Between now and the New Year I'm dedicating my Fridays to the cocktail hour. I'm going to explore appetizers, little plates, tapas, and all manner of late in the day snacks, nibbles, finger food, and the occasional libation to wash it all down with. I'm excited, this is my favorite way to eat, whether I'm throwing a holiday party or just hanging out with the nightly news.
This week I'm injecting some whimsy into the cocktail hour. I think we can all agree that penguins are the cutest things ever. Remember The March of the Penguins? These little guys are so earnest and so dedicated, we could all learn a thing or two from them.
These ingenious little penguins are made with two sizes of black olive, some cream cheese, and a carrot.
I made this little fellow, and then I had to make an army of friends to keep him company. Making olive and cream cheese penguins is a slippery slope. (No one knows this better than penguins.)
I guarantee these guys will be the hit of your next party. Don't worry, they are easy to make, and they don't have to be prefect. Their imperfections and variations just make them more adorable. You can have dapper ones, scruffy ones, portly ones, sly ones and clueless ones...you'll love them all.
Like I said your only problem might be knowing when to stop. It's quite a stress-buster to sit down with a glass of wine and make these. You can knock out a waddle (that's what it's called, I looked it up) of penguins in no time.
My friend Judith used to make these radish mice for our kids during the holidays, but you don't need to be a kid to appreciate them. I like to let them roam around a cheese plate.
I could only find round radishes, so my mice look a little chubby. If you come across oval ones, your mice will look even more like mice. Either way they're pretty darn cute. Both the penguins and the mice can be made earlier in the day and refrigerated until party time, just make sure they're covered. But they don't keep well overnight.
To make an Olive and Cream Cheese Penguin---
You need a slice of carrot with a divot cut out of it, a large olive, cut in half, a medium olive, a small ball of cream cheese and a long toothpick or cocktail skewer.
The cream cheese gets stuffed between the two halves of the big olive, and then set on top of the carrot 'feet'.
Cut the leftover bit of carrot into half again, and put it inside the puckered hole of the medium olive to form the beak. Put a long toothpick or cocktail skewer through the head.
Put the toothpick down through the cream cheese body and into the carrot.
Lower the penguin's head gently down to meet his body.
The penguins are adapted from allrecipes.com.
To make a radish mouse---
Select a radish; it can be big or small, round or oval, but look for a nice long tail. Chop off the leafy end, this will be your mouse's nose.
Cut a small slice off the bottom so your mouse will be stable. The exact place you make your cut will determine how you mouse is positioned, nose up, or nose down,
Cut small slits on each side of the head for the ears.
Insert small slices into the slits for the ears. You can take slices from another radish.
Is anybody else out there crazy enough to make these? Any other ideas for party animals?
One year ago today---