Texas Caviar

Growing up, I hated cilantro. Hated it. Wouldn't touch it or anything with it in there. When Kyle and I were dating, we loved eating at this Laotian restaurant and they would put cilantro in their fried rice. I hated it so much that I would actually tell them I was allergic to it to stress the DO NOT PUT CILANTRO IN MY FOOD point!! I wouldn't touch anything with cilantro in it until I ate this... Texas Caviar and not only did I fall in love with the dip itself but cilantro. Now I add it to everything and can't get enough of it! They say your tastes really do change every 7 years AND with pregnancy, so somewhere in between all of that I became obsessed with cilantro.

So, this has a funny name... Texas Caviar... but it fits! It's kinda a cross between a dip of sorts and a bean salsa.

Texas Caviar

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp Tabasco
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans Mexicorn, drained
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
6 tsp garlic, minced
2 large Haas avocados, peeled and chopped

** NOTE: I only made a half batch, so you'll need more beans, Mexicorn, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato and avocado. It's very easy to cut this in half though! **

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar and Tabasco. Mix well and set aside.

I usually don't walk through the chopping, but I wanted to share a few tricks with you today. I cut my veggies pretty small for this recipe.

We'll start with the bell pepper (yes, I realize I forgot the sticker when I washed it!!). I slice the top of the pepper off and set it aside for a moment.

Stand the pepper up on its bottom and slice in half vertically.

Remove all the seeds and veins (the light parts inside the pepper).

Then cut each half in half to create quarters. Take the top and cut out the stem. Again, remove any seeds and veins in the top of the pepper.

Start with the quarters and slice into 1/8" thick strips then into 1/8" squares.

For the tomato, I slice off the top and the bottom so it stands on it's own. Standing the tomato up, slice down vertically in half and then into quarters.

I seed the tomato by cutting everything out of the middle and then using the knife to scoop out any seeds. (We didn't get the best pictures of this process, sorry!)

Once you just have the skin, slice in 1/8" strips and then into 1/8" squares.

I like to pick my cilantro off the stems, but it is a little time consuming. I just pick off each leaf and form a pile of them. Once I have the amount I need, I roll the leaves, similar to the way you cut basil. It is tough to get a perfect roll, but try to get it all in there, it's so much easier to chop this way!

Begin by slicing from one end of the roll to the other then come back across from the top to the bottom.

After a few runs with the knife, the cilantro will be perfect!

As for the onion... well, I've never found an absolute fave way to cut those things! So sorry, no pics for that one!

Once you have everything chopped and ready, start mixing! After you've drained your Mexicorn, put it in a large bowl. Add in the drained and rinsed beans.

Then add tomatoes, red bell pepper, cilantro, onion and garlic.

Mix it thoroughly. We'll add the avocado later....

Pour the olive oil dressing mix on top and mix until everything is covered.

Chill for 2 hours.

When you're ready to serve it, halve your avocados (see this post: Sharla's Famous Guacamole for a great tutorial on halving your avocados). Once you've halved them and removed the seeds, use your knife to slice just the meat and not the shell. Make 4-5 slices vertically and 4-5 slices horizontally then use a spoon to scoop out your chunks of avocado. Mix the avocado in and serve! It is delicious and will go very quickly... thankfully it makes a HUGE bowl!!