What's Cookin' in Kelli's Kitchen - Minimal Cooking for Summer

  • 2022-08-31, 10:25 AM
  • Kelli Kelly
What's Cookin' in Kelli's Kitchen - Minimal Cooking for Summer

I have a theory about why it is that it feels like the older you get the faster time flies by. The gist of it is that when you are a newborn and you have lived your first day, the value of the day relative to the entirety of all of your days is 100%. Day two is worth 50%, day three 33%, and so on. For me, a day has a relative value of somewhere around 0.006%. I bring this up because this is my final August article and before I know it, I will be writing about braised short ribs and roasted hard winter squash. Time is passing by faster than the theoretical high-speed train loop running through the Nevada desert.

While cooler nights are just around the corner, it is still stinking hot outside. I was really feeling like eating beans (cool beans with lemon zest, olive oil, and a ton of fresh herbs), and cooking them meant that my house just didn’t cool off all day long. So rather than encourage you to make something this week that would require extensive use of your stove or oven, I am going to share a couple of delicious recipes that feature seasonal ingredients and require minimal (if any) cooking.

As I was headed out for our weekly produce distribution at the senior center on the reservation, I listened to Chef Kathy Gunst discussing cold soups on NPR. Cold Soups. Sometimes I feel like we don’t eat nearly enough cold soup in the United States, they seem like such a European thing. But the right combination of veggies, vinegar, liquid, salt, and seasonings can be a revelation. Perfect for a light lunch with a salad or as a starter course for dinner.

Here are recipes for two tasty soups that deserve greater recognition. The first is a tomato-based cold soup from Spain and the second will help you deal with all that squash someone left in your car when you didn’t follow the Fallon Police Department’s helpful social media reminder to lock your doors at 9 p.m.


Smoky Salmorejo (Spanish-style Tomato Soup)

Recipe by Kathy Gunst




2 thick slices bread, about ½-inch each

1 ½ pound ripe tomatoes

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 T sherry wine vinegar

1 t smoked paprika

Salt and black pepper



1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped

⅓ cup chopped Marcona or regular almonds

Salt and pepper

Dash smoked paprika

Chopped chives




  1. Place the bread in a small bowl and add ¼ cup of cold water. Soak for 5 minutes, making sure each slice soaks up the water. Squeeze out the water and place bread in a blender or food processor.
  2. Working over a bowl, grate the tomatoes on a box cheese grater on the largest hole. Add the garlic, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Place the mixture into the blender or food processor with the bread and whirl until thick and smooth. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Chill for 3 to 4 hours and serve cold topped with any or all of the garnishes.


Squash-pocalpse Soup

Recipe by Kathy Gunst



1 T oil

1 T butter

3 leeks or 1 large onion, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T fresh chopped thyme, or 1 t dried

2 lb zucchini, summer squash and/or patty pan squash, chopped into small pieces

4 c vegetable or chicken stock



1 T olive oil

1 small zucchini, cut into small thin rounds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup finely chopped scallions or chives




  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil and butter over low heat. When sizzling, add the leeks or onion, stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes over low heat.
  2. Remove the lid and add salt, pepper, thyme, and squash. Stir to coat everything well and then raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.
  3. Raise the heat to high and add the stock; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and cook for 20 minutes. The squash should be tender.
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes or so. Then, puree in a blender, food processor, or use an immersion blender.
  6. Place in a large bowl or a tall pitcher and cool for at least 3 to 4 hours.
  7. To make the garnish: heat the oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat. Add zucchini and cook, without touching, for 3 minutes. Gently flip and cook for another 3 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and top the soup with the cooked zucchini and scallions or chives.



Kelli Kelly



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