We’ve got tomatoes upon tomatoes in Bill’s Backyard!

By Anjali Shastry with Larry Bain

Happy September! When most people hear September, it evokes in their mind’s eye autumn — cool breezes, warm knit sweaters, crunchy leaves and hot cocoa. But it’s still summertime; September has twice as many summer days as June. And most importantly, it is still TOMATO SEASON!

Tomatoes are everywhere: grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and probably in your backyard (or your neighbor’s). They are a favorite of home gardeners because they are so easy to grow and generous with their bounty. Tomatoes come in all sizes, colors and shapes, and are endlessly entertaining.

If you’re also drowning in tomatoes and looking for some new recipes to take advantage of your summer surplus, we’ve got you! Here at the museum’s FoodShed cafe, we develop recipes inspired by what we grow in Bill’s Backyard, our half-acre outdoor playspace that features a 500 square foot garden. Get your little ones involved in the cooking process, and enjoy!

Cherry Pie

Four servings
Prep time: 45 minutes
Level: Easy

Ingredients

1 pint cherry tomatoes, any color
4 large tomatoes (Beefsteak, Early Girls, Mortgage Lifters, etc.)
2 cloves garlic
1 red or yellow onion
3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tbsp dried oregano
4 oz of shredded California Mozzarella or Monterey Jack
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
4 whole wheat naan

Method

  1. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Leave them at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Rough chop the large tomatoes, dice the onions, and finely chop the garlic.
  3. Heat a sauce pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. At medium heat cook until onion and garlic are soft and sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Be careful it doesn’t burn.
  5. Place sauce on the naans, sprinkle with cheese and put in a hot oven until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
  6. Remove from oven, top with cherry tomato mix and serve!
The pesto’s yet to come!

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Four servings
Prep time: 12 minutes
Level: Easy

Ingredients

1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 medium cucumbers
3 cloves garlic
½ cup chopped basil
½ cup crumbled California feta cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons water
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped olives (optional)

Method

  1. Cut larger tomatoes in half, keep smaller ones whole.
  2. Peel, seed and dice cucumber into half inch pieces.
  3. Chop garlic fine.
  4. Mix vinegar and water in a small bowl and whisk in the olive oil.
  5. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and serve. Enjoy!

Larry Bain runs the museum’s FoodShed cafe, and develops recipes to delight and inspire you and your kids.

Purple Museum

Each year more than 400,000 children & families enjoy our award-winning, hands-on exhibits and programs with a focus on science, humanities, performing arts, and health. The themes of community, connections and creativity inspire self-directed exploration and play-based learning.

Children's Discovery Museum

Written by

Purple Museum

Each year more than 400,000 children & families enjoy our award-winning, hands-on exhibits and programs with a focus on science, humanities, performing arts, and health. The themes of community, connections and creativity inspire self-directed exploration and play-based learning.

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