{In case you're wondering, that means "Everyone to the table to eat!" in Italian}

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cafe Rio Pork Salad, Cilantro-Lime Dressing & Guacamole

For those of you who don't have a Cafe Rio, it is a chain of Mexican grill restaurants. They have great salads, burritos, and quesadillas, homemade tortillas, and the best cilantro-lime dressing. Here is a copycat recipe for the Pork Salad. Try it, and let me know what you think! I found the recipe for the dressing and salad ideas at Our Best Bites.

Cafe Rio Pork Salad
6 homemade tortillas (recipe follows)(serve without tortillas for wheat-free)
1 recipe lime-cilantro rice (recipe follows)
1 recipe brown sugar-salsa pork (recipe follows, you'll have extra)
1 recipe cilantro-lime dressing (recipe follows, again you'll have extra)
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
romaine lettuce
crispy tortilla strips
guacamole (recipe follows)

On a large plate, layer a tortilla, a scoop of rice, a scoop of beans, some lettuce, a scoop of pork (you can also use chicken or steak), and some tortilla strips. Drizzle w/ dressing and top w/ a big spoonful of guacamole. Yum!

Flour Tortillas
2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. very hot water
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 c. shortening

Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening until resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in water (I had to add a little extra flour b/c it was too sticky). Divide into 6 portions, roll each into a circle about 8-10" across. Cook in a very hot skillet until large bubbles form and light brown spots appear, turn and cook on other side (this only takes about a minute per side).

Lime-Cilantro Rice

1 c. uncooked long grain rice, plus water according to directions
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tb. lime juice
1 chicken boiullon cube, or 1 tsp. granules
salt to taste, if needed

Mix all ingredients except salt. Cook rice according to package directions, salt to taste.

Brown Sugar-Salsa Pork

1 pork roast (about 2 pounds)
1 c. brown sugar
2 c. medium salsa

Place pork in crock-pot. Sprinkle brown sugar on top, then pour on salsa. Cook on low 8 hours. Shred with fork and add back to crock-pot to soak up juices. This is SO good, we loved it! It would be great on sandwiches, too, or just by itself.

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (regular or buttermilk, and ignore directions on the packet)
1C mayo
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk depending on which packet you buy)
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa hot sauce (La Costena is good, Herdez is really hot)

Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender. Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice. Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa. Blend 'er up. Sample it and add hot sauce to taste. Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.


3 very ripe avocados
splash of lime juice
sprinkle of garlic salt
few drops of Tabasco

Peel, seed and mash avocados w/ a fork. Mix in other ingredients (a little Tabasco goes a long way, so be careful). Serve on this salad, or with chips, on burgers or enchiladas, or just eat w/ a
spoon! If you have leftovers, store them with the pit in the middle and plastic wrap pressed right on top- this will help keep it from turning brown!

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