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Grilled Corn and Tomato SaladBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

If you’re cooking for the Fourth of July, a midweek holiday is not your friend. Who has time to prep on the workday before?

Still, I’m glad that, unlike Memorial Day and Presidents Day, the holiday falls on its true date—and hasn’t been switched irreverently to the closest Monday for the convenience of a three-day weekend.

I’m trying to streamline our Fourth of July menu with simple-to-prepare dishes to accommodate a Tuesday family get-together. Recipes from our Special Fork archives and recipe database will ensure a do-able celebratory lunch. You might like to try some of these recipes, too. Continue Reading »

Salade Niçoise

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I didn’t find the ultimate Salade Niçoise in Nice. Actually, despite ordering it four or five times, I didn’t find it anywhere in the South of France, where we vacationed a few weeks ago.

My fault.

I ordered my favorite salad in casual outdoor cafés, where expediency probably gets in the way of authenticity. I love this salad so much that I didn’t mind that their ingredients didn’t match my expectations.

The fact is, there are many opinions regarding what should be in a Salade Niçoise. A robust main dish salad perfect for summer, I’ve always thought it contained potato salad in a vinaigrette, green beans, anchovies, olives, canned tuna, tomatoes and hard-cooked eggs—Julia Child style. Continue Reading »

French spicesBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

For a food lover, whether you’re doing a road trip to another part of your state or flying to another continent, tasting regional specialties and visiting local markets are highlights of travel.

Steve and I just returned from three weeks in the South of France and Turin, Italy. And in addition to some exceptional dining experiences on the road, including at two restaurants ranked in the top 50 of the World’s Best—we manage to extend the pleasure of our trip by bringing great food home.

When my kids were little and we went to France and the Netherlands for their first European vacation, I brought back a few little jars of jam and hot cocoa packets from our hotel’s continental breakfast and supplemented this stash with local-baked croissants and a baguette, so we could play at being in France. I also bought some “Delft” egg cups to serve soft-boiled eggs, along with cold meats and cheeses, to pretend we were still travelers in Holland. Continue Reading »

Strawberry Cream Puffs

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Our local farmers’ markets are burgeoning with beautiful, red-ripe and scrumptious strawberries right now. So, I was inspired to bake me a strawberry dessert.

Strawberry Cream Puffs are light clouds of eggy dough, crisp on the outside, with a creamy filling inside, and juicy sliced strawberries sandwiched in between.

While the component parts are not difficult, it’s rather a long recipe for Special Fork, so I’ve divided the dessert into two: you can make each recipe as a stand-alone, or do both recipes, as you see fit. Continue Reading »

Memorial Day 2017

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

This Memorial Day, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States of America. Among them are my uncle who was killed in action in Italy during World War II, and my brother-in-law who died in Vietnam.

This day of remembrance, originally called Decoration Day, began three years after the end of the Civil War, on May 5, 1868. It was designated as a time to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. After World War I, Memorial Day grew into an observation to honor the dead of all American wars. Continue Reading »

Lemonade 2

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

A frosty pitcher of homemade lemonade is welcome refreshment on a sweltering day, but sometimes, I just want a glassful.

Here’s the problem: If I make a whole pitcher, I’ll end up drinking all of it, over the course of days. And since so much sugar is needed to turn tart lemon juice into a sweet drink, I end up having more sugar than I think is healthy.

I’ve been toying with how to custom-make my own concentrate that can be reconstituted for individual servings. If you’d like to try your hand, here’s a method to get you started. However, your own formula will depend on the tartness of the lemons you use and how you like your lemonade. Continue Reading »

English Pea Spread on Crostini

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

My best memory of English peas is of shelling them on a sunny day in the courtyard of a country house in France. Our friend Carol, owner of the house, lives in a small town outside of Bordeaux.

I don’t remember what she did with the peas, but the simple act of tearing apart the pods and coaxing out the little green jewels inside, while sitting companionably, catching up on family news, was one my most delightful memories of that vacation trip.

For me, the problem with buying fresh peas is that I can’t resist popping them I my mouth while shelling them, reducing the yield before I even begin to cook. So, I make sure to buy more than I need. As I shell them, it’s one for me, and one for the pot! Continue Reading »

Steamed Asparagus with Sumiso Dressing

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I never had fresh asparagus until I moved to the Mainland. Growing up in Hawaii years ago, asparagus only came in cans—and we considered it a treat.

Of course, that’s no longer true today. In fact, in addition to importing fresh asparagus from the Mainland, some of it is grown in the Islands these days.

If we had had fresh asparagus when I was a child, I’m sure mom would have steamed the stalks and served it with sumiso. Sumiso (which translates into vinegar miso) is a classic Japanese sauce that goes well with steamed vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli or cauliflower. You could even serve it with poached prawns or to dress a cucumber salad. Mom used to love that flavor because she was fond of anything tart. Continue Reading »

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