Love in The Time of Corona

I’m an introvert.  Go ahead, laugh if you want.  It’s true.  I totally get recharged by being alone, and though I enjoy being in the company of others, I am always completely depleted after a gathering.  This is the main reason I structured Lula’s to be the way it is – THESE TWO HANDS, and ONLY these two hands, lovingly preparing every dish, every creation, every morsel, just for you.

While even I am shuddering at the prospect of physically/socially distancing myself from others for an extended period of time (I am EXTREMELY touchy-feely), I am at the same time grateful for my business model and being able to reassure you that I’m safe and my food is safe.    It’s only me folks, along with my 90% isopropyl alcohol, my bleach, and my vinegar…and if you want, my mask, and my gloves too!

If your office or your family needs sustenance, you can’t get it from a safer place.  Let me know how I can help.  I’ll do everything I can to be there for you.  With, in, and for love – Lula!

A Note From Chef Lori

Soup’s on!  We have Morrocan Red Lentil (gf, ve), Loaded Chicken Noodle with Garlic (gf), and Roasted Broccoli and Welsh Cheddar (vg) by the 1/2 Gallon this week and next.   Or order one of our Comforting Casseroles.  Reserve yours today!  We’ll safely deliver.

Eco Info Part 3 – Biodegradable

Clean and Green…biodegradable refers to the ability of a material to be naturally broken down by living organisms.  Biodegradable products release significantly less amounts of greenhouse gases because the materials break down into non-toxic elements without causing a negative impact on the environment.  The process of manufacturing biodegradable packaging helps increase energy conservation and reduce waste.

DID YOU KNOW… that there are biodegradable plastics made from all-natural plant materials?  These can include corn oil, orange peels, starch, and plants.  Traditional plastic is made with chemical fillers that can be harmful to the environment when released, when the plastic is melted down.  The orange peels in the picture above can be used to create biodegradable plastics, AND are both biodegradable themselves as well as compostable.  We will discuss the difference in the next post.  Lula’s Catering CARES!

Coronavirus and Covid-19 – Wash Your Hands!

In light of what’s “going around” and some silliness I’m seeing on social media, I thought I’d skip this week’s “sustainability” blog and re-print from the CDC, WHO, and FDA experts.  Yes, Corona has been around forever, but Covid is the strain that we have no vaccine for.  Below is some gross info and a “wash your hands” primer that we all can benefit from reading:

Foodborne illness is a serious threat to the nation’s public health and many people put themselves at risk for illness by not adequately washing their hands, or by washing their poultry. Many people continue to wash their poultry because that’s what they grew up doing or seeing in their homes. But this is dangerous and can spread bacteria around the kitchen. Juices from raw poultry can transfer bacteria onto kitchen surfaces, utensils, and other food. Once bacteria lands on a surface it can remain active for up to 36 hours, unless the surface is sanitized.

Recent USDA research conducted in a test kitchen revealed some startling results: 60 percent of the test kitchen participants contaminated the inner sink after washing or rinsing raw chicken. Participants also frequently placed raw vegetables and lettuce in the same sink, which ultimately led to cross-contamination.

Researchers also observed that 99 percent of participants either didn’t wash their hands or didn’t accomplish all steps of correct handwashing. Inadequate handwashing has been identified as a contributing factor to foodborne illness, especially when preparing raw meat and poultry. Hands can become vectors that move potential pathogens found in raw meat and poultry around the kitchen, which can contribute to foodborne illnesses.

I understand that old habits may die hard, but I encourage you to wash your hands, not your poultry. If you are brining or marinating your poultry and must rinse or wash it, be sure to thoroughly clean and then sanitize all kitchen surfaces to eliminate the risk of cross- contamination. Also remember that proper hand washing after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs can greatly reduce the risk of bacterial cross-contamination.

I realize it might seem ridiculous for me to explain how to properly wash your hands, but research shows that we all need reminders to achieve basic public health prevention. Here are the five handwashing steps that everyone needs to remember:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel.

Eco Info – Part 2 of 6! Sustainability

Sustainability is the method of using a resource for environmental benefits without depleting or permanently damaging it.  This practice extends the natural life of the resource you’re using without negatively affecting the atmosphere or the environment.  This practice allows us to maintain the balance of meeting the needs of today’s population without endangering future generations.

Think bamboo – click on the word and find out about the myriad of possibilities of this miracle plant.  Then click here to find out its caveats.  A lot of the fabric you love is not so “friendly”.  But bamboo produced into hard goods( Lula loves her utensils, cutting boards and the like) is fantastic, as long as the farming to produce it doesn’t destroy other forests…in our consumptive society it’s always best to spend 5 minutes researching the hype.

So bear with me when I return to pickup my non-disposables …baskets and serveware should always have more than one use if possible, particularly if they’re a type of plastic, and you can trust we’re not putting any unnecessary chemicals in your body!  There are many more sustainable food related products out there and we’ll explore a few more of them in this series.

Eco Info! – Part 1 of 6

OK, so, not a beautiful picture of my food.  BUT…I ran across great, concise information from a vendor of mine and I thought I would share!  Over the next 6 weeks I’m going to share some terms with you and explain them – regarding our “trash”.  And sometimes I’ll add my two cents worth.   We’re going to start with the term RECYCLABLE. 

Recycling is based on the premise of “reduce and re-use” – breaking down and reusing materials that would otherwise be thrown away.  Recycling utilizes existing materials to reduce energy usage, decrease pollution, and conserve natural resources such as wood and water.  Repurposing waste products in an effective way helps slowly decrease the landfill sizes and increases air quality.

MY TWO CENTS WORTH:

In  the picture above, which items are recyclable?  THE MILK CARTON.  That’s it in our area.  Since China stopped accepting our waste in 2018 , we no longer have effective recycling (we really didn’t then either since what they do affects the planet too!)  Check with your recycler to see what items are currently USABLE for recycling.  Yup, they’ll still take everything you’re dumping in your green bin, but they’re sorting it and throwing it in a landfill.  Oh, my heavy head.

Happy Valentine’s Day – Drink WINE!

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I taught a “class” the other day called Passionate Pairings, and I paired brie cheeses and chocolates with different wines.  It made me remember a lovely bottle of wine Gordon and I shared some time back, and I wrote this:

Smell is your most powerful sense.  I don’t know about you, but I have been in the middle of nowhere, caught the scent of something, and it has brought back a memory I didn’t even know I had!

Recently, Gordon and I were drinking a bottle of wine, and as with all wines I find special, I was more into sticking my nose into it than tasting it.  There is a special delight in anticipating the taste when the bouquet is so enticing.  I take my time, inhaling sharply, inhaling slowly, swirling the glass thereby aerating the wine, inhaling again, sometimes repeating this process so many times that Gordon is frustrated and says “TASTE IT already!” – he wants to discuss what I find in my nose and in my mouth and compare it to his experience.  Yet another joy of wine tasting.  Frequently we will open a bottle, pour a taste immediately, then let the bottle sit for 10 minutes, and taste again, let the bottle sit 20 minutes more, then taste again…having lovely snooty discussions about the changes that have occurred.  And if you’re raising an eyebrow as to why I haven’t brought up decanting, let me tell you why.  Decanting can be a lovely way to show off the color of a beautiful wine, and a lovely way to aerate an important wine if you’re drinking it immediately.  But if you have the time to let the wine sit and settle, do it my way.  It’s way more fun.  And a lesser wine, sold for a premium price to an unsuspecting buyer, will fall totally flat after decanting.
This particular wine, a 2014 Cuttings from The Prisoner Wine Company, made me respond emotionally.  Sometimes I respond intellectually but this time, there was definitely a warm fuzzy safety elicited by the bouquet and I didn’t even struggle to figure it out.  I just “went there” and enjoyed it.  Then I tasted, and joy was definitely brought forth!  The palette lived up to the nose in an extraordinary way, bringing forth complexities to be mulled over; reveled in.  I began trying to put words to my experience.  “Leather”, I said.  “Fine Wool”, I said.  “Cherries”, I said.  “Tobacco”, I said.  “GRANDADDY!!” I said.  And joy was born.  I was back in my grandfather’s arms, on his lap in his armchair, with his pipe at the ready on the humidor side-table.  He liked a cherry tobacco.  He wore his business suit.  He had just come home from work and we were eager to snuggle.  Thank you, Cuttings, for the memory!  Wishing for you this Valentine’s Day the making of a new memory or two!!

A Note From Chef Lori

Don’t forget to check out Lula’s recipe for Winter Greens Lasagna in the latest issue of Edible Ohio Valley!

Click here to visit our website!

A Brussels Sprouts Primer

Hurry, quick!  If you love Brussels Sprouts get them now before they leave the store.  In the US, fresh runs from about June to January.  But DID YOU KNOW…they get their name from where they were originally mass cultivate – Brussels Belgium?  They’ve been widely enjoyed since the 1500’s over there…but just in the 20th century did they gain in popularity in the US.  Mostly from California, you can get them frozen all year round, but fresh is best.

LOADED with good stuff our bodies need, BS (you know what that means right? and it’s so fitting since they can smell like a fart if you overcook them 🙂 ) are a super food.  Coming from the cruciferous veggie category, they contain the metals and micronutrients we need along with loads of Vitamins A, C, K, and B6, not to mention folic acid and fiber.

Lula’s BS recipes include but are not limited to Roasted (simple and our favorite),  Dijon Garlic, and a magnificent festive Fennel & Pomegranate Salad.  Relax…they won’t make YOU smell like a fart!

Nuts about Almonds

Shelling out for a bag of almonds might not be a bad idea if you need to lower your cholesterol.  Almonds are recognized as a cholesterol-lowering food; studies also show that they can reduce the risk of heart disease.

One ounce of almonds, about 25 nuts, contains 164 calories and 1.10 grams of saturated fat.  That same ounce is also a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium, and has no cholesterol.

The “ancients” seemed to already know these facts.  Ancient desert nomads combined almonds with chopped dates, bits of pistachios, sesame oil, and breadcrums and rolled them into balls.  The world’s first trail mix!!

King Tut apparently knew the nutritional value of almonds.  Several handfuls of them accompanied him into the tomb, perhaps to nourish him on his post-life journey.

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering www.lulasforlunch.com uses all KINDS of nuts in every way possible.  We LOVE them for their deliciousness and their nutritional value.  We always label our foods that contain nuts, however, for our clients that may have nut sensitivities .

Bourbon Pecan Bark
Bourbon Pecan Bark

Citrus Juice

If you follow these two steps, you will almost double the volume of juice you get out of  lemons, limes, oranges, grapepfruit and the like.  First, pop them in the microwave.  One fruit for 15 seconds.  Each add’l fruit gets 5 more seconds.   Then, place them on the counter or cutting board and putting the force of your “elbow grease” behind them, roll them around a bit.  You’ll be amazed at the amount of juice you’ll get!  Lula uses citrus in a myriad of recipes…Pork Loin with Peach Mango Salsa,  and Salmon Piccata are two.  Go to www.lulasforlunch.com  and guess which menu items contain citrus…there are several on our Breakfasty/Brunchy menu alone!!! – Lula

Tomato Paste RULES!

Fresh fresh fresh…my )(*$)#&(.  Chefs have been using tomato paste (and making it – but YOU don’t do THAT please!) to enhance everything from seafood to beef dishes to sauces for millenia.  Tomato reduction contains umami!  We all have recipes in our collection that call for a teaspoon or a tablespoon of tomato paste.

What to DO with the other 4 ounces (or 10 depending on the can you get?  It comes in tubes now that will store in the fridge for forever, but you pay a premium.  Lula’s Catering ‘s method is – buy a can.  Put a piece of waxed paper or a pastry sheet on a cookie tray, dollop the whole can out in tablespoons on the paper, throw the sheet in the freezer for a few hours, pop it out, bag it up, and throw it in the freezer to have at the ready for the next YEAR.    You’re welcome! For weekly tips and tidbits to help you in the kitchen you can go HERE.

In Lula's Kitchen, Love is ALWAYS our First Ingredient!