I am all over the owl trend. (I’ve been semi-obsessed with owls for a while, ever since a friend gave me a copy of Wesley the Owl – a book that made me laugh and weep and be utterly amazed.)
So, owl-o-phile that I am, I was thrilled to see all the adorable owl appetizer plates on the interweb (like this cute little guy).
For my owl meat & cheese trays I used Provolone, Colby-Jack, and Cheddar cheeses; and for the meats, ham and salami. Really, you can use any meat and cheese, and layer as you wish. The results will be just as adorable, because of course, it’s all about the googly owl-eyes!
The owls are super easy to assemble. For implements, you’ll need round cookie cutters (1 ½”, 2” and 3”), a smallish heart-shaped cutter (about 2”, or a teardrop if you have it), and a knife.
The owls are made of a total of roughly 8 deli-standard slices of cheese, or cheese plus meat, for each owl, plus two black olives (for the pupils). You can use whatever you like or have on hand, ideal slices that are about 1/8 of an inch thick – the paper thin stuff is too difficult to handle. Here’s the breakout of what I used:
- Body: 3 square slices of cheese (about 3 1/2” square, a standard packaged slice), with a slight curve cut out of one side of each
- Feet: 1 2” cheese heart, cut in half (or two teardrops, if you have a teardrop cutter)
- Wings: 1 large round slice of cheese, or one of your square slices cut with a cookie cutter, cut in half
- Feathers: Cheese – 6 cheese full circles and 9 half circles, cut with 1 1/2” round cookie cutter
- Meat: 4 full circles and 8 half circles, cut with 1 1/2” round cookie cutter
- Eyes: 2 3”cheese circles
- Beak: 1 small triangle, cut from the scraps
At the bottom of your platter, place one of the square slices with the curve cut out, points down. Place the other slice opposite, points facing up.
Position the “feet” in the middle of the bottom slice.
Place three of the full cheese circles across the bottom, slightly overlapping, to form the first row of feathers. Place another row directly above the first.
Follow with 4 full meat circles, slightly overlapping.
Alternate with rows of the half circles of meat and cheese.
Position the beak in the middle of the last row.
Add the large half circle wings.
Place the eyes, overlapping them a bit for a googly effect.
If you’re ready to serve, add the olives – cutting a slice off the bottom of each so they’ll stay put. Otherwise, wrap up your tray and place in the refrigerator – you can do this up to a full day before your party. Add the olives just before serving.
Serve with crackers, or even better, warm crescent biscuits and condiments to make tiny sandwiches!
Have an all owl party!
Michelle Palm created the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen blog after discovering a lack of cocktail-style jelly shot recipes. Look for her posts here, and check her Tablespoon member profile often to see what she’s already gelled up!