Chicken Karaage

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

If you follow my Special Fork blog posts, you know that I am wrangling each Friday with trying to make an appealing bento lunch to entice my pre-school granddaughter. She’s a picky eater and spends more time socializing than eating during the lunch hour at school.

By taking over Friday lunch duties, I save her parents a little time, and it gives me a chance to see if I can make a difference in Little Miss T’s eating habits. At this point, the goal is simply to get her to eat—introducing more whole grains and other noble dietary aspirations come later!

Recently, I made chicken karaage, chicken bites marinated with soy sauce, garlic and ginger; coated with potato starch (katakuriko); and fried until crunchy. This is one of those standard menu items you find in prepared bento lunches from Japanese takeout places, and is a perennial favorite. My grandchild ate it all up! Continue Reading »

Tuna Spaghetti

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I came home from New York City Wednesday night after a three-day business trip. On Friday, I had no ideas for dinner, and for Lent, had to make it a meatless meal, besides.

Rummaging through my pantry, I hit upon a simple pasta dish that took just a few minutes, with ingredients I always have on hand: canned tuna, spaghetti, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and capers, along with a handful of flat-leaf parsley from my garden.

This dish can be made in the time it takes to cook the pasta—11 minutes. Just start boiling the water as you gather and prep the ingredients. Use good-quality olive oil and good-quality, solid tuna. Don’t use tuna packed in water because it won’t have the richness of flavor this dish requires. Continue Reading »

Tamago Maki

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Don’t you hate those days when you have nothing set aside to cook for dinner, yet don’t want to take the time to run out for takeout?

I always have eggs in the fridge, so when this happens to me, I’m likely to make an omelet seasoned with soy sauce, roll it around a sheet of nori, and call it dinner, along with hot cooked rice and a salad of whatever greens I can scrounge from my vegetable bin.

A cautionary note: today’s simple recipe has the potential of becoming a “Pinterest Nailed It!” moment because, although easy to make, there’s a bit involving rolling the omelet in the pan that takes a little dexterity. Continue Reading »

Irish Scones with Butter and Jam

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

One of my best memories of Ireland is of sitting in cozy farmhouses having tea and fragrant, freshly baked scones with an Irish dairy farmer and his (or sometimes her) family. Outside the cows are grazing on the most succulent, luxuriant green grass and there is an air of peace, calm and gracious hospitality within.

I’ve had the good fortune of going to Ireland five or six times on business with Kerrygold, my PR client until 2015, and with whom I still work on a consulting basis occasionally. I’m sure you’ve heard of the brand: highly regarded butter and cheeses from Ireland made with milk from grass-fed cows, raised on small family farms. Continue Reading »

My Favorite Kitchen Hints

Favorite Kitchen Hints 1By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

When I was a child, I loved reading about cooking tips, even if I didn’t cook. I think we all like to learn to do things faster or better.

Here are some timesavers and helpful hints I’ve discovered over the years. I hope you’ll share with us your own favorite kitchen tips and tricks. Continue Reading »

A Speedy Company Dinner

Herbed RiceBy Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

We had company for dinner last night. And since I’m in the middle of getting my house ready for a reunion of former coworkers on Friday, I didn’t have a lot of time to pull this meal together.

When I need a no-fuss main dish, I rely on Spicy Grilled Shrimp. The shrimp are grilled in their shells after marinating for just 30 minutes. And clean-up is a breeze when there are no pots and pans to wash afterwards.

Another go-to choice when I am time-pressed is Herbed Rice, an easy side dish I developed over the years. Simply cook rice in canned chicken broth and water, then toss with a mixture of minced onion, butter and herbs. If you own a rice cooker, this one is as easy as it gets. This rice will go with shrimp, fish or chicken—and plays well with any meats. Continue Reading »

Orange Waffles

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Is it just me, or are waffles really superior to pancakes? It’s pretty much the same batter, yet the one with the crisp walls and deep crevices to capture puddles of melted butter and maple syrup, seems more special—and more delicious.

Steve is the breakfast maker in our house, and it’s not unusual for him to be in the kitchen early on a Sunday morning, whipping up biscuits, muffins, pancakes or waffles, as he did yesterday. Of all the breakfast breads, my favorite is waffles—especially Orange Waffles, bright with citrus accents from orange juice and orange zest. Continue Reading »

Valentine's Day cookies

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Recently, my go-to cookie has been a simple, chocolate spritz cookie. It’s surprising because my cookie press had been gathering dust in a remote cabinet for years.

I rediscovered this helpful baking tool when I wanted to make cookies in a hurry. By using a cookie press, you can press out shapes without having to go through the lengthier process of chilling the dough, rolling it, cutting out cookies and rerolling the scraps to recut more.

These are crisp, chocolaty cookies that aren’t too sweet. They’re tiny, so you don’t have to worry about overindulging.

So, for Valentine’s Day my granddaughter and I made some chocolate spritz cookies after preschool. We’re going to package small handfuls in cellophane bags, tie each bag with a bow, and give them as gifts, along with a homemade Valentine card. Continue Reading »

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