Hello. My name is Kim and I am a cookbook-aholic. I’ve flagged more cookbook recipes than would be humanly possible to make in a single lifetime. Yet my obsession with acquiring new and old cookbooks persists unabated. This month I share my compulsive tendencies via the “21 Days” series, featuring some of my favorite cookbooks from local authors and publishers. Please feel free to join me in finding new cookbooks to feed our passion at any of my favorite Triangle indie book sellers: The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books, Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh or McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village.
If you’ve lived in the Triangle for any length of time, you’ve at least heard of Foster’s Market if you haven’t visited the original Durham location, that opened in 1990, or the Chapel Hill location, or caught up with Foster’s On the Fly food truck. And if you have visited the restaurant you may have noticed the Foster’s Market cookbooks from chef/owner Sara Foster on the display shelves inside. Foster has put out four cookbooks, with releases dating between 2002 and 2011. I own a copy of the first, the original “The Foster’s Market Cookbook”.
More than 200 recipes fill the seven chapters of the cookbook, along with some very appetizing photos that make me want to visit Foster’s with cookbook in hand to order the dish I see on the page. I think they might be puzzled if I walked up to the counter and pointed to a picture and said, “I’ll have this, please.” So I refrain from indulging that impulse. Besides, I have the cookbook that includes recipes for their Blueberriest Muffins (page 11) and all the scone varieties like Chocolate Chip Espresso and Bananas Foster, so I can make them myself.
In cooler weather making soup (as well as the subsequent soup eating) is my favorite way to warm up. The section entitled “Soups, Stews and Chilies” includes a good primer for soup making, covering topics like saving vegetable trimmings for stock, various methods to thicken soups and flavorful ways to finish soups. Cornbread croutons have become my favorite soup topping thanks to the recipe on page 79.
I think my favorite chapter in the cookbook is all about the comfort food found in “Fosters’s Old-fashioned Favorites”. The mere mention of Chicken Potpie with Foster’s Herb Biscuits makes me think “MmmMmmm!” For vegetarians there are comforting dishes too, like Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Corn Pudding with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (perfect time of year to make this dish is now) and who doesn’t love a little Upscale Mac and Cheese now and then.
I could go on about the desserts at the market. They’re so pretty to look at and just as delightful to eat. The same can be said of the desserts in the cookbook. One day I’ll work my way through every cookie, bar, cake and pie recipe. In the meantime I keep going back to Say’s Bread Pudding with Bourbon Icing, which has become a family favorite for Christmas Day brunch. Do you have a favorite Foster’s dessert? Own any of the other cookbooks from Sara Foster? If so, do tell us which are your favorites.