I have a crush on Christopher Hirsheimer.
I have never met Christopher, but nearly every time I drool over a stunning piece of food photography, Hirsheimer's name seems to be at the bottom. I first learned of Hirsheimer through her work on David Tanis' books and I was completely inspired by the rustic beauty of the images. I then found out that she was one of the founders of Saveur - of course that makes sense.
Last week I was running errands around Berkeley and came across a cool new shop called Home 101. Home 101's eclectic mix of vintage housewares and yummy preserves, olive oils and granola by local artisans feels just right. It turns out the owner Allison is a totally nice woman and after we got to chatting about food photography, she generously gave me a copy of Canal House Cooking no 6. What does this story have to do with my girl crush on Hirsheimer? Well, Canal House is her project, too.
Canal House is a beautiful series of small cookbooks full of homey recipes and adorned by Hersheimer's mouth-watering and honest photography. Find it if you can. Buy it if you can. It is a treat!
I have never made my own crackers, but have been curious to give them a try. The simplicity of the Canal House recipe inspired me to take the plunge.
Man they are good...cheesy, buttery, and so easy to make, what more could I want from a recipe?
INGREDIENTS adapted from Canal House Cooking #6
- 6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 cup flour (GF folks I used Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Mix)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- pinch ground cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ice water
Finely grate cheese and place in Kitchen Aid Mixer. (Equipment note: Canal House recommends making the dough in a food processor, but I don't have one. If you don't have a Kitchen Aid Mixer or food processor, you could mix the dough with forks, or a pastry cutter.)
Add flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne to the cheese. Stir to blend.
Add one tablespoon of butter at a time until dough is crumbly.
Slowly drizzle about 4 tablespoons of ice water into dough while mixing. Stop adding water as soon as the dough is moist enough to be formed into a ball.
Place ball of dough onto parchment paper. Flatten into a thick disk, wrap the dough up in the paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a day.
When you are ready to roll out your cracker dough, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll dough between two pieces of parchment until it is 1/8 inch thick. Use small cookie cutters to cut the crackers.
Place uncooked crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet into the preheated oven. I recommend placing the crackers on one of the upper racks of your oven so the bottoms don't get too brown.
Cook for 8-12 minutes until golden.