Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Cheese Ball with Cumin, Mint, and Pistachios

The Essential New York Times Cookbook includes not one but two recipes for cheese balls. According to author and recipe tester extraordinaire Amanda Hesser, this Cheese Ball with Cumin, Mint, and Pistachios, an adaptation of her mother's 1970s cheese ball, was introduced in 2003, when the cheese ball had moved out of the mainstream and into the world of the deliciously ironic.

When I set about putting together this cheese ball it quickly became clear that Hesser had taken all of the kitsch out of it and transformed it into an elegant, updated starter. Cream cheese and goat cheese are whipped together with a whole slew of bright, thrilling flavors: lemon zest, cumin, coriander, fresh mint, and thinly sliced celery hearts. Once the ball has been formed and chilled, it's rolled in toasty pistachios for another layer of flavor and a chic bright green coating. The texture contrast of creamy cheese and crunchy celery is excellent on a cracker (or a toasted bagel the next morning.)

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Essential New York Times Cookbook to give away this week.

Reprinted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Compilation copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company and Amanda Hesser. Recipes and reprinted text copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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