In the Test Kitchen: Cocktails & Crudités

Frieda’s resident culinary adventurists are tasked to find recipes that best feature their trending fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Here’s the latest from inside our test kitchen:

Are you ready to party? We have great, healthy recipes for cocktails and crudités/appetizers for your holiday entertaining. Here are a few of our favorite quick-and-easy ones.

Meyer Lemon Drop Martini

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Meyer Lemon Drop Martini

We take the classic lemon drop martini recipe to another level by using Meyer Lemon. The Meyer Lemon Drop Martini is the perfect blend of sweet and tart with just a hint of herbal note. It’s no surprise Meyer Lemon is a favorite among chefs, mixologists, and party guests everywhere!

Hint: Infuse the zest into the simple syrup–or even soak the rind in vodka overnight–to add extra citrus oomph.

Chive and Black Garlic Cream Cheese Spread

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Chive and Black Garli Cream Cheese Spread - Cookistry

Everyone seems to be bringing the same old spread to the party: the French Onion Dip, the Spinach Dip, or that little jar of herbed cheese from the supermarket.

Bring something different to the literal table with this Chive and Black Garlic Cream Cheese Spread.  Simply mix a few cloves of Frieda’s Black Garlic with chives and cream cheese, and you’re ready to go. If you can make it the night before, the flavors meld together even more.

The blend of cool cream cheese, sweet chives, and umami Black Garlic was perfection. We can neither confirm nor deny that we licked the bowl clean…

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Chive and Black Garlic Cream Cheese Spread

Chive & Black Garlic Cream Cheese Spread

Original recipe and photo by Cookistry


8 ounces cream cheese (optional: light cream cheese), at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk (optional: low-fat milk)
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
2 cloves black garlic, minced


Combine cream cheese and milk in small bowl, mashing until smooth. Add more milk, if needed, to bring to spreading consistency. Add chives and garlic. Mix well to combine. Taste, then add more chives, if desired. Serve right away, or chilled, on crackers or crostini. Cookistry recommends covering and chilling overnight so flavors can better blend together.

Analyzed for 16 1-tablespoon servings. Calories 50, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 50mg, Total Carbohydrate 1g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 1g, Protein 1g

Analyzed with light cream cheese and low-fat milk. Calories 30, Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 50mg, Total Carbohydrate 1g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 1g, Protein 1g

Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Paste)

Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Paste)

Dulce de Membrillo or quince paste is a fruit preserve made of quince and sugar, typical of Spain. It is made into a rectangular block, then served with toast for breakfast or on a cheese platter with mild, soft cheeses like Brie, as well as hard, salty ones like manchego.


6 quince, washed, cored, and cut into large chunks
Juice of 1 lemon (such as seedless lemon)
1 vanilla bean
Up to 3 cups sugar


Place quince in large pot, cover with water, and add lemon juice. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds, then add seeds and pod to pot. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer until quince is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Keep quince submerged by adding boiling water and returning to a simmer.

Pick out vanilla pod and discard. Drain quince pieces. Pass quince through food mill or purée in food processor container until smooth.

Measure quince and make note of amount. Transfer to large nonstick pan.

Add sugar to match amount of quince. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for about 1 hour. Mixture will thicken into a glossy, rosy mass.

Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread quince paste about half-inch thick. Set aside to cool completely.

To cut, transfer membrillo-filled paper to cutting board. Dip knife into hot water before cutting into small, bite-size squares. Store membrillo in parchment-lined plastic or glass container. Put parchment between layers.

Will store in refrigerator for months.

To serve, bring to room temperature.

Spiced Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas

Spiced Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes & Chickpeas


3 pounds Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 15-ounce can low-sodium chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed and drained
3/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped (about half a medium onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
Juice and zest of 1 lime, plus more juice to taste
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Carefully add purple sweet potato chunks and cook until just fork tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain well, and add to a large bowl with chickpeas, and onion.

In small bowl, whisk together garlic, ginger, thyme, lime juice and zest, melted butter, olive oil, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour mix over sweet potato mixture and toss to coat.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread sweet potato mixture evenly in single layer. Bake in upper third of oven 35-40 minutes, gently stirring halfway through for consistent browning.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Sprinkle with additional thyme leaves.

Adapted from

Analyzed to serve 8. Calories 300, Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 350mg, Total Carbohydrate 56g, Dietary Fiber 9g, Sugars 12g, Protein 5g, Vitamin C 40%, Iron 15%