The Age of Pinterest has introduced many trends in the fashion, crafting, design, and food worlds. I feel as if each month has a trendy food or ingredient that everyone is using. One that I have loved is the noodle alternative, “zoodles”! Turning zucchini (or another vegetable) into a faux-pasta not only adds numerous nutritional benefits, but it also helps turn traditional meals into gluten-free versions. Plus, they are always delicious!

When making zoodles, most recipes tell you to use a special tool called a “spiralizer” which easily turns zucchini, sweet potato, or squash into perfectly sized noodles for any dish. However, I’ve found that a simple vegetable peeler also does the trick. Simply use the peeler to create thin ribbons by running it down the length of the vegetable. You can then julienne the ribbons into narrow strips that resemble fettucine noodles.

Here are two recipes I love that incorporate zoodles. Enjoy!

 

First, with summer in full swing, I thought you might like a super simple gluten-free pasta salad to-go! Perfect for a day at the beach or just lunch at your desk. One thing I love about the recipe is how easily you can tweak it to add in proteins you prefer. You’ll see my recipe calls for edamame, but I have swapped this out for chickpeas or chicken before, depending on what I had on hand.

 

Zucchini Spiral Salad
Makes 2 Mason Jars

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups spiralized, shredded, or thinly sliced zucchini
  • 3/4 cup edamame, shelled
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons kalamata or black olives, sliced

Avocado and Spinach Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh packed spinach
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. In a blender, mix the dressing ingredients until smooth.
  2. Split the dressing in half and place in the bottom of each Mason jar.
  3. Add celery on top of dressing.
  4. Add peppers on top of celery, then edamame.
  5. Then, add feta cheese, tomatoes, and olives.
  6. Finally, add zucchini on top in each jar.
  7. Cover and refrigerate (will keep for about 5 days).
  8. When ready to enjoy, shake to mix, then just eat out of the jar!

 

Second, if you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to a favorite take-out dinner, try my Shrimp Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles!

Nancy’s Pad Thai
Makes two servings

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound butter
  • 1 pound peanut butter

 

  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup of zucchini noodles
  • raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • *May substitute with ½ cup of cooked sliced chicken
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed

Instructions

  1. Melt butter with peanut butter and thin with water as needed.
  2. Mix together all sauce ingredients.
  3. Scramble 2 eggs in a wok on high heat.
  4. Add zucchini noodles and sauté lightly.
  5. Add shrimp and cook until opaque.
  6. Add sauce to finish.
  7. Garnish with peanuts, chopped scallions, cilantro and bean sprouts.

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.