The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

February 1, 2014

COOKING WITH SIMON: A green thumb for green vegetables

Palestine Herald-Press

— It might be cold outside, but there’s still a lot of work to be done – outside. I’ve been clearing a lot of dead brush and trees and finally – after years of talking about it – also got the land cleared for a proper vegetable garden.

After getting the ground ready, I built nine raised boxes and will be preparing them for an assortment of vegetables and herbs. And of course, cultivating cuttings for more grapevines.

It's been a long time coming but I've had green fingers from an early age. At six, I had my vegetable garden in New Zealand growing beans, peas, corn and cucumbers, but not much of it made it to the kitchen and my parents complained that I was eating most of the vegetable patch before anything made it to the house.

Later, as an adult, in England I was in a different climate and grew a lot of raspberries and blackberries.

Now, here in Texas, it's sunny one day then cold and icy the next, so this should be an interesting growing experience.  

Fortunately, there are plenty of experienced gardeners close by that are always there to help.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed growing the most are green beans. I can’t wait to have some of my own fresh from the garden. Here’s a recipe that tastes good with beans from the store, but will be fantastic with the garden fresh variety. That’s if I don’t eat them all before they get to the kitchen. Some things never change.




2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) green beans

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, then crushed

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 sliced red onion

1 clove crushed garlic

1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Salt and pepper, to taste


In the same pan you cooked the bacon, wipe out grease and add butter. Melt over medium heat, add red onion slices and cook for two minutes until soft. Add crushed garlic and beans and sauté for another two minutes season with salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with feta cheese and crisp bacon.


Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to