Tag Archives: chicken

Let’s Go on a Caper with Capers

MM Veal Piccata

You’re dying to know..you can’t fool Lula.  What in the world ARE capers?  Answer – capers, sometimes called caperberries, are the unopened, pickled flower buds of the trailing Capparis spinosa shrub that grows in desert regions.  Most of these shrubs grow in the Sahara and surrounding regions.  They can be found, however, in various climates that are dry and arid – southern France, for example, and any other place (Texas comes to mind) with similar climate.

There are 170 or so species, and we know they’ve been used in cuisine since around 600 BC.  The younger the caper, the better.  In France, gourmets pick the berries every two days off of the shrubs to ensure the best flavor.  Capers are one of the primary ingredients in any “piccata” dish.   Lula’s for Lunch..and More! Catering uses capers in our Chicken, Veal (it goes without saying free range!), Pork, and Salmon Piccatas, as well as in our Tuna Tapenade Salad and our Nicoise creations.  You can find these selections at our Lula’s for Lunch website and order them any time – because capers come pickled they are not “seasonal” – though people tend to prefer light, refreshing piccatas throughout spring and summer.   Which is happening now.  Put a little piquancy in your life!  Enjoy!

More Eggy Wisdom


Folks, I am once again borrowing from my friend Heidi Bright, author of  Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey (click here to learn more about her book) – we share the same “happy/healthy” philosophy regarding our animal sources and Heidi is just chock FULL of information regarding food and your health!

How Nutritious are Your Eggs?

I used to buy my eggs from a discount store at a discount price. The poor hens, most likely trapped in battery cages, probably never saw sunlight or moved outside of their tiny cells. (In a 2014 report, 95% of U.S. eggs came from hens trapped in battery cages.) What a miserable existence. I found the shells overly easy to crack open. They reminded me of the egg breakage I’d read about among wild birds. These fowl are experiencing losses in breeding success due to contamination by post-1945 “residues of synthetic organic chemicals used as pesticides and in industry.”

As I learned, I moved to slightly costlier eggs.

One day my son cut his finger and bled profusely. I remembered reading that eggshell membranes can be used to temporarily stop excessive bleeding. I grabbed an egg and struggled to get a little bit of the membrane out of the bottom of the shell. I got only a small crumpled piece out, and put it on his little cut.

The cut immediately stopped bleeding. We were both stunned.  I then looked up more information on those membranes. They can be used to:

  • treat wounds to prevent scar tissue;
  • reduce the effects of osteoarthritis;
  • improve health of skin, hair, and nails.

That was the end of cheap eggs for me. I began buying my eggs from local farmers, and when they weren’t available, got organic eggs from the supermarket. I immediately noticed a difference when cracking the eggs – the shells were tougher to break open.

But how to separate the membrane from the shell? I tried a few methods, none of which worked very well. The membranes were slick, tore easily, and took forever to separate from the shells.

Okay, so maybe the problem, again, was with the eggs themselves. So I moved to the most expensive eggs – organic, free-range, certified humane (raised and handled), and no synthetic pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics.

Viola! The membrane, tough and gauzy, pulled right off in large pieces. So easy! And to me it meant the membrane must be full of nutrients, especially collagen. I wanted those nutrients. If you want to see what a healthy membrane looks like you can see it here on YouTube.

I clean the membranes and drop them into my Vitamix to blend with greens for my smoothies.

To me, it’s worth the extra expense to get high-quality eggs, not only because I am prone to osteoarthritis, but also because as a survivor of highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma, nutrition is extremely important to me. I want to maintain my cancer remission! Healthy eating can only help, in my opinion.

Plus I’d rather get the membrane from eggs I cracked, so I know the source, than something that has been put through a chemical or other process, and then who knows the quality of the membrane anyway. Probably not from the healthiest eggs.

And another benefit. I clean and dehydrate the shells, crush them with a mortar and pestle, then add lemon or lime juice and create my own calcium supplement.

Happy hens make nutritious eggs, which help me stay healthy.

Click here to see a video of healthy egg membranes.



An Easy Grilling Tip

OK – so we all know raw chicken is yucky, right?  Instead of using 2 sets of tongs and platters to “separate” the salmonella from the fabulousness (Lula’s for Lunch…and More! ‘s fabulous Tico Chicken pictured above) , try wrapping aluminum foil around your tong ends and layering your platter with foil, do your marinating and transferring to the grill…then when the chicken exterior is getting done, whip off the foil on both apparati (great word, right?!? – I made it up!) and continue using them to transfer your cooked chicken to your clean platter!  Lula is now bowing for the applause…

Chicken Smothered in Grief

OK, odd title I know.  But if it piqued your interest, look at the entire menu here:

Despair with Crystallized Ginger, Chicken Smothered in Grief, Hopelessness Covered in Paprika,   and Dill-Encrusted Misery !!

If this menu tickled your funny bone, check out a book that is not at ALL about food called “Trailer Trash, with a Girl’s Name” here  written by our very own Cincinnati Native Stacey Roberts.  I laughed out loud on EVERY page.  It made me think, in particular, of the couple of dishes I just KNOW we can all relate to – when our mother repeatedly made some dish that we hated but everytime we said we hated it, she said “But you LOVE Creamed Cabbage!” – this is the particular dish I remember most hatefully and yuckily.  I would love to hear your fond reminiscences of whatever your mother (or father for that matter) made that you had to choke down.  Of course, we at Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering never make ANYTHING that you don’t LOVE!!!!  HAPPY MEMORY LANE, EVERYONE!

A Little School Cafeteria Nostalgia…

This time of year I get nostalgic – visiting the department stores and grocery stores, seeing all of the “back to school” specials on clothes, backpacks, supplies, etc., and it makes me remember the school cafeteria. In my case, fondly. I come from the deep south in the 60’s, and processed food was just beginning to reach our area by the time I entered high school – in our district, that meant 9th grade. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I have fond memories of the lunch ladies and the goodies they prepared in elementary school. I wonder just how lucky I am if anybody else remembers school lunches with affection. I was a very picky eater (believe it or not) up until 9th grade, then a growth spurt changed all that and I ate everything that wasn’t nailed down for a couple of years (joining the tennis team didn’t hurt the appetite).

In elementary and middle school (6-8th grade for you “junior highschoolers”), we had lunch ladies that cooked from the heart. The regulations weren’t so strict that they couldn’t bring in overages from their gardens and farms and put them to good use, and fresh produce, not canned, was standard delivery. Our food was mostly fresh in the spring and fall months, and BBQ’d chicken was the highlight of my week. South Carolina BBQ (on Lula’s for Lunch and More! Catering ‘s Menu today, by the way, was taught to me by the lunch ladies. Not that they took me into the kitchen or anything, but I guess I was born with a contemplative and studious palate, and I was dissecting foodstuffs and their effect on my tastebuds even at the tender age of 6. I knew we were having BBQ’d chicken before the clock struck 10AM.  I could smell it in the classroom – the warm, pungent mustard and vinegar mixed with honey and spices. I don’t know how they did it but they actually managed to get a crust on that mass produced chicken – I always hoped when they handed me my tray that it would be the tray with the blackest chicken skin! I still love char to this day – who doesn’t? It is a devilish trick that carcinogens taste sooo good.  Don’t you think? I also fondly remember the little 4oz cardboard “cups” of ice cream, and though I always chose white milk, I always ate CHOCOLATE ice cream!

I’d love to know what YOUR favorite food memory from the school cafeteria is- chime in! In the meantime, Lula wishes for you lovely food experiences that create fabulous memories.

Let’s Define Brine

Do you occasionally run across a recipe telling you to use brined chicken or turkey?  Sometimes the cookbook just assumes you know what you’re doing…but I find that if I understand the “why” – then I can apply the “how” to many different situations.  So, what is brining?  Definition:  The insertion of salty water into protein by osmosis and diffusion.  Less boring:  Brining is salted water that completely covers a piece of meat and over time enters the meat molecules,  Nature likes to “make things even” (what goes up must come down, right?) – and osmosis tries to even out the water molecules outside of the meat  (alot) with the water molecules inside the meat (not so many).   There is very little sodium and chloride (salt) inside a protein cell, so the same thing happens with the dissolved salt in the water – nature pushes it through to make things balanced inside and outside of the protein.  Science doesn’t even completely understand why, but the result is protein cells that are able to hold on to more water, making them softer and slightly swollen, more tender, and more seasoned.  A general rule of thumb is one cup of kosher salt to one gallon of water.

If you’re not sure how much water to use, put your protein in a ziplock bag, and fill the bag till the protein is completely covered.  Then dump the water accumulated in the bag into a (really large) measuring cup, and add the salt according to how much water there is.  I like to add sugar as well – it balances the salt – about 1/4 whatever the amount of salt I added.  Swish it all around till its dissolved, add your meat, and throw it in the fridge for a day (or two, or three) – all depending on how big your protein is.  A couple of chicken breasts only need a few hours; a 10# turkey will take 2-3 days.  Obviously, your more tender proteins like a good steak don’t need this process.  We’re talking about drier cuts here – chicken breast, whole chickens, turkeys, pork loins etc (the stuff that doesn’t have much fat).  If you have any questions while on your brining odyssey, you can always email me a http://www.lulasforlunch.com  Here’s to lovin low-cal lean cuts!  – Lula