Monday, May 23, 2011

Indoor Pulled-Pork Sandwiches, Napa Cabbage Slaw, And An Evening With Mark Bittman

Before I get to the recipes, let me tell you about this really nice fundraiser event I attended a few weeks ago, "An Evening With Mark Bittman".

On May 5th, I got a chance to briefly meet Mark Bittman at a book-signing fundraiser event for the Rhode Island Food Bank held at The Culinary Arts Museum. I was pretty excited to visit the museum again, and more excited to hear Mark Bittman speak. But at a time when hunger is high in Rhode Island, with food assistance reaching over 55,000 families a month through its food network, I was extremely happy to donate and learn more about the Rhode Island Food Bank.

The food served that night was delicious and was made by a local restaurant using Mark Bittman's recipes. Various food stations were spread around the museum which were fun to search out while looking through the museum's extensive culinary collection. Drinks were served from an antique art deco bar and an antique diner bar.

Before he spoke, he mingled with guests and gave his undivided attention to many who wanted to meet and chat with him. Wanting to meet him myself, I approached him with my friend. We briefly chatted then I asked to take a photo. It was embarrassing. My friend had trouble with my camera and my being determined to get a decent photo with him, she had to take several photos. It took longer than it should have. He was very patient and pleasant about it all. I was very grateful.

After he gave his speech based on his Food Matters book, he sat for the book signing. While I waited for my friend to get hers signed I found just this tiny cupcake sitting next to this decorative cake modeled after his Food Matters book cover picture.

The night was fun, it was great to hear him speak in person, and it was a terrific night out with my friend. More importantly, it was a successful fundraiser for the Rhode Island Community Food bank.

* * *
Spicy Cole Slaw
From the "Fish" cookbook by Mark Bittman

2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp sherry or balsamic vinegar (I used sherry)
1/2 cup olive oil, peanut, or vegetable oil (I used peanut)
1 tbsp sugar
6 cups shredded Napa, Savoy, green, and/or red cabbage (I used Napa)
2 cups seeded and diced red bell pepper (I julienned mine)
1 cup diced scallion with green and white parts
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
I added:
1 large carrot, julienned
1 small can water chestnuts, sliced

To make this, I prepared the dressing first by combining mustard, vinegar, sugar and oil together in a dressing vessel and shook until sugar was dissolved.

Then, in a large bowl, I added the vegetables and tossed with the dressing and refrigerated about one hour to let flavors build. Just before serving I tossed again with chopped fresh parsley.

Indoor Pulled-Pork Sandwiches
When I made this, I was in the mood for pulled pork but all the recipes I found were time consuming and required grilling or smoking. I was happy to find this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine. It's actually a recipe for the slow cooker, a great make-ahead version of pulled pork, but since I love to use my dutch oven and had the time I cooked it in the oven. I didn't make any changes and it adapted well to the oven.

1 4 - 41/2 lb bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced 
3/4 cup jarred tomato salsa*, medium heat
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
Kosher salt
To finish sauce:
2 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp tomato paste

For the make-ahead version in the slow-cooker, click on this link.

My method for the oven version: I roasted the pork shoulder in a large covered dutch oven with the first set of ingredients about 3 1/2 - 4 hours in a 300 degree oven until done, when meat pulled apart easily (but this is tested, my cast iron dutch oven gets really hot and my oven temp could be off).

*I was surprised to see salsa as an ingredient.  Since I think this ingredient plays a big roll in the dish's flavor, I decided to use Poblano Farm Chipotle Salsa, a local sustainable tomato farm in RI, because I love its thick texture, smokiness, and rich tomato flavor.

Then I removed meat from the pot, discarded bones and fat and shredded with a fork (I made the pork a day ahead. After refrigerating the pork and sauce overnight, it was easier to remove fat from the meat and sauce):

To make the finished sauce, I placed about 1 cup of the juices with onions into a large bowl. Whisked in the second set of ingredients: tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, and salt. Added the pulled pork and combined. (If it seems dry add more broth or water.)

A secret: I thought it still needed a little more smokiness so I added a few drops of liquid smoke.

When I make this again, I think I would add a little whole grain mustard. Somehow, it seemed to lack an ingredient and I think this might be it.

Makes about 8 cups of pulled pork, enough for about 12-16 sandwiches the recipe says. But that depends on how much you stuff between the rolls!

Two days later, leftovers!

* * *

If you haven't seen my post about my first visit to The Culinary Arts Museum, you can take a look here.

Just for fun!


  1. Well, you ended up with some great photos! Sounds like it was a wonderful night, and for a very good cause. Wish I had been there... Next time. ;)
    (And I usually make my pulled pork by smothering it w/Stubbs--Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm a cook!--BBQ sauce in a crock pot. I'll have to try this one.)

  2. The photo with Mark is awesome!! I want one, too! ;-)

    I love pulled pork samwiches! nom nom nom!

  3. Sounds like you had a lovely evening! Love the photo of that tiny cupcake next to the decorative cake! Your pulled pork sandwiches look beyond delicious

  4. WOW I would love to invite myself for this meal. Both pulled pork and napa coleslaw are AMAZING! What a great meal. It's a lot of chopping involved for salad and we need to be patient for the meat to be done, but oh my the result is amazing!!!

  5. What a delicious dinner, Linda! I'd love a big bowl of that wonderful cole slaw, and the boys would be thrilled with your pulled pork. And what a fun evening! It sounds like exactly what I'd do to get a photo (except when we finally got one, I wouldn't look nearly as cute!). My family would be rolling their eyes as my usually shy self would ask for a second or third photo op.

    Happy Tuesday~

  6. How lucky for you to meet Mark Bittman. I only recently bought a book and I'm thrilled with it. Simple, direct, but fresh and interesting. The photo was worth the effort.

  7. I love this combination! Pulled pork sandwich + spicy coleslaw = YUMMY!
    Btw, I included Vittles & Committals on my "Foodies I ♥" page. Hope you don't mind...:)

  8. Thanks everyone! Tina, I don't mind at all. Thanks so much!

  9. Both pulled pork and Napa coleslaw are amazing! Yummy!

  10. GIrl, you need to settle down! Love the food and what a fun evening for a great cause!