Cook the Book: 'Canal House Cooking, Vol. 1'

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Above: A spread from the chapter on tomatoes in "Canal House Cooking, Volume 1." Below right: The book's cover. Courtesy of The Canal House Studio

20090720-chc.jpgPhotographer-editor-writer Christopher Hirsheimer and editor-chef-writer Melissa Hamilton are no slouches in the food-media world, so it's noteworthy when they team up to self-publish the stunningly gorgeous Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 1, the first in a series of seasonal cookbooks coming out of the Canal House studio the two share in Lambertville, New Jersey.

Christopher (the only woman I've ever met named Christopher) is extraordinarily accomplished; she was one of the founding editors of Saveur, she is one of the great food photographers anywhere (her stunning photos grace the pages of The Young Man and the Sea, the book I co-wrote with Dave Pasternack), and she has written four cookbooks on her own, including The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook. Hamilton co-founded her family's restaurant, Hamilton's Grill, and worked as an editor and test kitchen director at Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, and Cook's Illustrated. [After the jump, a chance to win this book!]

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Courtesy of The Canal House Studio

Why self-publish with resumes like that? Christopher says, "Working in our beautiful studio we are able to produce exactly the book we set out to do, without interference. Of course if people don't like it or the recipes don't work, we have no one to blame but ourselves. But I guess we're willing to take that chance."

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Courtesy of The Canal House Studio

Here's what they say about this book:

It is a collection of our favorite summer recipes—home cooking by home cooks for home cooks. With a few exceptions, we use ingredients that are readily available and found in most towns throughout the United States. All the recipes are easy to prepare (some of them a bit more involved), all complete doable for the novice and experienced cook alike. We want to share with you as fellow cooks, our love of food and all its rituals. The everyday practice of simple cooking and the enjoyment of eating are two of the greatest pleasures in life.

Amen, Christopher and Melissa, Amen. —Ed Levine

Win Canal House Cooking, Volume 1

Thanks to Hirsheimer and Hamilton's generosity, we are giving away five (5) copies of Canal House Cooking this week. All you have to do is tell us what your favorite summer recipe is in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, July 27 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.

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