Sriracha Deviled Eggs 300x225 Recipes for the Fourth of JulyBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

For the Fourth of July, I’ve always stuck to the traditional dishes–burgers and hot dogs, ribs, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans…. Like Thanksgiving, many families have certain menu items that are sacrosanct.

This year, I’m taking baby steps to branch out. I’m adding Sriracha Deviled Eggs to introduce some new flavors to our holiday celebration. With its hot, sweet and slightly tart flavor profile, sriracha gets along companionably with the creamy egg yolks, and adds a bright, spicy sass to this traditional summer favorite. Continue Reading »

Grilled Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad 300x225 Turn Corn and Tomatoes into a Summer SaladBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Steve and I came back from the Alemany Farmers’ Market on Saturday laden with summer’s bounty. I feel so deliciously rich when my counters and fridge are piled high with the freshest, farm-picked produce.

Having tasted them at the market, I knew the cherry tomatoes we bought were especially sweet. And the corn kernels were plump and juicy. When nature gives us such perfect flavors, it’s best to do the least to them, to let their inherent attributes shine.

So I decided to make a simple Grilled Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad. Continue Reading »

Butter Mochi 300x225 Butter Mochi:  A Scrumptious Gluten Free Dessert for EveryoneBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The last time I lived in Hawaii, I was food editor of a statewide daily, the Honolulu Advertiser. Always on the search for the best Island recipes, I knew that local people loved food, loved talking about food and loved sharing recipes.

That included my mom, then living in Hilo, who was always copying recipes on index cards in her neat handwriting. I never paid much attention to them because we had different culinary interests. But since she passed away two years ago, I keep encountering her recipes and I find myself trying them, as a connection to her.

In cleaning out a few of her things last week, I discovered a recipe for Butter Mochi that is especially intriguing these days, when positioned as a gluten-free dessert. It’s perfect for summer, when bar cookies and cakes made in sheet pans fit the casual way we like to cook and eat. Continue Reading »

Fig Pizza with Blue Cheese and Arugula 300x225 It’s Time for California FigsBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

It there’s one cookie I dislike, it’s Fig Newtons…which is interesting because I LOVE figs! I love fresh figs eaten out of hand, fig jam with cheese, dried figs wrapped in bacon and broiled, and any other conceivable way of eating this remarkably delicious morsel of sweetness.

Last month, Steve and I bought a Mission Fig tree for our atrium and a handful of teeny nubs of baby figs have sprouted. The figs are supposed to be especially sweet, so we have our fingers crossed that they’ll stay on the tree long enough to mature and ripen. In the meantime, unable to wait and unsure of our gardening skills, I am buying figs like crazy to celebrate the season. Continue Reading »

Elmo birthday 300x225 Elmo Cupcakes for a Special BirthdayBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

To me, a kid’s birthday cake is more about the decorations than the taste. As long as it’s chocolate and sweet, it passes muster. In more than three decades, I’ve made a number of birthday cakes for my boys—never apologizing for cake mix and canned frosting—during those busy, working mother years.

We’ve had Bert and Ernie cakes, a Cookie Monster cake and even a jail cake (decorated with gingerbread men prisoners in black stripes) the time we had Dave’s birthday party on Alcatraz.

Last year was my most ambitious birthday effort for my granddaughter: rubber ducky cupcakes from the book, What’s New, Cupcake?, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Continue Reading »

Vietnamese Style Grilled Pork and Lettuce Wraps 300x225 For the Grill: Vietnamese Pork and Lettuce WrapsBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

If you’ve followed Special Fork over the years, you know I’m not keen on Memorial Day being on the last Monday in May. Historically, it was observed on May 30, to honor our military war dead.

By giving us a convenient three-day weekend, Memorial Day has evolved into the kick-off to summer and a time for department store sales, instead of as a day to pay our respects to those who have given their lives in service to our country. As kids, our family always attended the solemn service at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Hilo, where each grave was honored with a small American flag and a fresh flower lei.

So today, we’ll visit the Golden Gate National Cemetery in the San Francisco Bay Area. Then we’ll fire up the grill. Continue Reading »

Turkey Meatloaf “Cupcakes” 300x225 Cooking Fast: The Simple Joys of Ground MeatBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Special Fork is all about prepping a great meal fast, spending a maximum of 30 minutes prep time (cooking may be extra).

To get a quick meal to the table, we often turn to ground meats. No-prep, quick-cooking ground beef, pork and poultry (and occasionally lamb and bison) figure prominently in many of our Special Fork recipes. Continue Reading »

Adobo 300x225 Adventures with AdoboBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

For the past 10 or so years, I’ve been tracking Filipino food, anticipating that it would get hot, as the numbers of people of Filipino heritage continued to grow in the U.S.

According to the Census Bureau, people from the Philippines now represent 4 percent of the overall U.S. foreign-born population, the fourth largest immigrant group behind Mexico (29 percent), China (5 percent), and India (5 percent).

In the past, I’ve queried Filipino chefs, curious to know why there weren’t more Filipino restaurants in this country, and they were hard pressed to determine why. One guess was that Filipino food was more about good home cooking than restaurant fare. Another theory was that it needed stronger support from the Filipino community. Whatever the reason, we’re finally starting to see Filipino food take the spotlight on the American culinary scene. Continue Reading »

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