Herby Cream Cheese

After I graduated from college, I worked at Essential Ingredients, a specialty market in Boulder, Colorado. Composed of two connected store fronts, one side carrying ingredients and the other prepared foods, it was way, way ahead of its time. This creamy, savory herb cheese was on the menu every day, and I ate it as a dip, a filling for omelets, a spread on sandwiches (smoked ham and honey mustard is a particularly good combo), and a topping for hamburgers. I have barely changed the recipe in all these years.

Makes 2½ to 3 cups

2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature, or 2 cups Yogurt Cheese
¼ to ½ cup buttermilk, as needed
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt to taste

1. Place the cream cheese in a medium-size mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Gradually add the buttermilk until it achieves the consistency if cake icing, mashing until well combined.

2. Transfer to a small serving bowl and serve immediately, garnished with parsley, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Serve with bagel or pita chips or the crudités of your choice.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)