Hiatus 2016

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

It’s time for our annual Special Fork summer hiatus, when we rest and recharge. We’ll return on Tuesday, September 6, after Labor Day.

With a whole month of summer to go, here are some tips and recipes from the Special Fork archives and recipe database to see you through August.

Hot Weather Food Safety Tips:
Before you embark on your next picnic, take heed of tips from a registered dietitian on how to prepare, pack and keep food safe. Continue Reading »

Penne with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Feta and OlivesBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Dave and Lynn had a baby recently, a new brother for their three-year-old. And I’m reminded again about how much effort it takes to feed a family while working and dealing with childcare.

When Dave and his brother were growing up, we managed to cook practically every night, between Steve and me. We couldn’t afford an au pair or other daily support, so Steve and I did the cooking together or took turns, after an often-stressful day at the office.

Special Fork was created as a way to help families struggling to put dinner on the table. And while we try to make all dishes as simple as possible, some fit the bill for busy parents better than others. Continue Reading »

Make Mine Mini

Salade Niçoise Bites

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’ve had quail eggs many times in fancy restaurants and I do like them, but I never thought about cooking them at home. That is, until I was overnighted six cartons of these tiny speckled beauties from Manchester Farms of South Carolina.

At last fall’s Les Dames d’Escoffier Conference in Charleston, we all received a pair of nifty quail scissors from the quail farm (it snips off the top of the egg so you don’t have to deal with cracking these miniscule gems with clumsy fingers). The gift included an offer of quail eggs to put the scissors to use.

I came across the forgotten scissors when I cleaned my utensil drawer recently, and on the chance that the offer was still good, I emailed to ask, and promptly received my special stash. Continue Reading »

Fig pita pizza CmFaV2IWEAAmf2q

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Do you know the saying, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” That’s how I feel when I shop at the farmers’ market in the summer. Everything looks good so I overbuy; then I’m desperately trying to use up the produce before they go bad.

I don’t like to waste money, but equally abhorrent is to waste the resources required to produce nutritious food—the depletion of the land, the labor of the farmers, the energy required for production and transportation—only to toss the results into the compost bin.

One way I try to stay ahead of the game is by making a list of the produce as I transfer them from my farmers’ market carryall into my refrigerator. This gives me an inventory of what needs to be used and I start with the most fragile stuff first. I also try to store each vegetable properly and bag all the leafy vegetables in twist-tied plastic bags so they don’t dry out in the fridge. Continue Reading »

A Star-Spangled Fourth

Puff Pastry StarsBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Our gas grill of more than ten years is on life support; so we’re getting a new Weber before the Fourth of July—we’ll be all fired up and ready to go for the holiday.

We’re keeping it simple with burgers and hot dogs, salads and chips. And for an All-American dessert, I’m baking up some puff pastry stars for a garnish. I’m not sure how I’ll use them yet, but here are some options: Continue Reading »

Neven Maguire’s Multi Seed Wheaten Bread

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Maybe you’re not into bread baking in the heat of summer. In San Francisco, our weather has been in the low 60s most days, so it’s not insane to fire up the oven.

Having returned from Ireland last month, I’ve been struggling with brown bread bread withdrawal. This iconic Irish bread seems to be served everywhere in the Emerald Isle, and it’s consistently good—moist, dense and delicious, without a hint of bitterness.

The brown bread recipe below comes from Ireland’s celebrity chef and TV cooking star Neven Maguire, chef-owner of the MacNean House & Restaurant in Blacklion. County Cavan. Continue Reading »

Ballyvolane House Rhubarb Martini

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” begins the opening line in the haunting 1938 novel, Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. The protagonist and narrator then vividly describes the exquisite grounds of this grand fictional estate.

It’s my first thought as we drive up to the beautiful, historic Ballyvolane House, a country house in Castlelyons, County Cork, and family home to Justin and Jenny Green and their children. On vacation recently, Steve and I stayed for two nights, opting for dinner on one of those nights, and enjoying the full Irish breakfast both days. Continue Reading »

Soy Sauce ChickenBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Steve and I returned from Ireland last Tuesday night and I’m still dealing with the eight-hour time difference, sleepy during the day and waking up at odd hours of the night. The first part of my trip was work for my PR consulting client, Ornua Foods North America Inc. (Kerrygold butter and cheeses). The second half, when Steve joined me, was pure vacation and a chance to fall in love with Ireland, on my own free time. You’ll hear more about this beautiful country and its culinary champions beginning next week.

Last week was all about getting our San Francisco life together after being away—back to the usual gardening and housekeeping, making a Frozen cake and cookies for my granddaughter’s birthday party on Saturday, and of course, returning to daily cooking. Continue Reading »

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