the “Thai” difference

What makes Thai taste Thai?  How can you do it quickly and easily at home?  Here are a few ingredients/substitutions for you folks “woking up a stir-fry” in the chinese style at home with your soy sauce and garlic…

Fish Sauce is to Thai what Soy Sauce is to Chinese.  It is now easily found at the grocery – either in condiments or the chinese aisle.  Lime Juice is used in conjunction with Fish Sauce either 1/2 1/2 for puriests,  or 1/3 Fish Sauce to 2/3 Lime Juice for those of you who can’t or don’t want to take the sodium.  Thai cooking always balances heat with sweet, and palm sugar is their go to sweetener, but these days they use white sugar equally, and it’s much easier for us to find, so go for it!   Always add onion in some form or other, be it shallot or green or whatever.   Round out whatever you’re stir-frying with some fresh chopped cilantro and mint, and blissfully float to the shores of exotic Thailand! – Lula 

White Pepper

Let’s talk about white pepper.  White pepper is black pepper that is harvested at a riper stage, with the hulls removed.  The hull is black.  The hulls contain some of the heat, so when you remove them, away goes some of the heat (white pepper is milder – duh!).  When the particular heat component of the hull is removed, a milder,  somewhat citrusy flavor is left to describe white pepper.  I never buy white peppercorns – I just buy the smallest quantity I can in ground form, and get rid of it when the fragrance has left the container.  I just don’t use enough of it to warrant a special grinder.  It is a lovely ingredient to pale foods where you don’t want the flecks of black – creamy mashed potatoes perhaps, or other mild starches – like parsnip puree, or, if you use it as I do sometimes, in DESSERT!!!  If you’ve ever tasted one of my homemade desserts, and thought, “hmmm – what IS that flavor?!?” – it could be white pepper!  – Lula

Turkey Refrigerator Casserole…Back by Popular Demand!

                                                         Lula’s Turkey Refrigerator Casserole

Rice, 1 cup

Salt, 2 tsp

Water, 2 cups

Butter, ½ tsp

Bring all but rice to boil, dump in rice, cook according to package directions.  Brown rice is a fabulous healthy alternative in this recipe.   While the rice is cooking, dice your veggies and shred your meat.  When done, dump rice into 1.5 or 2 quart casserole dish.

Bite size leftover turkey, 2C , Layer on top of rice.

Onion, diced, ½ C

Green Pepper, diced, ½ C

Celery, diced, ½ C

Mushrooms, sliced, ½ C

Broccoli florets, chopped small, 2 cups OR

Green Beans, fresh, 2 cups OR any combination of any
vegetables you have leftover or canned or frozen such
as corn, etc..  I wouldn’t try Brussels Sprouts, though!

Mix all together and microwave in separate dish 8-10 minutes, depending on your microwave.  Your largest vegetable should be cooked through.  Then dump all of this on top of the turkey. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream/Celery Soup, 2 cans

Sour Cream, ½ C

Cheddar Chs, shredded, ¾ C

Dijon Mustard, 1 tbs

Worchestershire Sauce, 1tsp

Cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp

Yes, I said canned soup.  Sometimes Lula must return to the south.  Mix all of this together and dump on top of veggies.

French Fried Onions

As many as you want, dump on top of casserole and bake uncovered until bubbling – appx 30-45 minutes.  If you are one of the rare households who doesn’t have these onions around during holiday time, crush a sleeve of Ritz or butter crackers and mix with ½ stick of melted butter and spread on top.

Lula wishes for your tastebuds delight!

Holiday Cranberry Tip

Don’t let cranberry sauce/relish scare you!  It takes 10 minutes to be a “homemade gourmet” instead of popping open a can.  Buy one large bag fresh cranberries, dump them into a gallon pot, add 1 cup of sugar, and stir over medium low heat until they start to release juices and melt the sugar.  Cover the pot and reduce to low and let them go for 5 minutes.  Stir, and continue cooking without lid til reduced and thick. Serve either warm or cold!  DONE!!!!  If you want to go really crazy, dice an apple and throw it in and call it “Cranberry Apple Relish” – no need to peel; let’s not throw away the fiber!  -Lula

A Quick Baking Tip

For those of you who are not year round bakers but take it up at holiday time, you may not have parchment paper at the ready for those special recipes…a COFFEE FILTER sprayed with non-stick spray works wonderfully in your cake pans!!!  Go Baking Team, Go!!

High Praise Indeed!!!

One of the highest compliments I can receive is when a client says a taste of something brought back a pleasant memory – not to mention that when Lula says it’s authentic, it’s authentic!!!

“The bread brought back some early childhood memories.  It reminded me of when we lived in Germany back in the late 80’s.  We lived off the base in a local German town.  The local food was tremendous.  Several of them always served us lard with rye bread.  As soon as I took a biet of yours, I went back 30 years instantly to when I was 7 or 8 years old.  Thank you for that.”


‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving!

Worn out, busy with the stuffing?  Let Lula’s provide your Night Before Thanksgiving Feast for only $12.00 per person:  Your choice of Lasagna Bolognese or Penne Pumpkin Pasta w/Italian Sausage,  House Caesar Salad with Lula’s FA BULOUS homemade Caesar Dressing, Homemade Garlic/Herb Focaccia, and Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake!  Last day to order is Monday, November November 22 by  5PM!

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