Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton of Canal House Cooking prepared a Summer Solstice Menu, “Canal House Cooks Kentucky,” for three evenings last week at Lexington’s historic Botherum, home of garden designer Jon Carloftis and Dale Fisher.
On the Menu: fried chicken, watermelon pickle, deviled eggs, pimiento cheese in celery, shrimp cocktail; followed by summer pea soup, wild mushroom toasts and fresh pea toasts with lemoned fromage blanc; roasted Liberty duck legs from Sonoma County with red wine-cherry sauce and stone-ground grits; summer lettuce leaves with Kentucky bleu cheese; and sugared blackberries over cream biscuits.
Thursday evening’s festivities were undampened by a severe storm, as Carloftis offered garden tours in between the downpours.
The wild mushroom toasts and fresh pea toasts were replaced by a pasta course at the Thursday dinner (oyster mushroom and fromage blanc). Blackberries were replaced by strawberries, and were served over biscuits warm from the oven. (The summer pea soup never did turn up.)
Hirsheimer and Hamilton started Canal House in 2006 as “a photo and design studio for cookbooks and magazines.” Hirsheimer was a founding editor at Saveur Magazine; Hamilton (the sister of Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton) was test kitchen director at Saveur.
Carloftis partnered with Country Living magazine on their Ultimate Kitchen Garden project in 2012. Carloftis planned a garden around the plant requests of chefs and slow-food pioneers like Rick Bayless and Alice Waters. Carloftis requested that the garden be located at his alma mater, and installed it at UK Arboretum. Working on the Edible Schoolyard project with Alice Waters, he told Ace, was an opportunity, “I knew if you introduce it at an early age, it would change them, same as it [growing up on a farm] changed me.”
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Video from Thursday evening
2013 videos at Botherum