Category Archives: Fruits

Skip the Donut, Fry an Apple!

May 28, 2005

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EXT. SOMEWHERE IN RURAL MISSISSIPPI–EARLY MORNING

Giant tents can be seen from quite a distance on the flat, Southern landscape. Dozens of WORKERS unload heavy, shiny lights from their big-rig trucks. Other FOLKS mill about a couple of steamy, catering trucks, discussing the day’s workload over their cups of coffee and donuts.

Row after row of trailers are lined up, indistinguishable from one another as PEOPLE pass in and out with clipboards and headset walkies. One trailer, however, wafts with the smell of frying dough and apples…

INT. TRAILER

Caryn has already made the new kitchen her home. She stands comfortably over the small stove, dropping rings into oil bubbling madly in her cast iron skillet.

Mr. R. lounges on the couch, script in hand and a napkin tucked into his shirt collar.

MR. R.

I can’t believe you brought an iron skillet all the way across the country.

CARYN

I would’ve shipped it, but I didn’t know where we were going.

(she pauses)

I’m still not quite sure where we are.

MR. R.

Me neither. All I know is that there isn’t a Starbucks in sight and Lauren has been on a latte-deprived rampage all week.

Caryn winces at the thought as she drains the rings. A timid knock sounds at the door before it is cracked open. The very young, shy SECOND SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR peeks her head in.

2ND 2ND AD

Mr. R.? I think they’re ready for you in make-up.

Mr. R. rolls the script up under his arm and walks over to the girl in the door. She is clearly enamored with the star.

Caryn piles some crisp, doughy apple rings onto a napkin.

CARYN

Wait. Take these with you!

MR. R.

Ah! Perfect. Beats the heck out of craft services.

The 2nd 2nd looks at Caryn in wonder, but is afraid to speak. The pair heads off down the row to find another trailer. A couple CREW MEMBERS wander by nonchalantly, but as Mr. R. passes, they can’t help a quick glance back.

BATTER-FRIED APPLE RINGS

The tartness of a Granny Smith apple will cut through the cakey dough. The batter isn’t sweet, so you might want to add sugar. Or use a sweeter apple, like a Golden Delicious.

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 TB. shortening

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

4 medium apples, pared and cored

vegetable oil, for frying

confectioner’s sugar

1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with a fork or two knives until crumbly. Add egg and milk. Whisk until batter is smooth.

2. Heat 1/2″ of oil in large, heavy-duty skillet until hot enough to fry. Test by dropping a tiny dab of batter into oil. If too hot, batter will burn before apples are cooked, so adjust temperature accordingly while frying.

3. Cut apples into 1/4″ slices. Dip apples into batter until well coated. Drop into hot oil. Fry until golden and apples are cooked through, about 2 minutes each side.

4. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar just before serving.

Yield: About 2 dozen rings.

News, News: Cherries!

May 8, 2005

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EXT. FARMER’S MARKET–DAY

Caryn strolls the aisles in her wide-brimmed sunhat. Her shoulder bag sags with the weight of the vegetables and fruits.

One table has a giant sign that reads “First of the Season.” Cherries of all shades of red are piled around the sign. Caryn stops and samples one.

CARYN

A little too ripe, huh?

The other PATRONS pay no attention to her as they shove handfuls of cherries in their bags.

ANOTHER TABLE

Caryn squeezes a cherry to test its firmness and then bites into it.

CARYN

Mm. Perfect.

The CHERRY MAN smiles at her review. She starts to fill a bag.

CHERRY MAN

My only week of cherries this year.

Caryn stops abruptly.

CARYN

What?!

CHERRY MAN

Yeah, all the rain. My crop is already rotting.

CARYN

No!

The cherry man nods apologetically before helping another CUSTOMER who seems to be scrutinizing each cherry before he bags it. Caryn resumes filling her bag, saddened by the news.

INT. MR. R.’S KITCHEN–LATER

Caryn shells some fresh English peas as Miss A. bounds in.

MISS A.

Oo! Cherries!

She grabs a heaping handful of cherries from the bowl that Caryn had placed on the counter.

MISS A. (CONT’D)

I just love cherries.

Caryn tries to ignore her and continues her work. The cherries in Miss A.’s hand are gone in no time and she reaches for another handful.

MISS A. (CONT’D)

I’ve gained three whole pounds from eating here. I guess it’s a good thing I’m heading to the set tomorrow.

This catches Caryn’s attention.

CARYN

They’re starting the shoot?

MISS A.

Finally! One of my scenes is first, of course.

Miss A. pops yet another cherry in her mouth.

MISS A. (CONT’D)

I have to finish packing.

She grabs another handful of cherries before leaving. The once-filled bowl is reduced by half, but Caryn can’t help feeling invigorated by Miss A.’s news.

Yes, it’s true. Many cherry crops in California have been devastated by the late rains. Get what you can at LA Farmers Markets now!

Loquacity and Loquats!

April 20, 2005

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EXT. MR. R’S MANSION–DRIVEWAY–MORNING

Caryn’s Honda screeches to a halt and she hops out, but her coat belt catches in the door and she gets yanked back.

CARYN

Ow!

She struggles with the belt to no avail. When she finally pulls it free, her bag and all its contents go flying. It lands off the driveway, spilling everywhere. Caryn growls and slams the car door closed.

She is crouched down, picking up her stuff when Lauren comes out of the house with her cell phone plastered to her ear.

LAUREN

Yeah, what a prima donna! He’ll be the only one on set with a personal chef, that’s for sure.

Caryn gasps, but Lauren does not see her in the shade of a large tree. Lauren sits in the leather seat of her shiny, black Mercedes and swings her stiletto’d heels in.

LAUREN (CONT’D)

Oh, believe me. I’ll take care of her. She’ll be miserable before she even gets there.

She closes the door, ending Caryn’s eavesdropping. Lauren peels the car out of the driveway as Caryn falls back and sits with her legs stretched out under the tree. She sighs and looks up at the sky.

Her view, however, is blocked by the heavy branches hanging just above her head. For the first time, Caryn notices that she sits under a tree loaded with ripe, golden fruit. Her dismay is immediately replaced with wonder.

CARYN

What do we have here?

Loquats Poached in a Light Apple Syrup

More delicate than poached pears, loquats can be served as a light dessert or used as a garnish to other confections.

1-1/2 cups apple juice

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

40-50 peeled loquats, cores and seeds removed

1. Bring apple juice, sugar and cinnamon to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

2. Add loquats and simmer until soft, 3-5 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Serves 4.

Mood Lifter: Cherimoya!

April 12, 2005

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INT. MR. R’S MANSION–KITCHEN–LATE AFTERNOON

Dishes and serving platters are lined along the edge of the counter, waiting to serve the evening’s fare. Something fragrant simmers in a large pot. Freshly cleaned spring vegetables lay near the skillet that will bring them to life.

Caryn sits at her table, away from the stove that will soon call her. A heart-shaped, green fruit is sliced open before her. She picks up her spoon and is about to scoop out the creamy, white flesh when Mr. R. enters from the dining room.

He doesn’t seem to notice Caryn as he takes a bottle of water from the fridge, but in one swift movement, he spins around to face her.

MR. R.

What’re you eating?

Caryn winces at the abrupt inquiry.

CARYN

A cherimoya.

MR. R.

A what?

CARYN

Some people call it a custard apple.

Mr. R. is silent, deep in thought about something as he looks at the fruit. Caryn waits skeptically until he suddenly snaps out of it.

MR. R.

Can I try it?

She attempts a smile.

CARYN

Oh, yeah. Of course.

Mr. R. opens a drawer and shuffles through it. Caryn gets up and opens a different drawer. She hands him the spoon she pulls from it. He accepts it without a word.

She returns to the table and gives him half of the fruit. They scoop around the seeds and fill their spoons with sweet pulp.

Caryn chews slowly, trying not to watch her mercurial employer. He swallows his first bite and softly nods his approval before plunging his spoon back into the fruit.

Mr. R. devours the cherimoya in silence and is gone as quickly as he appeared. Caryn pauses for a second to make sure he doesn’t come back and then finally exhales.

Cherimoya

I’ve heard a cherimoya best described as a cross between a banana and a pineapple. In California, they can be found in farmer’s markets and some grocery stores between November and June. Once the fruit is ripe, I like to refrigerate it until cold and then eat it like ice cream.