Monday, September 5, 2011

spicy acorn squash soup

This rich soup is delicious, easy and quick. It tastes like it cooked all day, but microwaving the acorn squash saves about an hour of cooking time. Another time-saver is that you do not have to cut the vegetables neatly, as the soup will be pureed before serving.

1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
1/4 cup warm water (plus a little more if necessary)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small Vidalia onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken or veg. broth (we used low sodium chicken)
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeds removed
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp fresh chives, snipped
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
salt and black pepper to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp each)

Place acorn squash halves cut side down in a glass dish, add 1/4 cup warm water. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Check to see if water has evaporated, add a little more water if needed. Microwave another 5-7 minutes, or until flesh of acorn squash becomes softened.

In a medium soup pan sautee celery, carrot, onion, garlic in olive oil until tender (about 3-5 minutes). With a spoon, scoop the squash into the vegetable mixture and add broth, chipotle, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir and cook over medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes (mixture will be lumpy). Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Place soup in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Return to soup pan to heat for serving. Ladle soup into small mugs or bowls, garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and snipped chives.

Monday, August 15, 2011

turkey time in tennessee

Fall is nipping at our heels in Memphis. Yesterday and today it felt pleasant outside, something we have not been able to experience for a while due to a lingering summer heat wave. The cooler temperatures prompted us to roast a gobbler and it was worth turning the oven on for the first time in a while.

You gotta try this recipe, it is quite possibly the easiest roast turkey recipe ever known to modern mankind. Believe. It is so easy and really yummy.

To thaw turkey breast you can use two options:

Option One (Quicker method)- Submerge store-wrapped frozen turkey breast in a large bowl and place in the sink. Fill bowl with cool water. Allow turkey breast to sit in water for 6 hours. Change water 2 or 3 times during the 6 hours.
Option Two (Overnight method)- Place store-wrapped frozen turkey breast into a large bowl and set in refrigerator overnight, about 12 hours.

Roast Turkey Breast
one frozen turkey breast (we used Kroger's Private Selection with Creamery Butter and it was outstanding)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 cup vegetable broth or stock

Preheat oven to 350. Unwrap turkey and rinse under cool water. Pat dry with paper towel and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle and rub on all of the dry seasonings. Slide the bay leaf under the netting that surrounds the turkey (if your turkey does not have netting, crumble bay leaf with your fingers and rub on turkey). Bake in a roasting pan (with a rack) for 30-45 minutes or until surface becomes browned. Once browned, slowly pour vegetable broth over turkey. Bake 20 more minutes and baste turkey. Continue baking and basting every 20 minutes until turkey is done (pop up tab will let you know, about 2 1/2 hours). Once fully cooked, remove from oven and allow to rest 1-15 minutes before carving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spillmanville window sill

Tomatoes from our garden! Last summer our tomatoes never produced any fruit.
This year's crop has yielded enough to make salsa, gazpacho and lots of extra tomatoes for slicing.

Last night's tomato recipe was:

Grilled Tomato Halves
Cut tomatoes in half (as many as you plan to eat)
Brush with olive oil
Sprinkle on Kosher salt, black pepper, chopped garlic

Grill tomatoes (cut side on grill first) for about 5 minutes on each side.
Remove from grill and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.
Serve warm or refrigerate to enjoy the next day in a salad or on a sandwich.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

cocktail hour

Tomorrow we return to work after a peaceful summer. Let the games begin with a Sunday afternoon cocktail invented by Spillmanville. This potent potable is sure to melt your last days of summer away.

Jezebel (title inspired by listening to some smooth Sade)
2 shots premium vodka, chilled
4 oz. LaCroix water, lemon flavored, chilled
1 tbsp lemon juice
garnish: a few blueberries, a strawberry slice and a couple of mint leaves


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No Bake Cookies (doo-doo cookies)

Simply stated, I love cookies. I love making them and I love eating them. When I was a kid my mom made me cookies for my birthday. She would put them in a Toll House tin, and wrap them up just for me. I never shared.
One of my all time favorite cookies is quite possibly the easiest cookie to make. There are all kinds of ways to play with this one, but I am going to take the recipe straight out of Aunt Bee's recipe box.

No Bake Cookies are just that. They are not baked. The most cooking you will do is boiling and mixing. 
1/2 cup butter (don't use fake butter, never as good)
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (I prefer crunchy)
3 cups quick oats
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt.
In a saucepan combine butter, cocoa, sugar, and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Drop the mixture from a spoon onto waxed paper. (the wax paper is important) Set aside and let cool. They will harden a bit as they cool down. Don't try and cool these in the refrigerator. They just get all greasy. 
Makes about 3 dozen.
Spillmanville Eats likes the sugars..


Have you ever tried Quinoa? It is a grain and is very good for you and easy to prepare. Pick some up at your local grocery store. It comes pre-packaged in a box (or bag) and can sometimes can be found in the self-scoop bulk aisle. Quinoa can be served warm or cold. We like the cold "salad" version in the summer and in winter we serve it warm with parmesan cheese.

Summer Quinoa Salad
1. Prepare quinoa according to box directions (1 cup dry quinoa, 2 cups water). Bring to boil, cover, simmer on low 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
2. Put cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl and allow to cool. Fluff occasionally with a fork to speed up cooling.
3. Add chopped vegetables, about 1/4 cup of each (cucumber, green onion, tomato, carrot- whatever veggies you like!)
4. Season with a little kosher salt, fresh black pepper, a splash of olive oil and a few tablespoons of something with acidity (rice wine vinegar or lemon juice works well). Chill before serving.

Friday, July 15, 2011

low carb pizza!

Bobby has the body type that can eat anything and never gain weight. Mel does not (think apple-shaped "Kermit the Frog" body). We both love pizza, but Mel simply cannot eat many carbs or her pants will be too tight within a day, literally.

Here is a lo-carb pizza that is so easy to make and tastes great. It is a quick dish and you don't have to waste time making sauce. The canned tomato paste seasons itself while cooking. We used feta and parmesan, but you could use any cheese you have on hand. Feel free to add your favorite additional toppings and have fun with this versatile recipe.

Lo-Carb Pizza (makes 1 pizza)
1 lo-carb wheat tortilla
1 tbsp grated parmesan
1 tbsp crumbled feta
1 tsp capers, rinsed
1/2 small can tomato paste
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of dried Italian herbs
fresh cracked black pepper
handful of chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. olive oil

Heat oven to 400 and put tortilla on cookie sheet, drizzle tortilla with olive oil. Smear tomato paste over tortilla then sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian herbs. Add cheese, capers and black pepper. Bake about 10-12 minutes or until crisp and cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil before serving.