Party Food : Homemade Tomato Salsa and A Cheese Spread

Here are the recipes for the hors d’oeuvres that we served to friends before a recent dinner party (discussed in this post) : Tomato Salsa and a Cheese Spread

Both were made the evening before the event, making things very easy at party time.

First up is some Tomato Salsa to serve with plain tortilla chips.


I wanted to make something that had the right consistency for easy dipping without excessive dripping. I do love a 100% fresh salsa (known as Pico de Gallo) but have found that these can be a little messy to serve at parties, because they end up being quite watery. I wanted to add some thickness to the salsa, and found the best way to do that was to combine a cooked component with a fresh one. The recipe is further down.

Basically, I cooked some finely chopped onion and garlic in olive oil and then added finely chopped and well drained canned tomatoes. This mixture was seasoned with cumin, salt, fresh lemon juice and cooked until all the liquid was evaporated. Then, this mixture was allowed to cool. To that, I stirred in one chopped fresh tomato, (with its seeds and any liquid removed), and some fresh hot pepper to taste — I used one cayenne pepper but a jalapeno or scotch bonnet would work too. If you’d like, some fresh coriander could also be added, however I left that out because I knew one of our guests wasn’t big on the taste of it.


The next item, a Cheese Spread with Hungarian flavouring.


I have a distinct memory of being a child and my mother making this for no reason at all, except that she’d been given the recipe. So, there we were, eating party food when there was no party going on.

The recipe came via a friend of my brother’s — he and his family had immigrated to Canada from Hungary and the recipe was an old family one. What I also recall about this recipe was that it was the first time my parents had ever bought capers. Nowadays, Nick and I always have a jar of them on the go, using them a lot mostly in pasta dishes, but back then this was an exotic ingredient with an unfamiliar flavour.

The spread, which I’ve discovered is called ‘Korozott Juhturo’ in Hungary, is a combination of cream cheese, butter, raw onion, capers, paprika, mustard, caraway seeds and BEER! I served them with plain salted-reduced Triscuit wholewheat crackers, but it could also be served with thin slices of bread.


Our guests enjoyed both things and I ended up replenishing both bowls, which is a good sign that they were tasty!

Here are the recipes :


Tomato Salsa : Thick enough for non-messy dipping

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • About 2 tablespoons finely diced onion.
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic.
  • 1 can tomatoes, cut open and completely drained.
  • 1 tsp cumin.
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste, depending on acidity of tomatoes used).
  • 1 fresh tomato with seeds and wet membrane removed, finely diced.
  • Some fresh hot pepper, to taste. Cayenne, jalapeno, or scotch bonnet.
  • About 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (aka coriander), optional.

Finely chop canned tomatoes (I quickly ran them through the food processor) and drain them well in a sieve. Save the juice to drink or to add to soup.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook through, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, cumin, salt and lemon juice. Cook until moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.

Add chopped fresh tomato and hot pepper. Stick it in the fridge until party time. It’s good to make it the night before so the flavours get a chance to mingle. Keeps well for a few days.

Serve with tortilla chips.


Home-made tomato salsa

Ingredients part 2
    Instructions part 2

    Ingredients part 3
      Instructions part 3

      Ingredients part 4
        Instructions part 4
        Tomato salsa, superbowl sunday salsa

        Hungarian Cheese Spread :

        • 1/4 pound butter (1/2 cup or around 115 grams) – brought to room temperature so it’s soft-ish.
        • 1/4 pound cream cheese (1/2 cup around 115 grams or 1/2 a standard sized block) – also brought to room temperature so it’s soft-ish.
        • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped onion.
        • 3/4 tsp paprika – that is sweet paprika. If you only have hot, adjust to taste.
        • 1/2 tsp mustard.
        • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed if you have a mortar and pestle, or left whole.
        • 5 capers finely chopped.
        • A bit of salt if needed, noting that the butter, capers and mustard are already pretty salty.
        • About 2 tablespoons beer, or what is needed to bring it to a nice spreadable consistency.

        Roughly cut cheese and butter into cubes and place them in a bowl. Blend them together using a hand-blender or some elbow grease. Add other ingredients except beer and mix will. Add beer to bring mixture to right consistency. Refrigerate until ready to serve — overnight is fine.

        This makes about a cup, but recipe can easily be doubled. It keeps well for a few days. Note: spread will be a bit crumbly rather than smooth and creamy. Serve with crackers or bread.


        Cheese spread

        Ingredients part 2
          Instructions part 2

          Ingredients part 3
            Instructions part 3

            Ingredients part 4
              Instructions part 4
              Cheese spread, spicy cheese spread

              Thank you for checking out my post. I hope you have a great weekend!
              xo Loulou