Jonesing For Garden-Fresh Green Beans

I forgot to get the green beans, darn it.

I’m blaming the Fourth of July.

I had anticipated that the first green beans of the season would be available at Tuesday’s Downtown Farmers Market in Worthington. Green beans are by far my favorite garden-grown vegetable, so I had given conscious thought to being at the market early on Tuesday to snatch up a big bag of the emerald beauties.

But due to the long holiday weekend, Tuesday felt like Monday. Plus, with the managing editor being out of the office for several days this week, I got bogged down with the daily operations of putting out a daily paper.

When 4 p.m. rolled around, the notion of heading over to the market never crossed my mind. It wasn’t until a couple hours later — still in the office finishing up some of the day’s duties — when a co-worker asked, “How late does the farmers market go?” that I realized the green bean opportunity had most certainly passed me by.

So I blame the Fourth of July (not that I didn’t want the three-day weekend, though) — and editor Ryan’s vacation days — for my lack of green beans.

From now on, I think I will set a farmers market reminder on my phone.

At least I’ve got plenty of other produce in the refrigerator to tide me over until I can get my green bean fix.

The best of the bunch is probably a juicy watermelon. Hubby Bryan already cut half of it up into luscious chunks, but I plan to use the other half to try out a recipe recently shared by Sister Margaret, who was well trained by our mother to ask for the recipe when presented with a delicious dish. The watermelon salad was a component of one of the meals provided by friends during brother-in-law Don’s recent recuperation from knee replacement surgery.

The salad accompanied a slow cooker dish called Cowboy Chicken, served on buns, so Margaret shared both recipes with a hearty endorsement.

Cowboy Chicken

3 to 4 boneless chicken breasts

1 jar salsa

1 can black beans, drained

1 can corn

1 can diced green chiles

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook for 4 to 6 hours on medium or 6 to 8 hours on low. During the last hour, shred the chicken. Serve on buns.

Watermelon Salad

1 seedless watermelon, about 5 pounds

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons basil leaves, cut chiffonade

Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise, then cut each half into ¾-inch-thick slices. Cut slices into wedges, yielding about 30 total.

Place watermelon slices in a single layer on a serving platter. Sprinkle with salt. Top with red onion and sprinkle cheese overtop. Drizzle with honey, then add the basil chiffonade.

NOTE: To chiffonade basil, stack leaves and roll into a tight cylinder. Thinly slice crosswise with sharp knife.