Putting Flavor First with Cheryl Forberg

CherylForberg isn’t on the Food Network but her talents show up regularly on TV – she’s the chef and registered dietitian for “The Biggest Loser” on NBC, a show where many of us would like a starring role!

Coming to Fresh Starts Chef Events may cost more than watching TV, but the experience is unique — you can ask questions about ingredients and cooking techniques while you’re watching a live demonstration. Your questions are answered, you listen to behind-the-scenes stories, your dinner arrives.

Fresh Starts Chef Events with Cheryl Forberg

Fresh Starts Chef Events with Cheryl Forberg

Does it get much better than that? Yes! During Cheryl’s event, Elliott Sneen from Novato’s Cabernet Corp. provided two wines from La Playa Vineyards in Chile to pair with our first two courses.

La Playa Estates Sauvignon Blanc with Spicy Beef Satays

La Playa Estates Sauvignon Blanc with Spicy Beef Satays

As we tasted the delicious food and enjoyed the community camaraderie, it was nice to know that we also were contributing to end homelessness in Marin County. While Chef Forberg — ably assisted by the co-host Chef Rachelle Boucher — talked and cooked, students from Homeward Bound’s Fresh Starts Culinary Academy were preparing, plating and serving the meal for a hungry audience. All proceeds benefit the job-training program that serves Homeward Bound residents and others seeking to build employment skills.

The kitchen crew plates Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach

The kitchen crew plates Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach

But back to Cheryl Forberg, who introduced herself and talked to each and every guest before she got started. Her unique perspective comes from the fact that she trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and earned a degree in dietetics from UC Berkeley. So health, nutrition, and good food are all important to her. She stressed not sacrificing taste and flavor in order to lose or maintain a healthy weight. And the audience ate it up.

Guests enjoyed three courses served by the Fresh Starts team

Guests enjoyed three courses served by the Fresh Starts team

Her recipes are relatively simple, relying on mostly mainstream ingredients, which she says is important for busy people. And everyone one of them incorporates FLAVOR — hence, the title of her latest book, “Flavor First.”  — Contributed by Carol Inkellis with photos courtesy of Neely Wang.

Try her stellar appetizer recipe below:

Grilled Shrimp with Fire-Roasted Cocktail Sauce  –  Serves 4 

Ingredients:  
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic salt
16 jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled and deveined
1 cup Fire-Roasted Cocktail Sauce  (recipe to follow)
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges or 8 slices

Directions:
1.  Preheat a grill to medium-high or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
2.  Combine the oil and garlic salt in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and toss well.
3.    If using a grill, place the shrimp on skewers before placing on the grill. Place the shrimp on the grill or grill pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until pink and firm. Remove from heat.
4.   Spoon 1⁄4 cup of cocktail sauce into each of 4 decorative glasses. Top with 4 shrimp per glass. Sprinkle with the parsley and garnish with the lemon wedges or slices.

Fire-Roasted Cocktail Sauce  Makes about 1 cup
This zippy cocktail sauce doesn’t contain any sugar, unlike most bottled brands. If you prefer a milder flavor, omit the horseradish. It’s the perfect dip with fresh seafood, such as a grilled shrimp cocktail.

Ingredients:        
1 cup canned no-salt-added diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lime juice
1⁄4 teaspoon chipotle or hot pepper sauce (optional)

Directions:
Combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a jar and chill for at least 30 minutes. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 month.

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About Fresh Starts Chef Events

Fresh Starts Chef Events offers a parade of presentations by celebrity chefs, cookbook authors and artisan producers in The Key Room. Visit the online calendar at http://bit.ly/FSchefevents for upcoming events. Our list of presenters includes luminaries from the worlds of food, wine and restaurants who share stories, demonstrate techniques and offer tips on making the most of our local bounty. You can register online for upcoming classes or call us for more details at 415-382-3363 x243. Proceeds from our events support shelter and job-training programs at Homeward Bound of Marin; learn more at www.hbofm.org and www.thekeyroom.com.
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