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.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

mozzarella salad

This is such an easy recipe it literally takes minutes to assemble. We did not use salt and never missed the sodium. It gets really hot in Memphis and the last thing we need is to be swollen from too much salt. Back to the recipe, this is so easy a kid could make it. Sorry we don't have a photo, this dish vanishes quickly.

Mozzarella Salad
10-12 small "balls" of fresh mozarella cheese, drained
12-15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
one medium cucumber, peeled if waxy and seeded if it has large seeds (we used a homegrown and did not need to peel or remove seeds)
1/2 medium vidalia onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon
cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently. Serve immediately and watch it disappear. Serves 4 appetizer portions.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zucchini, squash and tomato casserole

This recipe was adapted from Mel's Granny's recipe. Mel's version uses olive oil (instead of butter) and asiago cheese (instead of just plain parmesan) and fresh (instead of dried) herbs and garlic. Granny also topped her casserole with breadcrumbs which have been eliminated from this lower carb version.

This is a simple dish to prepare and is really tasty, especially if you buy your vegetables from a local source. We bought our veggies at The Agricenter Farmer's Market.

2 medium to large zucchini
2 medium to large yellow squash
1 medium yellow or Vidalia onion, peeled
2 medium fresh tomatoes, or one pint of cherry or grape tomatoes (canned tomatoes will work if fresh are not available- substitute one 15 oz. can of good quality peeled whole tomatoes, drained)
2 tbsp. chopped (raw) garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
*1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
*1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
*1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup grated asiago cheese
olive oil nonstick spray
two 9” round glass or ceramic casserole dishes, you can also use one large rectangle dish

*OPTIONAL add 1 tsp. spicy crushed red pepper flakes to herb mix
*If fresh herbs are not available, substitute 2 tbsp. dried Italian herbs

serving size- about 3/4 cup, serves about 10 people
Cut zucchini, squash, onion and tomato into ¼ inch circular shaped slices. Place all cut vegetables on several layers of paper towels for about 5 minutes to absorb extra moisture. Spray casserole dish(es) with nonstick olive oil spray. Arrange vegetables in glass or ceramic casserole dish(es) in layers starting with zucchini, squash, onion and ending with tomato. In a separate bowl combine olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (add red pepper flakes if you like spicy flavors). Spoon herb mixture over casserole. Bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Remove casserole(s) from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking about 30 more minutes or until vegetables are soft. Top with cheeses and broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned. Serve warm or room temperature.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

calling all foodies

Welcome to our newest blog dedicated to all things edible, the Spillman way. We are excited to announce our first post honoring Justin Wilson, the cajun cook.

Stay tuned for our adventures in cooking, gardening, dining out, dining in and shopping for all things related to cooking and eating good food.