Fresh COW!

When you’re at the supermarket and looking at steaks or even any type of ground cow (hamburger, etc), don’t be fooled into thinking the “most red” package there is the freshest.  Here’s the REAL skinny:

Myoglobin is purplish/blue, which is the muscle protein in meat.  When it’s exposed to air, it turns into Oxymyoglobin, which is red.  (kind of like your veins have blue blood, but when you’re cut and the blood is exposed to air it turns red!).  So…what does this mean for you at the store?  Bright red only means the meat is not wrapped in an airtight container.  Gray/blue/purple means it’s either EXTREMELY fresh and not exposed to air, or it’s going south (what happens to that bright red color over time).  Only your nose knows, not your eyes!  So check the “sell by” date.  Do yourself and the industry a favor, and help keep costs down – if you’re using the meat that night (or day), pick the package that has today’s sell by date on it.  Waste not, want not! –
For more tricks of the trade, subscribe to http://blog.lulasforlunch.com or visit http://www.lulasforlunch.com

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!

A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

When last month’s newsletter was published, many of you reached out to me with much humour and encouragement.  One of my friends, Julie Garrigan, dug up a poem by John O’Donohue that I’d like to share – it’s BEAUTIFUL!!!

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
Ad you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness takes over like listless weather;
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuse in your senses, open up
To all of the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

Baba-Lula Ganoush! Or….The Mystery of Eggplant Unfolds

macro eggplant2app Baba Lula Ganoush

Above, to the left: many different eggplants!  Above, to the right: Baba-Lula Ganoush, made from eggplant, with Lula’s housemade Tarragon Pickles and Red Pepper Brunois.  A tasty “Arabian” dish…made tastier by picking the right eggplant.

Pick small, young ones.  Old wive’s tales say pick the “male” , which can be denoted by looking at the bottom end and picking the one with the “outie (round) vs. the “innie” (oval).  Really, the trick is picking small, glossy, heavy fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit).  The younger the fruit, the less seeds, which can be bitter. The younger the fruit, the thinner the skin, which can be bitter as it gets older.

FUN FACTS

  •  Way back when (we’re talking millennia) eggplants used to only be white.  The oval, hanging fruit resembled goose eggs – hence the name.  Another popular name today in many other countries is Aubergine.
  • Eggplant has many relatives – it’s in the nightshade family, but it’s also related to tobacco, and contains nicotine!  Eating a serving of eggplant is somewhat akin to being in the presence of secondhand smoke for one cigarette.
  • Eggplant is relatively low in things bad for you, and also relatively low in things good for you!  It absorbs liquid, both fat and non, well, and is a really good substitute for animal protein in vegan meals as it has a “meaty” quality when prepared for this purpose.  Just make sure you get the bulk of your protein elsewhere.
  • If you want your eggplant to absorb LESS of whatever you’re cooking it with, slice it, salt it, and let it sit for 10-20 minutes.  Just know that you have to use it immediately, as eggplant browns very quickly when exposed to oxygen.

If you’d like to order Baba-Lula Ganoush for your next party, just click here and go to Best Selling Bites.