A gift that takes minutes to make may be remembered for years

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas season there are many occasions when a hostess gift or mini-remembrance is appropriate. Homemade food gifts are often greatly appreciated, unexpected treats that extend and enhance the informal ''nibbling'' throughout the holidays.

Some of these edible gifts take only minutes to prepare, yet attractively presented in suitable containers are sometimes remembered long after they are received.

Any busy yuletide hostess would welcome a terrine of homemade pate, a generous cheese ball, a fancy dip to go with crackers or crudites, or condiments and sauces to accompany holiday turkeys and hams.

Mock Pate de Fois Gras 1/2 pound chicken livers 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup onion, chopped Parsley for garnish

Cook chicken livers in 1 tablespoon butter or margarine until centers are pink. Process livers in food processor with steel blade or put through food grinder, using fine knife.

Combine with mayonnaise, horse-radish, paprika, and salt. Place in a crock. Chill. Let sit for a day or two to improve flavor. Garnish with onion and parsley. Delicious with crackers or crudites. Serves 6.

Christmas Cheese Ball 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature 1 6-ounce package blue cheese, room temperature 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce Chopped fresh parsley Paprika Chopped walnuts

Combine cheeses with garlic salt and Worcestershire. Form into ball and roll in parsley, then paprika and walnuts.

Holiday Cranberry Relish 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup water 2 cups fresh cranberries 1/3 cup prepared mincemeat 1/4 cup chopped pecans

In medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat to boiling over medium heat. Add cranberries. Reduce heat and cook just until skins pop, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in mincemeat and pecans. Cover and refrigerate. Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

Olives With Oregano and Garlic in Oil 4 cups oil-cured black olives 6 whole cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns 1 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes 2 cups salad oil, preferably olive

Put about 1/2 cup olives in 1-quart glass jar. Add a garlic clove, some rosemary, oregano, a few crushed peppercorns, and a few hot pepper flakes. Continue layering ingredients, except oil, until the jar is filled. Add oil almost to the brim. Seal tightly. Let stand a week before using. Makes 1 quart.

My Greek husband prepares olives this way. They taste so good that people often eat them like peanuts. Put some in a Greek tossed salad or serve them with cubes of Greek feta cheese.

Spiced Walnuts 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons chili powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric Pinch cayenne 3 cups walnuts 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine oil, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne in large skillet. Heat over low heat until oil is quite hot, but do not let oil smoke. Remove from heat.

Add walnuts to oil. Stir until coated. Spread walnuts in paper towel-lined shallow baking pan. Bake in 300-degree F. oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. Sprinkle with salt. Cool before storing in covered container. May be stored up to 1 month. Makes 3 cups.

Creamy Shrimp Dip 1 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons ketchup 2 tablespoons minced onion 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 6-ounce bag frozen cooked tiny shrimp, thawed according to package directions and drained

Blend mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, onion, Worcestershire, and cayenne in medium-size bowl. Add shrimp and mix well.

Refrigerate up to 5 hours before serving. Serve with raw mushrooms, zucchini slices, celery sticks, or crackers. Makes 2 1/3 cups.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.