5th & 6th Place Honorable Mention – 2014 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

Happy New Year! Can ya believe it?! 2015!!! Our fifth honorable mention prizewinner in our 2014 recipe contest is…home chef…drum roll please…wait for it…oh my gosh, there are TWO for the price of one, fifth AND sixth honorable mentions…Jamie Brown-Miller AND Sandra Schwartz! Congratulations Chefs! We found a sun dried tomato innovators’ match made in heaven…Steak and Garlic Bread!

First…here is your party go to dish…New Years Eve…New Years Day for football…any weekend get-together. My goal in life is to make Martha Stewart jealous. This is the dish. Inexperienced chefs need not apply. Just kidding. Go for it!

Sun Dried Tomato and Pine Nut Crusted Steaks with Gorgonzola and Basil. Chef Richie says this: If the name of a dish were ever to be considered poetry, THIS is it. Poesia means poetry in Italian and this dish literally rolls off the tongue.

Chefs Jamie and Sandra 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…bring you’re A game because Jamie and Sandra are poised for glory this year.

Sun Dried Tomato and Pine Nut Crusted Steaks with Gorgonzola and Basil (serves 4)


  • 1 8.5 ounce jar Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce with Whole Pine Nuts
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 strip steaks (at least 1 1/4 inch thick) *Chef Richie says: Uh…RIBEYES!
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped


  • Drain pesto of any excess liquid in a colander, squeezing with your hands. Pour pesto into a medium bowl and add the panko, stirring to mix.
  • Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. While skillet heats, coat steaks on both sides with the pesto and panko mixture.
  • Place steaks in the pan (do not allow them to touch) and cook for 4 minutes* (cooking time will vary depending on type and thickness of steaks) per side, turning once.
  • Remove steaks to individual plates or a serving platter then sprinkle evenly with the gorgonzola cheese and basil. *Serve with a flavorful salad and crusty bread.

So…here’s the aforementioned crusty bread:

Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato French Bread, by Chef Sandra Schwartz.


  • 1 loaf French bread (Chef Richie Says: there are many varieties of bread with which you will have success using this recipe, including focaccia or, for a healthier type, use your local artisan’s brownest bread!…kamut, spelt and flax are great healthy alternatives…)
  • ½ cup butter (well, there’s another reason to go with brown bread…you can substitute good extra virgin olive oil like Bella Sun Luci’s estate grown Arbequina variety, chock full of antioxidants)
  • 2 TB Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, julienne cut with extra virgin olive oil and Italian herbs
  • 2 TB fresh chopped basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 TB parmesan
  • ½ c shredded mozzarella


  • Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut the loaf of French (or other) bread lengthwise.
  • In a food processor, blend the butter, sun dried tomatoes, basil, garlic and parmesan.
  • Spread the mixture on both sides of the bread.
  • Top with mozzarella and bake (about) 7 minutes until golden-brown…or GBRD…Golden Brown and Really Delicious).
  • Final Chef Richie Says word: THIS is the bread to sop up the natural juices from the steak. CHEFS get certain privileges. One of these is the quality control necessary when there are juices left in the pan, or on the resting plate, or anywhere there are natural juices that need sopping up!!!

Happy cooking and buon appetito!

Con amore,

Chef Richie Hirshen, Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci. Chico, CA

Chef Richie

About Chef Richie

As corporate chef for Bella Sun Luci, Richard "Chef Richie" Hirshen, whose culinary career spans more than 30 years, plays an instrumental role in product development, recipe creation, and cooking demonstrations.

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