Special equipment: Teapot Tea Towel Satin Ribbon Tea Strainer (optional) Glass canning jar Glass jars Bamboo placemats Ribbons Raffia Square of mesh screen or scrap of cotton fabric Rope twine, tasseled tie, or metal wire
You will need:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the sugar and butter, adding the sugar to the softened butter gradually. Blend in flour and salt, mixing well. Add vanilla. Press the batter into an 8-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle the nuts and currants or dried cherries on top, lightly pressing them into the batter. Bake on center rack of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool and cut into 24 tea-sized bars. To make Gift: Place shortbread in the bottom of teapot. Take 4 corners of tea towel and gently place it into the teapot, folding the ends of towel into the teapot, covering shortbread. Replace the lid and tie a satin ribbon around the teapot's handle. Add tea strainer for decoration.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except peppers, olive oil and salt. Add the peppers a portion at a time, tasting after each addition, until mixture reaches desired heat. Toss well to combine flavors. Add salt to taste. Marinate in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 1 hour. Add olive oil and toss to coat mixture. Salsa will keep for up to 1 week in refrigerator. To package: Spoon chile salsa into glass canning jars, leaving an 1/8-inch space at the top. Replace lid. Lay mesh screen or cotton fabric on top. Wrap a piece of rope twine, thin metal wire, or a tasseled tie around lid. Yield: about 2 1/2 to 3 cups
In a small bowl, combine capers, thyme, red pepper flakes, oregano, bay leaves, black pepper, zest, and lemon juice. Place 1 layer of assorted olives in the bottom of the glass jar. Top with herb mixture (about a 1-inch layer). Alternate layers of olives and herb mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch space at the top of the jar. Fill with olive oil and seal with a lid. Allow to marinate in refrigerator 10 to 12 days before giving. To package: Make sure the jar is tightly sealed. Tie ribbon around the bottle neck. Roll the bottle in the bamboo placemat. Using several strands of raffia, cut to the same length, wrap them around the placemat, then tie in a bow or knot.
Courtesy B. Smith, Martha Gill, author of "Modern Food Gifts," (Longstreet Press, 1997)