What’s Cooking in Kelli’s Kitchen

  • 2022-08-15, 01:07 PM
  • Kelli Kelly
What’s Cooking in Kelli’s Kitchen

I had the best week. The weather’s been great, I love clouds, thunder, and lightning, especially when they bring rain with them. Nature has been putting on quite the light and sound show this last week. Two nights ago, Neil and I spied a puffy cloud dragon in the sky lined with gold and backed by the most gorgeous shades of peach and rose.

I finished my summer classes at WNC and that called for a huge celebration. These last eight weeks have been a little much, juggling classes, our new grant, putting on a golf tournament, writing a column, and work. But now on the other side, I am feeling proud and accomplished, so I celebrated with all my friends at the library’s Books, Bites, and Beverages.

Now I am laser-focused on writing two grant applications. The first continues our produce distribution with the William N. Pennington Life Center until December of 2024. The second would fund a permanent facility for the Fallon Food Hub on Maine Street.

Last weekend, I jumped on the Le Petit Atelier train. Tucked in the basement of the Churchill Arts Council is the most amazing art studio. They offer a variety of classes and experiences for artists (or not) of all ages. I painted the cutest little ceramic caterpillar and made a necklace shaped like Nevada out of silver! No experience is required, and I promise you, you will be impressed with yourself when the classes are done. I also convinced my Ned that we should get season tickets to the Arts Council, so we are officially all in on art.

Since this is ostensibly a cooking column, I should mention that I made some amazing dinners this last week including Cold Asian Noodles with Poached Shrimp, Smoked Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf, Scallop, and Sweet Corn Pasta with Basil, and a round of tasty burgers. But the best thing that I put into my mouth was also the simplest: Smashed Cucumber Salad. This dish is perfect for early August as local cucumbers are coming on and you can find some cute picklers that double as the perfect salad cucumber for this recipe. So high tail it down to Lattin Farms to grab yourself some cukes, do an ingredient run to the International Market, and taste this taste for yourself.

 

Smashed Cucumber Salad

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

2 lb cute cukes (picklers, salad cucumbers, or English cucumbers)

1 large pinch of salt

1 large pinch of sugar

1 ½ T rice vinegar

2 t toasted sesame oil

2 t soy sauce

1 T light-flavored oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Cilantro leaves, chopped for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

  1. Rinse and dry cucumbers. Trim the ends and cut in half lengthwise. Place the cukes cut side down on a cutting board. Lay the blade of your knife flat on the top of the cucumber and press down to smash it lightly. The skin will crack, and the flesh will crunch. Continue until all your cukes are smashed. Slice them into bite-sized pieces on a diagonal. If any seeds have fallen out, leave them behind.
  2. Put your cukes in a strainer and toss with a generous pinch of salt and sugar. Place the strainer on top of a bowl and weigh down the cukes with a plastic bag of ice water. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 1 t salt and 2 t sugar with the rice wine vinegar and stir vigorously until dissolved. Add sesame oil and soy sauce.
  4. When ready to serve, shake the cucumbers off and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss then add half the dressing, half the minced garlic, and a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. Keep adding dressing until the cukes are coated but not swimming. Taste and add more garlic or red pepper to your liking.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and try not to eat the whole bowl before you share some with your friends.

 

Kelli Kelly

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