Three Bean Salad

My aunt and uncle came to visit me the summer, and I took them one of Chicago's Mexican neighborhoods that boasts a 'SuperMall -- over 100 stores inside". This amounted to several stalls inside the warehouse, that resembled a Mexican Pondy Bazaar -- the real excitement for us began in the huge supermarket next door. They regularly sell pineapples at 2 dollars each, and red peppers for 79 cents a pound amongst other varieties of produce. I think they have at least 25 different kinds of tortilla's! The one thing we did notice was the considerable price difference and variety of fresh produce that is available at local ethnic neighborhoods. Its worth a trip every month to one of these stores to load up on some great summer bounty. We even saw a lot of unique vegetables that we didn't have any idea how to prepare!

* The pictures of the grocery store are courtesy of G.Krishnan

Mexican grocery stores are also great for large selections of canned beans in all sizes. We picked up several varieties with the idea to make a 3 bean salad. You can pretty much use any combination of beans for this; white beans, pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and of course green beans.

After buying several bags of fruits and veggies, we got home and got to chopping, made up two different salads, some bread on the side and headed off to Chicago's Millenium Park for a concert and a picnic. The free summer concerts at Millenium Park are probably my favorite events to go to during the Chicago Summer! My mouth is watering just thinking of sitting outside, munching on brightly flavored vegetables and fruits, listening to some beautiful classical music in the park surrounded by the city lights.

Three Bean Salad
1 can black beans rinsed
1 can white beans rinsed
1 cup of green beans, cut into 1" pieces, and blanched
1/2 cup of red onion diced
1/2 cup of cucumber diced
1/2 a red pepper diced
2 ears of corn, shaved and cooked
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1 tbsp cumin powder
juice of 2 limes
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Roasted walnuts, 1/4 cup.

Mix all the ingredients together, and serve.

When my uncle made this at my place, he added a dressing of butter milk and crushed cilantro (using a mortar and pestle), salt, pepper, and a few spices. This really added a wonderful kick!