Focus in on the delights of the kitchen and the table with ...

Way on back in 1999, when we were in the process of moving from our Southern California home to Piedmont North Carolina, my husband Will came on ahead to begin his new job in RTP, the high tech-biotech research centered business park created back in the 50’s, on land between Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. I stayed behind in Carlsbad to finish the details of selling our house. Thanks to Will’s company’s generosity, we had the use of a townhouse near his work, so that we could set our selves down and consider where to look for a house.

Early on, he noted in a phone call to California that Chapel Hill could be ‘it’, based on his visit to Foster’s Market there. “It’s a really ‘Nancie’ kind of place”, he told me, meaning that they had great coffee, fantastic food, and tables where you could sit and read or do some work. He was right, and I have since been found often, mostly at the Chaple Hill location, for PTA committee meetings, deadline-frenzied writing sessions, salad-plate suppers, wood fired pizzas, CHOP NC planning sessions, cakes and pies of magnificent deliciousness, candy-purchasing for Christmas stockings (shhhhh, don’t tell), Foster’s 7 Pepper Jelly restocking, newspaper browsing, and big chunky mugs of coffee.

Summertime means special events at Foster’s including Grill-Out’s at the Durham Foster’s location, and Farm Dinners here in Chapel Hill. Recently Will and I attended the first one of the 2012 season, and we had the very best time.

To find out all about Foster’s Market, visit their website

by clicking HERE:

  Check out Chapel Hill Creamery

on their website HERE

and their YouTube video by HERE

and by

Menu from Foster’s Farm Dinner featuring

Chapel Hill Creamery

June 2012

Portia McKnight shares stories from the world of dairy farming, grass-tending, cow-centric cheese-making Chapel Hill Creamery, home of divine irresistible dynamite-good farmstead cheese. 


Sausage Balls with Chapel Hill Creamery Calavander and Chorizo


Panzanella Salad with Chapel Hill Creamery Pheta,

Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, and Olives, tossed with Foster’s Focaccia


Slow Roasted Whey Fed Pork Loin from Chapel Hill Creamery

                                                                    Chapel Hill Creamery 5 Cheese Mac and Cheese with House Smoked Bacon

                                                                     Tomato Pie with Tomatoes from Bluebird Meadows

                                                                       3rd Course

                                                                          Foster’s Market Peach Crisp with Farm-Fresh Whipped Cream

For more of the scoop on Chapel Hill Creamery, read my feature story on Flo and Portia’s amazing farm and business from Edible Piedmont Magazine‘s Winter 2010 issue by clicking HERE

Chapel Hill Magazine‘s new community newspaper, The Weekly, included this photograph of dining table shared by my husband and me with Doug and Kathy Roach, and Marqui Johnson and Barbie Bolden, all of whom drove in from Durham because they knew Farm Dinners at Foster’s Market featuring Chapel Hill Creamery would be, as they say in France, “worth the drive!”. It was, and we had a grand time together.


Picturing yourself at a happy table at an upcoming

Foster’s Farm Dinner? 

Here are the dates, all Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

Foster’s Market Chapel Hill:

July 19th

August 16th

September 20th

Reservations and information:  (919) 967-3663

Now, about that mac-and-cheese…..yes, we got you the recipe. Since it is summertime, those of you with Southern roots (long-time or newly planted) know that vegetable plates are the way to go all summer long. When you need a substantial vegetable, but don’t want to get all overwrought cooking something meaty and complex, turn to one of my very favorite Southern Vegetables: Macaroni and Cheese! Yes, folks, around here and throughout the South, we know that macaroni and cheese is a vegetable (look on any meat-and-three menu, or down any cafeteria line, or ask an old-timer (I’m available but you know my opinion already). Anyway, even without the staggeringly delicious roast pork from CH Creamery’s own whey-fed pigs, this dinner would have been satisfying and complete. Here’s what you need to know:

Chapel Hill Creamery’s 5-Cheese Mac-and-Cheese:

1 1/2 quarts heavy cream (6 cups)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Texas Pete (as much as you like!)

Chapel Hill Creamery 5-Cheese Mix (see below for amounts)***

One pound of your favorite dried pasta

1) Cook the pasta in a big pot of wildly boiling nicely salted water. Cook until tender but still firm (al dente), and drain well. Set aside while you make the sauce.

2) Meanwhile, bring the cream, mustard, and garlic to a lively simmer over medium heat. Keep cooking at a good simmer, stirring often, until it has thickened up a bit, and reduced to about 3/4 of the original amount of cream.

3) Add the 5-Cheese Mix to the cream sauce, and stir to combine them well. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat evenly and mix well.

4) Transfer the pasta with cheese sauce to a large ovenproof baking pan or bowl. Sprinkle with more cheese and bake until the cheese melts on top and is bubbly. (about 25 minutes to 55 minutes, depending on the size and depth of your pan.) Serve hot or warm.

***Chapel Hill Creamery 5 Cheese Mix

1/2 cup shredded or chopped Hickory Grove

1 cup Calvander shredded or chopped

1/2 cup Fresh Mozzarella, shredded or chopped up

1/2 cup Farmer’s Cheese

1/2 cup New Moon (chopped up)

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.

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