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Spring Forward with New Classes and Menus

March 12th, 2012 by Sara

It’s time to put away the crock pots and bust out the grills, people! Spring is upon us and so are all of the new and fresh menus that populate the April class calendar.

I call March the “culinary dead zone” because there is a lack of local and seasonal produce available but April brings the arrival of asparagus, wild mushrooms, lettuces, some herbs, peas, onions and rhubarb.

As the curriculum coordinator, this time of year is very exciting for me.  It’s an opportunity to make menu changes and add seasonal-specific classes. Examples include “Homemade Cheesemaking” and “April in Paris”. You’ll also notice that our core classes such as Meat, Seafood and Chicken 101, Pasta Workshop, Neapolitan Pizzeria and Got Gnocchi all have new spring menus. Wouldn’t you just love to learn how to make ricotta gnocchi with brown butter, peas and mint?

April is also a fun time to take some of our new classes. Debuting are “Mexican Surf and Turf” and “New England Fish Fry”. The surf and turf class features one of my most favorite shrimp dishes ever. I feel like I can also speak for chef John Peters in saying that he absolutely loves this dish, too. Traditionally it’s served with saltine crackers of all things but tortilla chips are great, too.

Spicy Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with Avocado Crema

Yield: 4 servings as an appetizer

Active time: 25 minutes

Start to finish: 25 minutes

 

For the shrimp:

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked and chilled

1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed

3/4 cup ketchup

1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 small onion, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

 

For the avocado crema:

1 ripe avocado

1/2 onion, small dice

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 cup sour cream

1 serrano chili or jalapeño pepper, seeds removed

1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed

Salt and pepper to taste

Saltine crackers or tortilla chips

 

  1. Toss the cooked shrimp with the lime juice, ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion and cilantro. Keep chilled while preparing the avocado crema.
  2. To make the avocado crema, puree all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange alternate layers of the shrimp and avocado crema in wine or martini glasses. Serve chilled.

 

Have fun looking through the April calendars at www.thechoppingblock.net. We’ll see you in class!

 

 

 

 

 

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Sara Salzinski has been a chef instructor at the Chopping Block since 2002 and loves sharing her knowledge of all things food-related with her students. She loves interacting with her students, making them feel right at home and at ease. Sara is also the Curriculum Coordinator at TCB which means she develops the classes, menus and recipes. A lot of Sara’s inspiration for classes and recipes comes from personal experience. When Sara and her husband, who is also a chef instructor, are at home they join forces and make countless mouth-watering creations that are then taste tested by their 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son.

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