Slow Cooked Sicilian Lamb Shanks – 5th Runner Up!

Hello fellow food enthusiasts! Chef Richie here, at your culinary service.

Happy New Year!!! Can you believe it?! It’s 2017?! Let’s start this year out with a BAM! Congratulations to home chef Roxanne Chan who came up with a big bold hearty dish for our recipe contest – Slow Cooked Sicilian Lamb Shanks – very nice work chef! BRAVA! BRAVISSIMA!


 Slow Cooked Sicilian Lamb Shanks

8.5 ounces Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drained, reserving 1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fennel bulb
1 can (15 ounces) small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp minced rosemary
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
6.5 ounces Bella Sun Luci SunDried Tomato Pesto with Whole Pine Nuts
4 small lamb shanks, 3/4-1 pound each
1 cup torn radicchio
1 cup torn arugula
1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned, chopped
1/2 cup Bella Sun Luci SunDried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Zesty Peppers
1 Tbsp capers
1/4 cup chopped pitted black olives
1/4 cup snipped Italian parsley
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
Orange zest for garnish

Combine the sun dried tomatoes, carrot, onion, fennel, beans and rosemary in a slow cooker. Mix together the wine, water and pesto till well blended; pour over the vegetables. Arrange the lamb shanks on top, then cover the pot and cook on Low heat 6-8 hours or till the lamb is tender.

When ready to serve, combine the radicchio, arugula, orange, julienne cut sun dried tomatoes with zesty peppers, capers, olives and parsley. Mix together the reserved 1 Tbsp oil and the vinegar till well blended; toss with the salad to evenly coat. Divide the lamb shanks and vegetables among 4 plates, top each serving with salad, garnish and serve. Serves 4.


This is a great dish for a cold, wintery dinner. It’s the true definition of comfort food. Chef Richie says, “In a comfort food dish like lamb shanks, sun dried tomatoes add Mediterranean flavor, flair and brightness. For all of you out there reading this, if you’re going to enter our online recipe contest (please do!), these are characteristics you should think about when testing and typing your recipe”.

Another characteristic I love about this dish is the salad on top. This is a unique twist and lightens up a dish that can traditionally be very heavy. The radicchio and arugala add crunch and isn’t it true that we all need more crunch in our lives? Buona salute is Italian for good health. Between the antioxidant-rich sun dried tomatoes and lightness of the salad on top of the lamb shanks, buona salute is right on.

So…once more, congratulations Chef Roxanne! I hope your and everybody’s 2017 has lots of crunch and deliciousness to it…and lightness too.

 

Now, everybody, get cookin’, happy cookin’ and buon appetito!

 

Amore,

Chef Richie

7th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service…to share more culinary nuggets of wisdom and make the world a better place through sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, risotto and the Mediterranean diet in general.

OK lovers…if it isn’t already, THIS should be National Sun Dried Tomato Month. With the powerful lycopene punch that Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes will plant right on your kisser, your heart will open a whole new world of romantic culinary possibilities.

Every February I’m reminded of the Quail in Rose Petal Sauce that’s in the book, Like Water for Chocolate, which is not a cookbook and IS a little racy so readers beware. I made this dish (the sauce is basically a rose petal-chestnut beurre blanc) for service one Valentine’s night in one of my San Francisco restaurant kitchens and it was a smashing success. If you’re adventurous try it.

Back to reality, but with no less Valentine’s Day pizzazz, this month’s 2015 recipe contest honorable mention winner is from…drumroll…home chef, Kevin Gronne.

Congratulations Chef! You’ll receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entry for next year’s contest and add special touches to your repertoire. Keep up the good work and maybe your next recipe will put you in next year’s contest’s money!

This Spicy Jalapeno Dip is rich and luxurious like a down comforter on a winter night. Four cheeses AND butter for creamy goodness/being bad…check. Jalapenos and sriracha for heat…check. Bacon…check (you had me at bacon). And, bringing it all together…getting to the heart of the matter with a marriage of flavors…Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes. POW! RIGHT IN THE KISSER!

I used to eat at a restaurant whose slogan was, “This is a bad place for a diet”. Well, this dish is not one that I would normally mention honorably, but, Chef Richie Says, it’s Valentine’s month and we all know it’s the time of year to let loose a little. If you want to feel better about it, eat it with some vegetables. Or don’t.

Congratulations Chef Gronne! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entries and…everybody…Get cooking, happy cooking and buon appetito!

 

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 


 Spicy Jalapeno Dip

8 large jalapeno’s, chopped and seeded
10 slices of bacon, diced and semi crispy
2- 8oz packages of softened cream cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1/4 lb of Fontina cheese slices
1 Tablespoon Sriracha (for some heat)
1 cup of mayo
1/4 cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, diced

Topping:1/2 stick of sweet butter melted
1 cup Asiago cheese grated
1 cup of crushed salted crackers

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all of the dip ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well. Transfer to an ovenproof dish. Combine the topping ingredients and spread all over the top of the dip. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

6th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service…to share more culinary nuggets of wisdom and make the world a better place through sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, risotto and the Mediterranean diet in general.

Happy New Year! May this be the best year of all of our lives! It’s up to us so let’s make it happen! Be kind. Be happy. Cook and eat well…with gusto – Like this month’s honorable mention prizewinner, home chef, Hamilton Brewer and his mom, Rebecca!

Congratulations Chefs! You’ll receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entry for next year’s contest. Keep up the good work and maybe your next recipe will put you in next year’s contest’s money!

I know, from being a primary schoolteacher with a garden-kitchen program here in Chico, that kids love to cook. It’s rewarding to them, to be creative and enjoy the fruits of their labor…or in this case…the chicken of their kitchen. My dad told me when I was a kid that I’d be successful if I learned how to finish projects. Chef Brewer’s Easy Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Chicken Strips for Kids is a testimonial to this wisdom and apparently, Chef Brewer’s mom, who helped with the e-submission of this recipe, is fostering the same values. Congratulations to both of you! You inspire me, and all of us here at Bella Sun Luci…and I’m hoping more kids will now get involved in cooking and eating healthy because of you.

Chef Richie Says: You ROCK Chef Hamilton!

One thing that sets this recipe apart is its inherent health benefits. It’s gluten-free (and therefore lower in carbohydrates, which, when metabolized, turn to sugar (essentially are sugar). Being skinless, it’s low in fat, especially saturated fat. Our antioxidant-rich Bella Sun Luci estate grown (a half hour from Chico!) Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sun dried tomatoes are wonderful additions here. This is a traditional marriage of flavors, made new and fresh with its use of sun dried tomatoes and, when you taste it you’ll find out it’s bursting with jump-for-joy flavor!

Congratulations Chef Hamilton Brewer and Rebecca! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry, and if you’re ever in Chico, CA you’re invited to come to Mooney Farms and cook up a sun dried tomato storm with me at lunchtime, as long as it’s not a school day. Got it? Maybe you can show me something!

Happy cooking and buon appetito!

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 

 

 

Easy Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Chicken Strips for Kids

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 of 8.5 oz jar Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes – Julienne Cut with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Italian Herbs
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon Bella Sun Luci California Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Garnish:
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Ask a parent to fire up the grill. Coat the chicken breasts with Bella Sun Luci Olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Grill the chicken evenly – about 10 minutes on each side. Bring the chicken inside and cover with foil to keep it warm.

In a sauté pan, bring the sun dried tomatoes with their olive oil to a simmer. Add the onions and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, cilantro, basil, and paprika. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat.

Bring your chicken breast to a cutting board and slice in strips – the size that your kids like. Put on a plate and top with your sun dried tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh Parmesan and basil!

5th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service! Happy Holidays! May you be blessed by family, friends, joy and good health. Mangia bene, buona salute ed amore! And may Bella Sun Luci’s heart-healthy, exploding with flavor ingredients help you this holiday season, as I like to say, turn you from a cook into a chef!

Our December honorable mention prizewinner in our 2015 recipe contest is…drum roll please…home chef Michael Watz! Congratulations Chef! You’ll receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entry for next year’s contest and add special touches to your holiday meals. Keep up the good work and maybe your next recipe will put you in next year’s contest’s money!

TWO recipes, you ask? Well…’tis the season to have options, fa la la la la…and this is two for the price of one…Chef Watz’s Rack of Lamb with Sun Dried Tomato Crust AND Napa Valley Tomato Jam. I mean, with my constant goal of making Martha Stewart jealous, this is certainly one elegant multifaceted recipe that has a chance! May we all have such luck! One year I made Crown Roast Rack of Lamb…you could try that with this. If you do, don’t forget the needle and thread(!) and to cover the bones with aluminum foil.

Congratulations chef Michael! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…Chef Richie Says to you and everybody else…Get cooking, happy cooking, buon appetito and felice feste…HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND NEW YEAR!


 

Rack of Lamb with Sundried Tomato Crust

Ingredients:
9 oz Rack of lamb, Frenched style bones
2 Tablespoons Bella Sun Luci, Sun Dried Tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper, ground
1/4 teaspoon Smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon Cumin, ground
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Sun Dried Tomato Bread Crumbs, see recipe below
1/2 cup Napa Valley Tomato Jam, see recipe below
4 Fresh rosemary sprigs
Method:
1. Generously rub the meat portion of the rack of lamb with drained oil from a jar of Bella Sun Luci Sundried Tomatoes.
2. Combine the seasonings and lightly season the meat. Place the rack of lamb onto a rimmed baking tray and place into a pre heated 375 degree oven. Roast for 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove the baking pan from the oven and allow the lamb to completely cool.
4. Generously spread the Dijon mustard on the flesh side of the lamb, spoon the Sun Dried Tomatoes Crumbs evenly over the meat gently pressing to adhere. Return the rack of lamb to the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the bread crumbs are evenly browned.
5. The internal temperature of the meat should be 145 degrees when checked with a thermometer. Remove the rack of lamb from the oven, tent with foil and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before serving.
6. To Serve:
a. Place the rack of lamb onto a flat surface; using a serrated blade knife, slice between each rib bone on the rack.
b. On a warm decorative serving platter arrange the lamb chops. Decoratively garnish with sprigs of rosemary and a cup of Napa Valley Tomato Jam. Enjoy!

Sundried Tomato Bread Crumbs
2 cups  Panko Japanese style bread crumbs
1/2 cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, drained
3 Tablespoons Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Cut with Herbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 Tablespoon Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Fresh garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Lemon zest, finely grated
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper, ground

In a large mixing bowl, gently combine all ingredients.

Napa Valley Tomato Jam
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups Tomatoes, canned, diced in juice, strained
1 teaspoon Jalapeno peppers, seeded and small diced
2 teaspoons Fresh garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons Shallots, chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Asian fish sauce
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar

Method:
1. Blend HALF of the tomatoes, with the jalapeno, garlic, shallots, ginger and Asian fish sauce using a food processor to a fine texture.
2. Place the pureed ingredients in a sauce pot with the brown sugar, and vinegar, bring to a simmer.
3. Reduce the temperature of the heat to very low; to the pot add the remaining canned tomatoes. Gently simmer for 30 minutes stirring the jam frequently using a wooden spoon.
4. Scrape the sides of the sauce pot to remove any accumulated food particles. Cook until the jam has thickened to a thickened jammy consistency.
5. Taste the jam, if necessary add additional brown sugar or vinegar for the balance of sweet to tart which you would prefer.

Serves 2.


 

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 

 

 

3rd Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

Our second honorable mention prizewinner in our 2015 recipe contest is…drum roll please…home chef, Aurora Kenney! Congratulations Chef! You’ll receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entry for next year’s contest. Keep up the good work!

Happy harvest, Halloween and everything autumn! This month’s recipe is perfect for this time of year, when the leaves are treating us to a fall color showcase, there’s a first chill in the air and comfort food begins to creep back into our psyches.

This butternut squash soup recipe is a wonderful and natural marriage of flavors and colors. I’ve been pairing butternut squash with sun dried tomatoes for decades and I suggest you start doing it as well.

This autumn soup is very versatile, adds a touch of elegance to any holiday event and is right up the alley of one of my two goals in life…make Martha Stewart jealous…and I’ll let you know how becoming an Italian grandma works out.

Plus, it’s simple, easy to shop for and make, super flavorful and healthy. In fact, in its original form, this recipe is gluten-free, vegan and calls for a total of one-tablespoon of olive oil as the only added fat.

I hope you’ll cook this recipe for your family at your holiday events. I am offering one possible adjustment to you readers, which is…Chef Richie Says…use chicken stock (or vegetable stock to keep it vegan) instead of water, for a richer, deeper flavor. Also, this soup sometimes turns out too thick, so be liberal with your use of water or stock, whichever you choose.


Sun Dried Tomato Squash Soup:

1 butternut squash
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves
2 cups water, plus enough to cover the bottom of the pan,  (or you can use chicken stock, or vegetable stock)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
fresh parsley (to garnish, optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down in a baking dish filled with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake the squash for approximately 45 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pot. Sautee the garlic and onion for a few minutes, then add the white wine and cook until soft, about 5 more minutes. Add 2 cups of water and the sun dried tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Scoop out the baked squash and add it to the pot. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in an upright blender, adding additional water until it reaches the desired consistency. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Serves 4-6
Total time: ~1.5 hours


 

Congratulations chef Aurora! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…everybody else…Get cooking, happy cooking and buon appetito!

 

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 

Congratulations to our 1st Place Winner of the 2015 Recipe Contest – Mary Shivers!

Congratulations to Mary Shivers on being the1st place winner of our annual Bella Sun Luci Recipe Contest with your

Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Lasagna Rolls on Creamy Bacon and Pesto Bechamel!

1st Place - Mary Shivers - Blog

This recipe was clearly our winner this year for several reasons. Firstly, it’s delicious and bursting with sun dried tomato flavor. Secondly, it’s a professionally composed and involved recipe, yet it’s simple enough for the average cook to understand, shop for, prep, assemble, cook and serve. It calls for four different Bella Sun Luci products: sun dried tomato halves in oil, julienne snacks, sun dried tomato pesto and our extra virgin arbequina olive oil. And, although it’s a twist on an Italian classic, it’s a comfort food that is both recognizable to almost everyone and that satisfies the soul.

Our ten-member taste panel unanimously loved this dish for all the reasons I discussed above. No other dish, of the hundreds of entries we received, was unanimously approved. This is truly an exceptional culinary creation.

Congratulations to Mary Shivers for this winning recipe. It was a pleasure to cook it, eat it and it is my distinct pleasure to call Mary, “Chef.” Thank you, Mary! Maybe someday we will get to cook together!

Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

2014 Honorable Mention Recipe Contest 11th Place – Chicken Apple Burger

Chef Richie here, at your service!

Our final honorable mention recipe for the 2014 Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci recipe contest, before I begin choosing and then testing the finalists for this year’s recipe contest this summer, comes from Chef Paul VanSavage. And, Chef Paul, Chef Richie Says: Just in time for any chefs favorite season, grilling season! Chef Richie also Says: If any of the honorable mention prizewinning recipes I’ve written about are truly “a whole greater than the sum of its parts”, this is the big daddy of them all. I hope you, the reader, will “togliersi lo sfizio” (accept the challenge) and get cookin’. If any of you have cooked some or all of the recipes in Chef Richie Says then this will be your final exam. It’s the most involved and complicated recipe of the group. Chef Paul, you’ve really done it this time. GREAT job! Even I was challenged, in a truly professional chef’s way, and the results were well worth the effort!

Congratulations Chef Paul! You will be receiving a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients, as recognition for a job extraordinarily well done, to help you invent a new wonderful recipe for the 2015 recipe contest. I can’t wait to see what you come up with this time!

And everyone who has at all followed me on this blogalicious journey, I’ve very much enjoyed writing to you, for you and with you, communicating and getting to know you all through our mutual love for fine, flavorful food and the Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci Mediterranean diet. I hope that you home chefs will continue your creative culinary commitment to excellence and keep in touch with me. Chef Richie Says: Rock on!!!

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken-Apple Burger Topped with Onion Straws and Dressed with Sun Dried Tomato Aoli (serves 8)

Ingredients

*Sun Dried Tomato/Vegetable Blend

1 Large Yellow Onion

6 Cloves Garlic

2 Large Sweet Apples, peeled

2 Stalks Celery

1 Cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Cut in Olive Oil and Herbs

1 Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper

¼ Cup Olive Oil from Sun Dried Tomato Jar

*Onion Straws

1 Large Sweet Onion

2 Cups Buttermilk

1 Teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

½ Cup Cornstarch

1 Teaspoon Table Salt

¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper

2 Cups Canola Oil

2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

*Burgers

2 Cups Sun Dried Tomato/Vegetable Blend

½ Teaspoon Fresh Thyme, minced

2 Teaspoon Fresh Sage, minced

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Black Pepper

½ Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning

3 lbs. Ground Chicken

Canola Oil

*Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

1 ½ Cups Mayonnaise

½ Cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Cut, in Olive Oil and Herbs

*8 Hamburger Rolls

*Iceberg Lettuce

Directions

Since this recipe consists of a number of components the directions are spelled out in the order in which they are executed, moving from component to component as necessary.

*Sun Dried Tomato/Vegetable Blend

Finely mince the onion, garlic, apples, celery, add the salt and pepper, mix thoroughly and set aside in a mixing bowl. Finely mince the Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Cut, in Olive Oil and Herbs and set aside separately.

*Onion Straws

Slice the onion very thin. Mix the Hot Pepper Sauce with the buttermilk in a baking dish, add the onion and let soak for an hour at room temperature.

*Sun-Dried Tomato/Vegetable Blend

Sauté the minced onion, garlic, apple and celery in the olive oil reserved from the Sun Dried Tomato jar until vegetables are softened, approximately ten minutes, add the minced Sun-Dried Tomatoes, remove from heat and thoroughly chill.

*Onion Straws

Combine the remaining Onion Straw ingredients; flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl and set aside. Preheat standard oven to 170 degrees.

*Burgers

Combine the chicken, Sun Dried Tomato/Vegetable Blend, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Form eight patties and refrigerate.

*Sun Dried Tomato Aioli

Finely mince the Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Cut, in Olive Oil and Herbs. Combine the Sun-Dried Tomatoes and the mayonnaise in food processor and pulse until smooth.

*Onion Straws

In a large skillet or wok, heat the Canola Oil to 375 degrees. Remove the onion rings from the buttermilk mixture, shake off excess buttermilk and add to the flour mixture. Then thoroughly shake off excess flour and add to the hot oil in small batches. Fry a few minutes until golden, remove and place on paper towels, lightly sprinkle with Kosher Salt, then transfer to a baking rack placed in a sheet pan. Keep warm in the preheated oven.

*Burgers

The burgers are best cooked on a griddle or in a large skillet. You can do so on a gas grill, charcoal grill or stove top. If using a grill, preheat the gas grill or charcoal grill to medium, place griddle on grates and keep covered. If using a stove, heat the griddle or skillet on medium heat. Lightly oil the griddle or skillet with Canola Oil.

Gently form eight patties and place on an oiled griddle. Cook the burgers for approximately 5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Move patties to a serving platter and loosely cover with aluminum foil to keep warm until serving.

*Sun Dried Tomato Chicken-Apple Burger Topped With Onion Straws and Dressed with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

Spread Sun Dried Tomato Aioli on the bottom halves of the rolls, then a layer of lettuce. Place a burger pattie on the lettuce, and top with Onion Straws. Add more Aioli to the top half of the roll.

Buon Appetito!

Happy cooking and, as Chef Paul says, as I love to say, buon appetito!

 

Con amore,

Chef Richie Hirshen, Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci. Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com Facebook: Bella Sun Luci

10th Place Honorable Mention 2014 Recipe Contest

avocadosChef Richie here, at your service!

 

And now we have April…which for me marks the real, to me…the foodie’s…end of winter. Why, you might be asking? Because…wait for it…here come the…drumroll please…AVOCADOS!!! Ummmmm…YIPPEE!!! Chef Richie Says: Dear avocados, I’ve missed you SO MUCH! Thank you for coming back into my life! Chef Richie also says: Avocados and sun dried tomatoes together?…Turn a cook into a chef in 5 minutes!!!

 

According to the Too Hot Tamales, Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (if you’re ever near one of their Border Grill restaurants…GO IMMEDIATELY…SO GOOD!)…I’m quoting them from their blog on the www.californiaavocado.com web site (thank you ladies)…90% of America’s avocados are grown in California! And…April-September is the best period to enjoy avocados…so…here we go!

 

By eating avocados we Californians are minimizing our carbon footprint as locavores. Yippee! Then, there are the health benefits. Avocados are a whole food…a SUPERFOOD…the Superman/Superwoman of the food world. I’m an avocadotarian and I, along with home chef Lori Clayton, this month’s Mooney Farms recipe contest honorable mention prizewinner, have your next mission for your kitchen: Farro Salad with Avocado and Sun Dried Tomatoes. Um, you had me at “Avocado”!

 

Farro is a whole grain in the wheat family and, in addition to steaming it like you would brown rice or making it like you would risotto (called ‘farrotto’), it’s excellent in salads. And…this month’s Farro Salad with Avocado and Sun Dried Tomatoes recipe is a perfect example of Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci’s deep value for the Mediterranean diet. The cross-cultural Mexican flavor flair is another reason I’ve chosen this recipe for honorable mention.

 

Congratulations Chef Lori! You will be receiving a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients, as recognition for a creatively conscientious job well done and for helping you to invent a new wonderful recipe for the 2015 recipe contest…knowing full well that if you send in an entry for this year’s upcoming recipe contest and include avocados again, you’re a step…a leap in fact…ahead of everybody else (hint-hint y’all!).

 

Farro Salad with Avocado and Sun Dried Tomatoes

*Cooks in 20-25 minutes and serves 10-12 people

Ingredients

14 oz Italian pearled farro

4 C water

1 tsp salt (Chef Richie Says: sea salt or kosher salt)

3.5 oz bag Bella Sun Luci Julienne Cut Sun Dried Tomatoes

4 jalapeno peppers (or 2 for less spicy), seeded and diced

6 green onions, diced/chopped

6 oz part skim milk mozzarella, diced

2 ripe or medium-firm avocados, diced

½ cup cilantro leaves (de-stemmed)

2 limes, juiced

1 lemon, juiced

3 TB Bella Sun Luci extra virgin olive oil

Directions

In a medium saucepan combine the farro, water and salt. Bring to a boil on high, turn to a simmer and cover. Cook 20 minutes. Drain well.

In the meantime, prep the rest of your ingredients.

Combine everything, mixing well.

Serve room temperature.

 

Happy cooking and buon appetito! Con amore,

 

Chef Richie Hirshen, Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci. Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com Facebook: Bella Sun Luci

A Gateway Science Museum Benefit Evening

Mooney Farms recently donated a delicious dinner to the Gateway Science Museum benefit for ten guests to enjoy the tastes of the Mediterranean with Chef Richie as the main event – delighting guests with his entertaining stories and beautiful presentation of the evening’s menu.

The gorgeous flower arrangements were arranged by Pamela Walters of La Petite Flowers here in Chico, California – as always, they were perfect for the occasion.

Flowers

The Antipasti consisted of Tin Roof Sourdough Bread with Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta and Orland Farmstead Fromage Blanc, Smoked Salmon-Cucumber Rounds, and Sun Dried Tomato Polenta with Parmesan and Truffle Oil.

Antipasti

The main course was a delectable combination of Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Gorgonzola, Bacon, Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke,  Mushroom and English Pea Risotto, and Roasted Asparagus finished with Lemon Butter.

Pork and Asparagus

For Desert, Chef Richie served Upper Crust Luscious Lemon Bars with Fresh Berries, Skylake Ranch Pomegranate Syrup & Crème Fresh… yummy!

 Dessert

Bon Apeitito!

Richie

9th Place Honorable Mention – 2014 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

And now ladies and gentlemen, I give you…PRIMAVERA! SPRINGTIME! Mark your calendars…March 20 is the first day of spring and…here’s your Italian lesson for today…I love the way this sounds, please call me if you need further help with the pronunciation: Equinozio Primaverale (spring equinox)…EH-quee-KNOW-tsee-OH PREE-ma-VARE-all-EH. Try that three times fast! ;-)

But…it’s still brrrrrrrrr…co-o-o-o-old…so…here’s a warm-you-up recipe from our latest recipe contest honorable mention prizewinner…home chef…drum roll please…Kelly Ellison! Congratulations Chef!

Chef Richie Says…this particular recipe, Kelly’s Irish Pie, is particularly daring, bold, innovative and open to a world of interpretation because…it calls for…wait for it…Irish whiskey (therefore please use some restraint…try not to drink the whiskey while you cook. Remember, you’re working with knives and fire!). Once again folks, we have a Richie-style whole greater than the sum of its parts. Wait until you see this list of ingredients!

Chef Kelly will be receiving a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients, as recognition for a job well done and to get a head start on this year’s Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci recipe contest. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!

 

Kelly’s Irish Pie with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and Irish Whiskey

Ingredients

1 pound apple sausage

2 TB butter

1 pound 80-20 ground beef

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

½ diced Spanish (yellow) onion

2 stalks diced celery

4 oz chopped mushrooms

tsp garlic powder

tsp celery salt

Crushed red pepper to taste

1 cup Irish Whiskey (or Scotch, or bourbon)

2 C corn, fresh cut off the cob or frozen and thawed

1 jar Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce with Whole Pine Nuts

1 pound mashed potatoes (preferably home made)

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

½ C bacon bits

tsp paprika

tsp parsley flakes

½ C French Fried Onions

Directions

Heat oven to 400.

If making your own bacon bits, do that first (you can use the rendered bacon fat to cook the sausage!)

Bake sausage for 7-10 minutes, remove from oven, bring to room temperature then dice into small pieces.

In the meantime, heat the butter in a large skillet and add the hamburger, diced onion, celery, mushrooms salt and black pepper.

When the burger is cooked through, drain the fat off and add the cooked sausage, garlic powder, celery salt and crushed red pepper to taste.

Add the scotch and simmer uncovered on low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Mix the sun dried tomato pesto with the corn here.

Remove the mixture to a baking dish, top with the corn-sun dried tomato mixture, then the mashed potatoes, then cheddar and bacon. Sprinkle parsley and paprika on top.

Bake covered 30 minutes, remove cover, top with French Fried Onions and bake 5 more minutes uncovered.

Serve hot.

 

Happy cooking and buon appetito! Con amore,

 

Chef Richie Hirshen, Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci. Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

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