10th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

 

_D5B9949Chef 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…and this month, The Mexican Land of the Sun Diet.

Chef Richie Says: Try a fresh heirloom tomato AND sun dried tomato Insalata Caprese…it’s AMAZING!…and turn it into a Sicilian one with chile flakes for a little kick, olives and capers (the ones packed in salt are best…Sicilian sea salt believe it or not) and let’s call it Insalata Siciliana because Capri (hence Caprese…or capricious) is its own island. And try Melanzane alla Fiorentina…browned eggplant topped with garlicky sautéed spinach and sun dried tomatoes…or Sun Dried Tomato Ratatouille, or Sicilian Caponata…and a sausage and peppers sandwich with sun dried tomatoes. Make anything and everything with fresh sweet basil and sun dried tomatoes! Bell peppers…all kinds of fresh peppers like anaheims…poblanos…and chile peppers are natural partners for sun dried tomatoes. Put them into your mole sauce!!! Oh my gosh…so wonderful! I’ve gone from Sicily to Mexico in three sentences!

So, with all of that said, this month’s 2015 recipe contest honorable mention winner is from…drumroll…home chef Sharyn Hill with her Bella Sun Luci Poblanos Rellenos. Chiles Rellenos!!! YUM! THIS is the season for the Mediterranean Diet!

This recipe, looking at my remind-myself notes from having cooked it, is “labor intensive – but worth it”. So, be a chef! Be organized! Make it happen! And…I didn’t need notes to remember that this dish is WONDERFUL, tastes like a grandma made it in a small rural pueblo…and as you might have heard me say before, I have two goals in life: To make Martha Stewart jealous and to become an Italian (or in this case, Mexican) grandma. This is one of the dishes that’ll make all of that happen!


Bella Sun Luci Poblanos Rellenos

Sauce:
1 jar (8.5 oz.) Bella Sun Luci Julienne Cut Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil with Italian Herbs, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil from sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon salt

Poblano Rellenos:
4 large fresh poblano chile peppers (about 3 oz. each)
1 package (3.5 oz.) Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne-Cut with Zesty Peppers
2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese, divided
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 large green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. For sauce, in a blender or food processor combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, wine, and salt. Blend or process until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat broiler. Place poblanos on large sheet of aluminum; broil 3 inches from heat 10 to 12 minutes until blackened, turning halfway through. Pull foil up over poblanos; close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and discard skins. Cut each pepper lengthwise down one side being careful not to cut through other side. Gently remove seeds and veins; keeping stem intact. Set aside.

In medium bowl, combine julienned tomatoes, 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese, cream cheese, onions, cilantro, bread crumbs, egg yolk, lime juice, cumin and chipotle chile pepper together until thoroughly combined. Equally divide cheese mixture among poblanos, pressing into cavities.

Place reserved sauce onto a 10-inch square baking dish. Place filled poblanos on top of sauce. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 400°F. Remove from oven; sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, for another 5 minutes just until cheese has melted. To serve, spoon sauce onto serving plate and top with a poblano. Makes 8 servings.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Filled poblanos and sauce can be covered and refrigerated up to one day in advance. Add 5 minutes to baking time.


 

So…congratulations Chef Hill! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…everybody…Get cooking, happy cooking, buon appetito…buen provecho… and buona salute!

 

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 

9th 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.

April showers bring…mushrooms! And when life gives you lemons…and mushrooms…make this fresh, clean, light, vegetarian, Mediterranean pasta!

What does Mediterranean Diet mean to you?

Chef Richie Says it’s this: fresh, clean, light, healthy…full of antioxidants and flavorful ingredients nurtured by the beautiful wonderful warmth of the sun, just like our name says…Bella Sun Luci.

That’s what this dish, Italian Sun Dried Tomato, Artichoke and Mushroom with Angel Hair Pasta in White Wine Sauce says to me. THIS dish says Primavera (springtime) to me and this month’s 2015 recipe contest honorable mention winner is from…drumroll…home chef Jenn Tidwell.

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!

Quick, simple and easy to shop for, prep, cook and serve, this dish has two of our products in its ingredients list: Estate grown Extra Virgin Arbequina Olive Lil and premium Sun Dried Tomato Halves. The mushrooms say “April” to me and if you like you can substitute wild mushrooms…last year I foraged for chanterelles and they were divine…or use fine cultivated mushrooms like portabellas (I remove the inside fins with a spoon before sautéing or roasting for a steak-like texture), or shiitakes, or criminis, which are actually small portabellas. The lemon sets this dish apart. I love pasta with lemon. It’s rare, but some of life’s most special things are so I’m not surprised. I’ve found that lemon goes GREAT with sun dried tomatoes…and mushrooms…and with pasta. Think picatta, which this dish almost is. In fact, Chef Richie Says: add capers to this dish and you have a vegetarian heaven picatta.

 

 

Italian Sundried Tomato, Artichoke & Mushroom with Angel Hair in White Wine Lemon Sauce

Serves: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

12 oz. angel hair pasta
1 T. Bella Sun Luci olive oil
½ c. Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Italian Herbs, finely chopped
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, quartered
6 large button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ c. dry white wine
1 ½ c. chicken broth
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ c. parmesan cheese
¼ c. Italian parsley, minced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook just until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil over medium in a large skillet and add sundried tomatoes, artichokes and mushrooms. Cook until almost tender about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook another few minutes.

Deglaze skillet with wine and let simmer about 5 minutes. Add broth and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to simmer for flavors to meld about 10 minutes.

Serve vegetables and sauce over pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Garnish with minced parsley.

 

Congratulations Chef Tidwell! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…everybody…Get cooking, happy cooking, buon appetito and stay dry!

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 

8th 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 springtime! In Italian: Felice (pronounced FAY-lee-CHAY) Primavera! Yes that’s right, primavera means springtime…not just a pasta with a lot of vegetables. Primavera means spring lamb and spring chicken and asparagus and fava beans and English peas (simple steamed al dente asparagus, favas and peas with Bella Sun Luci estate grown extra virgin arbequina olive oil are an all time favorite!…awesome additions to the aforementioned chicken or lamb) and spring mix (they used to call mixed baby lettuces ‘Spring Mix’) and…flowers…lots and lots of flowers…wildflowers…edible and tasty flowers like calendulas and nasturtiums and borage and Johnny jump-ups and even roses and orchids! There’s also something called mixed edible blossoms. Chef Richie Says: for your next special culinary occasion, ask your specialty produce person to order you some (I just called a big chain supermarket’s produce department and they said they would order them for me!) and be patient. It takes my local place about a week to get them in on special order. Edible blossoms (and any/all herb flowers) make the most vibrant, colorful garnishes ever and can be used on both savory and sweet dishes.

OK…now, ladies and gentlemen…cooks and chefs…this month’s 2015 recipe contest honorable mention winner is from…drum roll…home chef Thomas Dombek. 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!

Now…it’s still cold and rainy…winter is lingering even here in Northern California and I’m sure it’s still freezing in other parts of the country, so I’ve chosen this month’s honorable mentionee because it’s a comfort food classic and it takes a long time to cook so it will warm up your home! It’s also a perfect way to add the asparagus-fava-pea accompaniment mentioned above, for color, flavor and texture…and health! Eat your colors people! And…it’s a challenging dish that will help improve, or keep sharp, your repertoire and classic technique skills like braising. This technique is applicable to many wonderful dishes like osso buco, lamb shanks and coq au vin.

Rustic Country Ribs Italiano

4 slices of bacon, chopped

1 pound boneless beef country short ribs, cut into 1” cubes

1 carrot, shredded

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups beef broth, divided

1 cup beef broth

1 28 oz can tomatoes, crushed

1 cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tbs Italian seasoning

1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

1/4 cup heavy cream

½ tbs light soy sauce

½ tbs Worcestershire sauce

salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

8 oz pasta, cooked and warmed

Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping

fresh basil, chopped, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 275.

In a heavy oven proof pot over medium high heat cook bacon for about 3 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside reserving the bacon grease.

Add beef ribs in the same pot over medium high heat and cook for 3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove beef ribs and set aside. Add the shredded carrot, onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, mushrooms and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup of beef broth scraping up the browned bits of food stuck to bottom of the skillet. Add the bacon, beef ribs , second cup of beef broth, crushed tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning.

Place pot in the oven and cook 3 ½ hours until beef ribs are fork tender.

In a bowl add Parmesan cheese, heavy cream. soy sauce and Worcestershire and season with salt and pepper to taste

Toss pasta with Parmesan sauce. Top with beef ribs and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Congratulations Chef Dombeck! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…everybody…Get cooking, happy cooking, buon appetito and FELICE PRIMAVERA!

 

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

chefrichiesays@mooneyfarms.com

www.mooneyfarms.com

www.facebook.com/BellaSunLuci 

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 

 

 

4th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

Our fourth honorable mention prizewinner in our 2015 recipe contest is…drum roll please…home chef, Josalyn Holmes! Congratulations Chef! You will 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 the money!

This month I’m suggesting the chance for an even happier Thanksgiving holiday with this recipe. If you’re throwing your first big family dinner, or it’s your twentieth, here’s an idea for a little something special – Sun Dried Tomato Stuffing.

HappyThanksgiving

When I was Mario Batali’s right hand man back at the Santa Barbara Biltmore (in the roaring 80’s, when Mario was a sous chef), he had the recipe for the best stuffing ever and one of the reasons was…sage, the quintessential autumn herb. Chef Richie says: Feel free to add one or two ingredients… à la Chef Batali…turkey drippings and/or BUTTER…you didn’t hear it from me, that I’m giving away Mario’s secrets… he also used brioche instead of bread ;-)

Typically, we associate tomatoes with basil, but it’s autumn, these are sun-dried tomatoes and this recipe by chef Josalyn, which also calls for goat cheese, is a rich wonderful new way to approach stuffing. I urge you to try it, even as a second stuffing. It’s a sophisticated twist on a classic that’s fun to make and will surely spark holiday table conversation.

Congratulations chef Josalyn! 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 

 


Sun Dried Tomato Stuffing

Ingredients

2 Cups of julienne cut Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes with Italian herbs in olive oil

1/4 cup fresh sage- finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh peeled garlic – finely chopped

3/4 cup red onion- cut into thin strips

1 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 cups of chicken stock

1 loaf of ciabbatta or foccasia bread –diced into large pieces

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together by tossing with a large spoon or tongs. Using a 2-inch deep baking pan, pour the combined ingredients into the pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Serve along side, or even stuff your favorite pork chop and or chicken/turkey.

5-7 servings

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 

1st and 2nd Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

Our first honorable mention prizewinner in our 2015 recipe contest is…are…home chefs (there are TWO this month!)…drum roll please…Paula Todora for her Cowgirl Cornbread and Marcos Gonzalez for his Sun Dried Tomato Jam! Congratulations Chefs! You will each receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entries for next year’s contest. Keep up the good work and maybe your next recipe will put you in the money!

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I’m honorably mentioning two recipes at the same time because I feel they compliment each other perfectly. The savory cornbread paired with the sweet jam is an excellent marriage and I recommend that you readers cook these two together at home. Chef Richie says: “I think a few savory sausages like Italian, or hot links, or garlic-basil, or even sweeter sausages like chicken apple, especially at brunch, would be wonderful additions as well, or…how about fried chicken?!” And I’m mentioning these two recipes specifically at this time of year because seasonal availability is an important quality factor. I urge you to stick to the seasons with enthusiastic verve. The ingredients in these two recipes are summer specialties. Around here, around now, we should be seeing corn at 10 ears for a dollar! And tomatoes are super abundant in my garden right now.

I have to admit I made a couple of small adjustments to the two recipes…and I want to mention to cooks reading this that cooking is a constant series of adjustments. You simply do the best you can with what you have, and…a good attitude. I believe that a good attitude (some might say, “love”) is the most important ingredient of all. My old chef-mentor Jack told me once that, “there are 1,000 ways to get the same result.” Jack exaggerated a lot, but there is truth in his words.

I didn’t have cumin seeds for the cornbread, but I did have ground cumin. Knowing that the ground cumin would have much more flavor than the seeds, spoon for spoon, I used 1 TB of the ground instead of the 2 TB of the seeds. This worked very well, with the cumin flavor noticeable but not overpowering.

The adjustments I made with the jam recipe were because these two things weren’t mentioned in the procedure section: A) Instead of cooking the whole orange, I cut it into thick slices; and B) I didn’t use the 1 oz of oil mentioned in the ingredients.

 

Details in these two recipes that excited my sensitivities as a chef included:

*The use of fresh corn cut off the cob in the cornbread. I have done this with polenta and I love it. And corn salad and corn salsa are huge favorites of mine. Also, in order to not make a mess when cutting the corn off the cob, I lay the whole ear FLAT on the cutting board. This way, instead of the kernels flying all over the place, like when you hold the ear standing straight up and down, the kernels stay next to the ear…much cleaner.

*The orange-basil-sun dried tomato combination in the jam is a real winner. Those flavors would go great together in several dishes I can think of…chicken, fish, salad (with red onion and avocado!), and, as proven here, anything with corn it.


 

Cowgirl Cornbread

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Bella Sun Luci California Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided use
¼ cup chopped mild yellow onion
1 Anaheim chile, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup drained and chopped plus 8 Julienned strips, drained well-Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Julienne-Cut Tomatoes with Herbs and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, reserving oil
2 fresh corn on the cobs, corn removed (substitute ¾ cup frozen if not available)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions:
Prepare Skillet-
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil into a 9-inch or 10-inch round cast iron skillet, swirling oil around to coat bottom and sides, brushing with a pastry brush if necessary. Set aside.
Cook Vegetables-
In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the other Tablespoon of olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the onion, Anaheim chile, garlic, ¼ cup drained and diced sun dried tomatoes with herbs and corn kernels. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes.
Add the salt, pepper and cumin seeds and continue to cook, stirring, an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Make Batter-
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and ¼ cup reserved sundried tomato oil. Add the cooked vegetables and stir to combine. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt and sugar. Gradually add egg/vegetable mixture to dry mixture. Add cheese and gently stir mixture just until combined.
Bake-
Place prepared skillet into preheated oven for 5 minutes to heat oil. Pour cornbread mixture into heated skillet. Place remaining 8 sundried tomato Julienne strips on top in a spoke-like fashion. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and top is golden. Cut into 8 slices and serve hot.

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Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Jam Recipe

Ingrdients:
4 cups Fresh Tomato (large diced)
3-5 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
½ Onion chopped
½ Bell Pepper (Red)

1 Whole Orange
1 Cup Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato
1 Spring Oregano
2oz. Fresh Basil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 small Bay leaf

1 ½ Cup Sugar
1oz. Honey (Optional)
Instructions:
In a medium saucepan preheat to medium –low heat then add garlic, onion, bell peppers, oregano and bay leaf. Sweat that until onions are translucent than add fresh tomato, basil, orange, black pepper and salt and Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes. Cook everything until fresh tomato has release their liquid (5 – 8 minutes cook time). Add sugar and stir occasionally. After 10 minutes removed orange and bay leaf. Keep cooking and stirring occasionally for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender and pulse until rough texture, this will give the jam and unique and rustic appearance. Return back to the stove and cook for another 5 minutes. Consistency should be medium thick like a jam. Add 1 ounce of honey if results are too acidic – this also will give unique gloss.

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I’m impressed by the caliber of recipes submitted this year and I look forward to cooking and telling you about the next 10 honorable mention recipes that I’ve begun testing here at Bella Sun Luci. Congratulations Paula and Marcos!

 

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 the 3rd Place Winner of our 2015 Recipe Contest – Genevieve Greco!

Congratulations Genevieve Greco! You are the recipient of this Bella Sun Luci Recipe Contest 3rd Place Prize and the Super Deluxe Bella Sun Luci Ingredients Gift Box that goes with it! Your Cauliflower No-Sotto with Sun Dried Tomato Tahini Cream was not only delicious, but very innovative!3rd Place - Genevieve Greco - Blog

This recipe broke into the top three contest winners because of its flavor, texture, nutritional aspect, and because it showcases sun dried tomatoes so well. Bella Sun Luci owner (and basically my co-chef) Mary Mooney said, “This dish NEEDS sun dried tomatoes. Cauliflower is becoming trendy, but it needs help, and the sun dried tomatoes give it that help in the form of flavor, texture and color”. It is also impressive that this dish is vegan, gluten free, relatively low fat and is EXPLODING WITH FLAVOR. You should be proud of this dish, Genevieve. Only a chef could work such magic!

This recipe was very easy to follow. Not counting salt and pepper, only 7 ingredients are used. It’s a fact that sometimes simple is best and this recipe is proof. Shopping, prep, cooking and serving are all simple, quick and easy. This recipe should be in a magazine! Women’s Health…Bon Appetit…here we come!

Congratulations to Genevieve Greco for this, as we say in the business, “Epic” recipe! It was a pleasure to cook it and eat it, and it is my distinct pleasure to call Genevieve, “Chef”. Thank you Chef Gen! I hope someday we will get to cook together!

 

Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA