Roasted Tomato Salsa

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Today begins our second annual #FarmersMarketWeek, a week full of recipes to take full advantage of the beautiful, fresh produce found at your local farmers market. Or perhaps, in you own garden. This week is hosted Ellen at Family Around the Table and Christie at A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures – big thanks for hosting Ellen and Christie!!

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Last year, when I planted my garden, one of my goals was to grow what I needed to make and can salsa. I had one attempt at that and it came out terrible. I felt like I dipping my chips in tomato and straight vinegar.

After that attempt, I switched to this recipe. I’m not sure it’s safe to can, but it’s damn good. Fresh flavors get a bit of smokey flavor from sticking them under the broiler to char. I probably shouldn’t admit how quickly the batch disappeared. And it’s the perfect recipe to make a sizable dent in the big bowl of tomatoes from my own garden.

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Be sure to come back on Wednesday to see what else I’ve prepared for #FarmersMarketWeek. Search for the hashtag on social media to get some other great inspiration for your local farmers market or garden! Enjoy!

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Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Calories 17 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. roma tomatoes (10-12) halved lengthwise
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion (white or red) cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 jalapeno stemmed and halved (discard seeds to reduce heat)
  • 1/2 a bunch of cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the upper third of your oven. Preheat broiler.

  2. Arrange tomatoes and jalapeno on baking sheet, cut side down. Add unpeeled garlic and onion. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until vegetables are starting to char. (May need to cook a little longer if the rack wasn't close enough to the broiler.)

  3. Remove baking sheet from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes, until garlic is cool enough to handle. Remove skin from garlic.
  4. Toss garlic, roasted vegetables, cilantro, lime juice, salt and cumin into a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Taste and season with additional lime juice or salt if needed.
  5. Transfer to a mason jar or other airtight container to chill until serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields approximately 4 cups, or 16 1/4-cup servings. 

 

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven.

Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are charred before being pureed into a smokey, simple Restaurant-Style Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Monday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes

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Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini with Vanilla Pickled Strawberries #SundaySupper

 In season strawberries are preserved with a quick pickling and a little extra vanilla that highlights the berries natural sweetness. Then, Vanilla Pickled Strawberries are used to top herbed goat cheese crostini for an easy but flavorful springtime appetizer.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

This post is sponsored by Florida Strawberry in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Winter is finally fading and I’m hoping that we’ve seen the last of the snow a couple of weeks ago. The weather is gradually warming and we’re starting to see glimpses of spring – buds on the trees, animals and neighbors coming out of winter hibernation. And with that, I’m moving away from winter comfort foods like soups and stews and instead craving lighter, fresher foods.

Since it’s still too cold to get local in season produce in Maryland, I’m thankful to be able to find quality, in season produce from U.S. growers in the south. Thank you Florida, for your warmer climate! In particular, we consume huge amounts of Florida Strawberries, a favorite snack for myself and my kids. Florida strawberries are in season during Maryland’s winter months, December through April, leaving me with only a month or two to get by until Maryland strawberry season starts.

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I really do wish we could pick fresh strawberries all year round. My kids wish that as well. Strawberry picking is one of our favorite things to do as a family. We get up early can check the weather. We put on our comfy clothes and baseball cap (don’t want to miss any of those gorgeous berries with sun in our eyes!). Each kid picks out their own container and we head off to the strawberry fields. It’s taken some time to teach the kiddos that they need to pick only the ripe strawberries – those vibrant red and firm to touch – and to keep the tops of the berries on when picking them and putting the berries into their container. We move methodically from plant to plant, picking all of the ripe berries before moving onto the next. The kids usually leave with smears of berry juice all over their face and up and down their arms. Those are by far, some of my favorite photos of the kids. And after picking? The strawberries are stashed in the car, out of the reach of little hands and of direct sunlight, and we hurry home. The kids usually eat a good bit more once we’re home, but I immediately start washing them and divvying them up for whatever purpose I have in mind for them.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Picking strawberries is just half of the fun. Have you ever preserved them? It’s easier than you think and will make the strawberry season last even longer. And that’s exactly what the #SundaySupper tastemakers are celebrating today – preserving strawberries. Four techniques, 20 great recipes (below) for you to try. You’re welcome. 🙂

There are a couple of different preservation methods you could use. The least intimidating method is freezing clean, hulled strawberries (whole, quartered or sliced) in a ziplock bag. We do this all of the time. Those strawberries usually end up in smoothies, but there are 5 great recipes below that use frozen strawberries that I’m dying to try. The second method is canning. While this could be a bit scary, you won’t feel so after the first batch. My mom got me started canning a couple of years ago and now I look forward to it every summer. For strawberries, I use the recipe that my Grandma taught her that does not require a water bath – the part that scares most people. I have, however, done a water bath once and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. Dehydrating strawberries – slowly removing the water from the berry – is the third preservation method. Strawberries can be dried in the sun or a dehydrator. Dried strawberries are wonderful for snacking on their own, or delicious in breakfast (oatmeal or granola) dishes or desserts. The final method of preservation is pickling. Say what? Yes, pickling. Pickling is a preservation process whereby the fruit is submerged in a liquid – usually vinegar – to extend it’s life.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Of all the ways to preserve berries, I had never considered pickling, but I have to admit, I loved it. It was a very quick process and the end result was deliciously sweet. Vanilla Pickled Strawberries kept the strawberries natural sweetness and added vanilla notes and a tartness. The topping paired beautifully with herbed goat cheese spread – a taste of spring. Bonus? The extra pickling liquid can be used to make a quick, tart vinaigrette after the strawberries are gone.

Now is the time to stock up on Florida strawberries! Which preservation technique are you going to try?

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Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini with Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

 In season strawberries are preserved with a quick pickling and a little extra vanilla that highlights the berries natural sweetness. Then, Vanilla Pickled Strawberries are used to top herbed goat cheese crostini for an easy but flavorful springtime appetizer.

Course Appetizer
Servings 1 Pint of Pickled Strawberries and a dozen crostini
Author Liz

Ingredients

For the Vanilla Pickled Strawberries:

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. vanilla sugar
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 lb. strawberries rinsed, hulled and quartered

For the Crostini:

  • 4 oz. goat cheese softened
  • 1 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh basil or other herb/mix of herbs
  • 1 batch of Vanilla Pickled Strawberries
  • 10-12 1/2- inch slices of sourdough bread toasted

Instructions

Make the Vanilla Pickled Strawberries:

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add vinegar. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. When vinegar mixture is cool, slice a vanilla bean in half. Scrape out seeds and place in a clean pint-sized canning jar. Add pods as well. Fill almost to the top with quartered strawberries. Top with vinegar mixture - vinegar mixture should cover strawberries completely.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Use or continue to store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Assemble the Crostini:

  1. Using a mixer or a food processor, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, and herbs until mixture is smooth. 

  2. Spread each slice of bread with a generous slather of whipped herbed goat cheese. Top with strawberries. Drizzle with a tablespoon of pickling liquid.
  3. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

The recipe for vanilla sugar can be found here.  I'd consider it optional, but will give the strawberries a little extra vanilla flavor.

The vanilla pickled strawberries and the goat cheese spread can both be made ahead of time and kept, tightly covered in the fridge, until ready to assemble and serve.

A Books n’ Cooks original recipe.

Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini w Vanilla Pickled Strawberries

Interested in learning more about Florida Strawberries? Follow Florida Strawberry Growers Association on social media: Facebook Google + Instagram Pinterest Twitter YouTube

And don’t forget to check out these recipes for preserving and using preserved strawberries from the #SundaySupper crew.

How to Preserve Strawberries

Canning

Canning

Dehydrating

Freezing

Pickling

Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Guacamole

Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

Happy Hump Day! I love Wednesdays… when I can see an end in sight to my week.

Now let’s talk guacamole. It’s one of those things that I don’t make often because my husband will devour the bowl of it. I may or may not have a hand in making it disappear. Not only is homemade guacamole easy but it blows store-bought guacamole out of the water in terms of flavor. We like ours on the chunky side, with just a little bit of heat and a generous dose of lime juice.

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

While we could happily eat it by the bowlful with tortilla chips, as seen in the photos above, the last time I blogged guacamole, it was as a topping for Turkey Chorizo Burgers. Not only was the photo not my finest (will be redone as soon as it’s warm enough to grill!), but the guacamole was a footnote in the recipe. And let’s be honest, guacamole is so yummy that it deserves a post to itself.

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

How do you like your guacamole? Creamier or chunkier texture? Mild or spicy? With any unusual mix-ins? Favorite way to serve it? Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite guacamole. Bonus points if you leave the recipe. 🙂

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Guacamole

Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 170 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Remove flesh from avocados, keeping 1-2 pits on the side. Lightly mash avocado with a fork. Add in salt, pepper, garlic powder, lime juice, and cilantro. Continue to mash until desired consistency. Add additional salt, pepper, lime juice, and cilantro, to taste.
  2. Return pit(s) to guacamole, to help the guacamole from browning, if not serving immediately.

 

Homemade Guacamole - Creamy avocado, tart lime and spicy (or mild) jalapeno quickly come together to make an addictive dip, sandwich spread, or topping for your next Mexican night in.
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Jerk Shrimp & Avocado Bites #SundaySupper

Spicy shrimp sit atop tortilla chips and guacamole for a quick but fancy appetizer. 

Jerk Shrimp & Avocado Bites

Today the #SundaySupper crew is getting ready for awards shows with fancy finger foods. Now I don’t usually watch the awards shows – I’d rather watch the recaps afterward on who won as well as recaps focused the fashion – but I LOVE entertaining. Any time I have an excuse to make an appetizer – be it a finger food or dip – I jump on it. So when close friends came for dinner a couple of weeks ago, I seized the opportunity to create a new appetizer that would compliment our main meal, tacos.

Jerk Shrimp & Avocado Bites

That meal was going to be simple because there would be 4 children under the age of 5 running around while the adults tried to play a board game. (Anyone else into legacy board games? After finishing Pandemic Legacy, our little group has moved onto Charterstone.) The plan was for me to make a big batch of tacos for the adults, and quesadillas for our picky children.

While taco night doesn’t usually call for appetizers, other than maybe chips, salsa, and guacamole, but that didn’t stop me. In fact, it’s a question I see frequently in some of the cooking/foodie groups I’m in. What’s an good appetizer to serve for taco and/or Mexican night? Usually the answer is chips and dip, or that an appetizer is unnecessary. While I agree, as a hostess, sometimes I want to serve something anyway.

I created these Jerk Shrimp & Avocado Bites to that little something extra. A bite that is a little fancier than chips and dip, but still easy and quick. And fairly light, so that guests don’t fill up on appetizers instead of a meal. These little bites feature both Caribbean flavors in the shrimp seasoning as well as a traditional guacamole that you’d expect to see with tacos.

Jerk Shrimp & Avocado Bites

Recipe Notes: This recipe can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like it to be. I use homemade jerk seasoning (it only takes a few minutes to make from pantry staples) and homemade guacamole (again, super easy, recipe coming Wednesday!), but you can certainly use store-bought seasoning and/or guacamole to speed things up even more. I used store-bought tortilla chips in this recipe, but you can certainly make your own chip or tostada if you’d like.

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Jerk Shrimp & Avocado Bites

Spicy shrimp sit a top tortilla chips and guacamole for a quick but fancy appetizer. 

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Caribbean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 165 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbs. jerk seasoning
  • 12 large shrimp deveined and peeled
  • 6 Tbs. guacamole
  • 12 tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Heat a heavy, cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil.
  2. While skillet is heating, coat shrimp with jerk seasoning. Place in hot skillet and sautee for 1-2 minutes per side, until shrimp are cooked through.
  3. Place 1/2 Tbs. guacamole on each tortilla chip. Top with a seared shrimp.
  4. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I used homemade jerk seasoning in this recipe, although you can certainly use store-bought, if preferred. 

This recipe makes 12 bites, enough for 4-6 as an appetizer.

Calories per serving: 165 calories/served 4; or 55 calories per bite.

A Books n’ Cooks original. 

Jerk Shrimp & Avocado Bites on Books n' Cooks

Don’t forget to check out what other fancy finger foods the #SundaySupper crew have created for you – for awards shows or simply weekend entertaining. 

Fancy Finger Food for Awards Show Parties

Best Meat Finger Food

Visual Effects in a Veggie Finger Food

Supporting Role Sweet Finger Food

Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Hummus

With a slight kick from fresh garlic, homemade hummus is an easy, healthy munchie for snack or entertaining. Pair it with veggies, pitas, or pretzel chips for an irresistible snack.

With a slight kick from fresh garlic, homemade hummus is an easy, healthy munchie for snack or entertaining. Pair it with veggies, pitas, or pretzel chips for an irresistible snack. Ok folks. Who out there has a New Year’s resolution to eat better or lose weight? <Raises hand.> It’s soooo hard to eat well when weekdays are so busy – I walk in the door and the kids are immediately asking to eat or demanding other things…

I know that the months of January and February are crazy for us, due to some travel and houseguests, so I’m doing my best to position myself for success. Lists of healthy options to expedite planning, lots of weekend prep, and as much help from the grocery store as possible (hello pre-chopped veggies!).

One of my favorite go-to snacks for healthy eating… or even when I’m not being my best… is hummus. I love it with veggies, pretzel crisps, pita slices and pita chips. Great for easy entertaining or snacking. This homemade version only took a few minutes to make and is bright with flavor. The Tabasco and garlic give it a bit of heat, which is evened out by fresh lemon juice.

With a slight kick from fresh garlic, homemade hummus is an easy, healthy munchie for snack or entertaining. Pair it with veggies, pitas, or pretzel chips for an irresistible snack.

What is your favorite snack (bonus points for a recipe) for healthy eating?

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With a slight kick from fresh garlic, homemade hummus is an easy, healthy munchie for snack or entertaining. Pair it with veggies, pitas, or pretzel chips for an irresistible snack.

Hummus

With a slight kick from fresh garlic, homemade hummus is an easy, healthy munchie for snack or entertaining. Pair it with veggies, pitas, or pretzel chips for an irresistible snack.

Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 14-oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 c. tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • paprika optional

Instructions

  1. Drain the chickpeas and reserve liquid.
  2. Place chickpeas, salt, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and Tabasco in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 10 times. Add 2 Tbs. of reserved liquid and continue to pulse until desired texture, adding additional liquid 1/2 tablespoon at a time if needed.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and, if desired, dust with paprika (optional).
  4. Serve within an hour, or store in refrigerator until serving.

This recipe was adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (p. 46).

With a slight kick from fresh garlic, homemade hummus is an easy, healthy munchie for snack or entertaining. Pair it with veggies, pitas, or pretzel chips for an irresistible snack.
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