Saturday, February 26, 2022

Fruity Pebbles and Bacon Grilled Cheese (Melt)

 This recipe is the truth.  It's wacky, but believe me when I say, this flavor profile works beautifully.  All the components of what make something 'taste good' are there.   This unconventional approach contains crunchy, crispy, creamy, ooey gooey, stretchy, smoky, salty,  sweet, savory, sour and heat, all in one.  I challenge you to try this mashup and see for yourself.  The Grilled Cheese/Melts Game is now armed and equipped with one of the most  memorable versions, something new for 2022. 


Honey Wheat or desired bread

Butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Mayonnaise for an extra golden and crispity crunchy) 

Fruity Pebbles

Crumbled Bacon, precooked or home cooked

Dried Cranberries, optional, but Optimal for tart factor

Korean Hot Pepper Flakes

Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Mild Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Muenster slices

American Cheese, (it's the Rule)

Now, Get your ass in the kitchen and create Magnificence!!!

Tag your photos to @tennellio with hashtag #fruitypebblesgrillcheese,  so I can see your reactions and/ creations!! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Duck Off!

 I've fallen hard for duck eggs.  One of my work associates mentioned that their family does organic chicken eggs and they also have duck eggs on occasion.  I jumped at the opportunity to experience them in my repertoire. I am in love already.  They are so versatile and provide the same nutrients, actually more, than  the eggs of a chicken.  They are  humongous, providing enough for substituting at least 2 mediums easy, providing  a wonderfully richer and creamier presentation, full of egg forward flavor. 

Duck eggs make for great baking and are EGGcellent for custards, quiches and souffles, possessing a higher yolk to whites ratio.  These eggs have a lower water content, so keep in mind that they are easier by comparison to overcook.  Duck eggs are high in valuable nutrients like Selenium, B1, B2,  B12, B6, B7,B9, virtually all of the B vitamins, Iron and protein.  The yolk presents darker, which indicates a higher antioxidant value.  Also, there is more Omega 3's and twice as much vitamin A as chicken eggs.  Duck eggs have a much tougher shell than its counterpart, so you have to give it more of an UMPH to crack it  and you won't be 'walking on egg shells' to avoid breaking one! Please don't mistake me, I still love my hauls of organic deliciousness brought courtesy of my brother Ken, of Dominique eggs he and my sister in law bring in droves.  

The nutrients duck eggs possess are fantastic for your bones, hair, skin, muscles and overall health.  Being eggs, they do however contain cholesterol, so try not to overshadow its goodness, by consuming too many in a week's time.  Moderation is the key to keeping them in your diet.  

For my first experiences with these mega eggs or MEGGS, I went with a simple country style fried on my Blackstone Griddle and also Sunny Side up.  I love the way they turned out.  I'm especially digging the way they cover the whole toast or biscuit, egg in every bite!  

Don't be intimidated by the size of these beauties, you can always use a kitchen scale to weigh out the exact amount needed, a large chicken egg is about 2 oz., so you can gauge the amount needed for use.  

Next on my list is an array of Pound Cakes, featuring the lovable goodness of the egg that is Duck.  I'm excited for you to get your hands on some (if you haven't already) and let the creating begin.  If someone tries to talk you out of this culinary gem, simply tell them to Duck Off! and get some anyway. Until next time, Happy Eating!

Zesty Pesto Ranch Chicken Tenders

Looking for a boost in your boring chicken game with little effort and a big return? Well, look no further.  With a couple of store bought items and few minutes of marination time, you can turn ordinary chicken into an extraordinary and versatile meal option and wake up your sleeping taste buds.  The leftovers from this recipe can be used the next day for a fabulous centerpiece on a delicious salad, for work lunch or healthy dinner for the tweens and teens.  
The tenders may additionally be served alongside a starch like veggie filled rice or potatoes, or even cauliflower rice and  sweet potato fries.  Why not toss them in a nice warm flour tortilla and go Greek with some greens, Kalamata olives, fresh oregano, red onion and tzatziki sauce for a burst of flavors and satisfying crunch.  With food costs rising in unprecedented proportions, we as consumers could use ingredients that are interchangeable and able to be diversified, saving where we can.  
The two ingredients are a packet of Ranch seasoning (1 oz.) and a jar of Pesto (6.5 oz.).  I used 1/2 packet of the seasoning and 2/3 of the Pesto for about 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders.  The flavor profile of the items combined is enough to cover many taste bases at once. I blended these items using mayonnaise (1/4 cup) as the binder, but feel free to use full fat or fat free sour cream or even Greek yogurt for the healthiest version possible, the choice is yours.  Fold the protein into mixture and let sit covered in the fridge for 15 minutes and up to 24 hours.  
Using tongs, lift the protein out of the marinade and onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
Execution is  worry free and able to be prepped ahead time for maximum marination time, then baked off in a 375* F oven or zapped in your air fryer, saving even more precious time and energy.  Chicken tenders can be quite expensive at times, so substituting boneless cuts of pork or boneless skinless chicken thighs will fit the bill just fine. 
Next time you need a quick and delicious meal fix, give these a try and let your taste buds have a little fun for a change.  

Friday, December 24, 2021

Bone in Holiday Ribeye/ Sweet and Sour Green Beans for the Win, Whose Cider You On!


If you've tired of the traditional fare that comes with the holidays, grab a Ribeye and get the party started right!  I have a Blackstone griddle and grill/griddle combination pans, so bringing this recipe to life is a cinch.  A nice cast iron skillet with the ribbed bottom can get this lovely protein to center stage also, which is what I used for the featured photo.
All you have to do is whip up a quick marinade using soy sauce, apple cider or unsweetened apple juice, smashed garlic, onion powder and some black garlic paste with tomato puree and dash of liquid smoke, Hickory or Mesquite.  After marinating for 30 minutes at room temperature or longer, pat the Ribeye dry, SPST ( Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)  and introduce it to a screaming hot grill pan or griddle.  Let the protein go unbothered for about 4 minutes.  After the 4 minutes, using two pairs of tongs, pick up the steak and turn it 1/4 turn of the pan.  This will give you the signature grill type marks some associate with a restaurant quality steak, also referred to as crosshatches. 
A Crosshatch pattern presents as tiny squares, particularly in a grill pan with a grid looking arrangement, like the longer, combination griddle.  At this point 4 more minutes will have passed and you are ready to flip.  I like to put a lid or tinted foil on the pan to encourage all around cooking and reduce splatter, but of course, do what's best for your cooking style.  Once the steak has gone for several more minutes, depending on doneness desired, you are free to use your tongs to sear off the sides of your steak. 
Generally, I prefer my steaks medium rare, but for Ribeyes, I like to take them to medium.  Finish your  Ribeye off with a pat of cultured butter.  Allow your steak to rest for a full 5 minutes under tented foil to allow for redistribution of the delicious juices.  
While the pan is still hot, toss in your green beans and saute them for about 3 minutes.  Add a splash of seasoned rice vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil.  SPST.
Your mega meal in a flash is ready to go.  Smashed or mashed potatoes and a beautiful green salad will complete your masterpiece!  This featured steak will serve two, but that is a  decision you make, Enjoy

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Three Mushroom Sachets#Perfect Day


During the month of December, I was fortunate enough to participate in an exclusive trial of a revolutionary new product to the food world, Animal Free Cream Cheese.  I know it sounds bizarre, but the creators at Perfect Day did just that, creating a smooth, creamy, flavorful and versatile product, suitable for replacing a traditional animal based cream cheese in virtually any recipe.  Using a process of fermentation, scientists were able to isolate the milk protein and extract it, serving as the building blocks for the creation of this imaginative and quite genius spread.  

Through the resourcefulness of Chef's Roll, an industry leading hub for Chefs, both at home and professional, restaurant employees, restaurateurs, foodies, small businesses, Culinarians and the like, plus a bevy of sponsors with amazing products.  I was selected as one of only 100 chefs to participate in the opportunity to develop recipes in two categories for this soon to be trending food item.  Many thanks to both for a key ingredient and inspiration for this featured recipe, Vegan Three Mushroom Sachets.  

I wanted to showcase this wonderful animal free cream cheese with a recipe that would not hide its delicious taste and texture.  After a bit of research, I found inspiration in the Middle Eastern Borek, which is a pastry filled with either meats, cheeses or a sweet filling.  Phyllo dough is used, which is naturally Vegan and that was certainly an attribute to the dish as a whole.  I chose to create these almost hand pie- like pouches, filled with Perfect Day Animal Free Cream Cheese and meaty, earthy mushrooms, three types actually; Baby Bella, Button (8 oz. each) and the piece de resistance of the three, Black Morels, (5 small or about 2 oz.) which I personally foraged, dehydrated and stored from an anomaly of a season past.  I foraged almost 200 in one area!! This was especially satisfying, since I'd only collected 3 from the wild, before this moist and cool, late March mid morning.  Procurement of the Morels is a story for another day, so I must dial back my ADHD to the experience at hand haha, you can read about it here anytime though, just search Morels and Foraging on my page for stories and the recipes they inspired! 

I started this featured recipe by gently cooking about 2 tbsp. minced yellow onion and pressed, minced garlic, 2 cloves, until soft and translucent., about 6 minutes.    I used a plant butter for this part.  After sauteing the thinly sliced mushrooms in a bit of roasted Walnut oil with a tad of extra virgin olive oil, I de-glazed with a small portion of the mushroom water from re-hydrating the Morels, about 1/4 c. and cooked out the excess moisture.  I combined them with the chiffonade of fresh sage and mint, about 1 tsp. sage and 1/2 tsp. mint.  I added 1/4 c. nutritional yeast for body and flavor reminiscent to that of Aged Parmesan.  I then folded the veggie blends into the AF cream cheese. SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste).  I used Himalayan Pink Salt, fine grain, for lots of beneficial trace minerals and harmonious balance with the mushrooms.

Additionally, you can elevate the filling even more by using a counter top smoker and smoking the cheese blend before placing the filling in the pastry.  I used double sheets of the Phyllo dough to make the sachets, placing 2 tbsp. portions in the center and folding over to the ends, and then folding the outer sleeves under the filled portions.  I brushed them with plant butter, during and after.  Bake the sachets on parchment paper lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes in a 375* convection oven until golden.


Vegan Three 'Shroom Sachets with Perfect Day

Delicious warm or at room temperature.  Makes 10 sachets or you can reduce the portions to about 1 tsp. each and make appetizer servings.  

This dish is just perfect as is or as a vegan main course alongside a nice gourmet greens salad with cranberries and roasted pecans.  Additionally, the appetizer portions will go well at ANY social, dinner or occasion where food and wine is involved, even the strict carnivores can appreciate this dish.   My tasters approved unanimously, myself included.

Flaky, Delicious, Hearty and Vegan with Perfect Day AF Cream Cheese

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Holiday Pull Apart Brunch Casserole

 Casseroles are a delicious and affordable way to get meals on the table in a timely fashion.  They are awesome because they can be made ahead and modified easily to fit any palate.  Generally speaking, breakfast casseroles are popular and filling, especially for brunch or even dinners, by adding a simple green or fruit salad for accompaniment.  It's always nice when we can present our meals with a little flair to peak the interest of our sometimes unimpressed brood, often familiar with dishes that can be correlated to the day of the week.  I once dated a guy whose mom was on one such schedule.  If ever I was unsure of the day of the week, I simply noted what she was serving for dinner, i.e. Fast Food Friday or Hotdogs, baked beans and mac/cheese Wednesday, you get the drift.  She was a mother of two, wife and full time at a busy office, so understandably devised a routine, passe to her household, but admirable to me.  

They were well versed in the almost robotic menu, so they never seemed excited for dinner.  The following recipe is to help divert one such outcome, using tater tots as the border, sides and crust.  They have been partially thawed and some are crumbled into the bottom, while others are stacked to create crust.  The finished border may be plucked off and dipped in your favorite sauce or ketchup, while the rest serves as the vessel to hold the delicious and savory ingredients, married through staples like sharp cheddar, green onion and local, fresh eggs.  I used a 2 lb. bag of tater tots, partially thawed,  for this recipe.  
Serves Plenty.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Quilted Mac and Cheese

With the holidays fast approaching,  our menus will be brainstormed, assessed and executed with surgical precision and garnished with stress.  Whether you choose a traditional or modern ensemble, there are always little tweaks and adjustments we can make to what we are already comfortable with, to elevate a dish or recipe in no time. 
 The featured photo is what I call "quilted", because of the block style appearance of the melted cheese on top and throughout.  I cubed some of the cheese portions larger than others, as to not completely melt into the dish and retain some of its shape and offer more texture.  I prepped two contrasting color portions of the cheese used for this recipe and scattered the blocks randomly atop, to create a look similar to that of your Grandma's hand sewn quilt, passed down to your mother and one day, becoming your own.  
Now, having an heirloom quilt is not a requirement and is certainly not going to affect the wonderful outcome of this little tip, but hopefully it will create the same warming, cozy and familiar feeling you just had thinking about it. Additionally, if you love the idea of quilting as a hobby, it's never too late to begin one and create some living history and a chance to get your kids engaged in adding some of the swatches that represent themselves or things that are important in their lives. Participation begets Appreciation!  Enjoy!

Quilted Mac and Cheese effect created using two types of cheese, cubed