’t tell you which to use – you need to understand the origin of the dish to select accurately.


 


Spanish Chorizo looks like a pepperoni or summer sausage, because it is dry cured like they are.  It is made with Sweet Paprika (there are two types of Paprika as well!!) and can be eaten sliced right from the “stick”.  You would use this in Paella, for instance.


 


Mexican Chorizo, even though it can come in a casing, has the consistency of bulk sausage and contains more fat.  It is seasoned more with chiles and vinegar.  You need to cook Mexican Chorizo – either in the casing or squeezed out of the casing – just like you would ground beef or bulk sausage.


 


At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we use Mexican Chorizo in our South American Strata, and it’s DEElicious!!  Or, ask for our Texi-Mexi Empanadas – served with our amazing Avocado-Cilantro Crème.