Who knew? Penguins are made of black olives, cream cheese
and carrots. And they sometimes wear
stylish green onion scarves.
Black Olive Penguins are always the stars of the party, picnic or barbecue. (Sometimes, when they get too conceited about their stardom, I have to remind them that they are but three simple ingredients, and that even a child can make penguins. Of course, they always come back with "Not unless Mom cuts the carrots!"
It's not pretty, but I have to admit that the penguins are irresistible, even when they argue with me.)
Canned olives come in several sizes: small, medium, large,
extra-large, and... wait for it... colossal. You'll need colossal size for the
body, medium for the head. This recipe makes about 30 penguins, however many usable
"colossal" olives you find in 2 cans. It varies.
Note: Before you begin to assemble the olive penguins, study the olives. Notice that each has a large hole on one end and an "X" in the other. I know you know that, but now it's important, for assembling the penguins correctly.
1 6-ounce can medium pitted black olives
2 6-ounce cans colossal pitted black olives
3 or 4 carrots, peeled
1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese, well-softened
Green onions for scarves, optional
Anatomy of a Penguin
Drain the olives well and set them on paper toweling.
Thin-slice the upper portions of the carrots; slices about
as thick as 2 quarters and only slightly larger around than the body-olives look best. Now cut a small wedge out of the
carrot slices. The wedges become the beaks
and what remains are the feet.
Slice open one side of the colossal olives, the long way, end to end. Fill the olives full with cream cheese, creating a long, wide white stripe or chest. Wipe away any cream cheese on the outside so that there is a nice, clean "stripe."
Place the filled olives, big hole side down, on the carrot
slices, centering the chest over the point of the wedge. Secure the 2 pieces
with toothpicks through the top.
Insert the beaks, (carrot wedges) pointed end first, through
the big hole of the smaller olives until they protrude through the "X."
I find that using tweezers or the blunt end of a skewer works well. Attach the heads to the bodies via the toothpicks
already in place, beak end forward, big hole in the back.
For the scarves,
slice off the long green parts of the green onions, half as many as scarves you
would like to use. Dip the onions in simmering water for a few seconds to make
them brighter and more pliable. Dry them, cut them in half lengthwise, and tie
them onto the necks of the penguins.
If you like, you can create a fringe effect by making several 1/4-inch scissor
cuts on the ends of the scarves.
Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate. They will keep that way for a day or so.