Summer fruit and the living is easy

Submitted by Judy on Thu, 06/30/2011 - 10:18pm.

Attention shoppers. A new fruit in town will hit the shelves any day
now. Check Ralphs and Trader Joe’s for a white apricot called
“angelcot,” a trademarked name from Freida’s, the specialty produce
company headquartered in Los Alamitos.

And here’s a recipe any busy cook will love: “Split open an apricot, dip
it in Cholula Hot Sauce – you know, the one with the wooden top – and
eat!” says Karen Caplan, Freida’s daughter and president of the company.
“It’s a delicious combination of hot and sweet.”

As Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, would say, “How easy is that?”

Now in its fiftieth year, the company was the brainchild of Freida
Caplan, who started as a cashier at the produce market and began selling
a neglected stack of mushrooms near the cashier stand. They took off.

“Unable to find enough mushrooms to supply her growing customer base,
she did something really wild and unheard of,” Karen writes in “The
Purple Kiwi Cookbook” (Favorite Recipes Press), a tantalizing recipe
collection based on the exotic produce –– from Asian pears to wood ear
mushrooms – that Freida’s markets today.

“She began visiting growers. No one at the produce market had ever
thought of that before.”

Why the Purple Kiwi Cookbook?

“My mom introduced the kiwifruit to America in 1962, first imported as
Chinese gooseberries and renamed it.” Karen noted. And the company color
is purple, because it was the only color the sign painter had on his truck!

“The Purple Kiwi Cookbook” demystifies cactus pears, horned melons,
lychees, passion fruit, quince, star fruit – all those exotics you’ve
seen in the market and wondered, now what do I do with this?

“Do I have to cook it? Do I peel it? Is it spicy or mild?” says Karen.
“Our visual glossary at the back of the cookbook gives you product
information for over 100 items.”

And how is the company doing in these challenging economic times? “We’re
growing,” Karen asserts. “Everyone has to eat. People want food that
tastes good. That’s what my mom told the apple growers in Washington
State 25 years ago when she was invited to speak.

“She said, ‘Consumers don’t buy apples because they’re red. They want
apples that taste good. My mom changed the entire apple category when
she introduced a non-red apple with fantastic taste called Fuji.

“Ten years later I told the apple growers of California the same thing.
Focus on the consumer.”

It’s peach season and what could be yummier than a peach tart for
summer? “This is the easiest recipe in the world,” says Karen. “We love
it with our trademarked donut peaches, but you could substitute with any
peach or those angelcots coming out soon.”

Check out and Karen’s blog, for more recipes.


From “The Purple Kiwi Cookbook” by Karen Caplan

1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1/2 (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to
package directions
ll-purpose flour, as needed
6 to 7 ripe Donut peaches, peeled, seeds removed and thinly sliced
3/4 cup apricot preserves
oasted Coconut Cream

1. Beat egg white and water with a fork until well blended.

2. Roll out pastry sheet to 10X16-inch rectangle on lightly floured
surface. Cut dough into quarters. Cut each quarter into halves
vertically to make 8 rectangles. Place 1 rectangle on large ungreased
baking sheet. Brush edges of dough with egg white mixture. Fold edges
over 1/4 inch on all sides, pressing into dough. Flatten all edges with
tines of a fork. Arrange row of sliced peaches overlapping inside each
rectangle of dough. Place tarts 1 inch apart on baking sheet.

3. Heat preserves in small saucepan until melted. Brush liberally over
peaches. Bake at 375˚ 28-30 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden
brown Cool tarts on a rack. Serve warm or cooled topped with Toasted
Coconut Cream. 8 servings

Toasted Coconut Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sugar to taste, if desired

Beat cream with electric mixer on high until thick. Stir in coconut,
vanilla and sugar. Makes about 1 cup