Entertainer Gifts and a Broccoli Recipe You’ll Love
Not too long ago, a friend from the housewares world asked me if I had used a Cristel pot. Not only had I never cooked using the cookware, but I hadn’t heard of it either. Intrigued, I got my hands on a piece and the rest is history. I was so impressed with it that I found myself reaching for it every time I cooked.
The heavy-duty stainless-steel cookware is tailor-made for small kitchens as the handles are detachable so the pots and pans nest inside each other. I am a huge fan of the removable handles and love all the fun colors that they come in. You can continually update your cookware by changing the color of the handles.
Look at the rainbow! Now you can cook with the rainbow as you make food from the rainbow! You know the mealtime adage, eat as many colors of food that make up a rainbow.
Cristel 8-Piece Set: Entertainer Gifts
None of that would be worth talking about if they didn’t perform masterfully. The bottom of every piece has a thick bed of heat-conducting metal that makes this the best cookware that I have used. You would think being completely made in France comes with a steep price tag. And you would be right, except that now Cristel is making a new version exclusively for The Home Depot. The collection is charmingly called “Tulipe” referring to the slight outer curve on the bottom of the pan. An eight-piece set of saucepans has a suggested retail of $299.00.
You get one long black handle, a 1-quart, 2-quart, 3-quart saucepan with matching glass lids and an 8-inch glass steamer. The saucepans are so good looking that they can double as serving pieces. And, it is no surprise that it has already garnered a 5-star review from The Home Depot folks who have bought and cooked with it!
My favorite part besides the price, is the glass steamer insert that comes with the Saucepan Set. And, I use it to make my favorite Broccoli dish. I call it My Sister’s Broccoli because my sister, Mary Pat, created the recipe and it is the first and only recipe that has turned me from a Broccoli “hater” to a Broccoli “lover.”
But I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t have the Cristel Tulipe glass steamer. The glass steamer is easy to use, you can see when the broccoli—or any food is done—and it is easy to clean. I love the steamer so much that I make this Broccoli dish at least once a week. Which is win-win! I win by eating healthy Broccoli and win because the Cristel Tulipe steamer has taken the “chore” out of steaming food!
Tulipe is also available in additional sets, and open stock including non-stick and regular frying pans, a stew pan, a saute pan, a stockpot, a pasta basket and the glass steamer in a second size. The colorful detachable handles come in black, white, grey, raspberry, yellow, orange, black currant, lavender, blue ink, tilla green and taupe.
Pick up your set and your favorite colored handles at www.homedepot.com
My Sister’s Broccoli
My sister Mary Pat is a great cook and an even better baker. Sweets are her thing but as the mother of three active boys, dinner always comes first—chronologically speaking!
One recent night, I had dinner at her house. When I asked if there was anything that I could do to help, she replied that it was all done. When I arrived, the house smelled divine as the Chicken Marbella was already in the oven.
We enjoyed a glass of wine as she cleaned and trimmed some broccoli, apologizing for making it because it is well known in my family that I am not a fan of broccoli. Everyone else loves it. I answered that it was ok, it would give me even more room for her raspberry-topped Tres Leche Cake resting in the refrigerator. I have long wanted to like broccoli. Spinach always trumped broccoli—at least up until now.
Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese and Garlic
As we sat down, Mary Pat brought the steaming broccoli dish to the table. It actually looked promising. Bright green florets with a dusting of parmesan cheese and the rich smell of roasted garlic. I had to try it. It was really good. I ate every piece and had a second helping. And, the next morning, I was still thinking about the broccoli.
My sister adapted the recipe from a popular pasta that her Italian friend Roberto Broglia, owner of the legendary but now closed restaurant Pasta Mia in Washington DC, made.
Mary Pat remembered that he blanched the broccoli florets, tossed them with a generous amount of garlic olive oil and caramelized garlic cloves. He added the garlicky vegetable to al dente pasta and finished it with lots of real parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of red-pepper flakes.
As my sister started cooking for her family, she looked for new ways to make broccoli that was both healthy and delicious. She remembered the broccoli pasta and started making it sans pasta, and the rest is history. Now, I have broccoli on my home rotation.
Recipe: My Sister’s Broccoli
- 1 head of broccoli
- ½ cup peeled garlic cloves
- ½-1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- Pinch of red-pepper flakes, optional
Step 1: Trim the Broccoli
Trim the broccoli and cut off the florets. I like to cut them in the natural clumps that you can see, but you can also slice the florets down the middle of the “trunk” and cut the florets in half or in quarters if they are really large. Place these in a bowl and run cold water to wash over them to wash away any dirt. Set aside.
Step 2: Simmer Garlic and Oil
Meanwhile, place the raw garlic cloves and the oil in a small saucepan with a lid and simmer on low heat until the cloves are caramelized and brown and the oil is fragrant, about 15 minutes. If the garlic isn’t golden enough, increase the heat and tilt the pan until all the garlic is submerged in the oil. Season the oil with a pinch of salt. Set aside, but keep warm. If you make the oil and garlic in advance, warm on the stovetop or in the microwave before using to season the hot blanched broccoli.
Step 3: Bring Water to Boil
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a teaspoon of salt and stir. Add the broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the florets to a clean serving bowl. Do not plunge them in ice water because you want them warm to absorb the garlic and cheese.
Step 4: Toss Broccoli
Pour the oil and garlic cloves over the broccoli. Toss the broccoli and dust liberally with the grated parmesan cheese. If you like things a little spicy, add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Serve immediately. It is best eaten warm or at room temperature.