Photography by Jason Wyche
Get ready to rethink the humble cheese ball? Michelle Buffardi’s GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE will open your eyes to a world of cheesy possibility. Buffardi’s 50+ creations are perfect for no-fuss entertaining. We just had to share this one for Thanksgiving!
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 oz goat cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Coarse salt, to taste
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped for coating
- 1 dark raisin, 1 whole almond, small piece red bell pepper, dried papaya or orange bell pepper slices, and thin pretzel sticks, for decorating
- Crackers and crudites, for serving
- Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together the cream cheese, goat cheese, herbes de Provence, garlic, mustard, and salt. Form the mixture into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, pinch a walnut-sized portion of the cheese mixture from the ball; you will use that for the turkey’s head. Re-form the remaining cheese into a ball and roll the ball in the almonds. Roll the remaining portion of cheese into a small ball and set it on top of the larger ball–this is the turkey’s head. Cut the raising in half and place each half on the head for the eyes. Place the almond in the middle for the beak, and arrange the small piece of red pepper under the beak for the turkey’s wattle. Stick dried papaya or orange bell pepper slices into the bottom of the cheese ball for the feet. Last, arrange pretzel sticks on the back of the cheese ball to look like tail feathers.
- Serve with crackers and crudites.
GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE, the first modern cookbook to tackle the subject, these sidelined appetizers have been given a much-needed makeover by food writer Michelle Buffardi. She uses everyday tools and simple ingredients to create show-stopping shapes that anyone can make, and puts together exciting new flavors, too. Boozy Bing cherries and pecans, anyone? Or chorizo, Manchego cheese, and smoked paprika? From holidays to rainy days, Buffardi has a cheese ball for every occasion, including:
- Bored with your bean dip? Try crowd-pleasers like the zingy Mexican Black Bean Ball, a Cranberry Cheddar Ball, an updated Port Wine Cheese Ball (minus the scary pink color), and a bacon-filled Pigskin that’s perfect for game day.
- Fun shapes like an adorable Herbed Caterpillar, a festive Ham and Cheese Easter Egg, and mini Mouse Bites on their own individual crackers – all simple enough that the kids can help.
- No-bake desserts that would look great on any table – an Inside-Out Carrot Cake, sophisticated Lemon-Ginger Cheesecake Truffles, a Pumpkin-Pumpkin, and individual Pink Velvet Hearts.
- Grown-up surprises like the Goat Cheese and Blueberry Log with Balsamic-Blueberry Sauce, the pistachio-coated Curried Cheese Ball, the Tricolored Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Terrine, and the sophisticated White Wine and Gorgonzola Log.
GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE by Michelle Buffardi
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt • On sale: October 29, 2013
$16.99 hardcover • Also available as an e-book