10 Tips for Buying Perfect Broccoli


We eat fresh broccoli all year, so I honestly didn’t know that it was a seasonal vegetable. Yep… fall to early spring, that’s when it’s at its peak.

I guess I thought that as long as the broccoli wasn’t yellow and limp, it was good to go.

No, no, no. There’s so much more to it.

Something to remember: even if you buy gorgeously green broccoli with tightly packed florets, if you overcook it you’ll loose all the nutrients. Lightly steam or microwave the broccoli until tender-crisp and you’ll preserve the cancer-fighting beta-carotene.

Here are 10 Tips for Buying Perfect Broccoli… at any time of year!

10 Tips for Buying Perfect Broccoli


Perfect Scrambled Eggs +Tutorial!


Perfect Scrambled Eggs are one of those recipes everyone should know how to make.

Scrambled Eggs are one of those recipes that seem relatively easy to prepare, but, for some reason, perfect scrambled eggs are hard to master.

Until now.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware 10-Inch Frying Pan

I’m giving full credit to the new 10-inch ceramic-coated Induction 21 Steel fry pan my friends at Chantal asked me to try out. The pan has copper melted into the steel, which conducts heat quickly and evenly. Even cooking temps are important so your scrambled eggs will have those light fluffy curds (not grainy dry ugliness).

The pan is also ceramic coated, which means it’s a non-stick pan… but doesn’t emit toxic fumes when it’s overheated. It is PFOA and PTFE free (click here for more info on what that means and why that’s a good thing). Chantal doesn’t recommend using non-stick sprays… butter and oil are best. It’s nickel-free… which is a plus, because I’m allergic to nickel!

The pan is made with titanium for added strength and durability… super important if you cook a lot.

I really like that the long ergonomic handle stays cool to the touch while cooking. It features a wide flat bottom, sloped sides and has a dripless pouring rim to reduce spillage. I used it on my gas cooktop, but it’s perfect for induction or other cooktops.

This pan does not need to be preheated and a low to medium setting is all you need for most things you’ll prepare. It is not dishwasher safe, but I don’t put my pots and pans in the dishwasher anyway.

This pan is great for searing fish fillets, browning chicken breasts, sautéing vegetables… or making the Perfect Scrambled Eggs! There’s a step-by-step tutorial after the recipe!

Tutorial: How To Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs

1. Gather your ingredients: 2 eggs, ¼ cup boiling hot water, 1 tablespoon butter, salt and pepper to taste.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware


2.  Heat your water.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

3. Beat the eggs vigorously until completely blended (you want as much air in them as possible so that they’ll be fluffy); set aside.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

4. Heat butter in the Chantal Induction 21 Steel™ Fry Pan on medium low heat until melted.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

5. Beat boiling hot water into the eggs.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

6. Pour immediately into the fry pan; reduce heat to medium low.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

7. Push eggs gently across the pan with a wooden or silicone spatula, forming large, soft curds.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

8. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware


9. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

 Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Chantal Induction 21 Steel Cookware

How to Pick The Perfect Potato For A Recipe


Shelly asks: I used regular baking potatoes for my potato salad and they basically turned into mush. Are certain potatoes better for certain recipes?

Most of us learn the hard way (or I should say the mush way?) that you can’t use the same type of potato for every recipe. But you should still use the same criteria when you go about selecting potatoes for whatever you’re making:

1. Potatoes should be smooth and they should all be about the same shape and size so they’ll cook evenly.
2. Pass up potatoes that have bad spots, wrinkled skins, cuts, bruises or green coloring.
3. Store fresh potatoes in a cool, dark place… NOT the refrigerator.

Each variety of potato has a “best way” to cook it. Here’s some guidance on how to pick the perfect potato for your particular recipe:

Bake, mash, French fry, roast

Boil, steam, roast, sauté, soups, salads, scalloped and au gratin 

Boil, steam mash, French fry, roast, soups, salads, au gratin

Mash, steam, bake, boil, roast, French Fry 

Boil, steam, bake 

 Boil, bake, steam

We tend to think of potatoes as villains when it comes to healthy eating. Potatoes aren’t the bad guys, it’s the oil they’re fried in or the sour cream and cheese that they’re topped with… and that has less to do with the potato and more to do with the person eating it!

Potatoes are rich in vitamin C and potassium and loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber (which keeps the digestive tract working and slows down digestion so you feel full longer). A medium baked potato only has 161 calories!

Tomorrow, a yummy delish recipe for your next picnic: All-American Potato Salad (hey, summer’s not over yet!)

(A big shout out to my pals at the United States Potato Board and the Washington State Potato Commission!)

How To Make Croutons


Beautiful, golden brown, garlicky croutons are one of those things that I can eat until the cows come home.

I pop one or two in my mouth with no guilt. Then I eat a third and fourth and think: “That’s it! No more until dinner!” Of course… I have a couple more. This is about the time someone wanders into the kitchen and snags one off the tray and I yell, “Stop eating all the croutons! They’re for dinner!”

These croutons are so good, I bet even my Paleo friends would succumb to one or two.

Here’s how to make croutons that’ll venture off the salad plate and into soups such as Gazpacho or Cucumber (make the croutons small or you won’t be able to see the soup!). Croutons also like to sit on grilled vegetables and eggs (no need to make toast… it’s on top!) and casseroles.

Some recipes tell you to use stale bread. I like day old or two-day old bread… otherwise the croutons taste a little tired. I prefer to use baguettes, but really, any bread will do. As you know, I’m big on contrasting colors. Once, I mixed pumpernickel bread with white bread (I even flavored them differently, but that was one of those rare occasions when I had a little extra time).

Give them a little sex appeal with a dash of cayenne pepper… or even a curry or Moroccan spice blend.

The beauty of croutons is that you can make a whole tray of them and they will keep for a week in a tightly sealed container or re-sealable plastic bag… assuming they survive the crouton bandits and snacking masses!

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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: mamashighstrung@gmail.com