First stop, after we left our friends and family in LA, was Oso Rancho camping preserve, a Thousand Trails Resort, located in a very remote spot north of Santa Barbara:
|Our campground is down in those mountains somewhere!|
We planned to stay for 4 days but stayed only two then headed out to the coast at Morro Bay, famous for its beach and big volcanic rock in the ocean:
|The rock is huge and looms over the town|
After this stop we moved on to another Thousand Trails Campground in Morgan City, about 80 miles south of San Francisco. The location was wonderful, about 20 miles from the coast, in wine country. But, again - it was situated in the mountains so no TV and very little internet or cell service. So, because we loved the location and as we were getting a little Verizion service we stayed for 4 days. For those of you with TT memberships we would not recommend this park - it was not very well run, was dirty and a lot of the tenants appeared to be homeless people.
From here we headed out to the coast to visit Monterey and drive the Seventeen Mile Drive around the Monterey Peninsula. On the way we drove through huge fields full of artichokes waiting to be harvested:
|Can you see the artichokes - I've marked a few with red Xs|
So the first stop was a great vegetable stand along the way to buy fresh artichoke:
|and at a great price|
|That is the 18th hole behind Arch|
So home we went to have our artichoke and crab, accompanied by some good California wine, for supper
Crab Stuffed Artichokes
4 large artichokes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 fresh black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs, dried
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup grated Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyere
1 cup crabmeat (you can used canned)
Trim and clean the artichokes by removing the lower 3 to 4 rows of outer leaves, and leaving 1/2-inch of stem. Trim the sharp tips off the remaining leaves with kitchen shears. Rub with half a lemon to prevent browning.
In large pot, boil or steam artichokes 30 to 45 minutes, or until knife easily enters the base of the leaves. Remove from pan and let cool.,
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In medium mixing bowl, mix mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. When smooth, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in bread crumbs, tarragon, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, cheese and crab meat until well blended.
Remove centre leaves from cooled artichokes, and scoop out prickly choke inside, leaving the heart intact. Generously fill artichoke with crabmeat mixture (approximately 3 to 4 tablespoons per artichoke - I like to pack a lot in), until a small mound is present in each, Drizzle each lightly with olive oil.
Bake stuffed artichokes for 20 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Or, we wrap these in foil and heat on the barbecue (grill to my US readers) for about 20 minutes.
To eat: Remove the artichoke leaves, one at a time and dip them in the crab mixture. Then turn the leaf so the hollow side is against your lower teeth and scrape off the crab filling and the bit of artihoke meat that is there. Discard the remainder of the leaf. When you get to the centre and all the leaves have been scraped clean you will find the artichoke heart. This is the best part – cut it into pieces and enjoy – I hope you saved some of the crab filling to eat with it :).
And finally, a little smile:
|As seen in Monterey Bay|