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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 »

Hiatus 2016

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

It’s time for our annual Special Fork summer hiatus, when we rest and recharge. We’ll return on Tuesday, September 6, after Labor Day.

With a whole month of summer to go, here are some tips and recipes from the Special Fork archives and recipe database to see you through August.

Hot Weather Food Safety Tips:
Before you embark on your next picnic, take heed of tips from a registered dietitian on how to prepare, pack and keep food safe. Continue Reading »

Penne with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Feta and OlivesBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Dave and Lynn had a baby recently, a new brother for their three-year-old. And I’m reminded again about how much effort it takes to feed a family while working and dealing with childcare.

When Dave and his brother were growing up, we managed to cook practically every night, between Steve and me. We couldn’t afford an au pair or other daily support, so Steve and I did the cooking together or took turns, after an often-stressful day at the office.

Special Fork was created as a way to help families struggling to put dinner on the table. And while we try to make all dishes as simple as possible, some fit the bill for busy parents better than others. Continue Reading »

Make Mine Mini

Salade Niçoise Bites

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’ve had quail eggs many times in fancy restaurants and I do like them, but I never thought about cooking them at home. That is, until I was overnighted six cartons of these tiny speckled beauties from Manchester Farms of South Carolina.

At last fall’s Les Dames d’Escoffier Conference in Charleston, we all received a pair of nifty quail scissors from the quail farm (it snips off the top of the egg so you don’t have to deal with cracking these miniscule gems with clumsy fingers). The gift included an offer of quail eggs to put the scissors to use.

I came across the forgotten scissors when I cleaned my utensil drawer recently, and on the chance that the offer was still good, I emailed to ask, and promptly received my special stash. Continue Reading »

Fig pita pizza CmFaV2IWEAAmf2q

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Do you know the saying, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” That’s how I feel when I shop at the farmers’ market in the summer. Everything looks good so I overbuy; then I’m desperately trying to use up the produce before they go bad.

I don’t like to waste money, but equally abhorrent is to waste the resources required to produce nutritious food—the depletion of the land, the labor of the farmers, the energy required for production and transportation—only to toss the results into the compost bin.

One way I try to stay ahead of the game is by making a list of the produce as I transfer them from my farmers’ market carryall into my refrigerator. This gives me an inventory of what needs to be used and I start with the most fragile stuff first. I also try to store each vegetable properly and bag all the leafy vegetables in twist-tied plastic bags so they don’t dry out in the fridge. Continue Reading »

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