A Brief History of Sugar

Did you know that Christopher Columbus is responsible for sugar in the Americas?  His mother in law owned a sugar plantation in Madiera, Spain.  Before he was the great “discoverer” he ferried sugar to the European mainland from his mother in law’s plantation!   India had sugar around 3,000 years ago, but the rest of our ancestors used honey until about 800AD when it found its way to southern Europe and North Africa.  The least caloric of all sugar is still a kiss!!

Don’t Throw That Lemon Out!

lemons'nlimes

Citrus costs have skyrocketed.  At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we use alot of citrus.  It’s a major flavoring agent and provides depth and background to many dishes.  It’s not cheap, though, so we save wherever and whenever we can.  Buying bags of lemons or limes instead of the one you need at a time can save well over 50% and you don’t have to waste a drop (or a curl).

You can zest your citrus and freeze it, and after it’s zested, you can squeeze all of the juice out into a bowl (and depending on what method you’re using you won’t even have any seeds to contend with!).  Keep a plastic ice tray for just such occasions and you will always have a measured supply of citrus on hand.  Each “cube” spot holds the juice of approximately one lemon or lime.  Fill your tray, freeze it, and pop them out into a baggie to keep in your freezer for easy, measured access.

If you want to know the best way to get maximum juice out of your citrus, you can search “lemon, citrus, or juice” at blog.lulasforlunch.com and a previous “how-to” will pop up!!  Now SMILE, sourpus!!  – Lula

The Carapace Conundrum (Crustacean or Mollusk?)

If you’re like me, you LOVE shellfish.  But they’re not all the same…a fun icky fact for you:  CRUSTACEANS have shells that are grown from a carbohydrate that they manufacture themselves called chitin, just like insects (way back when they were related… )   We’re talking shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab here.
Risotto
MOLLUSKS grow their shells from materials they eat -mostly calcium carbonate – that is found in marble and limestone (not to mention egggshells!).   Mollusks grow their shells once or twice a year when they need to (the house gets kinda cramped when they grow) during the warm months.  You can see their growing cycle on their shells – the rings.  So you can tell how old your clam  (or mussel, or oyster, or scallop) is by counting the rings and multiplying by 1.5.    There are scores of fun shellfish and mollusk options on our menu at www.lulasforlunch.com.   Here’s to the party in your mouth!

Who Makes YOU Shine?!?

Dessert Petite Pochotte Cherry Hearts

It’s been a while since I’ve “lightened up” – I want to tell you about my amazing crew and how rich I am to know them and work with them!  While it might take you YEARS to meet any one of them (since I’m such a control freak and do all of my business in person and most of it by myself!), I thought you should be aware that I do have a staff of highly competent people that I can call on when you need them for a hi-falutin’ event:

Donna Pellman has been a cheerleader for the Lori team since about 1990. Her breadth and depth of knowledge in the food service field is unmatched, and her friendship is highly valued.  Whether it’s pounding the pavement, managing national accounts, testing oil for purity or standing on her feet for 16 hours straight, Donna’s smile never fades.  She is methodical and patient and creative and calm, and I can let her loose when I have to (so HARD for Lula!)

Vicki Barrett has been a professional bartender her entire adult life.  There’s NO drink she can’t make, but don’t ask her to wield a chef’s knife!  She can set up a full bar in 10 seconds flat.  Vicki is passionate about the health and welfare of animals.   If you have a conversation of any depth with Vicki, you are likely to become a part of her “dude” club…

Inna Bernadsky hails from the COUNTRY of Georgia, but let me tell you she is a peach.  Inna is shy, but if you insist, she will speak to you with her delightful accent!  She has a marvelous sense of humor and a work ethic that tires me out – and that’s saying something! Just do not ask her to be still.  Inna becomes more beautiful with each smile.  You’ll see it if you ask her about her children.

Jeanne Stanton is my bleeding heart liberal (I know I call myself a bleeding heart liberal but next to Jeanne, not so much).  She will save the world.  Jeanne has been in food service for decades, and is an accomplished bartender as well.    She and her family raise chickens and rabbits and compost/recycle everything not nailed down.  Jeanne has been known (WITNESS!!) to dig through garbage cans at the end of an event to “correct” misplaced recyclables.  She has delivered meals to the needy and participates in many other worthwhile charitable causes.

My life is so much richer for knowing these amazing women, and I want to give them a SHOUT OUT for making Lula’s shine!  Oh…and in case you’re wondering, the pic is of Lula’s abfab Sour Cherry Pate Sucree!

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Ellevate’s 6th Annual Amateur Chocolate Competition!

Mark your calendars for Ellevate’s 6th Annual Amateur Chocolate Bakeoff September 22,2016 at New Riff Event Center.  You won’t want to miss all of the delectables, fun, and of course, YOURS TRULY – all for a GREAT CAUSE supporting women in need – this year’s recipient is Tender Mercies.    REGISTER here:

A “Salty” Topic

Oh!  I could get technical on you…but let’s not.  All salt is sea salt.  Mineral salt (the kind you shake on your food, whether it’s been iodized or not) is really old sea salt that has been “mined” from sea deposits left millenia ago.

Stuff labeled sea salt is “raked” (alot more to that but again, let’s not) from fresh deposits, is kissed by the sun, and is flakier.  Trace residual seawater mineral content left at certain “levels” of the salt bed result in salt that can look, smell, and taste a bit different to accomplished palates, hence, gray salt or pink salt or any other color.

The way a salt crystal is shaped results in how it is perceived on the tongue (flavor).  If you cook with expensive salts like Fleur de sel you’re TOTALLY wasting your money – when salt dissolves you can’t tell the difference.  Get a bang for your buck and impress your table with a little bowl of whatever flaky sea salt you enjoy, and sprinkle the crystals on your finished plate, and you will totally enjoy the flavor burst in your mouth.   I wish for you some yummy in your tummy!  – Lula