Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip

california coast

Sorry no recipe today just a little recap of my recent California trip. We’ve always wanted to do a Pacific Coast Highway road trip and we finally did it this past week, now I can cross it off my bucket list.

We flew into San Francisco and started our journey there, check out my Instagram account for some of the food we ate and the sites we saw in the bay area.

We continued on our road trip all the way down to San Diego, stopping along the way, staying overnight in beautiful cities along the coast.

california coast

The views were breathtaking, stunning and amazing!

california coast

Sometimes a little scary, but oh so worth it!

pebble beach

We even drove through Pebble Beach, seventeen miles of beauty all around.

california sea gull

Even the sea gulls were in awe.

california scenes

We stopped and stayed at various places along the way on famous Highway 1, like Nepenthe, Monterey, Big Sur, San Simeon, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica, LA, Long Beach, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, San Clemente, all the way down to San Diego.

It only takes about 8 hours to make the drive down to San Diego from San Francisco, we had seven days which gave us more than enough time to see and stay where ever we wanted.

Los Angeles tour

When we got to LA we went on a hop on hop off bus tour which gave us an overview of the city, we were free to get off and visit different touristy things as long as we wanted then hopped back on the bus when we were done, no worries about parking our car in all the different areas we wanted to see. I highly recommend doing that in a big city, it’s stress free!

chinese theater

We did so much it’s hard to show everything in a single post but let me just say I ate delicious, fresh seafood every single day! (Instagram)

If you’ve ever thought about taking a road trip down the PCH, I can just tell you, it’s worth every mile, so much to see, so much to do with gorgeous views.

Time to get back cooking in my own kitchen and some of the fall meals I can’t wait to make.

See you soon!

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Whipped Ricotta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

slow roasted tomatoes with whipped ricotta

Before all the beautiful summer tomatoes quickly disappear, promise me you’ll make this! This is like the grand finale of tomato season for me, because soon we’ll be into the cooler weather, fall type foods, but I guarantee come mid January you’ll be dreaming about this like I do.

This combination was meant to be together, like yin and yang, the perfect match.

Creamy, light, fluffy and decadent, whipped ricotta slathered onto extremely crunchy bread and topped with the most intensely flavored slow roasted tomatoes, I can barely talk, it’s that good!

Ingredients:  Great tomatoes, the best bread you can find and good quality fresh ricotta.

slow roasted tomatoes

Normally when I roast tomatoes I put the oven on 400, toss them with olive oil and quick roast for around 15 or 20 mins, but this is a different process, there’s nothing quick about it, you’ll have to give up your oven for at least four hours.

The slow process is exactly why they taste so darn special, sort of like the difference between quick frying onions verses the slow process of caramelizing them, there’s no comparison in taste.

slow roasted tomatoes

You want to get them to the point where most of the moisture is gone but yet they’re still a little moist and limp.

whipped ricotta

Now lets talk about the whipped ricotta, I like to call it Italian Hummus, you can dip it, spread it, whatever you like. I’ve been obsessing about it ever since I tasted droplets of it on top of a pizza this summer.

So simple to make, just place some good quality ricotta into a food processor or a mixer and blend it until it has a smooth and creamy almost fluffy consistency with no lumps at all, you might need a few drops of cream or half and half to help smooth it out. You can then finish it off by folding in some fresh herbs of your choice like, oregano, chives, basil, maybe a little parmesan cheese if you want, salt and pepper of course, and finally a nice drizzle of olive oil on top, just like hummus.  I used chives and basil in mine but it’s a blank canvas so make it your own.

crostini with whipped ricotta and slow roasted tomatoes

Pile it on some of the best bread you can find, toasted of course, then top it with those luscious tomatoes.

Honestly, you can make a meal out of this, it’s that good.

whipped ricotta and slow roasted tomatoescrostini with whipped ricotta and slow roasted tomatoes

One bite and you’ll be hooked!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Make this, it will change your life!
  • great tomatoes
  • fresh thyme
  • garlic infused olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Slice tomatoes about a ¼ " thick, if cut too thin they will turn out like chips.
  3. Place slices on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Brush each slice just on the top with olive oil that has been infused with one small crushed garlic clove.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper but be easy on the salt because it intensify's as it roasts and you don't want it to taste overly salty.
  6. Spread fresh thyme leaves all over.
  7. Place in oven and roast at that temp for 1 hour then reduce oven temp to 200 until tomatoes lose most of their moisture but are not completely dried out.
  8. Mine took a total of 4 hours.
  9. Store them single layer in an airtight container, in the fridge.



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Picnic Food Ideas for a Crowd

focaccia Italian sub

Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, the unofficial mark of summers end. If you’re going to a picnic or a family get together for your last hurrah, here’s a couple of things you can bring along and not worry about it spoiling from sitting around in the heat.

We recently had a big family picnic and although there were grills on site, we didn’t feel like grilling, so I was thinking what I could bring to share that would be big enough to feed a bunch of people, Italian sub sandwiches of course!

round focaccia

I decided I would switch it up this time and make them on focaccia bread, and although the picture may not show it well, these were huge, like the size of a 14 inch pizza.

Living in the Chicagoland area I’m fortunate to have access to many places where I can easily go and pick up some of these delicious breads, some are round, some are rectangle, all shapes would work for this, and of course you can always make your own.

focaccia Italian sub

I love this type of focaccia with the tomatoes stuck into it, it lends so much flavor to the sandwich but it does takes a little patience when slicing it in half horizontally.

You’ll need a small pairing knife and a large serrated knife. You’ll also want to make sure your focaccia is at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. Use the pairing knife and score the center of the outside edge all the way around, this will just be your guideline so be careful not to cut into it too deep.

Then take the large serrated knife and SLOWLY cut through the focaccia, pressing on the top ever so slightly with your hand as you move back and forth until you reach the other side using your pairing knife marking as the guide, then gently separate the halves.

Italian sub ingredients

The sky’s the limit as to what you want to fill your subs with, I opted for swiping basil pesto on each side of the bread with a nice drizzle of olive oil all over, then I layered with slices of aged provolone cheese, mortadella, salami and a handful of arugula. Like I said before, the tomato focaccia has so much flavor so you really don’t need much more of anything else!

focaccia Italian sub

The best part is they make a great presentation on the table placed on a couple of round Party Store platters that I picked up.

I couldn’t cut them fast enough, needless to say they were a hit!

caprese pasta salad ingredients

I also brought along this Caprese Pasta salad which I like to make this time of year with the abundance of cherry tomatoes that still have their intense flavor.

I cooked my pasta the night before, ( 2 lbs.) cooled it down, drizzled it with olive oil and put it into a zip bag overnight and also cubed up a log and a half of fresh mozzarella cheese.

The morning of the picnic I quartered all my tomatoes, a t least 2 big containers, dowsed it all with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil. Let it sit a bit so the juices can mingle, then tossed in your pasta and cheese adding more oil, basil and salt if needed.

caprese pasta salad

Both are easy to do, a nice presentation, and feeds a crowd, oh and of course taste amazing!


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