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Mussels in Coconut Milk with Thai Chile and Lemongrass

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The first time Steve and I had mussels was on our first trip to France, a year or so out of college. Driving through Normandy to pay homage at the D-Day landing beaches of World War II, we stopped at a modest family restaurant and hotel, where we were served a huge bowlful of mussels steamed in wine—it was utterly delightful!

Since then, Moules Marinière (mussels in white wine) make it on our menu at home when we want something special, but quick. In fact, that’s what Dave and Chris made me for Mother’s Day dinner a few weeks ago. Continue Reading »

Mustard-Crusted Pork with Apple Cabbage Slaw

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The hardest recipes to create are the simplest. If you had all the quality ingredients you could possibly want, and all the time in the world, of course you’d be expected to cook something wonderful.

But what about cooking with six ingredients, with six minutes to prep and six minutes to clean up? Ah, now there’s a challenge!

And if you happen to be a professional chef? Why all the more difficult, trying to put yourself in the shoes of a home cook.

Stuart O’Keeffe has more than mastered the challenge with The Quick Six Fix, 100 No-Fuss, Full-Flavor Recipes (c. 2016), published by William Morrow. I was sent a review copy because, of course, it’s the perfect concept for Special Fork cooks. Continue Reading »

Pork and Pineapple Burgers

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The end of this month kicks off barbecue season in the U.S. But not everyone is having the kind of weather yet that merits a cookout.

In fact, even in San Francisco, after weeks of gorgeous weather, we had a bit of rain on Saturday and it was fairly cool. Not that we mind—every day of rain helps a little to mitigate the drought that has plagued our state for four devastating years.

If weather in your area inhibits you from firing up the grill quite yet, here’s a simple recipe with the promise summer to tide you over. It’s made indoors, on the stovetop.

I used ground pork for these burgers, which makes them turn out moist and juicy. Continue Reading »

Mother’s Day Breakfast for One

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

As two little girls, my older sister and I were all over Mother’s Day. Judy was the cook, so I just tagged along after her in the kitchen, washing dishes or doing whatever chores it took for us to make a special Mother’s Day meal.

When my boys were young, it was dad who organized the Mother’s Day celebration, which usually included breakfast in bed. I have fond memories of their sweet efforts and their charming homemade cards.

If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day breakfast your little ones can make, I have a simple idea. Actually, it’s something I enjoyed at the Marlton, the Greenwich Village hotel where we were staying on vacation in New York a month ago. Continue Reading »

Grilled Shrimp with Lime-Cilantro Marinade

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I love to serve shrimp for special occasions. Inherently high in flavor, you don’t need to do much to them to create a tasty dish. Also, shrimp cook quickly, so you’re not stuck long in the kitchen.

Recently I tried a citrus-marinated grilled shrimp recipe from Gale Gand’s cookbook, Lunch! (the exclamation point is part of the book title). It was simply delicious.

The next time, I decided to riff on the idea by creating a Latin flavor profile with lime and cilantro. And I served it for a celebratory dinner for two for Steve and me. Along with a green salad and mock rice pilaf (where I sautéed chopped parsley, onion, pine nuts and currants in butter, to toss in rice cooked in chicken broth), it was a lovely, effortless meal. Continue Reading »

Eggplant, Pork and Basil Stir-FryBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

We had takeout Thai the other night and when I mentioned to my daughter-in-law, Lynn, how much I enjoyed the eggplant dish, she said she had a recipe. So I tried hers, and it was every bit as good as the restaurant version.

A stir-fry of eggplant, ground pork and basil leaves is a scrumptious way to get the family to eat more vegetables. It’s extremely quick to put together, once you cook the eggplant.

There are two caveats to trying this recipe: the eggplant will take some time to microwave and you may need to make a trip to an Asian market or shop online to purchase some of the seasonings. Continue Reading »

Zucchini Planks

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The supply of zucchini peaks in summertime, when home gardeners, overwhelmed by the abundance, beg friends to take the excess. But it’s also a steady player the rest of the year, and it’s my go-to vegetable, year-round.

I love the versatility of zucchini and usually have some in my crisper, ready to go into stir-fries, to slice raw for salads, and at last resort, to throw into soups or fried rice, when it’s time to clean out the fridge.

I love zucchini so much, I’ve developed some reci-tips for them to tweet occasionally, that I’m sharing verbatim in this post. You might have seen some of those tweets if you follow me @specialforksndy on Twitter. Continue Reading »

Kakimochi

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

My mom was an avid collector of recipes. Saved from magazines and the back of food packages, copied from TV shows, exchanged with friends, Mom was always on the hunt for new ideas.

She passed away three years ago, but I still have her recipe collection. I’ve sorted through some of them, eliminating and discarding more ordinary ones like basic pasta dishes or chicken simmered in wine, but I go back through her jumbled stash every now and then, looking for inspiration.

Recently I ran across her hand-written recipe for Kakimochi. I don’t believe it’s an original recipe but I don’t know whose it is. Kakimochi are Japanese rice crackers also known as arare, or in Hawaii, as mochi crunch. You can find them these days in the snack aisles of Trader Joe’s and Costco, among other places. Continue Reading »

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