I just got back from HOTlanta where I was taking care of my mom for 10 days. It might be hard to believe, but I brought the hot weather back to Maine with me! Yes, the day I returned from the South it was 91 degrees and the next day was 93 degrees… WAY too hot for Scarborough, Maine in mid-May!

 

All the warm weather got me excited for grilling season, and with Memorial Day right around the corner, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite recipes that are perfect accompaniments to foods hot off the grill.

 

I found some great quality rib eye steaks at the local grocery store for my small dinner party.  I simply seasoned them with salt and pepper and served these beautiful 3” thick babies with potato salad, my grandpa’s coleslaw and my version of Waldorf Salad. Simple, right? But oh, so yummy!

 

My potato salad always gets rave reviews from friends and family. To boiled potatoes, I add not only mayonnaise, but also some Dijon Mustard to give it a bit of a kick. To that, I add both celery and celery seed for extra flavoring. And, of course, there are plenty of hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper.

 

I love my grandfather’s coleslaw recipe.  It’s the perfect compliment to any grilled protein. It is so simple; just cabbage, carrots, onion, and mayonnaise, plenty of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.

 

Our first “summer meal” wasn’t complete without my Waldorf Salad. My version is a bit different than the traditional, adding in some more sweetness with Cool Whip and using cran-raisins for a tangy punch.

 

 

Nancy’s Waldorf Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large crisp green apples
  • 8 ribs celery, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces and leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup cran-raisins

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and break the nuts up into small pieces.

Whisk the cool whip, mayonnaise, parsley, honey, and lemon zest in a large bowl and season generously with pepper.

Halve, core, and cut the apples into 3/4-inch pieces, leaving the skin intact. Add the apples, celery and cran-raisins to the bowl, and sprinkle with the lemon juice; then toss with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

When ready to serve, toss the toasted walnuts into the salad.

It is one of the most memorable days in any person’s life: your wedding day. From the wardrobe to the flowers and the cake, a couple works hard to ensure each detail of their dream wedding is perfectly in place. At CVC Catering, we help couples turn their wedding visions into realities, merging our expertise with the selected theme and atmosphere to create the event of a lifetime.

Once you select CVC Catering to be a part of your big day, you will meet with our executive chefs to review menu options, tasting our award-winning menu items. Have something specific in mind? Each wedding menu we create is unique and completely customized to each couple’s tastes. We will gladly work with you to make sure the meals we serve are exactly what you are looking for.

An extraordinary experience with first-rate service and a delicious menu is what your guests will always remember about your wedding day. With a large and experienced serving staff, our team provides high-quality service for each guest. Each server works to make sure your guests are satisfied with their meals and beverages. Additionally, our chefs will carefully follow any special dietary requirements that your guests may have, making sure that each person feels included and nourished.

As one of the only catering companies in Maine with a professional sommelier on staff, we can also provide your event with intuitive and creative wine selections that will please any guest. Want a specific beer served at your wedding? Need help selecting signature cocktails? Don’t know when to do the champagne toast? Our well-qualified bar staff is happy to help plan your beverage experience down to the most minute detail.

Our services don’t just stop at catering and bar services, either. Our staff is highly experienced in helping every couple craft their perfect day by offering creative design advice, venue selection, menu development, and professional chef services. We are able to help you arrange a beautiful tablescape or find your dream venue—anything to help reduce the stress of planning.

We understand the excitement, and the weight, of planning your dream wedding. Let us help you make your dreams come true!

Get to know our new Executive Chef Tim Goddu’s style with one of his signature recipes: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Braised Short Ribs and Roasted Pearl Onions.

Yields 2 Entree or 4 Appetizer Portions

For Gnocchi:

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • Cheesecloth
  • Butcher’s Twine
  • 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 qts. all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks

Wash, perforate, and bake sweet potatoes at 350 degrees until cooked through; time will depend on size. Let potatoes sit and cool before peeling and ricing onto sheet pan to cool. I’ve found that if you wrap, tie, and hang the riced potato in cheesecloth to drip in a bowl overnight it will help remove excess liquid. Otherwise, the use of extra flour needed to bind the dough will make the gnocchi too gummy.

The next day, place the potato, salt, and 1 cup of flour in a mixer with a dough hook attachment. Slowly blend to incorporate flour. Gently add more flour until little pearls form. Add 1 egg yolk and mix. Add flour and bring to pearls. Repeat with remaining yolks. Finally, mix until kneadable dough has formed and transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough, gradually adding flour until gnocchi dough springs back when touched. Place in lightly floured bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

When ready, cut off a section of dough and roll into an even tube the width of your thumb. Sprinkle with flour and cut into 1 inch bites. Transfer gnocchi to well-floured sheet pan and freeze to harden. When hard, gather and store in an airtight container.

 

For Short Ribs:

  • 4 bone-in short ribs
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns, ground
  • Cooking oil of your choice, small amount
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bottles IPA
  • 1 orange, quartered & squeezed – set juice aside
  • 2 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 3 whole cloves

Season the short ribs with salt and ground pepper. Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat with a small amount of oil. Sear all sides of each short rib very well and set aside (in single layer) in a 4 to 6-inch-deep roasting pan. Add onions and garlic to the hot pan to sear, and half a beer to scrape fond off pan. Pour mixture over ribs and add remaining ingredients. Add water and more beer or more orange juice to just cover short ribs. Cover with 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer tinfoil – shiny side in. Braise short ribs for 4 hours at 300 degrees. Meat should be tender enough to fall right off the bone. Uncover and let rest, cool ribs in sauce overnight.

The next day, remove and dispose of hardened fat top layer. Remove meat from sauce and put sauce in pot to liquefy. Strain well and put back on low heat to reduce by two thirds; cool to let thicken. Pull meat from cartilage and shred to bite sized pieces. Set aside.

 

For Roasted Pearl Onions:

  • 1 lb. white pearl onions

Remove any loose skins, but do not peel onions. Roast at 425 degrees until just tender. Set at room temp to cool and cook through. When cool, cut just the stem off each onion and squeeze to peel. Set aside until ready to complete dish.

 

To Complete:

  • Water for boiling
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil of your choice

Bring pot of water to boil – season with a sprinkle of salt. When water is boiling, add the oil to a large sauté pan and bring to medium-high heat. Blanch gnocchi in boiling water for 3 or 4 seconds to begin the cooking process and remove from the water. Dab to remove excess water and carefully add gnocchi to the hot pan to sear. Gnocchi will crisp to golden brown within a minute or two. Flip with a thin spatula to sear the other side and add the onions to get color. Add short rib meat to heat through. Add a scoop of the reduced braising liquid and toss to create sauce. Season with salt to taste.

Garnish suggestions: chopped parsley / chopped sage / freshly shaved parmesan / dollop crème fraîche.

After you try Chef Tim’s recipe, let us know how it was on our Facebook page.

We are thrilled to introduce to you CVC’s newest Executive Chef, Tim Goddu. Tim comes to us after many years of experience in all aspects of the kitchen. Most recently, Tim served as the Executive Sous Chef at Rudy’s of the Cape in Cape Elizabeth, ME. Tim’s love for cooking sort of “fell into his lap” in 2000. After snagging a job as a dishwasher at a banquet hall in Holyoke, MA, Tim instantly fell in love with the excitement of the kitchen. After just five months washing dishes, he mustered up the courage to speak to the Executive Chef, asking to work in another part of the kitchen. He was quickly given a prep cook job, and knew that this was what he wanted to do for his career. Over the next several years, he was given the opportunity to work with a number of amazing chefs, working his way up the culinary ladder.

Executive Chef, CVC Catering Group, Portland, ME, Maine

Following high school, Tim attended culinary school at Newbury College in Brookline, MA. He graduated in May of 2009 and quickly jumped into the culinary world. Tim spent time on the line cooking at The Country Club in Brookline and at Sel de La Terre in Boston.  He then spent some time at Fenway Park, working at the State Street Pavilion, the Royal Rooters Club (a private club for Red Sox season ticket holders), and as Sous Chef on the Budweiser Roof Deck, a favorite of fans attending home games.

While working at Fenway Park, and various other jobs, Tim had the pleasure of cooking for numerous people: David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Terry Francona, Robert Craft, Jason Biggs, Anna Kendrick, Mark and Donny Wahlberg, and so many more.

On becoming a part of our team, Tim said, “CVC has opened up a new level for me. They have given me the opportunity to showcase my talent with my name as well as the title of Executive Chef. I am very grateful and excited to be a part of the team and even more so to see where we can go together. It’s a new challenge that I very much look forward to.”

Tim loves working with the fresh flavors that rotate with the seasons and loves the challenge of “spur of the moment creation.” Generally, he enjoys cooking American-style, but has very strong French and Italian influences.

Want to know more about CVC Catering and what we can do for your next event? Give us a call at 207-756-7599.

Homemade Chocolate Truffles, Valentine's Day

Don’t let the thought of making exquisite chocolate truffles for Valentine’s Day scare you; it’s easier than you think! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, homemade chocolate makes the perfect gift. Here is my recipe for homemade chocolate truffles – a treat sure to make your loved one smile.

Equipment

  • Medium size glass mixing bowl
  • Microwave oven
  • Small saucepan
  • Rubber spatula
  • 8” x 8” glass baking dish
  • Melon baller
  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • 3 pie pans
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Heating pad
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Powder-free vinyl or latex gloves (optional)
  • Ice cream scoop
  • Dish
  • Air-tight container

Ingredients

  • 30 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 9 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 TBS light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup sherry
  • 1 ½ cups Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • Chopped walnuts or toasted coconut

Directions

Place the 30 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove from microwave, and stir. Repeat this process one more time, then set the mixture aside.

Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and pour over the melted chocolate mixture–let stand for two minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently, working in concentric circles, starting in the middle and continue until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the sherry. Pour the mixture into an 8” x 8” glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Using a melon baller, scoop the chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Place the cocoa powder, nuts, and/or toasted coconut in separate pie pans and set aside. Place a mixing bowl on top of a heating pad lined bowl – set the heating pad to medium. Depending on the heating pad, you may need to adjust the heat up or down. Place the 8 ounces of chocolate into the heated mixing bowl. Stirring the chocolate occasionally, test the temperature of the chocolate and continue heating until it reaches 90 to 92 degrees F. Once you have reached this temperature, adjust the heat to maintain it. Do not allow the chocolate to go above 94 degrees F. If you do, the coating will not have a nice snap to it when you bite into the chocolate.

Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape them into balls by rolling them between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves, if desired.

Dip an ice cream scoop into the heated chocolate and turn upside down to remove any excess. Place the truffles, one at time, into the scoop and roll each one around until coated. Roll each truffle in either the cocoa powder, nuts, or coconut until fully coated. Let each truffle sit in the coating for 10 to 15 seconds then remove the truffles to a parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until all truffles are coated. Allow to set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour; or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.