What’s Cooking in Kelli’s Kitchen 

  • 2021-08-16, 05:03 AM
  • Kelli Kelly
What’s Cooking in Kelli’s Kitchen  File photo Kelli Kelly, Rick Lattin, Governor Sisolak visiting Lattin Farms

One of the many ways that my body copes with anxiety and stress is by refusing to shut down. I can plan all I want for an early night enabling a good restful sleep, and my mind inevitably gets in the way. Last night was a perfect example--not even a Tylenol PM could stop the flow of “what ifs” running rampant around my brain. I tried my “mentally bake cookies” technique, counting sheep, transcendental meditation, and deep breathing to no avail. So as I sit here, penning this missive, I am a little loopy!   

Despite finally slipping into a fitful slumber sometime after 3 a.m., I managed to make it to the CEDA breakfast (6:45 a.m. start time) to listen to our state Treasurer Zach Conine talk about Nevada’s allocation of American Recovery Plan funds. While slurping coffee at the golf course, I had the pleasure of chatting with our Mayor, Ken Tedford. We good-naturedly joked about the many times that I have prepared food for the mayor and his guests. On some occasions, I have built the menu around the mayor’s dining preference for simple, straightforward dishes. And on other occasions, intentionally challenging the scope and range of his willingness to trust me and try something more complicated. I even (teasingly) suggested that I was going to write this column about Mayor Tedford’s favorite salad (butter lettuce with a slice of lemon).   

This conversation reminded me of the truism that food does not need to be complicated to be delicious. In fact, many of the best dishes simply feature well-sourced ingredients, lightly seasoned and served. 

A simple approach to cooking resonates with my tired brain today. Therefore, this week's recipes are simple--so simple that they require virtually no experience, preparation, or kitchen confidence to prepare. The lesson this week is that you don’t need much to create a tasty dish in your kitchen… frankly, you don’t even need a kitchen. A quick stop by the farmers market, the local produce stand (or orange pop-up on the highway) of your choice, or a walk through your backyard garden, and a world of flavors can be at your fingertips. 

*** Warning *** Here comes a shameless organizational plug that will provide you with yet another local stop to source amazing ingredients. 

Please visit www.NevadaRecovers.com. Complete the simple survey. And for goodness’ sake, suggest to the state that a permanent facility for the Fallon Food Hub would be a great use of these funds!   

 

Blistered Tomato Crostini with Burrata 

INGREDIENTS: 

1 pint of locally grown cherry tomatoes 

2 cloves garlic - thinly sliced 

½ c extra virgin olive oil 

1 baguette - cut on a diagonal ¼“ thick 

1 ball of burrata (it’s like mozzarella with a gooey center) torn into chunks 

Salt and pepper 

Fresh herbs or microgreens for garnish 

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the tomatoes and cook without stirring until they char on the bottom (about 1 minute). Stir gently and cook until the tomatoes char in a few more spots - but not until they are falling apart. 

Remove from heat and add garlic. Stir gently for about 1 more minute. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt and fresh ground pepper and drizzle with fresh olive oil. 

Brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil and line on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes until toasted. Flip slices and bake for 3 minutes more. 

Top crostini with charred tomatoes, torn burrata, and micro-greens or herbs. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy. 

 

Summer Squash Carpaccio 

INGREDIENTS: 

1 # summer squash, sliced in rounds 1/16” thick on a mandolin or use a peeler and shave long strips 

Extra virgin olive oil 

1 lemon, juice  

Salt and fresh ground pepper 

¼ c shredded parmesan cheese 

½ c chopped walnuts, toasted if you prefer 

3 T torn basil leaves 

DIRECTIONS: 

Toss summer squash rounds or slices with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.  

Arrange on service plates and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, walnuts and basil leaves. Serve immediately 

 

Grilled Cheese and Veggie Skewers 

INGREDIENTS: 

¼ cup olive oil 

2 Lemons (1 for juice and 1 for wedges) 

2 T red wine vinegar 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

2 t dried oregano 

1 t finely chopped fresh mint leaves 

salt and fresh ground pepper 

1 # grilling cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes 

2 summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch rounds 

2 red onions, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks 

1 pint cherry tomatoes 

 

DIRECTIONS: 

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and mint in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Add cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes, and toss to combine. 

Alternatively, thread cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes on skewers. 

Grill skewers over direct heat until cheese browns and zucchini has slightly softened, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove skewers from the grill to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon wedges over skewers and serve immediately with tzatziki and warm pita. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelli Kelly

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