This summer, the MKMT cookbook club will be cooking from Canal House Cooking vol.4 by Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton, veterans of Saveur magazine who now have the pleasure of working together at their atelier devoted to “good ideas and good work relating to the world of food.” Their studio is an old red brick warehouse situated next to a canal, hence the name Canal House.
The way the story goes, the two meet in the morning and over breakfast tell stories of what they cooked for their families the night before. Then they spend the day cooking together and talking about food. Sign me up for that existence, can I be a guest visitor some day?
I first discovered Canal House Cooking Vol.2 last fall at Terrain. The authors were there the week before for a signing. Something about the shiny bronze cover caught my eye so I picked it up and it was love. From the stunning photography to the simple design, to the recipes; all seasonal and completely approachable. I snapped one up and read it cover to cover on the flight home dreaming up grocery lists and dinner party menus. I even made Sister Frances’ Potatoes for Christmas Eve dinner.
Vol. 3 is just as wonderful and when I saw Vol.4 had recently come out I knew it was the perfect cookbook for our next cookbook club. I am already counting the days when the first of my tomatoes will be ready to make the Tomato Tart and plan to get a box of apricots towards the end of the season to make some of Patty Curtain’s Apricot Jam.
The most brilliant part of Canal House Cooking is the publishing. Three volumes are published each year. In addition to being able to buy the books individually, an annual subscription is available. It is genius from managing print runs and costs as well as inventory. Vol.1 is no longer available so I suspect they publish for what they have subscriptions for plus early commitments from key retailers and a few extra then they are sold out which would instantly place a premium on volumes once they are no longer available.
Leave it to the founder of Saveur magazine to implement the magazine subscription model with cookbooks. But enough of the business behind the book… I’m off to find a blood roange to make that Pink Lemonade Granita.mkmtCOOK | Comment (1)
I’ve been asked a lot recently about my garden and what is growing in it now that it has doubled in size.
Witness a couple carrots from a recent harvest and the softball sized beet that was plucked Sunday afternoon and eaten a couple hours later.
Then there is the Basilico Italiano that was started with heirloom seeds that my sister inlaw gave me – isn’t it pretty?
There’s a lot more than that… Yellow crookneck squash, black beauty zucchini, Love Joy Farm tomatoes, several types of lettuce, red peppers and various herbs. I’m sure I’m forgetting things too.
Back to the beet and carrot harvest. The word that comes to mind is sweet. Now, I’m not a beet eater but was given some heirloom seeds by a friend – orange and purple. Both were planted this winter and I am confessing here that since I’ve never grown beets before some of those seeds never had a chance – I thought they were weeds when they first poked through the dirt and my weed picking compulsion picked them out and discarded them in the compost bin. Now I know better. A new row has been planted and the summer beetlings are breaking ground.
Getting back to why I don’t like beets – it’s simple – they taste like dirt…. Except for the one plucked on Sunday. Not only did it not taste like dirt but it was beautiful. After peeling, I sliced it open. It was bright fuscia with swirly white patterns throughout. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture. I stared at it for a few minutes thinking about how amazing mother nature is before putting it on the chopping block.
Within 2 hours of picking it was eaten. I cubed it up, tossed it in olive oil, seasoned with s&p, put it in foil and popped into a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.
The carrots, while not growing to be very big were little pop in the mouth nuggets. What they lacked on size surely made up in flavor – unbeliveably sweet and crunchy. I need to figure out how to make them grow bigger so they last longer than a little nugget. More carrots are being planted too.mkmtDIG | Comment (0)
This Warm Goat Cheese Bruschetta recipe is my favorite new appetizer. Also from the Insalata cookbook, it is quick and easy and the spread can be made ahead – perfect for weeknight entertaining. The combination of herbs (now all growing in the garden) and lemon zest will have party guests asking “what are these interesting flavor combinations?”
1 lb Laura Chenel goat cheese, or use your favorite fresh goat cheese, at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 tbsp chopped sweet herbs – chives, chervil, tarragon and Italian parsley
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Artisan bread, ciabatta or even a walnut bread.
Place softened goat cheese in a mixing bowl. Add herbs, oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Slice bread into 1/4 inch slices. If the loaf is large, cut slice in half. Brush slice with olive oil. Either on a grill with medium fire, or in a 375 oven, toast each slice until lightly brown.
Smear 1-2 tablespoons of goat cheese on to each slice.mkmtCOOK | Comment (0)