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Hump day gruffle: salsa and guacamole

I love dip.

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It's starting to get to that time of year where people are going to invite you to things that involve food and the outdoors. Block parties, cookouts, holiday parties, fireworks shows... there's nothing America likes more than sunburn and humidity except for eating. Next time the occasion rolls around, grab a couple of bags of tortilla chips, throw together these two simple dips, and become the toast of your neighborhood/office/family tree.

Black bean and corn salsa
1 can black beans
1 can sweet corn
1 small red onion
6 Roma tomatoes
3 jalapeño peppers
1/2 a bunch of cilantro (or "fresh coriander" for our friends across the pond)
Lemon juice

This is going to be about the easiest salsa you ever make short of just throwing a bunch of stuff in the blender and hoping for the best. Rinse and drain the canned goods and throw them into a big bowl. Chop the onion into fairly small pieces. I like to cut it in half then make radial cuts for easy dicing, but go with whatever works for you. Dice the jalapeños fairly finely; if you want less heat, remove the seeds. Throw the onions and peppers into the bowl and stir.

Remove any thick stems from the cilantro and run your knife through it until it's in tiny pieces; toss it in. Take the tomatoes and cut off their heads before cutting them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and that goopy stuff while leaving as much of the flesh intact as possible. Dice them up and toss them in. Salt aggressively and pour in 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir everything up together and let it rest in the fridge. Overnight is best, but at least a couple of hours to let it all chill and come together.

3 ripe avocados
1/2 a small red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
2 jalapeño peppers
2 Roma tomatoes
Lemon juice
Seasonings to taste:
-Black pepper
-Minced onion
-Cayenne pepper
-Whatever else feels right

Cut each avocado in half. Pinching the blade of the knife just beyond the handle, stick it solidly into the pit. Twist and pull gently to remove the pit. Squeeze the avocado flesh into a bowl slightly bigger than you think you need. Did you know avocado comes from the Aztec word for testicle? Now you do.

Peel and mince the garlic. Chop the onion, cilantro, and peppers as above, then add to the bowl along with the garlic. Add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and whatever seasonings you decide to use. I recommend at least using salt and cumin. Once everything is all stirred together and tasting right, dismember the tomatoes as above and gently fold them into the guacamole. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge alongside your salsa.


Both of these dips are very flexible, so mess around with combinations of flavors that you find toothsome. If you mess it up, who cares? Just kill 'em all eat the evidence and keep moving.