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Monday
Dec112017

Upcycle Brown Packing Paper with DIY Potato Stamps

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

At this time of year, Special Fork goes on a holiday hiatus and we leave you with a food-related craft idea.

This year, we’re making gift wrap paper from throwaway items and potatoes.

I don’t know about you, but I buy a lot from Amazon these days, and while I love the convenience of armchair shopping, I hate the waste that comes with the cartons and brown paper that accompany each shipment.

I have tried to be creative to use some of the cartons as toys—I made a house for my granddaughter with a large one, and a train engine that she could “drive.” Next, I plan to make a puppet theater. I haven’t been able to upcycle more than that.

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Monday
Dec042017

A Gift from your Kitchen: Boozy Fruit

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

When I was 24 and living in New York City, my friend Ruth gave me a jar of rumtopf at Christmas. I had never tasted anything so delightfully ambrosial and I asked for the recipe.

Rumtopf is a German way of preserving fresh fruit with sugar and rum that macerates over months. When I tried it, my fruit spoiled and I was so disappointed, I never made it again. It wasn’t the recipe—I was an inexperienced cook and I surely did something wrong.

Still, fruit and alcohol go well together for the holidays, and this Christmas, looking for an easy hostess gift, I thought about another boozy combination: dried plums and brandy. When I worked for the PR agency that represented the California Dried Plum Board years ago, we developed several recipes that combined dried plums with Armagnac, a classic French pairing.

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Monday
Nov272017

Pho: The Long Goodbye to the Thanksgiving Turkey

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

What did you do with the Thanksgiving turkey carcass? If you still have yours, try what I did: make delicious faux pho. But you have to make this noodle soup today.

According to USDA, avoid consuming leftovers that have been left in the refrigerator for longer than 3 or 4 days (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, to be exact).

I call this “faux” pho because it takes all sorts of liberties atypical of the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, using turkey instead of beef or chicken, skipping the charring of onions and ginger, and ending up without the characteristic, clear broth.

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Monday
Nov202017

Getting Ready for T-Day

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Steve is finished with most of the food shopping and I’ve completed some of my early prep—making pie dough, baking cornbread, and cubing white bread for the stuffing, according to my Thanksgiving game plan. We’re in good shape.

Monday
Nov132017

Roasted Cranberry Chutney

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

As a child, cranberry sauce was my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Slithered from the can and sliced, glistening jewellike and with a sweet-tartness, it added just the right deliciousness to the big feast.

I didn’t realize people actually made fresh cranberry sauce from scratch until I moved to New York City after college and began a new Thanksgiving tradition, enjoying potlucks with other “orphans.” It was a revelation.

Through the years, I’ve made many a bowl of fresh cranberry sauce, often just following the quick and easy package recipe and adding some orange zest. Then about ten years ago, I found a recipe for roasted cranberry sauce in Saveur magazine and I have been making it faithfully. Roasting seems to intensify the cranberry flavors beautifully.

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