Cherry Salsa

My cherry obsession is still going strong…

A bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa just waiting to be eaten with your favorite tortilla chips!

I honestly can’t get enough! Do you ever obsess about a certain produce item coming into season so much that your list of what to do with it is about a mile long? Hi, yea, looking at me right here. This Cherry Salsa is just another in the long list of recipe ideas I’ve been dreaming about since cherries went out of season last year, and I’m so excited about the way it turned out!


I know I’ve been inundating you with the cherry recipes lately, so I can only hope that you’re enjoying these Cherry Bourbon Breezes and this Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini as much as I am. If so, I’m confident that you’ll be totally digging on this Cherry Salsa as well.

It’s an easy recipe, with no cooking involved, that can easily be served up on its own as an appetizer or snack, or as a topping for your favorite barbecued meat (I have some juicy grilled pork chops in mind.) Might I also mention it would be the perfect addition to your Father’s Day menu this weekend?

This Cherry Salsa is the perfect appetizer or snack for any barbecue or family get-together you're having this weekend!

Speaking of, what are your plans for celebrating Dad on Sunday? We’re so lucky that both of our dads live relatively close to each other, so we’re heading up to the Bay Area to spend some quality time with them, and of course to make them some delicious food!

I think some Cherry Salsa might definitely need to make an appearance alongside the tri tip, chicken and sausages we’re already planning on serving. Still need to think of some more sides and dessert though. Any fun suggestions?

As I mentioned above, this Cherry Salsa is a breeze to make, and you can have it ready to serve in under 20 minutes. It involves basically all of the same ingredients as a regular pico de gallo salsa, but subs in fresh, pitted cherries instead of  tomatoes. That’s it! So easy, right?

Fresh cherries, rinsed and ready to be made into delicious Cherry Salsa!

And if you’re looking for another, more traditional salsa to serve alongside (or instead) of this one, be sure to check out my Spicy Homemade Salsa. You could even go with a fancy selection and add this Mango Salsa to the mix! Clearly I’m a salsa-lover and I’m not ashamed to show it.

Even if you have no plans for Father’s Day, this Cherry Salsa needs to make an appearance in your household in the next week. Cherries are at the top of their game right now and you wouldn’t want to miss out on another great opportunity to use them.

An overhead shot of a big bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa.

Happy Monday and I hope your week is made even better with this delicious recipe!

A bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa just waiting to be eaten with your favorite tortilla chips!
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Cherry Salsa

A fun take on everyone's favorite Mexican condiment, this salsa uses the season's best fresh cherries in lieu of tomatoes - a delicious twist!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces fresh red cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for a half hour or so for best results. Serve with tortilla chips!

Cherry Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini

Because no good barbecue ever started without a delicious appetizer!

A pile of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini to make for your next get-together.

And one that’s loaded with fresh basil, sweet cherries and creamy ricotta cheese. Yea, I’m pretty sure these Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini are going to be the only appetizer you want to serve at get-togethers for as long as you can get your hands on the fresh cherries that are loading Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores right now.


I warned you on Friday that I’m having a bit of cherry-fever right now, so bear with me as I get just one more cherry-based recipe out of my system. I mean, don’t you want something delicious to snack on while you sip on your equally delicious Cherry Bourbon Breezes this afternoon?

We’re up in Tahoe enjoying one more full day before heading home, and it’s my hubby’s birthday! Big plans for the day include relaxing in the sun, most likely doing some sort of outdoor activity and eating lots and lots of food. I may even need to make a trip to the store so we can whip up some Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini! What are you up to today?

Rows upon rows of delicious Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini, the perfect appetizer for your next get-together.

I hope you have lots of great food on the menu. Having an excuse to get a bunch of friends together and eat all day is one of my favorite things about long weekends. Bonus if you can enjoy some time outdoors while the weather is this beautiful! Is it just me or does getting out in the fresh air and sunshine really do a body good? I think I took it for granted for so long because of the multi-year drought we’d been suffering through in California. We really had no bad weather days, and TBH I was missing it! But that all changed this past year and we’ve gotten quite a bit of rain and crummy weather, which is definitely helping us get out of the drought but also made me appreciate the nice weather more!

So I hope you take your party outside today and whip up some Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini in addition to all of the other delicious things you’ll be making. Because they are too good not to!

I was going back and forth between making a watermelon caprese or cherry salsa, but since I just shared this Spicy Homemade Salsa and I already have this summery Hazelnut Pesto Caprese Couscous in the lineup, I decided to mix it up and make a savory-sweet crostini. After all, handheld foods are the best foods, especially when cooking for a casual crowd!

A beautiful display of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini, ready to be enjoyed by all of your dinner party guests!

The two very great things about these Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini are that (a) you can prep the time-consuming stuff in advance and (b) once that stuff is prepped the recipe comes together in a flash.

And when I talk about time-consuming…It’s really not that bad folks. All I’m referring to is toasting the crostini and pitting the cherries. We can all handle that, right?

Note: On pitting cherries, you need no fancy equipment whatsoever, just a handy straw! Simply poke the straw through the center of the cherry and the pit should pop right out the other end. Easy!

When I made this recipe, I toasted my crostini first thing in the morning and then went back and added the toppings right before I wanted to serve it. I also made the cherry topping in the morning and stored it in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it.

But can we just talk about this cherry topping for a second? Because I was sort of winging it but am SO happy with the way it turned out. And it’s soooo easy. All it consists of are the cherries, lemon zest, a shallot and balsamic vinegar. Nothing more, nothing less. Now I think that’s something we can all handle, am I right?

A close-up shot of a piece of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini. You won't be able to stop eating these!

Once you have your toasted crostini and you’re ready to serve, slather each piece with some creamy ricotta and then sprinkle on a light dusting of salt and pepper.

Next, top each crostini with a fairly generous scoop of the cherry topping.

Finally, sprinkle on some chopped fresh basil. All ready to go!

I’m not going to lie, I ate about five of these crostini for lunch when I made them and then proceeded to eat about eight more that night with dinner. I could not stop! I’m pretty sure if you give these a shot you’ll be in the same boat as me, so try your best to share 😉

Rows of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini ready to be consumed at your next cookout!

I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with fun, food and friends!

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

With fresh cherries and basil gracing ricotta-smothered bread slices, these fresh, vibrant crostini will help you welcome in summer with ease.

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 ounces fresh cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 ounces ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Turn the broiler in your oven on high. Cover a cookie sheet or large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and place as many baguette slices as you can on it. Brush each slice (on both sides) with olive oil and place under broiler. Broil on high for 2-4 minutes each side (keep a close eye on them as they can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds!) then remove and let cool. 

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cherries, shallot, lemon zest and balsamic vinegar. 

  3. Once your crostini are cool, start generously spreading ricotta on each piece, then lightly sprinkle on salt and pepper.

  4. Place a big spoonful (about a tablespoon and a half depending on the size of your slices) of the cherry topping on top of each piece, then sprinkle on the basil. 

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Portobello Hummus

It’s been far too long since I’ve brought you a homemade hummus recipe.

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

So today we’re changing that! This Portobello Hummus will make any hummus hater do a complete 180 (true story) and want to eat chow down on this healthy snack nonstop.


But first, how was your weekend? This was the second weekend in a row we stayed in town (shocker, I know) and I have to say we’re kind of getting in the groove of this whole relaxing and having no plans thing. We did have a couple of fun activities up our sleeve, though. If you were following along on my Insta stories, you probably saw that we took a little road trip out to Ojai for a friends’ birthday party at Topa Mountain Winery. We always have a blast spending time in the quiet little mountain town. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Santa Barbara and is literally just 45 minutes away.

Other than that, I had a work meeting on Sunday and we literally just relaxed, which was amazzzzing. After a year of wedding planning, wedding-related activities, starting my own business and tons of travel, I’ve realized I almost forgot what relaxing is! I’m soaking it all in while I can because who knows how long this will last 😉

One other thing we did this weekend was eat a TON of this Portobello Hummus. I mean, we’re talking two of my favorite things coming together in one healthy snack. What could be better?

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’ve been reading the blog for any significant amount of time, you’ll know that I’m no stranger to fun flavor combos in my hummus. During the fall pumpkin season, I love whipping up this perfectly spiced Pumpkin Curry Hummus. Once we get into the warmer weather months, I tend to make this zesty Mango Sriracha Hummus. But my go-to year-round flavor has always been this Roasted Cauliflower Hummus with Rosemary and Garlic. Until now, that is! With the addition of this tasty Portobello Hummus, I now have TWO all-weather hummus flavors up my sleeve to whip up at a moment’s notice. And so do you!

So here’s the trick with this hearty, savory Portobello Hummus: You’ve GOT to saute the Portobello mushrooms in a luxurious bath of olive oil, salt and pepper before adding them to the white bean mixture. This gives the hummus a much deeper, more intense flavor than if you were to just add raw Portobellos to the mix.

It also gives the hummus an incredibly silky texture, which is part of the reason my sister-in-law’s dad was found dipping his carrot sticks in it when he is an alleged hummus-hater. He claimed that he usually doesn’t like hummus because it is “gritty,” but he said this was nice and smooth and full of flavor. I think I may have made a convert out of him!

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

[It is worth noting that I also used Great Northern beans instead of the usual garbanzo beans in this recipe, which could have been another contributing factor to the consistency of the dip.]

The other keys to this tasty, creamy spread are what have come to be my go-to’s for almost any homemade hummus I make – fresh garlic and rosemary!  I seriously don’t know what it is, but these two ingredients are natural compliments to the white beans and tahini and make a WORLD of a difference in almost all of the hummus I’ve made.

Aside from the key ingredients I mentioned above, all you’ll need to make this delicious Portobello Hummus is some olive oil, lemon juice and the requisite tahini. Oh, and some salt and pepper (always) and a food processor or high-powered blender. That’s it!

What I love about homemade hummus is that it’s such an easy, healthy snack to whip up in no time at all, and most of the ingredients are things you’ll already have on hand in your pantry. In just as much time as it takes to go to the store and buy some big brand hummus with who knows how many ingredients, you can mix up a batch of Portobello Hummus where you have complete control over what goes into it.

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

That looks like the perfect weekday treat if I’ve ever seen one!

5 from 1 vote
Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Portobello Hummus
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
18 mins
 

The ever-popular hummus gets a huge flavor boost from sauteed Portobello mushrooms and fresh garlic and rosemary. The perfect healthy snack!

Course: Snack
Servings: 2 cups
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium Portobello mushrooms, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can Great Northern white beans
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add diced Portobello mushrooms and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms until soft and fragrant. Turn off heat.

  2. Combine beans, garlic, rosemary, tahini and lemon juice in a food processor. Add sautéed Portobello mushrooms and pulse until mixture begins to break down. With food processor on, slowly stream in remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Continue pureeing until hummus is smooth. 

  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers, pita chips or fresh cut veggies. 

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways!

I’m about to blow your mind.

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Because today I’m bringing you a super easy recipe for Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers, and starting you out with two flavor combinations that will make you never want to use store-bought crackers ever again. That’s right, I’m taking your cheese and charcuterie platters to a whole new level.


Do you ever fantasize about being a domestic goddess that has her world super together and the energy to make all her foods from scratch? I sure do. When I was working a 9-to-5 desk job, I’d often sit there are think “When I quit my job and work for myself full time, I’ll make homemade bread and homemade energy bars and homemade fruit snacks…” or, “When I have kids, I’ll make all their food from scratch and sneak in all the veggies and superfoods and they’ll love it and will eat everything I give them” (ha!) You get the idea.

Now that I AM working for myself, I’ve had a bit more time to work on this “food from scratch” idea, but it’s been a bit of a slow process. I’ve been making more yeasted breads, overnight breakfast pastries and homemade ice creams, and I must admit they’ve all been so much better than the store-bought versions, but I still find myself taking the “easy out” more often than not. But having checked quite a few of these “To Conquer” items off of my list, I decided it was finally time to tackle one essential that we ALWAYS have on hand because of our deep love for all things cheese and charcuterie – homemade crackers!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

This actually wasn’t the first time I’ve made homemade crackers. Back in December, I made a few batches of Molly Yeh’s Slice and Bake Cheese Crackers to take to our parents’ houses for the holidays, which were a huge hit. But as much as I loved those (because, CHEESE) I wanted to come up with a cracker recipe that could pair with ANY type of cheese (or meat, or fruit spread, etc.)

My initial internet research led me to this article from TheKitchn: “How to Make Crackers at Home,” and I used this along with a couple other bloggers’ recipes for inspiration in making my own version of Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers.

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

And let’s talk about the whole “Two Ways” thing, because it may just be the best part of this recipe! Yes, I wanted my crackers to pair well with all cheeses, but that doesn’t mean we can’t jazz them up a bit! I chose two flavors that I felt would really compliment most (if not all) types of cheese – hard or soft, stinky or sharp.

I laced my first batch of cracker dough with chopped fresh rosemary, then topped the crackers with Maldon sea salt. Yum!!

I left the second batch of dough plain, but then topped the finished crackers with my new favorite product from Trader Joe’s – Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend! Seriously, if you have a TJ’s anywhere near you, I highly recommend you go out and grab a jar of this right away. (It’s also a new favorite of mine for jazzing up avocado toast!) If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you can hit up Amazon, or TheKitchn’s got you covered yet again with this article on How To Make Everything Bagel Spice. Even if you have to make your own, it is soooo worth having on hand.

The process of making this Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers is as easy (if not easier) than making a batch of cookies. Once you have the technique down, you’ll be pumping out dozens of crackers in under an hour. So worth making for your next party!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

The one thing I will say about this recipe is that, unlike store-bought crackers that are usually pumped full of preservatives, these crackers won’t keep for weeks on end. I highly recommend eating them within a couple of days of making them, or they may get a little chewy. This will also happen if your cracker dough is too thick when you cut it. Really make sure it’s thin enough so you get that fantastic crisp!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

And with these pointers, I leave you with the recipe(s). I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways!
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A simple homemade whole wheat cracker recipe with two flavor-filled variations - Rosemary Sea Salt and Everything Bagel!

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Servings: 2 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
For the Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Maldon sea salt
For the Everything Bagel Crackers:
  • Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend OR
  • Homemade Everything Bagel Spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt and rosemary (if using.) Add the oil and milk.

  3. Divide the dough in half so it’s easier to work with. Take the first half of the dough and roll it out to about 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface or another sheet of parchment paper. 

  4. Using a 2-inch round culinary ring or cookie cutter, cut out the crackers. Gather and re-roll dough as needed until you have cut as many circles as you can.

  5. Brush crackers lightly with water using a pastry brush and add toppings (sea salt or Everything Bagel Seasoning.) Place crackers on prepared baking sheet (they don’t have to be too far apart, they won’t spread too much) and bake in 450-degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or until crackers are just golden. 

  6. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before transferring to a resealable container or plastic bag for storage. For best results, enjoy within a couple of days.

Recipe Notes

Head to TheKitchn to learn How to Make Everything Bagel Spice.

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers- Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey

Sometimes bite-size foods are the best foods.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are no exception! They’re salty, sweet and tangy, and fit in the palm of your hand. They’re portable and the perfect addition to a cocktail party or get-together (did someone say Oscars?)


I’ve always been a snacker. When given the choice between a gigantic meal that will likely leave me bloated and sluggish or light snacks throughout the day, I’ll 100% of the time go for the latter. Plus, that way I get to try allll of the different things. Don’t pin me down, I want to taste all the food!

Speaking of snacking, the hubby and I are especially good at it on the weekends, and this past weekend (wait, are we still in “the weekend” since today is President’s Day?) was no exception. We were up in NorCal for a baby shower on Saturday, then took advantage of the long weekend and being so close to Napa and headed up to Wine Country on Sunday. We’re headed back to SB but will be back up in NorCal next weekend. It’s turning into quite the frequent commute for us, but we don’t mind the drive. We always joke that we’d rather make the 4-6 hour drive up to the Bay Area than the 2-3 hour drive down to LA because we never hit any traffic.

Anyhow, we really enjoyed seeing so many of our NorCal friends this past weekend. It seems like with the craziness of the holidays and the subsequent need to just hibernate and do nothing in the beginning of the new year, it’s been ages since we’ve seen everyone. Now we’re celebrating babies and multiple engagements and I can’t believe all of that has happened since we’ve last seen everyone!

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are just the type of thing I like to make for casual get-togethers with our friends, no matter where we are. They’re pretty darn easy and require almost no actual cooking, so you can really whip them up anywhere. Might I also add that they’re the perfect things to munch on when you’re sipping on some delicious Napa wine? Let me tell you, these crostini and a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc are a match made in heaven.

The hardest part about this recipe is literally toasting up the sliced baguette to make crostini. If you can toast bread under a broiler without burning it, you’re in good shape. If not, just add the toppings to untoasted bread and these puppies will still taste absolutely divine.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

After you have your baguette slices toasted, simply spread each one with a hefty dollop of chevre (that’s creamy goat cheese for all you non-cheese snobs out there), top with the apricot and pistachio mixture, and drizzle on some honey. That’s it!

I’d also like to point out the absolutely necessity of a couple of things:

  1. Toast your nuts. I know, this technically requires more cooking, but it’s a must for ANY recipe that involves nuts. Just trust me.
  2. Chop your dried apricots. Nobody wants a crostini where they have to gnaw through a huge chunk of something so they can be sure to get a taste of it in every bit. Also, I’m a huge fan of the fatter, juicier dried apricots as opposed to the flatter, more dehydrated ones. They are definitely a must IMHO.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, now that you have the down-low on all that goes into these drool-inducing Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey, I’ll let you get to it! It’s a holiday after all, so you deserve a little something to go along with that bottle of wine you’re sure to pop the cork on today 😉

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

These bite-size hors d'oevures are perfectly balanced with sweet, salt and tangy flavors. Pistachios, goat cheese and apricots are a match made in heaven!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 6 ounces chevre (creamy goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nutmeats, toasted
  • 1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces honey (approximately)
Instructions
  1. Turn the broiler on high. Arrange the baguette slices on a sheet pan and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they become golden-brown. Keep a close eye on them, as they can get too dark in a matter of seconds. 

  2. Remove crostini from the oven and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch, spread about a tablespoon or so of the goat cheese on each piece. 

  3. Combine the pistachios and dried apricots in a small bowl, then sprinkle on top of each crostini. 

  4. Drizzle each piece with honey and serve immediately.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com