A couple of my friends who will be starting their next years of elementary and junior high in a few days had a cooking day with me recently. We had a great time making chips, dip, and lime tarts. The dips were two of my favourites - chipotle and fresh salsa.
One theme I am going to explore a bit more once we get into the colder weather is the power of seasonings and flavour agents to inexpensively transform ordinary food. This chipotle dip is a great example. One small can of chipotles in adobo is enough for several batches of this fiery and aromatic dip. You mix 3/4 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream (or thickened yogurt), stir in one or two chopped green onions, and one or two chipotles with a bit of adobo sauce depending on how hot you want it. My friends liked it more on the mild side. Salt to balance the flavours. I've also made this with finely chopped white onion and parsley, when green onions were too expensive. I love this dip with nearly anything; I've been known to take it to barbecues and slather it on hamburgers, and am scheming to try it stirred into canned fish soup, à la rouille.
Fresh salsa is more of a method than an exact recipe. Ours had 2 tomatoes, 1 peach, 1/2 small red onion, 1/2 bunch cilantro, juice of 1 lime, and salt. The vegetables and cut fruits should be in a very fine, uniform dice - a bit finer than pictured is ideal. This is most attractive and allows the flavours to blend easily. You then adjust the lime juice and salt to balance the sweet, tart, hot, and salt elements. I wanted to add a jalapeno but my friends voted me down.