Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sandwich Purses

Sandwich Purse with Italian Meats made with  a Tomato Basil Wrap

Making a "Sandwich Purse" can be as easy as one, two, three using giant sized tortilla wraps,especially the  Tomato Basil version, your favorite sandwich fillings, cheeses and an 8 inch, nonstick pan.  I came up with these delectable and satisfying gems, feeling the need to make sure I utilized my wraps while they were still super fresh.  I found these at our new Chef's Store, which recently opened in Lynchburg, a good 25 minute drive from our home.  I'd been super excited about its opening and this was my first visit.
  I was like a kid in a candy store, with all the variety, the massive vegetable cooler and the equally massive meats cooler, tremendous array of fresh frozen food items, plus thousands of square footage of just about any and everything a chef, restaurant, homecook, snack shop, foodie or gourmand could appreciate.  I loved it!! I walked away with two new sheet pans, Champagne vinegar, a  5 pound bag of Cavatappi Pasta, 5 pounds of Pepper Jack Cheese cubes,  English cucumbers, plus, flour tortillas for burritos, grapes and Pita Bread! Mind you, this was just in the 15 minutes before closing time, which is 6 p.m.  The prices were within my very reasonable range and the ingredients are interchangable, so it was quite a deal at around 40 bucks.  
Sandwich Purses can be made with breakfast, lunch and dinner items and the technique is the same for whichever theme you desire, cooking necessary ingredients before adding is the main key.  
The top featured photo contains deli sliced Italian meats and two cheeses, with a sprinkle of Candied Cranberries and Pecans, the ones used in salads, for added tartness and tanginess with a subtle, sweet, nutty crunch and fresh chunks of tomato.  
Large Tomato Basil Wraps
Your favorite ingredients, if raw, cooked
Your favorite cheeses, 2 kinds is ideal, one type shredded
Butter, Margarine, EVOO or Nonstick Spray
Fresh Veggies, cut small, placed on paper towels if too juicy
8 inch Nonstick Skillet
Place the skillet on heat source at medium.  Add a small portion about 1/2 tsp or Butter, Olive etc. Melt.
Fit Wrap into the pan and press into the shape of pan.
After about 1 minute or two, start with a slice of cheese, halved and placed on opposite sides.
Layer, starting with the proteins, loosely positioned.
Add desired veggies.
 Add remaining cheese slice, halved and place opposite first slices
With a rubber spatula, start pressing wrap down and towards the center of the pan.
Hold down folded down portion and with another tool, flip the Purse over, so that the folded seams are now on the bottom. 
Press down for several seconds, then allow Purse to brown for about 1 1/2 2 minutes.
Carefully remove from pan and onto cutting surface to halve or leave whole.  
Let stand for about 2 minutes before handling.
Purse will be hot.  
Make as many as needed and enjoy.

Sandwich Purse with Italian Meats, halved

Truff® Hot Sauce is a great addition for dipping your Sandwich Purses!

Bottom view of Sandwich Purse


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Boujee Blondies

I'm always on the prowl for culinary vices filled with wonderment and intrigue.  I love delicious things, especially when I am not up for the work of creating it myself.  I appreciate and shamelessly promote nutriment made and/or hand crafted by others, every chance I get.  I relish in sharing intel, when I am forturnate enough to experience flavors worth talking about.  With that being said, I was doing some reading of emails one day and saw a reference to a place called the Blondery.  I was immediately enthralled and followed the links to a real treasure,  a "limited release virtual bakery" with the most toothsome and scrumptious blondies, which if you are uncertain, are a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie!  Yum and Yum.  
The creator of this Boujee Bliss is a woman by  the name of Auzerais Bellamy, an African American woman with the Midas Touch when it comes to flavor profiles.  She uses only the finest ingredients in her baking, with no additives or preservatives, a mensch when it comes to Pastries, professionally trained and acclaimed by the Bouchon Bakery, too many accolades to mention.  She has been perfecting her signature flavors for over ten years and just shines with her inception of Pecan and Salted Caramel Blondies, which are absolutely AHMAZING!! 
The Blondery website is always bustling, there's a waiting list and even has a timer displayed to mark the countdown to the magic making, which is on Sundays. Certain items are usually always sold out, but she does have a certain combination that is always available.   I ordered the 'always available' sample package, featuring four of the many seasonal flavors.  There are a total of 8 flavors offered, as well as individual "cake in a jar" and whole cakes!  
The Blondies are sent to your desired destination, protected by a bevy of protective items, including bubble wrap, an ice pack, shrink wrap and some packing paper.  Snug as a bug in a rug, your items arrive fresh and gorgeous.  I was so enthralled with the delivery, which I happened to catch the UPS guy, right as I was leaving my driveway.  I had engagements, but as I drove away and towards my destination, I could not stop thinking about what I would find in the much anticipated package, riding shotgun with me, beckoning me to see if what I ordered was worth the wait.  
Surprise! The Blondery box is elegant.
Looks like a present, oh wait, it is!

My curiosity got the best of me after maybe 8 miles and luckily I was afforded the opportunity to unwrap my present to self, a luxurious and decadent Pandora's Box of Sexiness, beautifully packaged, sleek, elegant and dignified.  I felt special.  I felt "Bad and Boujee". I felt empowered and honored as well.  I would be tasting a creation of an acclaimed Pastry Chef, from Brooklyn, down here in my little ole' town in Virginia.  I felt the Pride in knowing that she is brown, like me, following her dream, as I am pursuing my own, reassured that I too can potentially rise to such heights in my profession, the world is my 'Blondie.'  I'd love to meet her, alas I digress.  I sneaked a peek and quickly put the pristine little gift box back in its packaging.  I would wait until my girls finished with school and practice, so we could experience them together, for the first time.  They met and exceeded my expectations, so much so, that I am sharing this with you. 
You can check out Auzerais Bellamy's captivating and motivating story on the Blondery website (www.Blondery.com) and also on the Blondery Meta page, or simply scan the QR code below to visit the website!  While you're at it, grab a piece of the future, something you can taste and become a part of this unforgettable culinary revolution! 

The Blondery "Birthday Cake Box"

Blondery offers 8 seasonal flavors!

Beautiful and ample packaging for aestetic and shipping


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Oregon Berry, Right in your Own Backyard: Berry Useful

I did some research on some of the plants and bushes around our property out of curiosity and also for awareness of surrounding and indigenous plants.  This particular bush caught my attention for several reasons. 

I have identified a Mahonia aquifolium (Holly Leaved Barberry), aka Oregon Grape shrub in the yard, prized by the Natives for hundreds of years for its Medicinal properties. 

Pacific Northwestern Natives used the roots of the Berberis Mahonia for treatment of various ailments including but not limited to hemorrhages, tuberculosis, stomach issues and arthritis! It's quite a wonder to realize something so versatile and useful can literally be found right outside your door.

Its been a 'decorative bush' bordering the sidewalk for decades it seems.   When my sister called it a Holly Bush, I needed to educate myself on the subject, to support my opinion that it was NOT a Holly. Before reading into it, the best I had was the fact that the berries were not red, nor would they turn red at any point, but I did agree that the leaves were like that of  a Holly. She has the same name only spelled differently, so I really needed to have my facts straight, because all this time, she thought she and the shrub were one in the same.   

When I was satisfied with my identification steps, I tried one of those berries and even got her to try one.  It wasn't as bad as I'd read, though we both had to visit the bathroom very shortly after consumption.  Otherwise, all went well.  The gastro episode falls in line with its properties, as far as being a detox and a bevy of other attributes.  I plan to harvest some of the bark and also make a tincture! The birds have had a splendid time, so the pickings for the berries are slim.  I'm glad I am now equipped with more knowledge for the next time around. 

One of the most striking properties involves the color of the interior wood of the branches. It is a brilliant yellow color.

Just under the bark of a Mahonia Aquifolium, a brilliant yellow is present

Yellow interior of the branches of Mahonia Aquifolium or Oregon Berry Bush


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Smoky Southern Style Kimchi w/ Turnip Greens and Turnips

 Homemade 🥬 Kimchi, just finished, ready for fermentation

 Get ready for a fantastic take on a Korean staple, Kimchi, or Baechu (🥬) Kimchi, with a Southern American 'swang' that's hard to deny.  Kimchi, a.k.a. kimchee or gimchi, which loosely translates as "soaked" or "brined" vegetables is a condiment/ side dish made ubiquitously in Korea and traditionally with Napa cabbage, though it can be made with multitudes of other vegetables.  After preparation, it can technically be consumed immediately, but the unique and amazing flavor profile is achieved over the next few days. Traditional Baechu(🥬)  is stored in clay pots called Onggi, beneath the ground, in Korea.  There is even communal events where the people come together and make mass amounts of this savory commodity for the whole village, to last for subsequent months thereafter, to be served daily and potentially with every meal! 

The vegetables undergo a process of fermentation, of which there are 3 types: acetic acid, alcohol and lactic acid or lacto-fermentation (this applies to Kimchi) transforming them into a tender crunchy funky delicious accoutrement, full of Umami flavor and  probiotics or 'Good Bacteria', plus a wave of Vitamins, including A , C and B12.  Part of the beauty of prepared Kimchi is that it can potentially last for months, under refrigeration, gaining more flavor and depth as the days progress. Kimchi is full of micronutrients or polyphenols, perfect for body positive results and balance for the G.I. tract.  Earliest  records of Kimchi date back 4000 years, possibly earlier.  

Korean Chili pepper flakes are integral in the preparation of Kimchi.  They facilitate preservation and the environment needed to decimate growth of the bad bacteria and foster the growth of lactobacillus, which in turn is where the fermentation is made possible.  The peppers were a part of the 'New World' spices, making its way to Southeast Asia, by way of the Portuguese, with origins in Mexico, more than 6500 years ago.  This was a part of the booming Spice Trade that spread brilliant color, flavors and a wealth of melding of cultures along with it.  

The Southern American representation is from fresh Turnip Greens, Turnip, liquid Hickory smoke and Gourmet Collard Greens Seasoning, put out by "Spice King".  Save for a few staples in making Kimchi, you are at liberty to design this magnificent dish to suit your personal palate, especially in regard to its heat index.  For this recipe, I use 1 1/2 cups of Gochugaro or chili pepper flakes for a very hot result.  You may dial it down of course.
My kids are split on how they feel about Kimchi.  I discovered its glorious wonder about 3 years ago, though I'd read about it many times over and have been purchasing it since then. My youngest, 14, is definitely an adventurous one, like myself, and she enjoys it alongside me, sometimes as is, other times with our noodle bowls or rice dishes.  My oldest Genesis, 16, is too taken by the smell to even attempt trying it.  Anytime I open the packaging or jars, she is well aware, even when not in the kitchen with me, I'll hear a voice from out of nowhere say "Mom, did you open that Kimchi!?" It does no good to tell her No, because its unmistakable sweet funk cannot be easily forgotten.  I place this gem in the same culinary category as per smell, with my beloved Buckwheat Honey.  


Finished Kimchi in tradtional whole leaf form, served with Forbidden /Jasmine Rice Blend, Cinnamon Apples and Fried Chicken Wings.

4 lbs. Napa cabbage and 2 1/2 lb. Turnip Greens with Stems.

Napa Cabbage and Turnip Greens after salt treatment, 1/2 c. Kosher, stay away from iodized salt, as it is designed to inhibit bacteria growth. It is important to apply salt bt each and every leaf per segment and brined anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.

I used this as the base of my Porridge bc it contains all the ingredients to feed my bacteria and Umami presence.

Fermented shrimp is Common, I chose this...

I minced and gently heated 1/2 c. seasoned squid, cooled before adding to Porridge.

The finished porridge contains 2 tbsp. rice flour, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 1/2 c. sweet onion and 1/2 c. garlic cloves and a quarter sized knob of ginger, the last 3 ingredients are pureed together.

Smoky Southern Style Kimchi w/ Turnip Greens and Turnips

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.