Canal House

Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski

This month, Art of Food explores the culinary journey of the The Canal House in Lambertville, New Jersey. Christopher Hirsheimer, the co-founder of Saveur magazine, met food stylist Melissa Hamilton, while working in NewYork. Hirsheimer and Hamilton decided to collaborate their passions for food, emphasizing home cooking for the home cook. Leaving the fast pace nature of New York City behind, they opened their own food styling studio. Part of the collaboration involved breaking for lunch everyday to enjoy a freshly made meal. Images of their daily cooking would be uploaded to their blog which sparked an interest with subscribers for the recipes. One year later, the duo wrote, designed, photographed and illustrated the cookbook Canal House Cooks Every Day earning them the 2013 James Beard Award for best cookbook.

Art of Food joins Hirsheimer and Hamilton at their book launching picnic party for their new cookbook Pronto!. The event was held in a barn in Bucks County on the last day of summer. The menu consisted of recipes that can be found throughout the cookbook. Pronto! marks the 9th of a small seasonal cookbook series from The Canal House. The recipes in the books reflect the importance of fresh local seasonal ingredients, as the starting point of creating a great home cooked meal.

Below: Photos from shooting Canal House

Recipes from Pronto!

White Beans with Spicy Black Olive Vinaigrette

Serves 2-4

When we use canned beans, we like to give them a little love before we dress them. Drain them into a sieve, give them a good rinse under cold running water, then drain well and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt. Then go in with your dressing.

  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pitted black olives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup really good extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans

Stir together the garlic, olives, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes in a medium mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the beans and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with more olive oil before serving.

Chicken alla Diavola

Serves 4-6

Neither one of us particularly likes very spicy food. The intensity of the heat can get in the way of the flavor, and we’re usually more interested in flavor rather than sensation. But there are exceptions. This Italian classic — devilishly spicy grilled chicken — is one: It makes our lips burn and tingle, but the heat and flavor are balanced just right. It’s the kind of food we crave when the weather gets hot. We wash it down with cold rosato. Bliss.

  • 1 chicken, 3-4 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken (save it for making stock, if you like). Rinse the bird and pat it dry with paper towels. Spread the chicken out skin side up so it lays flat. Tuck the wing tips neatly behind the wings and snip them off. Season the chicken all over with the black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt, rubbing the seasonings into the skin until it is well coated. Put the chicken skin side up in a large dish. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl and pour it over the bird. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, turning it over halfway through.

Prepare a medium-hot fire to one side of the charcoal grill. If using a gas grill, fire up the “back burner” to medium-hot heat. Grill the chicken skin side down in the center of the grill until well marked and slightly charred in places, about 20 minutes. Baste the chicken often with the leftover marinade, taking care not to drip too much oil onto the coals to avoid flare-ups. Move the chicken to a cooler spot on the grill if there are flare-ups and the chicken begins to burn. Turn the chicken and grill the other side until the thigh juices run clear when pierced, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting it up and serving.

Watch Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton cook a guinea fowl and polenta with fried sage leaves for their blog Canal House Cooks Lunch

Produced by Monica Rogozinski, Edited by Kate Llona

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal