Posts Tagged ‘Hamilton Grill Room’

Bucks County Taste has moved! See this post on our new server. 

By guest blogger Susan Sprague Yeske

As partners in a business that transforms chefs’ cookbook dreams into reality, it’s good to share a common vision. It’s also good to like the same kinds of food.

Shared tastes and a love of the culinary world prompted local food experts Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer to step beyond their role of crafting other people’s books and create one of their own.

Christopher Hirsheimer, left, and Melissa Hamilton in their Lambertville loft studio

Christopher Hirsheimer, left, and Melissa Hamilton in their Lambertville loft studio

Volume one of Canal House Cooking was published this month, the first in a series of softcover cookbooks that focus on seasonal cooking.  In the book the two moms, who live in Hunterdon and Bucks counties, share the summertime recipes they make at home.

The 80 recipes in the book focus on foods in season and feature summertime fare such as tomatoes, plums and zucchini. Every course is covered, from seasonally appropriate mixed drinks to dessert.

The two authors are former magazine food editors with credentials that include years spent at Saveur and Metropolitan Home. Christopher has collaborated on four other cookbooks, including three for Saveur.

Melissa is well known in local culinary circles for co-founding Hamilton’s Grill Room in Lambertville with her father, Jim Hamilton.

Canal House CookingCanal House Cooking costs $19.95, or $49.95 for an annual subscription of three books and can be ordered through the website thecanalhouse.com.

Next will be a book on fall and holiday cooking, then a winter/spring edition. In addition to the website, books are available at amazon.com, Farley’s Bookstore in New Hope, Pa., and the Hamilton’s Grill Room. The books will also be sold at other private bookstores in the U.S. and through Anthropologie stores.

This recipe from the book is a great way to enjoy the fresh local tomatoes just coming into season:

Roasted Tomatoes Studded with Garlic

serves 4


½ cup diced pancetta
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
4 tomatoes, tops sliced off, seeds scooped out
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
small handful fresh thyme, parsley, or basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
½ pound spaghetti


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fry the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp around the edges. Use a slotted spatula to lift the pancetta out of the skillet to a plate. Leave the rendered fat in the skillet.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the anchovies to the same skillet. Use a wooden spoon to mash the anchovies until they dissolve. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until they are golden.
  4. Put the tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish and slip some garlic into each tomato. Mound some bread crumbs into each tomato and scatter pancetta and herbs on top. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil over all.
  5. Roast the tomatoes in the oven until they have browned a bit and the interior is supple but the tomatoes haven’t collapsed, 1–1½ hours.
  6. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain.
  7. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in some olive oil and some of the oily tomato juices from the bottom of the tomato roasting dish.
  8. Serve the spaghetti with the roasted tomatoes and their juices spooned on top.

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Bucks County Taste has moved! You can read this post on our new site.

The Pineville TavernWhen you walk into the Pineville Tavern , a couple of things hit you right off the bat. It’s warm. Everyone – staff and customers – seem to be in a good mood. There’s a buzz of people enjoying themselves. And it feels like it’s been this way forever.

In fact, the Pineville Tavern has been around since 1742 (see its Web site for more history). It sits at the intersection of Route 413, and Pineville and Township Line Roads, straddling two townships, Buckingham and Wrightstown, in central Bucks County.

Like a lot of good things, what seems natural and effortless has a lot of intention and hard work behind it. As regulars at the Pineville, or PVT, we were curious as to how the staff was doing it and what got them there.

To find that out, you have to go to Andrew Abruzzese, owner of the PVT for the last twenty years. It was our pleasure – Andrew is a wonderful storyteller – to sit down with him and his son, Drew Abruzzese to talk about their history and their future.

“Cooking has always been a passion of mine,” says Andrew, almost as soon as we start. It began when he was a young boy, helping out in the kitchens of his grandmother and aunts, and at neighborhood events in the Italian section of Baltimore, where his mother was from, and then South Philly, his father’s childhood home. Both families’ roots go deep into Italy, his mother’s from Naples, his father’s from the mountains of Abruzzi.

His father’s father was a chef, his aunt was a chef, his father a “natural” cook. On his mother’s side of the family, his aunts catered and sold baked goods. You get the picture. Andrew comes from food.

But he was also inquisitive. He spent a lot of time hanging at everyone’s elbows to learn all he could about cooking. “I knew I could get anything out of any cook if I helped clean up,” he says. “I became an expert at cleaning up.”

That passion continued into his marriage in 1976, when Andrew became the “one who cooked dinner,” and then after the kids came along (Drew, then Phillip), entertaining for friends and family.

It wasn’t until 1988 this love of cooking and entertaining took shape in the form of a restaurant. And it almost didn’t happen. Originally, Andrew’s plan was for a family-style restaurant, designed with help from his friend Jim Hamilton (of the Hamilton Grill in Lambertville) in a property further south on 413. The deal fell through, and while sitting at the bar of the Pineville Tavern, crying in his beer so to speak, an idea was born. Joe Turner, then owner of the PVT, said, “Why don’t you buy this place?”


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