Still not sure what you’ve eaten that Sara Foster has inspired? Then, make your way to the opening day of the 2011 season of the Saturday Pepper Place Market (www.PepperPlaceMarket.com). At 9:00 am, she will be preparing recipes from her latest book as well as offering the tantalizing tome for sale.
Joining Ms. Foster will be Elkmont’s own, Tasia Malakasis, owner of Belle Chevre Creamery (www.BelleChevre.com). Her award-winning goat cheeses—artisanal and breakfast blends like coffee, fig, and cinnamon—can be found everywhere, from Costco to Whole Foods Market to The Pig and Western supermarkets. No stranger to making a feast out of what is available locally and seasonally, Tasia has made several appearances at Pepper Place. The two women have discussed many different dishes they might create together but are leaning toward two spectacular choices: Arugula Pesto Snap Peas with Belle Chevre and Creamed Biscuits with Belle Chevre Mousse & Sugared Strawberries.
On cooking with Sara Foster, Tasia adds, “I adore Sara and the way she cooks. She is obviously classically trained but she brings an easy approachable manner to the kitchen. She is one who takes full advantage of the bounty of what’s available seasonally and combines it with good old-fashioned Southern culinary know-how.”
Cathy Sloss Crenshaw, whose Sloss Real Estate Inc oversees the Saturday Pepper Place Market operations adds, “Having chefs here like Sara Foster is an indication of how we are becoming recognized beyond our region. Like never before, we are able to attract chefs who have real respect for what we’re doing with food here in Birmingham.”
In case you’re not able to get downtown to see Sara Foster at Pepper Place, there are a few other opportunities to meet the North Carolina-based chef: On Sunday, Whole Foods Market will be hosting a “Sara Foster Soiree & Signing.” The nationallyrenowned cookbook author will conduct a cooking demo on the patio (weather permitting) and sign copies of her book, available for purchase at the store. The chefs at the in-store restaurant, The Village Brasserie, are said to be offering her Carolina Rice Pudding Brulee as part of their dessert menu.
Monday evening at Birmingham Bake & Cook Company (www.BakeAndCookCo.com), Ms. Foster will get personal with Birmingham’s cutting-edge food blogging community. Organized by FoodBlogSouth’s own Shaun Chavis and Jason Horn, Sara will take part in the continuing discussion about the power social media—and food bloggers in particular—have in the world of cookbook production and sales. This is one of the monthly FoodBlogSouth meet-ups that aim to keep the conversation going amongst our vibrant local community. Samples of Sara’s pimiento cheese and cornbread toasts (and maybe even a little wine) will be available too. Want more info? Visit www.FoodBlogSouth.com for all you need to know about this free event.
Foster is excited about her time in Birmingham, “Great things are happening food-wise in Birmingham and I look forward to experiencing as much of it as I can.”
The following is an excerpted recipe from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen (Random House, 2011):
Carolina Rice Pudding Brulee
Humble rice pudding gets a serious makeover with the addition of flavorful fat-grained Carolina Gold rice and a glassy, sugared brulee crust. Makes six 4-ounce servings
3 cups milk
Carolina Gold or other long-grain white rice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
5 tablespoons natural cane sugar or granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease six 4- ounce ramekins and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a low simmer over medium heat with the rice, vanilla bean and reserved seeds and salt. Raise the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the mixture is thick and creamy, about 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Add the heavy cream and granulated sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks, butter, nutmeg and cloves.
4. Divide the pudding evenly between the prepared ramekins and bake for about 10 minutes, until slightly puffed but still soft in the center. Remove from the oven.
5. Preheat the broiler or prepare a small kitchen torch. Sprinkle each pudding evenly with about 1 tablespoon of the natural cane sugar. If using a broiler, place under the broiler in the upper third of the oven until the sugar caramelizes, rotating the baking sheet to evenly brown, 1 to 2 minutes. If using a kitchen torch, torch each pudding individually to caramelize the sugar, being careful to keep the torch at the distance recommended by the manufacturer. Serve warm.
Christiana Roussel lives in Crestline and is a lover of all things food-related. To learn more about her recent visit with Sara Foster—and to follow her culinary musings on-line—click on ChristianasKitchen.com or on Facebook (Christiana’s Kitchen) or Twitter (Christiana40).