Thursday, July 15, 2010

Party Penguins

A few folks asked me for a tutorial on how to make the cream cheese penguins. Here goes!

Here's what you'll need:

Jumbo black olives (for bodies) - blot them dry
Small black olives (for heads) - blot them dry
Soft cream cheese
Carrots (You should only need a few for an average batch)
Toothpicks (The long, thick ones so that they won't fall apart)

Peel your carrots.

Slice rounds to the desired thickness and size for feet. Try to get them really level
because these are what will make your penguins stand on your platter. If they're crooked,
you'll have drunk penguins.

Cut out wedges from the carrot rounds. These will make your penguin beaks so do a little
test for sizing before you do all of them. You'll want the wedges to be large enough so that
they'll stand out nicely from the face and not fall back inside of the heads.

Insert the carrot beaks into the small olives.

Insert the toothpicks all the way into these same olives. Put them aside.

Now, taking the jumbo olives, take a knife and carve out the belly area. Make a "V" or "U" shape
starting at the end of the olive with the large hole. Make sure not to go all the way up to the
other end of the olive or your penguins won't be sturdy. You don't want to completely open up
the olive but only to open up a section for cream cheese to go inside of.

Now it's time to put the cream cheese in to the jumbo olives. I found some cream cheese in a
little tub that is cheap and also already softened. If you can't find this, just let your cream cheese
sit out for a bit to soften. You can either put it into the penguin's body with a small knife or with
a bag. It would be great if you already have a small icing bag but I found that a small hole cut
into a sandwich bag worked great.

Fill the body as full as you can while still making the appearance of a penguin's white chest.
If any comes out, just take a paper towel and clean it up a bit.

Next up, put the penguin's head on to the part of his body that doesn't have the large hole on top.

Then attach the carrot feet to the part of the toothpick that is coming through the bottom of the
olive, making sure not to go all the way through.

Voila! Penguin!

Some things that I learned in my two times making these guys:

1. If you don't end up getting your carrot feet completely level, you can use a little cream cheese
to stick them on to your platter. It's better if they can stand alone but you can use this as a backup
plan! Backup plans rock, no?

2. I found that it was best to do a trial run all the way through with one penguin to start just to get
the feel how things would work. That way you can readjust sizes, etc. without having to redo a lot.
After the first one or two, you'll have it down.

3. Those portions that you cut out of the penguin's bodies? Great on salads!

4. I wouldn't recommend making these right before your guests are to arrive. They take a steady hand
and no pressure on you. I made mine a few hours before the party and put them in the fridge.

5. I haven't tried it yet but I bet that these would be good with flavored cream cheeses as well.

6. You don't need fancy toothpicks but you WILL need the kind that are long and thick like are used
on finger foods.

So, as you just a few easy steps, you have a cute party dish that looks a lot more complicated
than it is! They're actually pretty tasty too!

And speaking of tasty, my first potato salad turned out great. I ended up sort of merging the two
recipes that I showed on yesterday's post. Thanks for your tips and suggestions! I wish that you all
were here to help us eat it. I swear, I have enough for any family reunion, church meeting or barn raising!

Until next time,
x's and o's,


Sara In AZ said...

Wait! Eartha! Help! All your lovely pics are not showing up on my computer! When I click on 'show picture' they are teeny-tiny! Help! EEPS!!!

Straight Talking Mama! said...

I'm definately going to have a go at those penguins, thanks for that! And I gotta say that potato salad looks divine!!

Millie Motts said...

That is a fantastic family photo - you've got some serious composition/design skills. I love the color/texture combinations.

happileah said...

oh my, those little guys are way too cute to eat. I'll have to remember to make these for my kids, they'll get a kick out of it for sure. Thanks for the tutorial!

Eartha Kitsch said...

Oh my gosh! Tell me more. Is it still that way? Do you just see my blog but with x's for pictures? Are you on a PC or a Mac? Thanks! I'll try to figure out what's happening.

Sara In AZ said...

Pics are all better now! Hooray! You probably know that by now though. I am on a PC, but it was weird because all your other pics came in just fine. Whew, now I can read through the whole recipe and get the visuals I need! :)

Eartha Kitsch said...

Sara: Whew! I'm so relieved! We are on Macs here and I have this big fear that things will look great on my computer and then anyone with a PC will be saying, " THAT blog looks jacked up!" while I go about my business not knowing. So yes, please let me know of anything that you see that is funky! :)

I just came in from the Tennessee humidity and I think that I might need to make an appointment at your new beauty salon to get my head shaved!

Straight Talking Mama: Thanks so much! I honestly had to stop myself from eating potato salad for breakfast this morning so I think it turned out better than I expected. :) Please let me know if you try the penguins.

Millie Motts: Thanks! That's nice of you to say. That photo is of a family reunion of my family in the early 50's. I keep it in the kitchen so that I can see it the most.

Leah: You're very welcome! They're best when you can get as much cream cheese as possible inside of the penguin. I hope that your kids will like them - or at least giggle at them. :)

cheshirecat666 said...

wow,these look totally easy,when I first saw them I got my usual intimidated fear,like when I see radish roses

Eartha Kitsch said...

Ha! Honey child, I am with you. I won't attempt a radish rose either. They look so hard! I'm pretty sure that you have to make a pact with the devil to get radish rose making skills and that's one thing that I'm not going to do.

Sara In AZ said...

No problem Eartha! I can fit you right in. It is funny though, no one else seems to be taking me up on my offer. :) Bet they are all scared of the "Does It Work??? Dryer"! Or maybe it is my lack of cosmetology training???

Sherrie said...

There are a handful of things on this earth that I cannot stand to eat...olives being one of them. I really, really really WANT to like them, but alas and can do. I would make these penguins and just stare at them until they start to shrivel. I'm an envious olive hater!

Anonymous said...

greatest tutorial ever. thanks! bookmarked. i need to get a color cartridge for the printer for this one.

Eartha Kitsch said...

Sara: Those fools! Once they see my new chic Summer do, they'll be knocking down your doors! Did you plug the dryer in yet?

Sherrie: Really? No kind? Black? Green? Kalamata? None? Maybe you could make yours with delicious, nutritious gumdrops! mmm!

lynxymama: Thanks so much! I was told that I was wordy. I hope that I don't make you use the whole cartridge. :)