I recently had the honor of being asked to provide my recipe for Chocolate Pasta with Hazelnut Sauce to a listener from the Morning Living Show on Martha Stewart Radio!

Naturally, I wanted to share this news and this recipe with everyone! So, Enjoy!

Chocolate Pasta

Serves 4 people


2 1/3 cups semolina flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
3 large eggs beaten
Ice water if needed


Sift the flour and cocoa. Beat the eggs and mix in extract. Add flour mixture slowly to the eggs. Knead into a smooth ball adding small amounts of ice water if needed. Roll and cut dough as desired.


Hazelnut Pancetta Cream Sauce

Sauce for 4 Servings of Pasta


½ cup hazelnuts toasted
2 tablespoon butter
3/4 pound pancetta, diced
1 medium shallot, fine diced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy cream
¼ cup chicken broth
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings, for garnish
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley and thyme, for garnish


Heat butter and render pancetta until browned
Add hazelnuts
Add shallot and garlic and cook until soft
Add salt and pepper and nutmeg
Add cream and chicken broth and let simmer to reduce to a sauce consistency
Serve with chocolate pasta
Garnish with parmesan and parsley and thyme

Please feel free to share a recipe of your own, or share your experience with this recipe!

And if you need a caterer, please view our website and contact me!

Home brewing is almost as old as civilized man. Alcohol has been brewed by individuals for over 7,000 years. You will find written notes about home brewing in ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq), Egypt, and China. This knowledge was passed on to the Greeks, then the Romans, and on to the Germans, Dutch, and the English.

In the 1700s with the industrial revolution, commercially produced products made their appearance. The use of thermometers and hydrometers allowed the beer producers to improve their efficiency to make commercially produced beer viable. Thank you Louis Pasteur, He showed the industry how the role of yeast in fermentation was important and helped developed strains suitable for producing beer.

In the United States, home consumption of beer was never an issue. It was something that many people brewed. In 1920 with leadership from people in Maine, the United States Government forbade the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

When prohibition was finally repealed, you could make wine at home, but not beer. In the law there was a clerical error made that omitted the words “and/or beer” from the law. Is this another example of poor staff work by members of Congress?

Congress moved quickly to correct this oversight. In 1978, 58 years later, the Congress passed a bill repealing the Federal restriction on home brewing, but placed restrictions on beer brewed for personal or family consumption that would be free from taxation.

States, however, were free to restrict and even prohibit the production of beer at home. The state of Maine statue presently has no provision, exception, exemption or license existing for home production of beer in Maine. Basically, most states allow 100 gallons of beer per person for persons over the age of 21 or up to a maximum of 200 gallons per house hold where there are two or more adults, except one – Alabama.  Alabama laws do not exempt home brewing from the law banning the production of illegal manufacture of alcoholic beverages. However, if you go to the “yellow pages” in Alabama, you will find several stores selling home brewing equipment. OK!

200 gallons of allowable home brewed beer figures out to be 2133 12 oz bottles annually or 29 six packs per month. That is a fair amount of beer to consume.

According to the Brewers Association, in 2009, the United States consumed 205,831,000 barrels of beer! Each barrel of beer is equal to 31 gallons. The total represents to decline in sales of 2.2%.Imported beer sales were down 9.8%.Of the total production of beer in 2009, 9,115,635 was produced by Craft Beer Companies(such as Shipyard) and represented a 7.2% increase in sales. The Craft Beer segment is made up by regional breweries, contract brewing, microbreweries, and brewpubs. Vermont tops the list of states for craft breweries on a per capita basis. Maine is ranked 4th in the nation.

Home BrewStatistics on Home Brewing are hard to come by. However, the number of stores selling supplies and equipment for home brewing are found in almost every major city.

Here are a few Maine suppliers;

Maine Brewing Supply
The Hop Shop
Kennebec Home Brew Supplies

As promised in my last blog, and in the spirit of Maine Maple Sunday, here are more Maple treats to enjoy!


Nancy’s Maple Syrup Dressing

*Please note that this recipe does use 3 raw and uncooked eggs.

2 eggs
3/8 Cups Pure Maple Syrup
3 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Water

Process all ingredients in the food processor until creamy and yummy. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using.


Nancy’s Chicken with Maple Syrup and Tarragon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees


3 pounds chicken thighs
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup or to taste pure maple syrup
¼ tsp. freshly grated lime rind
¼ tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper
1 ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice

Place chicken in a buttered baking dish. Combine all ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bake for about 45 minutes or until bubbly and done. I like to serve this with a multi grain rice pilaf with peppers and onions and pineapple.


Nancy’s Good Old Fashioned Baked Beans

Preheat oven 250 degrees


6 cups of navy beans soaked overnight in cold water and drained.
1 pound of thick cut chopped bacon
1 teaspoon of pepper
¾ teaspoon of dried mustard
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 large onion diced and sautéed

Cover beans with fresh cold water and bring to a slow boil and cook until tender. Drain and save the liquid. Fry the bacon until crispy. Place half of the bacon and drippings in a casserole. Place ½ of the onions on top of the bacon. Combine 1 ¼ cup of bean liquid with the rest of the ingredients and mix with beans. Place beans over onions. Top with the rest of the onions and pour in enough bean liquid to just cover the beans. Top with the rest of the bacon. Cover and bake 8 hours.

Please enjoy and feel free to share your tasty Maple treats!

Don’t miss this year’s Maine Maple Sunday: March 28, 2010

I am from “away”. So, I cannot tells tales of my childhood growing up in Maine of such things as Maine Maple Sunday and all the treats that go along with the education of one of the oldest traditions in Maine.

But when I first participated in Maine Maple Sunday I felt like a child in a grownup body. How fun is it to watch the process! In a real old fashioned sugar house! Imagine something that can be harvested in a Maine cold winter mode. With snow still on the ground! Something real and organic!

The sugar in maple sap only appears where warm, sunny days and below-freezing nights follow each other for days on end, as they do in Maine’s long, slow spring time usually starting in late February. Maple sap, as it drips from the tree, is a clear liquid containing about 2% dissolved sugar. It looks just like water, and has a very slight sweet taste. The true maple flavor comes out as part of the heating and boiling process.

Maine Maple Sap Buckets

Maple Sap Buckets

Some sugar houses are producing maple syrup in a high tech way. Fortunately for us many sugar houses in Maine still tap and produce the sap in the old fashioned way in buckets hung from trees and boiled down in big kettles over wood fires until the syrup reaches a temperature of seven degrees above the boiling point of water. Native Americans actually started this process in much the same way except they tapped the trees with axes. After they boiled the sap they left it to cool. They actually made maple sugar so that it lasted much longer.

There are more than seventy sugarhouses in Maine. According to Maine Maple Producers Association ONE 40 year old tree yields 40 quarts of sap per season which produces 1 quart of pure maple syrup? WOW – what a fact. That’s a lot of sap and not so much syrup. No wonder it is so expensive. But oh so worth it!

The end product is primarily the rich-flavored maple syrup that we have in our pantry all year round. It is used for waffles and pancakes; it’s also used to make a variety of confections, such as pure maple sugar and maple fudge. Or our own CVC maple walnut cookies. I also make a wonderful maple syrup salad dressing and a maple syrup glazed chicken and of course baked beans! Yummmmmmmmm!


CVC Maple Walnut Cookies

Preheat Oven 350 degrees

Please note that this is a true bakers recipe where the ingredients are measured by the pound and ounce not cups, teaspoons and tablespoons


2 Lb of Butter and Margarine Blend
1 1/2lb Sugar
1 3/4 Lb Brown Sugar
2 Cups of Eggs- about 10 count
1 ¼   Oz Vanilla
4 ounces of maple flavoring
3 1/2 Lb All Purpose Flour
3/4  Oz of salt
1 oz Baking Soda
3/4  oz Baking Powder
1 Pounds of Chopped Walnuts


Cream butter, margarine and sugars until well blended. Add 2 eggs at a time until all is creamy. Add vanilla and maple flavoring. Mix all dry ingredients and add a little at a time until all is incorporated. Then add walnuts until mixed in. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for about 12 minutes.

Enjoy and stay tuned for more great Maple treats! Also feel free to share your own creations!

Don’t miss this year’s Maine Maple Sunday: March 28, 2010

Choosing the right caterer can make a big difference in any
event. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a

  1. A
    – A good caterer should offer a menu
    tasting. I think it is unreasonable for a caterer not to offer this
    service. How can you know what a caterers food is like if you don’t
    taste their food?
  2. An
    – Provide your caterer with your budget. It
    is much easier to prepare an appropriate menu when the caterer is
    given a budget number. Note that most caterers do not include
    applicable State taxes and requested gratuity in the quoted (per
    person) price.
  3. References – Ask for and
    seek out references, and then call them! A good caterer will be
    able to provide many references. Ask about the caterer’s
    presentation, enthusiasm, quality of food and service.
  4. Respect – Find a caterer
    that will follow your food values if you require only local or
    organic ingredients, or a green event.
  5. A Contract – Ask the caterer
    if there will be any additional fees. Make sure you secure a good
  6. A
    – Ask the caterer if he/she will actually
    be at your event.
  7. Accessories – Find out what
    the caterer provides in addition to food and ask for any charges
    applicable such as chafing dishes etc.
  8. An Interest – Is the caterer
    you are talking to really listening to you? Is he or she really
    interested in you and your event?
  9. Insurance – Make sure that
    the caterer is properly insured and licensed.
  10. A Relationship – Always
    choose someone you are comfortable with.

you have any stories to share or questions to ask, please feel free
to comment!