Rania Harris stopped by Pittsburgh Today Live to show off some great holiday gift ideas!

Spicy Thyme and Garlic Oil

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 (4-inch) thyme sprig


Combine all ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thermometer registers 200°. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes (do not allow temperature to rise above 220°). Cool to room temperature.

Strain oil mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids and pour into a decorative bottle with a tight fitting top.

This is oil is best if used within 1 month.

Yield: 1 cup

Christmas Tapenade

  • ¾ cup pitted chopped Kalamata olives
  • ¾ cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • ½ cup drained and chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • ½ cup Greek olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • Freshly ground black pepper
 to taste
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently until blended. Store in glass jars with pretty lids in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature.

Yield: 2 cups (2 – 8 ounce glass jelly jars)

Pack in pretty jars with festive ribbons. This is great served on baguettes of French bread with goat cheese for a quick hors d’oeuvre. I also enjoy using this as a relish on grilled fish. I also steamed baby new potatoes ~ cut them into halves and scoop out a small amount of the potato and fill the potato with the tapenade, as another quick hors d’ouevre.

Sun-Dried Tomato Jam

  • 3 medium onions – cut into halves and then thinly sliced
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 (7-ounce) jars oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Sea salt to taste


Cook onions in olive oil with sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic, covered, in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and pale golden, about 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes, dried cherries, red wine vinegar and red wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, 20 to 30 minutes. Add in chopped fresh rosemary and season to taste with sea salt. Serve at room temperature.

Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Pack in pretty jars with festive ribbons. This jam is great served with pork, chicken or lamb. It’s also a great served with Brie and baguettes of French bread for a quick hors d’oeuvre.

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