It’s time for Special Fork’s annual summer hiatus—we’ll be gone from now through Labor Day, returning Tuesday, September 7, refreshed, with more inventive ideas to solve your dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! In the meantime, please continue to follow our activities on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Powdered Sugar Pound Cake 300x225 Baking a Cake to Celebrate a Great LadyBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Jerry Di Vecchio is an eminent food expert, a legend in her own time. The Food Editor of Sunset magazine until she retired in 2002, Jerry spent 42 years at the magazine for Western living, shaping and influencing America’s food tastes through wide-ranging food features and recipes, with a nod towards Western culinary sensibilities. Although retired, she is as vibrant, active and relevant in the culinary scene, as ever.

Recently, Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter hosted a tribute to Jerry at Sunset’s Menlo Park facilities. It was a bittersweet event, since the publication will be leaving its beautifully designed test kitchens, test gardens and expansive, gorgeously landscaped grounds to move into new digs at Jack London Square in Oakland this fall. Continue Reading »

Bell Peppers with Miso

Stir Fried Bell Peppers with Miso 300x224 Bell Peppers with Miso

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

While bell peppers are available year-round, this is the season when they’re most plentiful. Bell peppers, sometimes called sweet peppers, are certainly good for you, providing vitamins A and C, among other nutrients. But bell peppers usually don’t top people’s favorite vegetable list.

After sautéing, grilling and adding to crudité platters, you may be running out of ways to use them. Here’s an idea from my family.

My Uncle Harry in Kona grew bell peppers commercially and we were lucky to get a carton or two, fresh from the farm, when we’d visit. In addition to the usual things one does with bell peppers, such as making stuffed bell peppers (my favorite), my mom would cut them in wedges and stir-fry with miso. While I didn’t watch her make this dish, I do remember the flavor, so recently, when I had some red and yellow peppers, I decided to experiment. Continue Reading »

Salad (Dressing) Days

Salad Dressing Days 300x225 Salad (Dressing) Days

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

On those sweltering, dog days of summer, there’s nothing better than a cold, crisp salad to perk up appetites. Take inspiration from the many kinds of lettuces at supermarkets and farmers’ markets, as well as the variety of colorful summer vegetables, to fashion a custom salad.

A salad makes the ultimate, no-cook summer supper. Just add some protein, such as julienned strips or cheese, to turn a side salad into a main dish.

A salad is also a convenient way to stretch a little bit of leftover cooked meat to create a second dinner. Slivers of rotisserie chicken pulled from the carcass, slices of cold grilled steak from yesterday’s barbecue, or wedges of hard-boiled eggs from breakfast can be repurposed with some salad greens to make a simple main course. Continue Reading »

Carrot Top Tempura 300x225 Turn Carrot Tops into Tempura

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

In this season of plenty, it’s easy to overbuy fruits and vegetables, and to think nothing of wasting perfectly good, edible parts that are peripheral to the produce. Like carrot tops.

With the growing movement to avoid food waste, these leafy greens are now being regarded with new interest—to make into pesto, add to salads and to simmer in stocks.

We buy beautiful organic baby carrots at the farmers’ market and I admit, I’ve been dropping the green tops into the compost bin. It always seems like such a waste because surely, as a dark green, leafy appendage to the carrot root, they should be highly nutritious. Continue Reading »

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 »

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