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Last Minute Dips for the Big Game 300x225 Last Minute Dips for the Big GameBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Whether you’re into the game or just in it for the commercials; whether you’re hosting a party, going to a potluck, or home alone; we’ll all be noshing on snacks on Sunday, glued to the big-screen TV.

No football snacking lineup is complete without a few dips. Whether with chips or veggies, something crunchy teamed with a creamy dunk can be your menu’s MVP.

Some Dip Trivia
Dips came of age in the U.S. a decade before Super Bowl I. They emerged when cocktail parties became chic in the 1950s and required finger foods that could be consumed while milling about, cocktail glass in hand, according to Kitchen Culture, Fifty Years of Food Fads, by Gerry Schremp. Continue Reading »

Rustichella d’Abruzzo 300x225 Some Faves from the Winter Fancy Food ShowBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

There are many ways to develop a 30-minute prep recipe, as you know, if you follow our recipes on Special Fork. Using no-fuss meats like ground beef or chicken is one timesaver. Another is to build a recipe around bold-flavored ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes that pack enough of a punch that few additional ingredients are required.

Still another way to streamline prep time is with specialty foods. Prepared marinades, meal kits and sauce mixes bring the world to your table – making biryani, bulgogi or Thai green curry as easy as opening a package and adding a few fresh ingredients. Continue Reading »

My New Favorite Salad

Sunny’s Salad 2 300x225 My New Favorite SaladBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I wasn’t expecting Sunny to contribute a dish to our annual potluck. In recent times, with both sons grown, our New Year celebration has evolved from my cooking the traditional Japanese dishes by myself, to everyone pitching in with an Asian dish — no longer just Japanese — and cooking together in the Special Fork kitchen.

Sunny, my daughter-in-law’s mother, was visiting from Thailand and as a guest, wasn’t expected to participate in the cooking. But when she arrived with a bag of groceries and began making a salad, it was a welcome bonus!

I knew from the ingredients she unpacked — mint, lemongrass, chiles — that I would love this salad. Actually, it was so good, I had several helpings. Continue Reading »

Oshi zushi 2015 300x225 Super simple Sushi for the New Year!By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Years ago, my English lit professor, who had lived in Japan, observed with amusement that the Japanese in Hawaii were more “Japanese” than they were in Japan. That puzzled me because we all felt as American as anybody else.

It’s through the years that I’ve learned to make sense of Dr. Hurley’s remark — especially during the start of the New Year, and around our food practices. The Japanese like my grandparents, who immigrated to Hawaii in the early 1900s, brought with them their food traditions. Those traditions got stuck in time.

While the Japanese in the land of their birth may have evolved or changed, the isolated Japanese in Hawaii were still embracing the customs they remembered from childhood, with adaptations based on the availability of Japanese ingredients in their new homeland. And my grandparents passed those food traditions on to my parents, who passed them on to me. Continue Reading »

Easy Christmas Centerpiece

Snowballs 300x225 Easy Christmas Centerpiece

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Truth be told, what I like most about hosting a party is not the cooking, but the decorating. And every year, for my Christmas Eve table, I plan a special table setting to delight my family.

Last year, I made moss tabletop Christmas trees. This year I’m creating a woodland theme with a table “runner” made of Noble Fir sprigs – free scraps of greenery I rescued from my Christmas tree lot, destined for the compost bin. I’ll add snowballs made from Styrofoam, tea lights and partridges bought years ago from my favorite florist.

As the years go by, I’m getting more practical about china, using my white everyday dishes that can go into the dishwasher, so we’re not cleaning up until all hours, hand-washing plates after dinner. But I’ll use good crystal and silverware to make the table sparkle. And I always set the table with cloth napkins, which go directly into the washer when the table is cleared, to prevent stains. Continue Reading »

Holiday Recipe Helpers

Rich Espresso Brownies 300x225 Holiday Recipe HelpersBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

By the time my leftovers have been bagged and my turkey carcass simmered for broth, I’m on to the next holiday. Our Christmas tree (a real beauty this year) is half decorated, with ornament boxes still scattered throughout the living room. But by the end of this week, the tree will be dressed, the wreath hung, the house made holiday-ready, and my recipes gathered for upcoming December events.

I must have about 500 cookbooks that I can turn to for culinary inspiration and I save December issues of national magazines from year to year, for further ideas. But of course, when it comes to timesaving, my go-to source is our Special Fork recipe database with its 30-minute prep requirement (cooking time may be extra). Continue Reading »

Thanksgiving 2014 300x225 After the Feast: 13 Terrific Turkey SandwichesBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Growing up, did you family do this at Thanksgiving? We would all sit down to dinner and after the pumpkin pie, we’d leave the table, do the dishes and keep the food out for second and third helpings to enjoy as the night wore on.

Returning to the feast was part of the special ritual of the Thanksgiving meal.

No more! We’ve learned since that we were courting foodborne illnesses. And while no one ever got sick, we know better than to take chances.

The rule: USDA says that you should cut up the turkey, separate stuffing and refrigerate in shallow containers within two hours of cooking. Use leftovers within three to four days. Continue Reading »

Some Easy Thanksgiving Sides

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pecans 300x225 Some Easy Thanksgiving SidesBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Isn’t Thanksgiving the best food holiday, ever? I love everything about it – the cooking, the baking; the table setting – even the leftovers!

I always plan my Thanksgiving around tried-and-true family favorites, plus a few new dishes thrown in. This year, I’m adding Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pecans to our traditional menu.

The new recipe was created because I opted in to receive a free package of Diamond of California shelled pecans as a Klout perk. There’s no obligation to promote your perk, but of course, once you have a product in your hands, it ends up top-of-mind in your thinking. Continue Reading »

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