I want to share 2 little stories with you before I start talking about LuLu’s Kitchen: A Taste of The Gulf Coast Good Life.
Years ago when our kids were teenagers, I tried a new recipe. It was a hamburger casserole — scalloped potatoes with hamburger. I got interrupted while it was in the oven. Like for an hour. When I took the casserole out, it was way overcooked. My family did not eat it. For days afterwards, my kids referred to the casserole as potato chips and jerky.
I never made that recipe again.
Around the same time, I joked that I served my family my ‘specialty’ for Sunday dinner — a dried crust of bread and a glass of tepid water.
That being said, do you think that my family told the good folks at FSB Associates about my nonexistent culinary skills and that I desperately needed help and to send me the best cookbook that they had?
Regardless, I have been having the time of my life with this cookbook. It is like no other!
Lucy Buffett is the author of this cookbook. One of the fun things about it is that it’s a little bit memoirs, a little bit family history, and a little bit of reminiscing scattered among the recipes and the stunning pictures.
Lucy and I became BFF as I read her book. I felt as if I were sitting in her kitchen and she was chatting with me while sharing her favorite recipes.
The book starts out with a foreword by Jimmy Buffett, who is Lucy’s brother. Cool!
That is followed by a ‘letter from LuLu,’ a pleased to meet you section, and then some backstory about her restaurants. I loved this inside view of her life, her cooking, and how her restaurant evolved from a ‘dive’ into a destination for great food and family entertainment.
Lucy tells how she wanted to bring the spirit of the carefree Caribbean to her little restaurant and how she painted things suny yellow, hot pink, and turquoise. Those colors are in her cookbook. I believe it’s the brightest, most colorful cookbook I’ve seen! I love it!
Gorgeous pictures are scattered all throughout — pictures of her, her family, her friends, the restaurant, restaurant patrons . . . . oh, and of course of her recipes. This is a visual feast for your eyes!
One thing that I really like about this cookbook is that the recipes don’t call for exotic, hard-to-find ingredients. The recipes are down-home and for normal people and not chefs who have graduated from a culinary school and work at an exquisite restaurant in Paris. And, with the step-by-step directions, anybody can be successful when making the recipes.
When I got the cookbook in the mail, I randomly opened it. I was thrilled that the very first recipe that I saw in her book was for Key Lime Pie. I fell in love with Key Lime Pie several years ago after spending some time in the Florida Keys. It was a sign — a sign that that was the recipe that I just HAD to share with you, Dear Readers.
- 2 Cups finely crushed graham crackers
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ Key lime juice, freshly squeezed if available
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- Grand Marnier Whipped Cream (recipe in the book)
- 1 lime, thinly sliced for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a small mixing bowl.
- Press evenly into a 9-inch pie pan with hands or the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 10 minutes. or until lightly brown. Set aside to cool.
- In a small mixing bowl, dissolve, gelatin in cold water, stir, and set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine egg yolks and lime juice and stir over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until slightly thick and very hot. Be careful not to bring to a full boil.
- Add softened gelatin to lime juice mixture. Whisk well for 1 minute or until gelatin is dissolved.
- To quickly cool mixture, place saucepan in a large bowl filled with ice.
- When completely cool, gradually whisk in condensed milk, stirring until blended well and mixture becomes thick.
- Spoon into graham cracker crust and spread evenly.
- Cover filling with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- When ready to serve, top pie with fresh Grand Marnier Whipped Cream and lime slices.
- (You can substitute bottled juice for freshly squeezed Key lime juice.)
Isn’t the finished pie absolutely gorgeous?
This bestselling cookbook includes more than 120 authentic family recipes from her Alabama and Florida destination restaurants. Recipes include Chunky Cherry Tomato Salsa, LuLu’s Wacky Wedge salad, Sunday Brunch Omelet with Pepper Jack Grits, and Lulu’s Big Chocolate Chunky Cookie. I can tell that I’m going to be spending lots of time in the kitchen trying out all of the great recipes! (And I’m sure that they will ALL taste better than that potato casserole!)
I encourage you to get your own copy. You’ll be glad you did!