A Peachy Adventure

Easy Peach Crisp 300x225 A Peachy AdventureBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I suspect U-pick farms are like Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence. Remember how crafty Tom got his friends to pay for the privilege of doing his chore?

We city dwellers will gladly pay to work as farmhands to pick crops for the pleasure of breathing in fresh country air and getting in touch with nature. Aside from a fun outing, there are other good reasons to pick your own. What could be fresher than fruit plucked right off the trees? And certainly picking your own is substantially cheaper than market prices.

So last week, the whole family piled into two cars and headed to Brentwood in East Contra Costa County, about an hour and a half’s drive from San Francisco, where U-pick farms and roadside stands abound. Having reviewed the Brentwood Harvest Time website, we selected Wolfe Ranch, a well-manicured orchard and home to Elberta peaches, for our farm experience. Continue Reading »

Bahn Mi cropped 300x223 My Favorite Summer Meals

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I don’t do any serious cooking during the summer. Much as I love my kitchen, I avoid standing over a hot stove when the weather in sweltering.

So what to eat? Here are some easy summer ideas: Continue Reading »

Capturing a Taste of Summer 300x225 Capturing a Taste of SummerBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I know it’s only mid-July, but I can’t help feeling summer slipping away. Like being on vacation, the first half goes slowly, as though the pleasurable days will go on endlessly. But the second half speeds up and before you know it, vacation is over and you’re back to daily routines.

Don’t you wish you could make this summer last a little longer? Warm weather, long days; a bounty of the best produce…?

While we can’t control the weather or prolong the sunset, we can do something about the produce. We can capture a taste of summer by preserving or freezing some of it to enjoy later. Continue Reading »

Teriyaki Burgers Sandy 300x225 It’s Always Time for BurgersBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The Fourth of July may have come and gone, but burgers are on my menu year-round. They’re easy on the budget, quick to fix, and convenient to eat, with meat and veggies tucked in a hand-held bun.

When I travel on business and need room service, I usually choose a burger because it’s consistently good and always reasonably priced. Some of the other menu items may sound enticing but there’s no guarantee the hotel can meet expectations.

If you saw the recent New York Times story, Sam Sifton maintains that the best burgers are not cooked directly on the grill, but in a cast iron pan so the burger cooks in its own fat. Continue Reading »

Durgin Park’s Boston Baked Beans 300x225 Baked Beans and Fourth of July Fixins’

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Having moved from Hawaii upon graduation from college, my first home on the Mainland was Boston. And for a history buff, celebrating the Fourth of July in the hotbed of the American Revolution was thrilling. It brought textbook tales to life in a way that was unimaginable studying history at Hilo High School.

One of the highlights of that summer was dining at the iconic Durgin-Park, experiencing a traditional New England dinner at communal tables under the bustling service of surly waiters. In addition to a memorable meal, I took away with me the baked beans recipe from the restaurant and I’ve continue to make it for many a Fourth of July cookout since. Continue Reading »

It’s the Berries!

berry tips 300x225 It’s the Berries!By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Raspberries…blackberries…blueberries…strawberries. Summer is berry season. Have you had your fill yet?

Nothing to pit or peel, naturally formed in perfect bite-size pieces, berries are the ultimate convenience fruit. Use berries as a topping for breakfast cereals or pancakes, in salads, and over ice cream or puddings.

For a simple dessert, mix berries with sugar to taste and let set for about half an hour, until they give up their juices to create their own sauce. Serve the sweetened berries with whipped cream, heavy cream, or yogurt. Continue Reading »

A Honey of a Cookbook

MarieSimmons FFV Photo credit Luca Travoto 251x300 A Honey of a Cookbook

Marie Simmons, photo by Luca Trovato

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

As soon as I got off the phone with Marie Simmons, I headed to the kitchen, made a slice of toast, slathered it with butter and drizzled it with honey. The rich and creamy butter melted and merged with the mellow sweetness of the honey…and rekindled a childhood taste memory.

I confess I’m not much of a honey user. There’s no particular reason; I just don’t think of it. We always buy lavender honey when vacationing in Provence and Lehua honey when in Hawaii. And the rest of the time, we always have some kind of honey at home, but it often sits on the shelf until a recipe I’m making actually calls for this natural sweetener.

My interest in honey was triggered when I was invited to an education panel in San Francisco recently, hosted by the National Honey Board, at which Marie, an award-winning food writer and the author of Taste of Honey, c. 2013, (Andrews McMeel Publishing), was speaking. Delighted to be seeing an old friend again, I called Marie for a preview. Continue Reading »

Spago House Dressing crop 300x226 Let the Salad Season Begin!By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

For any food lover, this is the best time of the year, when farmers’ markets and produce counters are burgeoning with seasonal fruits and vegetables. At the Alemany Farmers’ Market in San Francisco yesterday, stalls were bustling as shoppers filled market baskets and grocery carts, eager for a taste of summer.

From now through fall is peak salad time. Quick to fix and healthy (if you don’t overdo the dressing), salads are a boon to people too busy to cook. Toss in some protein – drained canned tuna, leftover shreds of rotisserie chicken, rinsed and drained canned beans, hard-cooked eggs – and you can make it an easy, no-cook, one-dish dinner. Continue Reading »

Older Posts »