My husband first brought me back a Canal House Cooking book from a great cookbook store in Maine called Rabelais. I fell in love with the photography, the seasonal recipes, and the writing style. Written by two women who were (and still are) big-shots in the food magazine world, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton now focus mostly on creating these books out of their New Jersey studio. Right now I’m into Volume 3, Winter & Spring, and I want to make everything on every page. There’s the radicchio with hard-boiled egg & crisp pancetta (their winter version of the iceberg wedge), chicken thighs three ways, and stewy roasted root vegetables.
And then there are opinionated cocktail recipes, like this one for a martini: “Our dry vermouth stays fresh in the fridge.The gin lives in the cupboard. The soft cucumber and rose flavors of Hendrick’s Gin suit our taste. As to how dry a dry martini should be, it seems to us that it should be just wet enough to keep it from tasting like an icy cold glass of rubbing alcohol, no? It’s a very fine line.”