Thursday, July 15, 2010
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.
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 see...in 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,