All Inspirations

Felice anno nuovo! Happy New Year! Another year to learn and cook wonderful recipes from around Italy, the USA, and the world. In a way, this month's honorable mention recipe from the Bella Sun Luci recipe contest, Sun Dried Tomato Crab Cakes by chef Roma Campanaro, covers all of that. Chef Richie says: Think global, cook local. And...seasonal.

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Tis the season for comfort food…long-cook braises that warm up the house and remind us, especially if she isn’t with us, of grandma. I’ve always aspired to cook like all of the grandmas who have taught me over the 30+ years I’ve cooked. This month’s Bella Sun Luci recipe contest honorable mention winner from chef Gina Bravo is, Chef Richie Says, a tribute to the Northern Italian “nonna”. Nice work chef!

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October means a lot of things to me and my kitchen. It’s the end of tomatoes and their summer brothers and sisters. The harvest moon and the cornucopia. Autumn squashes, Halloween, the Great Pumpkin and root vegetables are coming in. And autumn has inspired me to choose Toni Sevenhouse’s Bruschetta Vegetti as this month’s honorable mention recipe. Congratulations chef Toni, you win a Bella Sun Luci gift box full of our products! And, as you can see, we’ve immortalized your recipe through the magic of video.

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Amici, foodisti and lovers of the Bella Sun Luci good life… Fall has officially fallen! Each season brings its own unique culinary treasures and I love fall for its persimmons, pomegranates, and citrus. I eat 50 pounds of tangerines every autumn-winter in addition to oranges, blood oranges, tangelos, and grapefruits. I loooove citrus. My taste buds AND my body tell me I do.

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This month (and Happy June!...to you and yours!) is the beginning of summer, the solstice, and my favorite time of year…FOR FOOD! Sun dried tomatoes pack a flavorful punch, they add flavor and color to almost any dish, and they have abundant lycopene, an important antioxidant. So use sun dried tomatoes YEAR ROUND! That’s what home chef Kim Patterson has done with her recipe for Freshest Pasta Salad. Congratulations Chef! We’re sending you a deluxe gift box of our products so you can play with/work on a new recipe for next year’s contest!

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I was strolling through the park one day, in the very merry month of May…when I was taken by surprise…by an amazing recipe that has become this month’s recipe contest honorable mention winner! GREAT job, home chef Julie Love! Congratulations! Your Bacon, Pimento and Sun Dried Tomato Stack is DELICIOUS! You’ll receive a big Bella Sun Luci gift box full of our products so you can work up a new recipe and hopefully win next year!

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Spring is swinging! Flowers are blooming! Birds are singing! Bees are pollinating! And people are planting their summer gardens…now. Now is the time ladies and gentlemen. But until fresh tomatoes come…during these other 8 months, sun dried tomatoes are the best choice, for flavor and nutrition. Somehow, Joanne Schmidt, this month’s recipient of the Bella Sun Luci Recipe Contest Honorable Mention Award, knew that. This is actually a nourish bowl recipe! You’ll see when you go to cook this that the cutlets are cut up “bite size” and tossed in with the grains. Congratulations Chef Joanne! You’ll receive a big Bella Sun Luci gift box full of our products so you can work up a new recipe and hopefully win next year!

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Here comes springtime! La Primavera! And for your celebratory Easter/spring feast I’m giving you two recipes for the price of one! We had two different cornbread recipes (one is muffins) entered into our contest and I thought, why don’t we have them compete against each other?! Then I thought, why don’t we COMBINE them into one…

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Belli amici! Cooks and chefs! Food lovers! Love is in the air! And this month’s honorable mention recipe combines flavors from what I consider to be the two most romantic cultures on planet earth. This dish comes with a hot and spicy kick. It’ll make you sweat. Do we understand each other?! And, food lovers, February is National Heart Healthy Month!

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Happy New Year!  Today we are announcing our January honorable mention. When looking for a winner for January, we knew we were searching for something comforting, delicious, and served hot out of the oven. This month has been COLD in most parts of the country, and for those of you stuck in the snow, start preheating those ovens because we’ve chosen this dish just for you!

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Belli amici! Cooks and chefs! Foodistas! HEY…ohhh…how ya DOIN’?! Chef Richie says: HAPPY HOLIDAYS! As 2017 comes to a close, and what a year it has been ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to celebrate! Celebrate being alive! Celebrate food, friends, and family! Celebrating all year long is a great idea too; I highly recommend doing so. However, December is unlike the other months. Magic is in the air…and in the kitchen. December’s mouthwatering Honorable Mention recipe, submitted by Chef Aja Breuer…congratulations chef! This might have been one of the three finalists in the competition. It certainly IS delicious and some of the technique is chefly. And, I love this, the recipe calls for our sun dried tomato risotto. But there are a couple of technical points and an additional opinion (mine) or two to discuss.

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Belli amici! Cooks and chefs! Foodistas! HEY…ohhh…how ya DOIN’?! Chef Richie here to say this: EVERYTHING IS OPTIONAL. YOU’RE the chef…master of your domain (kitchen). YOU make the rules.

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Belli amici! Cooks and chefs! Foodistas! HEY…ohhh…how ya DOIN’?! Chef Richie here to share the culinary…Mediterranean…flavor explosion! This month’s mouthwatering Honorable Mention recipe contains four of my favorite words: Hearty. Zesty. Tuscan. Soup.

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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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