Crystallized Honey

Does this ever happen to your honey?  Grainy, clumpy, not pretty…but there’s an easy fix or two…my favorite and seems to yield the best results:  NEVER let anything touch your honey.  Pour it into/onto a spoon or measuring device.  Crystallization is mostly caused by moisture, and next, bacteria (not necessarily bad stuff that will hurt you).  If you keep your honey moisture free you probably won’t have crystallization.  If you do, however, just put the whole jar in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.  That’ll do the trick.  You can use the microwave, on-and-“off”ing every few seconds and stirring, but that’s way more trouble!  Now, go enjoy a good cup of hot tea with some honey. – Lula

Rice, Risotto = Tomato, Marinara

Yes, folks, this is an IQ test.  Just kidding.  I’m trying to say that Risotto is not a type of rice.  Risotto is a specific PREPARATION of rice.

There are between 7 and 8 THOUSAND kinds of rice in the world, and many different ways to prepare it.  Americans are used to long grain rice which tends cook drier and be less sticky (example Uncle Bens Long Grain Rice which is par-boiled to make it the LEAST sticky of all rice – fluffy and separated).  Then there’s medium grain and short grain (Arborio is one type, usually used in risotto preparation)…in essence, the shorter the grain the more sticky the rice is (starch exposed).

Risotto is an Italian preparation which, in general, means sauteeing the rice in fat first, then adding liquid and constantly stirring to release as much starch as possible to make the end result creamy, and finishing with cheese or other dairy to make it even MORE creamy.  Additions along the way such as meat, fish, vegetables are all options for every chef to make the dish his or her own.

Lula’s for Lunch..and More! Catering makes many different types of risotto.  My favorite, I think, is a derivation of Risi e Bisi (an Italian Rice and Pea Stew) that I make with Asparagus and Shrimp in the spring.  I use my brother’s Muscadine wine from his vineyard in North Carolina, Cane Creek, to deglaze the pan, and deepen and compliment the other flavors dancing around in the pan.  This is a dish best ordered with service; I won’t serve it unless it’s perfect, which means JUST out of the pan!

Instant Macaroons

Well…not really.   BUT….I have good news regarding egg whites.  You don’t need to throw them away when you’re separating eggs for the yolks in baking.  FREEZE THEM!  Yes, they thaw perfectly fine and you can then whip up your whites for meringue whenever you want!  YAY!  If you don’t have any on hand right now, please enjoy

IMG_0310this pic of Fleuri’s (one of our faves in Charlottesville VA) Meringue and Puff Swan!

 

A “Taste” of Cincinnati

Drink Fleuri Palm Court
I highly recommend visiting Cincinnati like a tourist and puttering about for an afternoon.  The elegant, if somewhat unhappy, Cincinnatian was our host due to a Hotwire “surprise” booking. Batsakes bowler browsing and fedora fondling delighted my husband Gordon.   Updating my 10 year old mental catalogue of what I want at Tiffany’s while they watched us like hawks (alas, I am not a regular there), and a visit to Carew Tower’s Observation deck (a visual reminder of our city’s fabulous architecture) completed a WONDERFUL afternoon with my husband while our foyer floor was supposedly being refinished.  An all too typical contractor’s disappearance and a non-refundable room FORCED us to stand still for just one day.  THEN…Orchid’s filled my stomach, heart and soul where the Maisonette hole was residing…sometimes it’s just best to do the classics!  This DELICIOUS drink is the Fleuri from the bartenders at The Palm Court Bar.  If you’d like Lula’s riff on the drink, just ask for it for your next cocktail party!   As I remember fondly, I think to myself…sometimes things happen for a reason.  Now when we REALLY get our floor refinished we’ll be forced to do the same thing again, this time with a different itinerary and a whole new list of downtown Cincinnati experiences!

If you’re looking for something to do, or just want to improve your overall health, join me at New Riff Distillery and Event Center on March 9 for my cooking class and presentation “Feed Your Brain With Lula’s…O.W.N. IT!” from 6-8PM.  I sure would love to feed you!