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 »


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 »

Here’s how we Roll!

Lemon roll

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I use the same sponge cake recipe every Christmas to make my Bûche de Noël, the traditional French Yule log. And every Christmas, I think, why not use that cake recipe the rest of the year, with an easy seasonal filling, instead? A simple jelly roll?

Just bake the cake, spread with jelly or jam and dust with powdered sugar. Easy peasy.

But then I forget all about it, until Christmas comes around again. Except last week, I finally pulled out that cake recipe, baked it, spread it with a jar of lemon curd, and rolled it up. It was a hit with my family so I thought I’d share. Continue Reading »

Lemon BabkaBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I don’t bake yeast breads very often. But I do at least two times a year. One is at Christmas, when I make a braided wreath bread that I insist we eat before opening presents. The second is at Easter, when I haul out my bread machine from the basement to make Hot Cross Buns. Once the dough is made, I shape and bake it conventionally in the oven. I can make the buns from scratch, but why not let the machine do some of the work?

In case you’d like to bake with yeast but are a little intimidated, here’s a luscious yeast cake that uses the no-knead batter bread technique. It’s a good recipe for beginners and for people in a hurry, since in addition to no kneading, there is only one rising. Continue Reading »

Dubliner and Spring Onion Soda BreadBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’m on a consulting assignment for Kerrygold in New York City. And since I won’t be home to make soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day, I made mine early to share with my son, who agreed to house sit while I am away.

I love soda bread—it’s one of the easiest breads to make and it makes the house smell heavenly as it bakes. This year I tried a new recipe–soda bread with Dubliner cheese and green onion. It was crusty outside and moist inside, speckled with green onion that added a little bite and bright color to the tender crumb. Honestly, it was just the best soda bread, ever. Continue Reading »

Strawberry Soup

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

We had some gorgeous days in San Francisco last week. So I took it that spring had sprung.

Not so fast, Mother Nature said, sending us a deluge of rain over the weekend.

We are definitely in that in-between period, where we can taste the promise of warmer weather and sunshine, but are not quite there yet. Which is a good time for Strawberry Soup.

Strawberries are the harbingers of spring and their bright red color and little heart shapes make them the most cheerful ambassadors of the season. I bought some at the supermarket this weekend and while they were plump and juicy, they weren’t as sweet as berries at their peak. Continue Reading »

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