Recipe and Cooking Techniques – Tomatoes

Today’s blog is about a question we received from a reader…

Q.        My daughter is involved with the Nolan garden and thanks to you she has  learned quite a bit about where vegetables come from and what it takes to grow them.  I want to know how I can get her and the rest of my family to eat more vegetables…more often?

A.        It is often hard to get children to eat things that are healthy for them, especially vegetables.  A good place to start is with the flavorful and multi-talented tomato!  Tomatoes can be eaten alone, in salads or in a sandwich.

Bonnie tending to a tomato plant!

We are growing a variety of tomatoes in the Nolan School Community Garden.  The “Nolan Fierce Gardeners” are going to experience a tomato taste test of the various varieties we have planted during the harvest.  So give tomatoes a try…your children may like them and remember the more you expose them to the greater the likelihood that they will enjoy and develop a taste for all veggies.

 Bonnie Odom

Here are a few recipes to get you started…

Classic Fried Green Tomatoes


  • 4 to 6 green tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • cornmeal
  • bacon grease or vegetable oil


Slice the tomatoes ¼ – ½ inch slices.  Salt and pepper them to taste.  Dip in cornmeal and fry in hot grease or oil about 3 minutes or until golden brown on bottom.  Gently turn and fry on the other side.  Serve as a side dish – delicious with breakfast!

Cheddar, Bacon and Tomato on Seven-Grain Bread


  • 8 slices bacon
  • 8 ounces of Cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 slices of seven-grain bread
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


1.      Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 9 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

2.      Make 4 sandwiches with the bacon, Cheddar, tomatoes and bread.  Spread ½ tablespoon of butter on the top and bottom of each sandwich.

3.      Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook until the sandwiches are golden and the cheese has melted, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

 Fresh Tomato and Cucumber Salad


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 small cucumbers (pickling or thin slicing)
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, vine ripened


Mince garlic or press through a garlic press.  Let garlic stand in balsamic and wine vinegars for 10 minutes (this takes the “edge” off).  Discard any garlic which has green sprouts in the center, as the flavor is too sharp and bitter for this salad – use for another purpose.

Wash basil and oregano leaves (pick at noon time on a sunny day for best flavor).  Roll up leaves and slice into little strips (chiffonade).  Chop and add to your best olive oil and allow to stand in oil while garlic marinates.

Meanwhile, prepare salad ingredients.  Wash cucumbers and tomatoes.  Peel cucumbers, leaving a scant amount of peel (helps with digestion).  Slice cucumbers into ¼ inch coins (circles).

With a sharp knife, remove stem and blossom end from tomatoes (a very small amount).  Slice tomatoes into wedges, being careful not to crush and lose juice.

Place tomatoes and cucumbers in salad bowl and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.

Combine olive oil with vinegars, whisking together well.  Use to dress tomatoes and cucumbers; serve at room temperature.

Tomato and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Basil


  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 12 ounces grated or sliced mozzarella
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • ½ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
  • 4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil


1.      Heat grill to medium.  Place 4 of the tortillas on a cutting board and top with mozzarella and tomatoes, leaving 1-inch border.

2.      Season with ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper and top with the remaining tortillas.

3.      In a medium bowl, combine the basil, pine nuts (optional), oil and remaining salt, set aside.

4.      Cook the quesadillas around the perimeter of the grill until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crisp and golden, about 2 minutes per side.

5.      Immediately cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with the basil salad.


Instead of grilling the quesadillas, broil them on a baking sheet; turning once, until they’re golden brown and the cheese has melted.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Bonnie, Great question and answer. I have a tomato recipe that I would like to add. It is Broiled Tomatoes Provencal. It sounds fancy but it is pretty easy to make.
    Olive Oil
    4 medium firm, ripe tomatoes
    1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
    2 tbsp. grated Parmesan
    2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
    2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
    2 cloves garlic, minceds tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt and black pepper to taste.

    Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a 7×11-inch baking dish and set aside.
    If necessary, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each tomato so that it will stand upright.
    Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
    Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise; then gently squeeze out their seeds. Arrange cut side up in the baking dish.
    Spoon the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the tomatoes, gently patting down on top of each tomato half.
    Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the tomatoes are softened, about 50 minutes.


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