Canal House Cooking for the winter

by guest blogger Susan Sprague Yeske

Canal House Cooking Vol. 2Just in time for the holidays, and with plenty of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s recipes, local cookbook authors Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer have produced the second volume in their series of homestyle gourmet cookbooks.

While Volume 1 in the Canal House Cooking series focused on the pair’s favorite summer recipes, Volume 2 is filled with drinks, dishes and anecdotes for fall and holiday meats, beverages, side dishes and desserts.

Hamilton shares her mother’s French cookie recipes, while Hirsheimer offers her mother’s recipe for lamb cooked in red wine. Some offerings are classic cuisine while others are as homespun as a reminder that the recipe on the Ocean Spray cranberry bag is a very flavorful option.

This book, like the first one, is very personal for the pair of former restaurant food editors, who, through their business Canal House in Lambertville, create cookbooks for other chefs.

Hamilton and Hirsheimer will sign their books from noon – 2 pm Sunday, November 22 at Hamilton’s Grill Room in Lambertville (it’s all in the family) and from 2-4 pm Sunday, December 13 at Farley’s Book Store in New Hope. The book also can be purchased at and at the Canal House Web site.

Cranberry Port Gelée
Makes about 2 cups

Cranberry Port GeleeUse a good port or red wine or even a Madeira if that’s what you have on hand. Cranberries have so much natural pectin that this sauce will set up even if you don’t refrigerate it.

1 cup port
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon juniper berries
10 black peppercorns
4 cups or 1 bag fresh cranberries


  1. Put the port, sugar, juniper berries and peppercorns into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cranberries burst and are very soft, about 10 minutes more.
  2. Strain the sauce into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing the solids through the screen with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
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