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Flavors of Summer

Jul 30, 2020

Gardening is in full swing across South Dakota. The labor of planting and weeding and mulching and fertilizing is shifting to the labor of harvest as mature plants release their bounty. In my garden, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs, chard and green beans all abound. Radishes have come and gone (although, I did consider planting a second crop because even the super spicy ones are excellent when roasted). Tomatoes, peppers, carrots and cabbage need a little more growing season. My beets, spinach and lettuce just didn’t make it this year. That’s OK. The garden is overflowing as it is.

I only have a short row of beans, but I could easily pick every day. I am not sure if it is due to super productive plants, or if I just miss that many each time I dig through the foliage in search of ripe beans. Like zucchini, those buggers like to hide.

With so many fresh beans on hand, we have been mixing up the prep and stepping away from our usual steamed and served with a dab of butter and lots of freshly ground pepper. I have made creamed potatoes and green beans to serve along side pork chops or grilled ham steak, tossed with vinegar and mustard for a tart side dish, and sautéed with onions and bacon. Another delicious option that makes use of my overabundance of basil is Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes. Green beans are cooked until tender and then tossed with tomatoes warmed with garlic and basil. It is absolutely the perfect accompaniment for a grilled steak and highlights the amazing flavors of summer.


Green beans with cherry tomatoes and a sprig of basil makes good use of a garden's bounty.

Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes


1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans (I also threw in some yellow beans)

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook beans until tender.

Meanwhile, in a frying or sauté pan, heat the butter. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add sugar and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and cook briefly, just until warmed and softened slightly, but not mushy.

Drain the beans and stir into garlic buttered tomatoes. Add the basil and toss to coat the beans. (Serves 4-6)


Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.


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