Roasted Tomato Salsa - Salsa Quemada

This is our favorite salsa in the world!  When tomatoes are in season, you'll always find a large bowl of this in our fridge - for salsa & chips, to dress tacos, or eat with black beans.  Thank you, Mama Calla, for making this for us! 

5 large roma or red tomatoes, whole, not cored or cut in any way
1 serrano or jalapeño chile
juice of 1/2 lime (to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 cup minced white onion
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated. Place the whole tomatoes inside a packet of aluminum foil and seal it at the top so you have a little foil package.  Place over a medium flame - you'll need a gas stove for this, or you could use your grill.  Dry-roast them until the tomatoes feel soft to the touch when you push on them through the foil packet.  About 10 minutes or longer.  You'll hear the foil crackling and the smell of the charred tomato skin.  This is what you want! 

Place the tomatoes and all the other ingredients in a food processor and pulse just a few times - be careful not to over-process or you will end up with soup!  You want some chunks!  Taste for seasoning. The salsa will keep, refrigerated, for several days.

Cabbage Slaw with Cilantro & Lime

Juice of 1 lime
4 tablespoons of white vinegar
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tablespoon honey
salt & pepper
1/4 cup of good olive oil
handful of cilantro, rinsed well and minced
2 scallions, chopped
1 cabbage, cored and grated

In a large bowl, whisk together first seven ingredients. Then slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk vigorously. Next, mix in cilantro and chopped green onions. Finally, add cabbage and mix well.

Cilantro Pesto

1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts 
1-2 cloves garlic, to taste 
1 large bunch cilantro, roots and larger stems trimmed, washed and thoroughly dried
Squeeze of ½ lime
¼-1/2 cup olive oil 
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano (optional if you want to make this vegan)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add cilantro and lime, and pulverize. If using arugula, add now, and process until you’ve got a coarse-looking puree. Add oil, going gradually; stop machine and taste for herb/oil ratio. Add more if it feels “dry.”

Scrape down sides of bowl as needed, and transfer pesto to a small mixing bowl. Fold in cheese, if using, and season with salt & pepper. Makes about 1 cup, maybe more.

Source: Washington Post, 6/15/09



3 zucchini
1 bunch cilantro
1 onion
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped mint
sea salt 
5 cups water or broth
juice of 1 lime
sour cream

Chop the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash cilantro leaves and stems. Finely slice the stems and chop the leaves. Slice the onion thinly. Heat oil in a soup pot and add onion, zucchini, cilantro stems, parsley and mint. Cook until onion and zucchini is fairly soft- about 10 minutes. Add 2 tsp. salt and the water or stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until zucchini is completely soft, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining cilantro and let cool. Puree until smooth and season with salt & lime juice to taste. Serve room temperature or gently heated with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro in each bowl.


12 oz Halloumi Cheese*
2 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp capers, drained
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grain mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
To garnish: Fresh sprigs of cilantro

*Halloumi is available at Whole Foods Market and other specialty foods stores. 

First of all, pat the Cheese dry with paper towels. Then, using a sharp knife, slice it into eight slices, including the ends. Now dredge in seasoned flour. Prepare the dressing by simply beating all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. When you're ready to serve the Halloumi, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is really hot add Cheese to the hot skillet—they take 1 minute on each side to cook, so by the time the last one's in, it will almost be time to turn the first one over. They need to be a good golden color on each side. Serve them on warmed plates with the dressing poured over and garnished with the cilantro sprigs.


1 medium white onion, quartered
3 lb ripe medium tomatoes, cored
1/2 cup olive oil
1 fresh serrano chile, chopped, including seeds
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar 
Accompaniment: corn tortilla chips 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange 2 onion quarters and 2 pounds tomatoes in a small roasting pan and drizzle with 1/4 cup oil. Arrange remaining 1 pound tomatoes in a small baking pan and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup oil. Bake both pans of tomatoes in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans after 45 minutes, until browned, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove roasting pan and continue baking small pan of tomatoes until blackened, about 30 minutes more. Transfer all roasted tomatoes (do not peel) and onions with a slotted spoon to a food processor, discarding liquid in pans. If your processor is small, do this in 2 batches. Pulse until coarsely chopped. (Alternatively, you can chop with an immersion blender in a deep container.) Chop remaining 2 onion quarters and stir together with tomato mixture, serrano, cilantro, and vinegar. Season with salt and chill, covered, at least 8 hours to blend flavors. Bring to room temperature before serving.