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by Caitlin Saniga

Carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches

The recipe I was working from called this Carolina-style barbecue, which I find a bit deceiving. Is it possible for something to be called “barbecue” if it’s never touched a grill? I’m opting to call this pulled pork instead, but it’s darn delicious nonetheless. The apple cider vinegar and hot sauce give it a nice Southern twang, too. And the portion size makes this perfect for feeding a crowd.


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by Sarah Steimer

Bill made this as my at-home birthday dinner and nailed it. He is literally the king of sandwiches. There's kind of a funny story to this, though: I asked before he started making the sandwiches if he got cilantro and he said no, the recipe called for some "cordi-something" spice. I then had to explain that coriander and cilantro are the same thing before he ran back out for it.

Bill made this as my at-home birthday dinner and nailed it. He is literally the king of sandwiches. There’s kind of a funny story to this, though: I asked before he started making the sandwiches if he got cilantro and he said no, the recipe called for some “cordi-something” spice. I then had to explain that coriander and cilantro are the same thing before he ran back out for it. Sorry, Bill.

For the pickled vegetables

  • 1 fresh daikon radish, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar

Julienne the daikon and carrot. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a microwavable bowl and heat for 1 minute. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.

For the pork

  • about 10 ounces pork loin, cut into about 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt to taste (you won’t need much at all with the soy, oyster and fish sauces)

Place the pork loin between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a tenderizer or a rolling pin to beat the pork to about 1/2 inch thick.

Whisk together all the marinade ingredients and add the pork. Marinade for 5-10 minutes.

For the sandwich

  • 2-3 small baguettes, halved
  • mayonnaise (we used a spicy mayo)
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, cut into thin slices

Heat a pan until it is very hot. And the pork and cook for a few minutes on each side, until the marinade has caramelized and the pork is cooked through.

Toast the halved baguettes slightly in the oven. Spread some of the mayonnaise on either side of each baguette. Add the pork, pickled vegetables, cilantro and jalapeno.

Serve immediately.

Makes 2-3 sandwiches.

Recipe adapted from: Simply Delicious

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by Caitlin Saniga

This time of year, my family’s usually having some sort of get-together. Whether it’s my brother’s birthday, Fourth of July or visits from out-of-town relatives, we’ve got plenty of reasons to celebrate. And we tend to gather outside at a park or the picnic shelter down by the pond at my house. Slowly but surely, carloads of relatives show up, unloading a cooler of this or a glass Pyrex dish of that. This meatball recipe would be a hit at one of these events. Prepare the meatballs ahead of time, and bring them along to the party, keeping them warm in a plugged-in slow cooker. They’ll be gone before they have time to cool off anyway.

For the meatballs:

  • 3/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup panko

For sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, drained

Lining the baking sheet with parchment makes for easy cleanup.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To make the meatballs, use your hands to combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until just incorporated. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 20 minutes or until golden and cooked all the way through.

See what I mean?

In the meantime, combine the ketchup, syrup, soy sauce, tapioca, allspice and mustard in the bowl of a large slow cooker. Stir the mixture together. Carefully add the pineapple chunks and meatballs, coating them in the sauce.

Cover the slow cooker with a lid, and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Serve with toothpicks.

Makes about 24 meatballs.

Meatballs recipe adapted from: Alton Brown
Slow cooker recipe adapted from: Crock-Pot Cookbook

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by Caitlin Saniga

These Korean-style fried dumplings are called mondu. They’re similar to pot stickers, wontons or gyoza.

For dumplings:

  • 1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu, rinsed and drained and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cup fermented kimchi
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground lean pork
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 packs 40-count wonton wrappers
  • canola oil

For dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper

The tofu in this recipe acts as a bonding agent, mellows the kimchi flavor and gives the filling a smoother texture than a meat-and-kimchi-based filling would. For stronger flavor, add more kimchi to the mix.

Working in batches if necessary, combine the tofu, kimchi, garlic and sesame oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the tofu has broken down and the mixture is a pale pink color from the kimchi juice, 15-20 seconds.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the pork, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Use your hands or a spoon to thoroughly combine everything.

Before frying the dumplings, set out a cooling rack and set 1 or 2 paper towels on top. Once they’ve been cooked, let them cool on the rack for about 5 minutes before serving them.

Add the green onions and give the mixture another good stir.

To assemble the dumplings, scoop a rounded teaspoonful of the mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper. Working from a small bowl of water, wet the edges of the wrapper with a fingertip. Fold the wrapper lengthwise, creating a rectangle, enclosing the filling. Seal the top edge, press the air out of the sides, and seal the sides. Re-wet the top edge of the wrapper. Fold the top edge on itself as you would with a fan, creating three or four small folds. Seal the folds once more with water, if necessary. The dumplings should resemble a purse shape. Line up the assembled dumplings on a baking sheet.

Once all of the dumplings are assembled, pour just enough canola oil into a frying pan to cover the bottom. Warm the oil over medium heat. To test whether the oil is warm enough for frying, wet your fingertips and fling the water over the oil, careful not to burn yourself. If the oil is ready, the water will bubble and make a popping sound when it touches the oil.

This recipe could easily be halved to serve 4 to 6 people as a dinner course. I liked making the big batch because I could freeze the extra dumplings for later use, and, my, are they addicting! You’ll want more later.

Working in batches of 6 to 8, use metal tongs to place the dumplings in the oil. Cook for about a minute, or until the bottom of the dumplings are golden brown. Flip the dumplings onto another side, and cook until that side is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining side. Use the tongs to transfer the dumplings to a paper towel-lined cooling rack. Repeat this process with the remaining dumplings, or transfer the raw dumplings to a sealed container or freezer-safe zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 1 week.

To make the dipping sauce, combine the soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne pepper in a small dish.

Serve the warm dumplings alongside the sauce.

Makes 80.

Gyoza

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by Caitlin Saniga

If you have leftovers, cut the pork into bite-size pieces. Make a burrito with the pork, bean salad, some shredded cheese and sliced tomatoes.

  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper or chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 avocados, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1  jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the chipotle pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Place the pork on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with the spice mixture. Roast until the internal temperature of the pork registers 145 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together the beans, avocado, cilantro, scallions, chili pepper, lime juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand while the pork roasts.

Serve the pork with the bean salad and lime wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: Real Simple

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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