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!

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 

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

7th and 8th Place Honorable Mention – 2014 Recipe Contest

Richie at Mooney FarmsChef Richie here, at your service! ;-)

 

Love is in the air! Love is in a lot of places…Cupid is all over the place…did you know that Cupid is actually a chef?! What’s that about the way to a man’s/woman’s heart is through the stomach?…nothing like a man in the kitchen…and on and on.

Our seventh and eighth honorable mention prizewinners in our 2014 recipe contest are…home chefs…drum roll please…Deborah Cobb and Pam Norby! Congratulations Chefs!

Chefs Deborah and Pam 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. Everybody else…watch out! Here comes (Deborah and Pam) Trouble…with a capital T!

First we have: Sun Dried Tomato Soup (you can call this “Bisque” if you want, although bisque means ‘twice cooked’, hence the companion recipe: Sun Dried Tomato Biscuits, but what the heck, even the biscuits are only cooked once (chef’s note: biscotti…biscuits in Italiano…are cooked twice!). Chef Richie Says: no matter what you call it, everybody loves this soup…made richer by the addition of Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes.

 

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients (serves 8)

2 TB olive oil

4 stalks celery

4 carrots

½ Spanish (yellow) onion

3 cloves crushed garlic

1 TB dried basil or ¼ c fresh basil

1 tsp dried oregano or 1 TB fresh oregano

1 bay leaf

1 14.5 can fire roasted tomatoes with juice

½ c Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, either Halves or Julienne cut, oil drained and reserved aside for another dish

4 c chicken stock (or substitute vegetable stock for a vegetarian soup)

4 TB butter

¼ c flour

2 c half & half, or heavy cream, or milk

1 c parmesan cheese grated

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Directions

Mix celery, carrots, garlic and onion in a food processor and chop till minced. Heat olive oil in 4 qt soup pot on a medium flame and add the minced vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes. Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, fire roasted tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and chicken (or veggie) broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

While soup cooks melt butter, add flour and cook slowly (for about 5 minutes until it smells toasty/almondy), stir in 1 c soup until thickened and add to the vegetable mixture. Take the bay leaf out and discard, put the soup in the food processor (or use an emulsion blender) in batches and puree. When smooth, add parmesan cheese, whisk in milk/choice of dairy and simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes. You may add fresh tomatoes to the top of soup when serving if desired.

*Chef Richie Says/advises: use a wooden spoon throughout to stir, gently touching the bottom and “corners” of the pot so nothing sticks…roux, which is what you’re making with the butter and flour, tends to stick to the bottom of the pot and sometimes burn if you’re not careful and a chef-“masseuse” (“massage” your roux!)

*Chef Deborah says: This will be the best tomato soup you have ever tried. Deborah is definitely a chef…confidence level: HIGH.

 

Now, for the Sun Dried Tomato Biscuits.

*Chef Richie Says: Get yourself some heart shaped cutters for your biscuits!!!

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups baking mix

5 tablespoons Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

3 tablespoon prepared basil pesto

2/3 cup milk\

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup all-purpose flour (for rolling out dough)

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 ounces goat cheese, softened

2 ounces pine nuts, toasted

Directions

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix first 5 ingredients together by hand or in a food processor until evenly mixed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll dough to 1/2″ thick. Cut into 2 1/2″ circles with a cutter (remember Chef Richie Says to get heart-shaped cutters!) or glass rim. Place biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and goat cheese until combined. Let biscuits cool 10 minutes and top with cheese mixture and sprinkle pine nuts evenly over all.

Makes 12-16 biscuits.

cupid

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

Sun Dried Tomatoes and Greens ~ A Match Made in the Garden

Chef Richie here…at your service!

This past week, Bella Sun Luci and Cut N Clean Greens came together to create four harmonious dishes featuring sun dried tomatoes and assorted greens. The combination of these super foods was so delicious that the two brands will be creating a co-marketing campaign to hit grocery store shelves soon.

I had a great time creating these dishes and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did!

 IMG_3582

Roasted Butternut Squash, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Euro Greens

After cubing your butternut squash, spread it across a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly toss. Bake at 400 for 25-30 min until squash is tender.

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On a serving dish, plate the Euro Greens and Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomato halves around the edge of the platter. Add the butternut squash to the middle of the platter and serve warm.

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Enjoy!


 

Tuscan Kale, Sun Dried Tomato and Portobello Risotto with Kale-Sun Dried Tomato Sausages

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

4 Aidells Kale-Sun Dried Tomato Sausages

1 TB Bella Sun Luci extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin

1 portobello mushroom, inside fins removed, large diced

1 cup Bella Sun Luci Risotto

1/2 cup Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes julienne cut

1 bag Cut N Clean Tuscan Kale

1 quart chicken (or veggie) stock

Salt to taste

2 oz  butter

1/4 cup shredded (or grated) parmesan

IMG_3578

Roast the sausages in a preheated 500 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Set aside. When they are warm, slice them on the bias. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat the chicken stock in a separate pan until to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

On a high flame in a heavy bottom sauce (risotto) pan:

Sauté the onion in the olive oil to just translucent, about 1 minute.

Add the portobellos and sauté one more minute.

Add the risotto mix and sauté one more minute.

Add about ½ tsp salt here.

Add about 1/3 of the stock…enough to cover the risotto mixture by an inch. Continue to add ladles of hot stock as the stock get absorbed, about every 3-4 minutes, stirring virtually constantly.

After 16 minutes of stirring, add the kale and sun dried tomatoes.

Stir 2 more minutes (so 18 minutes total), remove from the flame, add the butter and parmesan and stir to just incorporate.

Check and if necessary, adjust the salt

Add a touch of stock at this point if the risotto is tight/stiff to make it “soft”, but not soupy.

Risotto Directions

Arrange the sausages around the outside edge of your platter. Pour the risotto in the middle and serve family style, or as a buffet item.

IMG_3666


Iron Man Spinach & Beet Greens Mediterranean Chef Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Chef salad has met it’s match with this Mediterranean version of the traditional menu favorite. Cut N Clean Greens Iron Man mix of Spinach and Beet Greens adds a whole new level of health and flavor, along with Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes and a few other delicious additions, this outdoes traditional chef salad by a land slide.

Beet Greens

12 slices bacon, diced and cooked crispy, drippings saved with the pieces

1 ounce good quality balsamic vinegar

1 8 oz package Cut N Clean Iron Man mix with spinach and beet greens

1 3.5 ounce bag Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes with Greek oregano, basil and garlic

4 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced

½ large red onion sliced very thin into half moons

1 small jar pitted green Greek olives, drained

1 cup feta crumbles

2 hard boiled eggs, rough chopped

2 oz Bella Sun Luci extra virgin olive oil

Salt (light, it’s already in the bacon and feta) and fresh cracked pepper to taste

IMG_3744

To create the salad dressing, add the balsamic vinegar to your pan of cooked bacon. This will be the salad dressing.

Next, layer each ingredient, beginning with the greens and ending with the dressing, then toss lightly so that the “goodies” stay close to the top. Et Volia!

IMG_3808

 


Sausage, Portobello, Euro Greens and Sun Dried Tomato Penne Pasta

1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions

2 large Portobello mushrooms, fins removed, roasted to soft with 1 TB of the olive oil, then sliced

8 Aidells kale-sun dried tomato sausages, roasted then sliced on the bias

5 ounces (half bag) Cut N Clean Euro Greens (mix of kale, chard, turnip greens and mustard greens)

2 cups chicken stock

1 bag Bella Sun Luci Zesty Pepper sun dried tomatoes julienne cut

1 red onion, diced

¼ cup chopped garlic

5 TB Bella Sun Luci extra virgin olive oil (1 TB + 2 TB + 2 TB)

½ cup shredded parmesan

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

¼ cup fresh basil chiffonade

Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Roast the mushrooms in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until soft. Half-way through cooking the mushrooms, on a separate roasting pan, add the sausage to the oven.

On the stove, boil your pasta water and cook pasta until al dente.

In a saute pan, sauté the onions to translucent in 2 TB of the olive oil, then add the garlic and sauté one more minute.

IMG_3824

In another pan, sauté the greens in the chicken stock for 2 minutes and then add to your saute pan with the garlic and onion, along with the mushrooms, sausages and cooked pasta noodles. Lightly toss these ingredients and remove to a serving bowl.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and basil over the top of the bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!

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Stay tuned for more delicious recipes!

3rd Place Honorable Mention – 2014 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

 

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I’m sure you’re refrigerator is full of leftovers but after you get sick of all that turkey, you’ve got to try this recipe!

 

Our third honorable mention prizewinner in our 2014 recipe contest is…home chef…drum roll please…Sue Ellen Olin! Congratulations Chef!

 

Mile High Sun Dried Tomato and Italian Sausage Shepherds Pie. WOW!

 

This recipe is comfort food gone wild, with the addition of A LOT OF our Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta, which takes a classic to new heights…and, as I love to say, a classic is a classic because it’s a whole greater than the sum of its parts. In this case, the trilogy of sausage, mashed potatoes and sun dried tomatoes gives me, in addition to goosebumps, a whole new lease on culinary life and a great chance to warm up your home. Home is where the Mile High Shepherds Pie is!

 

Chef Richie says: in cold, wet weather, comfort food is king, and this dish is king of the comfort foods!

 

Chef Sue Ellen will be receiving a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients, the perfect platform for another new take on comfort food for the 2015 Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci recipe contest. I’m already having a mid-winter’s night’s dream about osso buco, pot roast and other sun dried tomato turbo-charged cold weather new comfort food dishes. Go chef Sue Ellen!

 

Mile-High Sun Dried Tomato and Italian Sausage Shepherds Pie
Ingredients
1 -9 inch deep dish pie shell
8 oz Italian sweet sausage (bulk or ground)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 8.5 oz jars Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup sliced black olives
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese plus two tablespoons
6 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 -8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 whole fresh basil floret

 

 

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage and minced garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often until sausage is no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Put water to boil in a large saucepan, add potato chunks and cook until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes). Drain sausage and minced garlic but keep in frying pan. Put sun dried tomato bruschetta in with sausage and garlic, reserving 1 tablespoon bruschetta in a small bowl. Cook sausage-bruschetta mixture over medium-low heat for 4 minutes, stirring often. Mix in beaten egg and bread crumbs and further blend all well together in pan. Place bruschetta-sausage mixture into the pie shell. Smooth with a spatula to make an even surface. Evenly distribute chopped basil over mixture. Sprinkle a layer of 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese over the chopped basil and spread black olive slices over cheese. When potatoes are done, drain and mash well. Add butter, salt, milk, cream cheese and green onions to the potatoes and continue to blend all well together using a hand mixer or whisk. Spread whipped potatoes on top of the mixture in the pie shell, spreading out evenly and piling especially high towards the center. Sprinkle whipped potatoes with the remaining two tablespoons of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack of preheated oven. Remove from oven. Place reserved tablespoon of bruschetta in a dab in the center of the potato-topped pie. Garnish with the basil floret. Cool slightly and serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

 

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

www.facebook.com/bellasunluci

2nd Place Honorable Mention – 2014 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

Our second honorable mention prizewinner in our 2014 recipe contest is…home chef…drum roll please…Tasha Stover! Congratulations Chef and Happy Halloween!

Lamore’s Spinach Penne. The combination of asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, Fontina cheese and pinenuts make this heavenly dish a whole greater than the sum of its parts. I don’t say this very often because I think it’s true for the best dishes of all time…caesar salad, clam chowder, spaghetti and meatballs, a cheeseburger…but I can honestly say, after cooking and tasting this dish, that it is a whole greater than the sum of its parts. GREAT job Chef Tasha! I can tell that you designed this dish with love and so…Chef Richie Says: THAT’S AMORE!

Chef Tasha will be receiving a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients and I hope she submits a recipe for next year’s Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci recipe contest because she has what it takes to win it all!

Lamore’s Spinach Penne

Chef Richie Says: Use your imagination! You can add roasted or grilled prawns, or scallops, or salmon, or chicken, etc. to this dish at the end. Stack up your add-ons for height, dimension and chef-alicious presentation style and flair.

Serves 4 hungry people.

Ingredients

1 pound spinach penne, cooked in salted water according to directions on package (time the pasta’s cooking with the cream-cheese’s cooking time)

1 (8.5 oz) jar Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, julienne cut (oil drained and saved for cooking the asparagus);

1 pound fresh asparagus, ends snapped off and discarded, spears broiled with the reserved sun dried tomato oil and a pinch of salt, then after cooking: tops cut off whole (1-inch) and middles cut into ½-inch pieces.

1 pint heavy cream; 1 cup fontina cheese; ½ cup grated (or shredded) parmesan; 4 tablespoons lightly toasted pinenuts; salt & pepper to taste.

Directions

Heat the cream, Fontina and Parmesan cheese so it all melts together. Add the hot cooked pasta and asparagus last. Season with salt and pepper. Serve equal size portions in four bowls and top with the pine nuts (or add any optional additions, then top with pine nuts).

 

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

1st Place Honorable Mention – 2014 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

 

Our first honorable mention prizewinner in our 2014 recipe contest is…home chef…drum roll please…William Kanour! Congratulations Chef!

 

Mediterranean Fusion Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes

 

What makes this super Mediterranean dish unique is its Moroccan influence with the use of harissa, that culture’s specialty red bell pepper puree with aromatic ingredients like coriander, caraway and cumin, and in my experience (you’ll have to add a teaspoon here), cardamom (you can also add sun dried tomatoes to your puree!). You can make your own (recommended…the very efficient chef William has included his recipe), or buy it in any of several forms, jar, squeeze tube etc. Additional Mediterranean ingredients make this dish another of what I like to call a ‘whole greater than the sum of its parts’: artichokes, lots of olives, garlic and of course sun dried tomatoes.

 

Chef Richie says: because harissa is featured, this is truly a world fusion and globally interesting dish. How often do we get to cook a specialty from the African continent?!

 

Now…one of the reasons this recipe didn’t make the finals is…wait for it…the harissa. Sigh. It turns out that here in Chico harissa is very hard/impossible to find. Safeway-nope. Raley’s-nope. Our local natural foods store-nope. Our local specialty foods store-nope. World Market…uh…sometimes (just not right now). Ok, you can make it, but this recipe becomes complicated enough on its own and one of our criteria for this contest is (relative) simplicity. Challenging our fans to become chefs is something I love to do, but there are limits. For those of you up for the challenge…get to it!

 

Chef William will be receiving a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients and I hope he uses them as testers for a 2015 Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci recipe contest submission. His kind of creativity is always a welcome addition to the hundreds of recipes we receive each year! Go Chef William!

 

Mediterranean Fusion Chicken with Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes

4 to 5 servings (2 pieces of chicken per serving)

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon of Harissa paste mixed into 3 Tablespoons of olive oil

8 to 10 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken (about 2.5 lbs.)

36 whole Olives, Spanish and Kalamata

24 marinated artichoke quarters (or a mix of halves and quarters)

3 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced

½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

½ teaspoon of sea salt

36 pieces (halves) of Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried tomatoes in olive oil with Italian herbss (24 left whole and 12 julienned)

½ cup of white wine such as a Pinot Gris

Directions

In a large skillet (with a lid) over medium heat place the olive oil/Harrisa mixture to start warming. Salt and pepper the chicken. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it slightly on each side over medium heat (about 3-4 minutes per side). Now add the olives, artichoke pieces and garlic. If your pan is a bit dry add some of the wine. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes then add the julienned and halved sun dried tomatoes. Add the remaining wine, cover and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until juices from the chicken run clear. Total cooking time about 20-21 minutes.

Serve the chicken pieces with the sun dried tomatoes, olives and artichoke pieces over couscous, quinoa, or pasta of your choice.

 

If you cannot find Harissa paste in the market it is easily made at home with the following ingredients

10-12 dried red chili peppers

2 cloves of garlic

½ tsp of salt

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground caraway seeds

½ tsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon Juice

*1 tsp ground cardamom (Chef Richie Says: optional)

Directions

Soak the dried chili peppers in hot water for 30-45 minutes. Drain, remove stems and seeds. In a blender or food processor combine the chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Blend well. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a smooth paste forms. Keep the extra in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

 

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

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 

Top Ten Honorable Mentions – 2014 Recipe Contest

Dear Cooks, Chefs and friends of Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci,

 

Chef Richie here, at your service! After cookin’ (and tasting) up a storm in our Tuscan test kitchen here at Mooney Farms in beautiful Chico, CA, the winners of our yearly recipe contest have been chosen! Dinah Hendon’s brisket took the cordon bleu (which actually means blue ribbon) and now I’m ready for phase 2:

 

Once a month during the next 10 months (before I begin to test next year’s contest entries) I’ll be choosing the recipes that didn’t win, place or show…the recipes I believe merit honorable mention. I’ll then send a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients to the chefs who submitted these recipes, and post each monthly recipe with its photo on the Bella Sun Luci Facebook page and on my BellaSunLuci.com blog, Chef Richie Says!

Keep your eyes peeled for the first honorable mention winner on the last Friday of each month. Maybe your recipe will win an honorable mention prize! The first of these is William Kanour and his Mediterranean Fusion Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes.

 

And get goin’ on your recipes for our 2015 contest. You may be the skilled (not lucky, but GOOD) winner of $2,500! Chef Richie says: “That’s my kind of lettuce!”

 

Like I said, I am at your service, so please feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions about cooking. I love sharing ideas with people who are passionate about cooking (and eating) like I am!

 

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

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci