Friends of ours (Sherry and Jason) gifted us with some incredible tomatoes, and I wanted to use them along with some of mine (that were just picked) in a recipe. I”ve been making this bruschetta for awhile now – it is so so so good! It began as an appetizer, but let me warn you, it’s addictive, so you might just want to make it for a meal, since you WILL end up eating more than an appetizer portion – it’s THAT delicious!

My husband and I had it for dinner on this evening, and with it, we recreated a drink that we’d enjoyed on our last trip to Dublin, Ireland. It’s an Almond Tom Collins. I was craving that specific drink again, and I wanted to see if we could somehow come up with a copycat – and – we did! It’s a perfect summer drink – refreshing and not too strong. AND, it has this incredible almond flavor (one of my favorites!) that comes from Almond Syrup. It’s so yummy – I even put it in my coffee every now and then! So good!

Best Bruschetta Ever

(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

By the way, leftovers (IF you should have any) are even better the next day after the tomato juices have seeped into the crusty bread – Mmmmmmmm. And be forewarned: it’s a bit messy. I always say, “This dish is not a “first date meal” for sure! But … it’s worth it!

1 garlic clove

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

6 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided (I used garlic infused for more garlic punch)

¾ lb assorted small tomatoes (such as cherry, Sun Gold, or green), halved, quartered if large

Freshly ground black pepper

8 slices ¾”-thick country-style bread (I used a loaf of La Brea French bread)

1 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped mixed tender herbs (I used basil, thyme, purple basil and oregano)

10 oz. ricotta


Finely chop garlic, sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of salt, then mash with the side of knife to a fine paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in vinegar and 2 tablespoonfuls of oil. Add tomatoes; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Let sit, tossing occasionally, at least 15 minutes. Toss in the herbs and stir.

Meanwhile, prepare grill for medium-high heat. Brush both sides of bread with remaining 4 tablespoonfuls of oil (more if needed) and grill until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side.

Spread ricotta on toast and top with arugula bits.

Pile on the tomato mixture to each slice, and cut toast in half if you desire. Be prepared to be wowed!

Almond Collins

(Adapted from The Cellar Bar, Merrien Hotel, Dublin, Ireland)

This drink is so refreshingly light and subtle – perfect for a hot summer day! You can substitute gin if you’d prefer.

1 ½ cups ice

2 oz vodka (~4 TBSP)

¾ oz lemon juice (~ 1 1/2 TBSP)

½ oz or 1 TBSP Almond or orgeat syrup (can be purchased here)

2 oz club soda

1 cup ice

1 lemon wedge

Combine vodka, lemon juice, and Almond syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add about 1 cup ice, cover and shake until chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into the glass.

Top with club soda, and garnish with a lemon wedge. DELISH!

A few pics from the evening in Dublin where we had this yummy cocktail:

Headed out from our hotel – The Shelbourne
Inside the fabulous THE CELLAR BAR