halloween baked appleBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I was toying with an idea for a simple, fairly healthy, after-school Halloween snack. So I made a jack-o-lantern from an apple, stuffed it with granola and microwaved it until it was cooked through.

Truth be told, my three-year-old granddaughter, a rather picky eater, was charmed with the appearance but not keen on the taste. While she loves fresh apple slices, she’d never had a baked apple and the taste and texture were unfamiliar. If your little ones like baked apples or if you’re looking for an adult snack, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. (I ate the whole thing!) Continue Reading »

Stone Soup

Stone soupBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The story, as I recall it, is about a poor and hungry itinerant peddler who arrives at a village to proclaim he can make soup from a stone. Fascinated, the villagers gather and watch as a fire is lit, a caldron is suspended over the flames, water is added and the stone is plopped into the caldron….

But wait, the peddler says. The soup would be better with some carrots. So one of the villagers brings some carrots to add to the pot. You know where this story goes. The soup would be better with some onions, meat and so forth, until a magnificent broth results. Continue Reading »

mini apple crumbles

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

When I make a dessert, we end up eating the whole thing. Not all at one sitting, of course, but a whole pie gets consumed over a few days, wedge by wedge. An apple crumble disappears, scoop by scoop.

The trick to not overeating sweets, then, is to not make them at all. Or, as I discovered, prepare them in very small quantities.

I was toying with that concept over the weekend when I devised an apple crumble for four, made from one very large Granny Smith apple, that can be enjoyed in a few bites,. It’s just enough to satisfy the need for something sweet after dinner. If you want to be indulgent, add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Continue Reading »

chicken enchiladas

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

We eat a lot of chicken at our house. When I don’t have time to fuss, I often roast a whole bird or just thighs. And sometimes, I cook more than I need for dinner. Leftover cooked chicken is like money in the bank to jump start another meal.

One of my favorite ways to use leftover chicken is to shred it for enchiladas. I used to make my enchiladas the traditional way, softening each corn tortilla in hot oil and dipping it into the enchilada sauce to make the tortillas pliable for stuffing and rolling.

Recently, I’ve been following a simpler method I found in cookbooks by Rick Bayless and Cooks Illustrated: just lay the tortillas on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray, then heat in a 350-degree oven. Way less messy and certainly faster, making enchiladas a good bet for a weeknight dinner. Continue Reading »

Cooking Hints and Hacks

img_1962By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I love cooking tips. There’s something about learning to do a task quicker or better that is always enormously appealing.

Here are some of the tips I’ve used in my own cooking. I’d love to hear from you about yours. Continue Reading »

Korean Beansprout Rice

Korean Bean Sprout Rice

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’m not one for side dishes for a weekday meal. I just don’t want to take the time.

I’d as soon make some rice in the rice cooker and serve a simple green salad, while I concentrate on the main dish.

Recently, I made an exception for Korean Bean Sprout Rice. I saw the recipe years ago in a Sunset cookbook and I remember the first time I made it was at a beach apartment on the North Shore when we were living in Honolulu. Steve and I had our friend’s place for the weekend—a nice getaway since I was pregnant with my first child. The rice accompanied some kalbi we were grilling on a hibachi in the sand.

So I have good feelings about Korean Bean Sprout Rice. And recently, I happened to have some extra bean sprouts after making pho for dinner the night before. Continue Reading »

Making Me Some Corn Muffins

Corn muffins

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Anticipating Hatch Chile season, I cleaned out my final package from last year’s precious stash while Special Fork was on hiatus. Each new season, I freeze some so I never run out.

I used the last of the Hatch Chiles in corn muffins that were simply scrumptious, laced with the prized chiles and speckled with corn kernels.

It was the perfect dinner muffin to go with some pulled pork and coleslaw I made that night. These muffins would also go well for brunch, to accompany a frittata or an omelet. Continue Reading »

It’s Hatch Chile Season

Hatch Chile and Cheese TacosBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

We always return from our Special Fork hiatus in the middle of the glorious Hatch Chile season. It’s that period between August and September when our supermarkets abound with these exquisite chiles grown only in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico.

Hatch Chiles have a meaty flesh and mild to medium heat. To remove the tough skin easily, the chiles are first blistered black by roasting them over an open flame on the stove, or on a barbecue grill or broiler.

Best of all is to have the chiles roasted in a rotating metal cage over a gas burner, which some stores, such as Molly Stone’s Markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, will do for you. The smell of roasting chiles is utterly heavenly. Continue Reading »

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