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Black Bean Salsa Dip and Texas Caviar

I recently ran across two awesome appetizer dips that are so good you'll want to skip dinner and eat them until they're gone.  The first I got from my daughter-in-law Julie.  It's mellower than the second one, but so delish!  Here's what you'll need:

Black Bean Salsa Dip

1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup canola oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white corn, drained
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2-3 tomatoes diced
2 avocados, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix vinegar, oil, beans and corn and let sit overnight if possible.  Add onions, tomatoes and avocados.  Mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chill and serve. 

The second appetizer I ate at a party.  It was almost embarrassing -- I couldn't stay away from that bowl of yumminess!  This one is stronger, with more of a kick to it, depending on the salad dressing you use.  Be sure to read the ingredients on the salad dressing bottle to make sure it's wheat free.  The one in the picture is Bernstein's Cheese Fantastico, but on checking the bottle I found that it's not wheat free (apparently the "food starch" listed is wheat), so I had to go with another one, but had already taken the picture and chopped up the vegetables, so.....too late!  My bad!

Texas Caviar

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 short can shoe-peg corn, drained
1 green pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 12 oz bottle Italian dressing

Mix together, chill and serve.

A note about the black-eyed peas--I found them with the canned beans at my supermarket after looking in vain in the canned vegetables (peas) area.  Go figure!  Also, I'm not sure what the difference is between shoe-peg corn and white corn, but they don't taste that different to me, so you could probably substitute if you have canned white corn on hand.  And I learned a neat trick from Rick Bayless on The Food Network last weekend.  When you're using fresh, cut-up onions in a recipe and they seem too strong, you can take the "bite" out by rinsing them under running water, or if you want to mellow them out even more, pour vinegar over them before rinsing. 

Tostitos Scoops are the perfect chip to serve with both these dips--they hold a mouthful of the chopped ingredients and some of the sauce too!

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