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Friday, January 6, 2012

Canal House Cooking, Volume 7 - Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton



Released January 17, 2012

Open Road Media

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I love rustic Italian cuisine. I've always said that if I could move away, the Mediterranean is where I'd head--Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal all have piqued my interest over the years. This is one reason I eagerly dove into Canal House Cooking Volume 7. Part of the draw to these countries is the availability of fresh foods, year round. I live in Vermont and here what farmer market's exist, and there are not many, are only held in summer months. The rest of your time, you're stuck with what you froze from your garden or what is shipped to the area from southern states.

Canal House Cooking Volume 7 details Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton's journey to Italy. They decided to rent a house, purchase foods from locals and experience true Italian cuisine. Throughout this cookbook, they discuss their experiences and share amazing recipes for things like homemade pasta, including spinach pasta and ricotta gnocchi; homemade ricotta, something I'm trying this weekend; homemade sauces; homemade desserts; and much more.

I have a pasta machine, the hand-cranked type, not an electric one, and love making my own pasta. The authors do discuss flour choice and to me it really does make a difference. The best pasta I ever made was with a bag of semolina flour I found on a clearance rack. I laced it with fresh leaves of basil and it was amazing. The authors give you the basics in an easy-to-understand format, so there's no reason not to try it. Even if you lack a pasta machine, all you need is a rolling pin.

If you want a cookbook that really gets to the heart of Italian cuisine, Canal House Cooking Volume 7 is an excellent choice. It's available for the Kindle on January 17th.

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