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Formal Dining

Let your food wear a tux to the table

These penguin appetizers are not only cute and enough to add a festive touch to any meal, but they are also good enough to eat.
These penguin appetizers are not only cute and enough to add a festive touch to any meal, but they are also good enough to eat.

Imagine a parade of penguins marching across your table.  Or, perhaps, penguins huddled on a plate.  Or even penguins interspersed among the items on your relish dish.

The possibilities are endless. But first, you must prepare these adorable, flightless birds.

I made these last year and they were a big hit. They are not hard to make, just a little time-consuming, but well worth the effort.  They taste good, too.

You will want to start with one or two large carrots. After you’ve peeled them, slice them into pieces about 1/4-inch thick. This will be the base of your penguin. In fact it will be the penguins feet.

Cut a small triangular notch from the carrot slice. Be sure to save this little piece of carrot. This is actually the penguin’s beak.

The cream cheese must be softened. I like to mix a little onion or garlic salt with the cream cheese to enhance its flavor. You want the cream cheese to be white and neither of these seasonings will compromise the color. Pick whatever seasoning that you prefer. Or you can also leave the cream cheese plain, if that is what you like.

Make a small slit in the long side of the jumbo olive. Very carefully fill this cavity with the cream cheese to create the penguin’s chest.

Put the little triangle chip of carrot into the small olive to make the penguin’s beak.

Start at the bottom to assemble the penguin. The carrot circle is the base and the feet. The large olive with the cream cheese is the body. The small olive with the carrot beak is the head. Secure it all with a toothpick from the top.

If you would like your penguin to have a scarf, you can use a jar of roasted red pepper pieces. The problem with using the pieces is that most of them are not long enough. You can, instead, buy a jar of roasted red peppers and slice them into long pieces.  This works well, but then you have a large jar left that you may not have any use for.

I like to, instead, take a red pepper, slice it in half lengthwise and clean it out. Then I slice the red pepper into long strips. Look for a red pepper that is not only large, but also long.

Place the strips in a microwave-safe bowl covered with water. Place in the microwave and cook on high power for five minutes.

Let the strips cool until they can be handled. Place between the 2 olives to give the little penguins scarves.

These penguins are so cute and add a real festive touch to any meal.  Take the time to make these penguins.

By the way, they are good enough to eat.

And remember,…a good cook always cleans up!


18 jumbo black olives

18 small black olives

1 or 2 carrots

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

¼ tsp. of garlic salt or onion salt, optional

18 toothpicks

1.  Mix cream cheese with garlic or onion salt.

2.Cut a slit from top to bottom, lengthwise, into the side of each jumbo olive.  Carefully put about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into each olive.  Slice the carrot into eighteen ¼ inch thick rounds; cut a small notch our of each carrot slice to form the feet.  Save the cut out piece and press into center of small olive to form the beak. 

3. Set a big olive, large hole side down, onto a carrot slice.   Then set a small olive onto the large olive, adjusting so that the beak, cream cheese chest and notch in the carrot slice line up.  Secure with toothpick.


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