My grandmother would invite us over for “cocktails and hors d’oeuvres” and sometimes dinner would follow. She never said the word, “appetizers”. How boring. Although the hors d’oeuvres were often stale Triscuits and a can of Cheez-Whiz or or a tub of WisPride port wine cheddar, not exactly fancy stuff. The cocktails were a base of vodka, whiskey or rum (your choice) and an array of mixers: cranberry juice, ginger ale, Coke and 7-Up. But sometimes, if it was a holiday or the night after a big party, there were other treats on the table.
This was the 1970’s, Swedish Meatballs and fondue were all the rage. There may have been some leftovers of these exotic delights, but I was never game to try them. My grandmother was up on the latest party food, and sometimes attempted to make an easy recipe. But she was mostly interested in the entertaining part of being a hostess. Cooking wasn’t her favorite thing. Anything canned, pre-made and easy was exactly what she liked. Fresh fruits and vegetables were not high on her list. In fact, she famously hated any type of green salad.
So, this little gem of a recipe was always a bit of a surprise. Maybe I am forgetting who actually made and brought them to the party, but they always seem to have been there especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas buffets. Stuffed Celery is one of those indulgences that actually makes me feel like I am eating something somewhat healthy. After all, the vehicle for the cream cheese and diced green olives is fresh celery. What’s not to like about that? The recipe follows the formula for easy entertaining: few ingredients, some in jars, no cooking required, make ahead. It is actually one that I look forward to preparing and eating at this celebratory time of year.
If you are a child of the 1970’s and frequented family events with older relatives, perhaps you remember this fancy hors d’eouvre, too. I hope that you will make this elegant but oh so easy treat and pair it with the cocktail of your choice. Enjoy it in good health (fresh celery!) and Cheers to this holiday season!
1 bunch celery
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
3/4 cup green olives with pimentos (NOT the fancy kind from the olive bar)
a few dashes Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
Wash and cut the celery into 2 inch pieces, discard the leaves and the root end. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and the mayonnaise. Chop the green olives with pimentos and add to the cream cheese mixture. Add Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste. Using a butter knife, spread cream cheese mixture into each one of the celery pieces. Line up the filled celery on a fancy plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.