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Monday
Apr172017

Comfort Food for a Rainy Spring Day

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I’m not quite ready to think spring yet. We’ve been having rain and dreary skies between bouts of stunningly beautiful weather.

So, last week, on a dark and wet day, I made spaghetti and meatballs. It was so satisfying, I’m sharing this recipe for the next time you have inclement weather and need some comfort food.

This is really a simple recipe if you take it in easy steps. 1) Shape and bake the meatballs. 2) Make the sauce. 3) Cook the pasta. 4) Toss together.

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Monday
Apr102017

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Since I love setting the table for all the holidays, I’ve been thinking about what to do for Easter. It’s just a dinner for our family, but I still want to create a festive mood.

This year, I’ve decided to make very simple Easter bunnies from marshmallows and set them on chocolate cupcakes, with some coconut “grass,” and jelly bean eggs.

I’ll group the cupcakes together on a cake plate and use them as a centerpiece, or pre-set a cupcake at each place to dress up the table. I’ll have to caution my 3 ½-year-old granddaughter that even if it’s sitting at her place, dessert doesn’t get eaten first!

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Monday
Apr032017

Taste Memories of Bread Pudding

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Recently, I’ve been dreaming of Mrs. Victorine’s bread pudding. It was a dense, custardy block of deliciousness, dotted with raisins and presented chilled.

Mrs. Victorine was our neighbor across the street in Hilo, Hawaii, where I grew up. As neighbors do in Hawaii, we often shared food back and forth—fruits and vegetables from our backyards, and food we cooked and baked.

After Mr. Victorine died, for quite some time afterwards, my mom would send us over with a plate of dinner for Mrs. Victorine.

In return, Mrs. Victorine baked us bread pudding, which was always a hit with our family. But she would never divulge her recipe and since she passed away years ago, that recipe is lost forever.

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Monday
Mar272017

Crisp and Juicy Japanese Fried Chicken

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!

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Monday
Mar202017

For Lent, Meatless Monday or a Pantry Meal

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.

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