Roasted Endives 300x225 Take the Bitter with the SweetBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’ve been to an endive farm and I’ve seen how they’re cultivated. But I hadn’t noticed that an endive, while still attached to its chicory root base, looks like a French tulip.

Whoever saw that similarity was brilliant. And whoever gathered them into a bouquet to gift food writers at Valentine’s Day was inspired.

Once again, a few days before February 14, I received such a bouquet from California Endive Farms to remind me how much I love these crisp vegetables, with their nutty, sweet flavor and slightly bitter edge. I lopped off the chicory root to toss, and bagged my treasured heads of endive in plastic, thinking about the delectable possibilities… Continue Reading »

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year 300x225 Happy Chinese New Year!By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I haven’t made a Chinese New Year dinner for friends after the nine-course extravaganza I attempted when I was 25 or so, living in New York City. I don’t know what inspired that madness. I just remember the exhaustion.

If you’ve followed my posts, you may remember that our family doesn’t celebrate Chinese New Year, with all its lovely traditions, embraced by many Chinese-American families. While my heritage is Japanese, I would have tried to nurture the custom, if it had significance for Steve. But his family didn’t observe Chinese New Year either, possibly because my mother-in-law was a third-generation Chinese-American and China was a long time in her family’s past. Continue Reading »

Valentine’s Day Made Easy 300x225 Valentine’s Day Made EasyBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

After Tara was born, we started the tradition of Friday night family dinners. It’s a great way to ensure that Steve and I get to see our granddaughter at least once a week, as well as, of course, our two sons and daughter-in-law.

This dinner is just an everyday family meal – often featuring a recipe we’ve posted on Special Fork, or one from the Special Fork database of recipes.

If Friday night dinner falls close to an occasion, such as Halloween or Valentine’s Day, I like to set a themed table to create a festive mood. This Friday, it’s hearts and flowers. Continue Reading »

Chess Squares 300x225 A Cookie thats Sweet & Southern

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Ben Mims, Associate Editor at Food & Wine magazine, thrives in sophisticated cities like New York and San Francisco, where he has lived his culinary life. But when it comes to food – and especially sweets – there’s a special place in his heart for Kosciuko, Mississippi, a small town an hour north of Jackson, where he grew up.

Ben captures the nostalgia of his youth with mouthwatering descriptions of the endless parade of desserts his family baked, in Sweet & Southern, Classic Desserts with a Twist, published last year by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. With luscious photos, recipes and tips, we are transported to the Deep South and Ben’s family table. Continue Reading »

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 »

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