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A Star-Spangled Fourth

Puff Pastry StarsBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Our gas grill of more than ten years is on life support; so we’re getting a new Weber before the Fourth of July—we’ll be all fired up and ready to go for the holiday.

We’re keeping it simple with burgers and hot dogs, salads and chips. And for an All-American dessert, I’m baking up some puff pastry stars for a garnish. I’m not sure how I’ll use them yet, but here are some options: Continue Reading »

Neven Maguire’s Multi Seed Wheaten Bread

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Maybe you’re not into bread baking in the heat of summer. In San Francisco, our weather has been in the low 60s most days, so it’s not insane to fire up the oven.

Having returned from Ireland last month, I’ve been struggling with brown bread bread withdrawal. This iconic Irish bread seems to be served everywhere in the Emerald Isle, and it’s consistently good—moist, dense and delicious, without a hint of bitterness.

The brown bread recipe below comes from Ireland’s celebrity chef and TV cooking star Neven Maguire, chef-owner of the MacNean House & Restaurant in Blacklion. County Cavan. Continue Reading »

Ballyvolane House Rhubarb Martini

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” begins the opening line in the haunting 1938 novel, Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. The protagonist and narrator then vividly describes the exquisite grounds of this grand fictional estate.

It’s my first thought as we drive up to the beautiful, historic Ballyvolane House, a country house in Castlelyons, County Cork, and family home to Justin and Jenny Green and their children. On vacation recently, Steve and I stayed for two nights, opting for dinner on one of those nights, and enjoying the full Irish breakfast both days. Continue Reading »

Soy Sauce ChickenBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Steve and I returned from Ireland last Tuesday night and I’m still dealing with the eight-hour time difference, sleepy during the day and waking up at odd hours of the night. The first part of my trip was work for my PR consulting client, Ornua Foods North America Inc. (Kerrygold butter and cheeses). The second half, when Steve joined me, was pure vacation and a chance to fall in love with Ireland, on my own free time. You’ll hear more about this beautiful country and its culinary champions beginning next week.

Last week was all about getting our San Francisco life together after being away—back to the usual gardening and housekeeping, making a Frozen cake and cookies for my granddaughter’s birthday party on Saturday, and of course, returning to daily cooking. Continue Reading »

Memorial Day 2016

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Memorial Day is the time when we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The observance was begun after the Civil War as a time of remembrance and a day to decorate with flowers, the graves of those who have died in service to our country.

From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Continue Reading »

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 »

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