Sara Foster's Casual Cooking: More Fresh Simple Recipes from Foster's Market


Long gone are the days when only “a meat and two veg” qualified as a real meal; today, says Sara Foster, “salads are meals, sandwiches and quesadillas qualify as respectable grown-up dinners (or breakfasts or lunches, for that matter), and eggs can be eaten any time of day.” In this new cookbook, Sara acts as a mentor to the rest of us, sharing her passion for practical, comfortable cooking at home with more than 100 recipes for everyday meals.

As the owner of two of the ...

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Long gone are the days when only “a meat and two veg” qualified as a real meal; today, says Sara Foster, “salads are meals, sandwiches and quesadillas qualify as respectable grown-up dinners (or breakfasts or lunches, for that matter), and eggs can be eaten any time of day.” In this new cookbook, Sara acts as a mentor to the rest of us, sharing her passion for practical, comfortable cooking at home with more than 100 recipes for everyday meals.

As the owner of two of the mid-Atlantic’s busiest gourmet markets, Sara shares her professional knowledge about ingredients and techniques, incorporating the changing trends in cooking, health, and entertaining. Formal is out; instead we want relaxed, versatile recipes that are full of flavor but don’t require precision cooking or fussy techniques. We want to approach cooking with a sense of comfort and ease, and Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking teaches us how: it is relaxed yet refined homey yet sophisticated, showcasing the kind of meals we all want to eat—and will actually cook, day in, day out.

In Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking, Sara will help you navigate both the kitchen and the market with greater ease, resulting in satisfying meals that won’t take all day to make. The recipes include the most popular dishes at Foster’s Market and her own personal favorites, and all feature the updated Southern flair that has made her one of the South’s best-known cooks.

From easy party platters to assemble for impromptu guests to ingenious ways of turning a bag of spinach, a package of sausages, or a ball of pizza dough into a fresh and fabulous dinner, here finally is a cookbook that reflects the way we really eat today.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
As the founder and owner of a flourishing North Carolina gourmet market, Sara Foster knows that meals today are often more casual and eclectic than those our grandmothers served. Casual Cooking from Foster's Market provides recipes for "the way we eat today." Foster doesn't offer just basic ingredient recipes (although these are delectable); she describes a creative, streamlined approach to food preparation and cooking that any smart shopper can appreciate.
Publishers Weekly

In her third cookbook, Foster, the owner of two gourmet markets in North Carolina, presents us with more of her trademark recipes; elegant, simple dishes with Southern flair. This time around she's focused on ways to prepare meals for what she calls "the way we eat today." She explains: "salads are meals, sandwiches and quesadillas qualify as a respectable grown-up dinner... and eggs can be eaten any time of the day." The recipes call for basic ingredients that are easy to keep in your refrigerator and pantry, and include plenty of tips on saving time and varying dishes. The Party Platters section includes recipes that can be made quickly with very few ingredients like Crispy Sweet Potato Chips with Caramelized Onion Dip, a simple antipasto platter with olives, nuts and dried fruit, and Warm Crab Dip. Simple Suppers, like Rosemary Grilled Leg of Lamb with Tuscan White Beans and Roasted Tomatoes have relatively short ingredient lists and also include Quick Fixes like using canned ingredients to save time. Last but not least is the "Simplest Sweets" chapter, which avoids complicated baking techniques with recipes for grilled apricots with buttermilk ice cream and lemon poached pears with lemon cream. Anyone with limited time and a real desire to cook will benefit from this solid, accessible cookbook. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Here are more simple but sophisticated recipes from the author of Fresh Every Day and The Foster's Market Cookbook. Foster owns two gourmet markets in North Carolina and is a contributor to O magazine and other national publications. The appealing recipes in her new book are organized into chapters such as "Salad Meals," "Anytime Eggs," and "Fish in a Flash." Most include serving suggestions, options for shortcuts, and variations. There are also "No-Recipe Recipes"—e.g., ideas for ten different pizzas—along with helpful hints and tips, and these are shown in full-page color photographs throughout. For most collections.

—Judith Sutton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307339997
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 3/6/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,013,826
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Foster began her career as a chef for Martha Stewart’s catering company before going on to open her own take-out business, Foster’s Market, in Durham, North Carolina. Today, Sara has a second Foster's Marketin Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as well as her own website,, where her line of products is also available. Sara teaches cooking classes and is a frequent guest chef for Viking and
Williams-Sonoma at culinary functions. She is also the food columnist for Cottage Living and has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, O Magazine, and Country Living, among other publications.
She is the author of Foster’s Market Cookbook and Fresh Every Day.

Carolynn Carreño writes for Saveur and the
Los Angeles Times and coauthored several cookbooks, including Once Upon a Tart and 100 Ways to Be Pasta

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Read an Excerpt

barbecued chicken and chickpea quesadillas
Serves 4 to 6

The barbecued chicken pizza Wolfgang Puck first served at Spago in Hollywood inspired this quesadilla, which we serve as a special at the Market. The combination seems kind of strange to people at first, but once they try it, they love it.

• 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
• 1/2 cup bottled barbecue sauce
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (about 2 cups), drained but not rinsed, 2 tablespoons liquid reserved
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
• 8 7-inch flour tortillas
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
• 2 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (about ½ cup)
• 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about ½ cup)
• Olive oil for oiling the grill pan

To Prepare the Quesadillas

Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Combine the chicken and barbecue sauce in a medium bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss gently to coat.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the chickpeas and the reserved liquid, garlic, and scallions and mash the ingredients together with a potato masher, leaving the mixture slightly chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

To assemble the quesadillas, lay the tortillas on a flat work surface and spread the chickpea mixture over half of each tortilla, dividing it evenly. Top with the chicken and sprinkle each with a few cilantro leaves and the cheeses. Fold the tortillas in half to form half-moons.

Lightly grease a grill pan or cast-iron skillet with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat until it’s hot. Place two of the quesadillas in the skillet to grill for about 2 minutes per side, turning once, until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden brown. Transfer the quesadillas to a baking sheet and place them in the oven to keep them warm. Repeat the process with the remaining quesadillas, adding more oil to the pan if it’s dry. Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve warm.

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