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Fresh Tomato Salsa

This is a simple recipe for kids to make. (Moms and Dads: depending on your child’s age, you’ll want to supervise the chopping and dicing.) For a spicy salsa, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, which is ground from a hot red chili pepper. The salsa is great with tortilla chips or cheesy quesadillas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. (4 medium) ripe tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion 
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped 
  • 1 large lime 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional) 
  • Tortilla chips for serving 

Directions:

Place 1 tomato on a cutting board. With the tip of a small, sharp knife, cut out the stem end. Cut the tomato in half across the middle. Holding each tomato half over a small bowl, squeeze gently. Using your fingers, scoop out the seeds into the bowl. Then chop both halves of the tomato. Scoop up all the juices on the cutting board along with the diced tomatoes and put them into another bowl. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes. Discard the seeds.

Add the bell pepper, red onion, cilantro and garlic to the bowl with the tomatoes. Stir with a wooden spoon. Using the knife, cut the lime in half across the middle. Squeeze the lime halves over a small bowl. Measure 3 Tbs. lime juice and add to the tomato mixture. Add the olive oil, the 1/4 tsp. salt, a pinch of black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper, if you want the salsa to be spicier. Stir gently. Taste and add more salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, if you like.

Serve the salsa immediately with tortilla chips or, for better flavor, cover the salsa with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or up to 2 days. Makes about 3 cups salsa.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Kid's Cookbook, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Time-Life Books, 2000).