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Kerrygold client 300x225 Looking Back: Food Tips I Learned from my ClientsBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Like most bloggers, I’ve always had a day job. And if you’ve followed my posts, you know what it is: doing PR for food clients. It’s a job I’ve loved, that has sustained me over decades.

My client list over the years reads like a supermarket shopping list – agricultural commodity boards like mushrooms, raisins, dried plums walnuts, almonds, strawberries, iceberg lettuce, avocados, limes, papaya, fresh ginger, garlic, turkey, duckling, beef…. And brand accounts like Fleishmann’s Yeast, Spice Islands, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Glad Press ‘n Seal Wrap, Kikkoman, Ghirardelli, Progresso and Kerrygold. I’ve also worked on wines, liqueurs and more. Continue Reading »

Have Cold; Need Soup

Egg drop soup color 300x225 Have Cold; Need SoupBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’ve been in the mood for soup these past few days. And hot tea with lemon and honey.

I caught cold on Thursday and warm liquids seem to suppress my incessant cough. Being sick over the weekend was all the more painful because the weather in San Francisco was simply glorious; bed was the last place I wanted to be.

With soup on my brain, I’m sharing some good recipes from Special Fork’s database. These aren’t stick-to-the-ribs, hearty winter soups. They’re quicker-cooking and especially useful choices when you need a little warmth and sustenance and don’t have time for long simmering, or when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. Continue Reading »

Easy Easter Egg Nests 300x225 Easy Easter Egg NestsBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I was mulling the other day, about how to set my Easter table this year. Sometimes I make little Easter baskets out of egg carton cups, fashioning handles from pipe cleaners. I put an Easter egg in each cup and set one at each place. Sometimes I’m happy with a nice bouquet of tulips as a centerpiece, surrounded by real and candy eggs, and a couple of chocolate bunnies.

This year, I was wondering how I could make a festive treat for each guest at the table, but keep the whole production as simple as possible. And I came up with these egg nests.

These nests require just a few ingredients and are quick to make. You can fill the nests with small candy eggs. Or, if you don’t mind the extra time, you can make your own eggs, as I did, with marzipan, gel colors and toasted almonds. Continue Reading »

photo2 300x225 A Preview of Cool Kitchen ToolsBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Of all the food-related trade shows I attend, the International Home + Housewares Show at McCormick Place in Chicago is my favorite. Like a kid in a candy shop, I love to be able to preview all the cool kitchen tools and appliances before they hit the shelves of Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma and all the other cookware stores around the country. With more than 21,000 buyers from around the globe visiting 2,000 exhibitors, this is an annual show of consequence in the housewares business.

I used to cover the show, writing freelance stories for the Associated Press. After an absence of many years, last week, I happened to be in Chicago at the right time to check out the latest for Special Fork. Continue Reading »

IMG 3959 300x225 Thighs    a Quick Cook Tip

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

When it comes to poultry, there are white meat folks and dark meat folks and never the twain…. I am one of those rare birds who enjoys both, which ensures I get more than my share of turkey at Thanksgiving.

I always favored breast meat until Steve showed me the error of my ways, pointing out that thighs are juicier and have a deeper flavor. So I’ve acquired the taste and now I’m good with either.

Recently, I had some bone-in chicken thighs to cook and just 30 minutes to cook it. So I pounded the thighs with a meat mallet to flatten them out as much as possible, with the bone still in. By making the meat thinner, I knew it would cook faster. Continue Reading »

MAO Organic Farm correction 300x207 Another Reason to Vacation in Hawaii: The Food!

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Years ago in Hawaii, when I was the food editor of the Honolulu Advertiser, “fine dining” meant an elaborate leatherette menu of classic French dishes prepared by European chefs, often made with imported European ingredients. My visiting New York friends used to wonder why food in Hawaii was always a disappointment, given the wealth of fresh produce growing abundantly everywhere (and obviously being ignored).

Today, of course, Hawaii continues its culinary renaissance, which started in the early 1990s with a dozen chefs vowing to use their talents to showcase the best of local ingredients in uniquely local interpretations. Once exclusive to high-end dining, the attitude has infected the next generation of young chefs across a wide spectrum of eateries, spurring them to push the boundaries as they draw on their cultural roots, fostering local pride. Continue Reading »

Irish Soda Bread 2014 300x225 St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I didn’t know anyone Irish, growing up in Hilo, Hawaii. And my only awareness of St. Patrick’s Day was remembering to wear something green to avoid getting pinched at school.

So there was definitely a learning curve when I started work on Kerrygold’s public relations ten years ago. And what a rewarding education it has been!

I have had the pleasure of traveling to Ireland four times, meeting the dairy farmers, the butter and cheese producers, and the chefs, TV cooking show stars, cooking teachers, and cookbook authors who personify Irish food today. And through these introductions, I have developed tremendous respect for the food culture of Ireland. Continue Reading »

Pasta with Meat Sauce 300x225 My Favorite Time Saving AppliancesLast week, I wanted to make lamb stew in my slow cooker, but I was late getting started. So I put a couple of inches of water in the slow cooker and turned it on, to get the heat going. Meanwhile, I heated more water in my electric hot pot.

Next I seasoned, dredged and floured the lamb and browned it in olive oil in a skillet. When the lamb was nicely golden, I transferred the pieces to the slow cooker. I added some of the now-boiling water from the hot pot into the skillet, scraping up all the tasty browned bits, and poured that into the slow cooker. Finally, I added more boiling water from the hot pot to cover the meat. Once I had the meat simmering, I could take my time prepping the veggies.

By preheating the slow cooker and using hot water to cover the meat instead of waiting for the slow cooker to come up to temperature, I probably shaved an hour of cooking time and dinner was ready on schedule. Continue Reading »

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