The Kitchen Think: I Food Poisoned Myself


I food poisoned myself… and the same thing could happen to you.

Quite simply… I didn’t wash my vegetables carefully enough. Self-inflicted food poisoning.

How many times have you bought fresh veggies, given them a quick wash and then added them to whatever you were preparing? Didn’t think twice about it, did you?

But how do you know if that cilantro wasn’t accidentally dropped on the supermarket floor, then returned to the shelf and nestled in with the other bunches? It looked okay… green and fresh and supermarket floor dirty.

And what about those apples? No bruises, right? Well maybe the person who was searching for the perfect apple just before you had something very contagious and touched the very same apples you’re carting home. Sure, you’ll wash them… but how well?

I could go on and on and get even more gross, but there’s no reason to… you get the drift.

For a while I was using Rebel Green Fruit and Veggie Clean…. but I ran out and didn’t replace it. Mistake. Rebel Green is made with all natural ingredients that lab tests have proven remove some of the most common strains of bacteria and pesticides on fresh produce… more effective than rinsing with water alone.

I’ve pulled together some more quick tips to keep your family safe and prevent foodborne illness in your home.

Veggie Food Safety-Food Poisoning

How to Peel Pistachios


Lilia writes: In your recipe for Pistachio Soup, you say the pistachios should be “shelled, peeled and chopped.” Well, I shelled them, but it took too long to peel them so I gave up and ate them. Is there an easier way?

One of my favorite food stories is when London’s Marks and Spencer department store began selling pistachios for first time in the early 1960’s. As pistachios were new to many customers,  M&S included instructions telling shoppers how to peel pistachios before eating. Many did not read the instructions.

PistachiosThere was a serious lack of instruction in my recipe… apologies. Removing the shell is easy (and seems obvious) compared to getting rid of the pistachio’s thin protective skin. This skin is edible, but it’s usually removed in recipes to make the dish look nicer.

Here’s how to remove the skin:
1. Shell the nuts and place in a bowl.
2. Boil two cups of water for every cup of pistachio.
3. Pour the boiling water over the nuts and let them stand 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.
4. Spoon the nuts onto the top half of a clean dishtowel laid out on a cutting board or counter.
5. Fold the bottom half of the dishtowel over the nuts and give them a good rub. The nut should slip right out of their skins.

I am always happy when I get comments that help make my recipes better. Thanks Lilia!


How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs


Beth writes: “This is a dumb question, but how do you boil an egg? My eggs always have an ugly green ring around the yolk… what’s up with that?”

Not to worry! Cooking eggs is not an eggs-act science (Sorry…I just had to say that).

That green ring is harmless, but really ugly, especially if you are making deviled eggs. It’s caused by a chemical reaction between the iron in the yolk and the sulfur in the white. You’ll get that ring if you hard boil the egg too long at a high temperature. Also, the older the egg is, the greener yolk will get.

Here’s my recipe for how to make hard boiled eggs, courtesy of my pals at the American Egg Board and the Incredible Edible Egg.


Because Mama is always a font of information (whether you want it or not), here are some other things you should know about How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs:

• Peel those eggs right after cooling because the egg contracts in the shell. When they’re cool, gently roll between your palms first and start peeling at the large end. You can also shake them in the pan to loosen the shells.
• Peeling eggs under cool running water helps the shells slip off.
• Fresh eggs are always harder to peel. Buy and refrigerate them for about a week before hard-boiling them.
• In the shell, you can refrigerate eggs for up to one week. If possible, put them back in the carton so they don’t absorb other refrigerator odors. Put a small “X” on the shell so you can tell the boiled from the raw.

Finally, NEVER try to cook an egg in the shell in the Microwave. It will explode. Yep, Mama learned this lesson a long time ago—the HARD way!


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: