Tag Archives: Lula’s for Lunch

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.

Subtly Cinnamon

Sweet Potato-Bourbon Shortbread w.Maple Pecan Streusel

EVERYBODY knows about cinnamon, right?!?  I guess you know that there are two types of cinnamon – both are the bark of trees.   There is the Cassia tree, and there is the Ceylon tree.

Volatile oils give cinnamon its strength.  Ceylon Cinnamon has the lowest volatile oil content (1-2%) and is the preferred cinnamon in Europe and Mexico.  In my opinion, it has more complexity and finesse than Cassia Cinnamon, which is much more in your “face” with volatile oils ranging from 3-7% depending on its originating terroir.    Lula’s Sweet Potato-Bourbon Shortbread with Maple Pecan Streusal, among many other desserts AND savory dishes, contains Ceylon Cinnamon, and sometimes you don’t even know!!

Korintje Cinnamon from Indonesia is the flavor most recognized by American palates as it is the most readily available in our supermarkets.  For fun, seek out China Tung Hing Cassia Cinnamon – you’ll notice it has a bigger “bite” in recipes, and a subtly different flavor from what you’re used to.

What you might NOT be familiar with, are Cassia BUDS.  They are precious and hard to find – resembling a clove in appearance, though perfect and pink.  Obviously, they are the bud of a cassia tree before it flowers – can you imagine the flavor of flowering cinnamon?!?  These buds are prized, and laid in the sun to dry.  They are used in pickling recipes, meat marinades and yummy warm holiday drinks.  Happy Hunting – and if you find some let Lula know!!  For more info like this you can get weekly click HERE!

Cloves – From Cigarettes to Spice Cake!

Lula’s Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange-Creme Ganash

OK folks, back to “winter” spices…though the clove is also a fantastic home remedy for toothaches all year long…did you know dentists used to prescribe sucking on a whole clove to alleviate toothaches?  Oil of clove is a numbing agent.  Cloves are also extremely popular in cigarettes … but DON’T!! 🙂  You can get cloves ground ( a little dab’ll do ya – enough clove in your spice cake and you’ll FEEL the numbing!!), or you can get cloves whole.

This is another spice that you could be put to death for in the mid 1600’s – planting OR trading cloves was a capital offense, and cloves are also a critical ingredient in French cuisine – you can’t make a stock without studding a whole onion with cloves and throwing it in!!

Here’s the most fun fact of all … back in the day when people didn’t bathe very often and STANK, cloves were a favorite ingredient in pomander balls (the usually metal balls with holes that one stuffed with aromatics and hung from their belt (men) or dangled from their wrist (women) to hide the ODOR…  ahhh… the things you learn when armchair traveling with Lula…for more tips, tidbits and fun on a weekly basis you can sign up HERE.

 

HOW MANY SPICES ARE IN ALLSPICE?

Just one! Allspice is the dried berry of a tree that grows all over the tropical Americas – called Pimenta Dioica. The berry is historically called allspice because it tastes like a combination of several spices, especially cloves. Clove can be a VERY strong spice both in aroma and taste (oil of clove is used as a numbing agent).   So when you want a hint of clove with a complex flavor, try allspice!!

Allspice is traditionally used in stuff like fruitcakes and plum puddings; Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses allspice in many savory applications as well as sweet. If you have a favorite use of allspice, let us know at http://lulasforlunch.com/blog .

 

MAD for Mace!

OK, week two of “fall/winter” spices…I’m going to continue where I left off and discuss MACE – which is simply the thin, apricot colored, lacy outer layer of the nutmeg seed.  Since there’s not as much of it, it has always been way more expensive.  It resembles nutmeg in scent and flavor but is more delicate.   Once again, this spice can be used in a variety of savory recipes as well as sweet.

At the height of its popularity the Dutch ruled the spice trade, and one year (1770) production exceeded demand by a year’s supply and the whole lot was BURNED – making Amsterdam the best scented city of all time!  Fun Fact:  Most American hot dog manufactures include mace in their recipe!!  And NOW Lula is going to give away a closely guarded secret..put a dash in your BBQ sauces (think my Kentucky Black Bourbon…) YUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuum.  Hit here for more tips and tricks!  With love, Lula

I am a NUT for Nutmeg!

OK, we’re here…it’s fall rapidly descending into holidays…so I thought I’d touch on some winter spices that everybody uses for BAKING…but since I’m not the Pastry Queen I’m going to talk a bit about nuance and savory cooking.  Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices because it has such a nuanced flavor if you use the right amount that most people can’t tell it’s in there…it’s the big ole’ “What IS that flavor?!?” that I love to hear so much 🙂

Nutmeg was fought over (the islands that grew it) and considered so valuable that it was sterilized when it left an island so that it couldn’t re-seed or grow anywhere else.  It comes from a tree that also produces mace (more on that next time) The DEATH penalty was enforced for anyone smuggling nutmeg.  First the Portuguese and the Dutch battled over dominion.  Then the Dutch and the English.   I’m going to leave you with two fun facts:

1)   The Island of Manhattan, then called New Amsterdam, is part of the United States because of a negotiation in 1667 ending this particular spice war.

2)    Add a pinch of nutmeg whenever you use cream, milk, or eggs.  No matter the recipe.  You’ll thank me!

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Pumpkin Packs a Punch!

Pumpkin seeds are one smart snack. They’re rich in zinc, a mineral vital for memory and thinking skills. They’re also packed with magnesium, a mineral that fights inflammation and contributes to the creation of new brain cells.

In addition, pumpkin seeds contain a hefty amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to the good-mood chemical serotonin. As if that’s not enough, pumpkin seeds contain a wide variety of antioxidants that may slow brain aging.  At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering , we  toast our pumpkin seeds and use them in many salads as well as garnish entrees for a satisfying crunch!  This picture is of our Citrus Avocado Salad.  Now, drool!