Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cafe Rio Salads, Chips and Homemade Salsa

Cafe Rio is a popular restaurant around here. Their pork salad is by FAR my favorite thing on the menu. Although this is not any sort of official recipe, it is a really tasty impersonation! I've gotten variations of this recipe from many friends and acquaintances; this is my adaptation.

4-6 tortillas

1 c rice
2 c water
4 garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1 - 2 limes
juice of 1 - 2 limes (about 3 T lime juice)
1 T sugar
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro, if desired

Spray rice cooker with cooking spray. Add rice, water, garlic, and lime zest. Cook. In a small bowl, mix lime juice and sugar until sugar dissolves. Once rice is cooked, stir in lime juice mixture. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

2 t oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t cumin
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (11 oz) can tomato juice
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro, if desired

In a medium saucepan, heat oil to medium. Add garlic and cumin and cook for a few seconds. Stir in beans and tomato juice. Stir frequently, bringing just to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is somewhat reduced. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

2 lbs pork roast
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c salsa

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Add pork. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low all day. Drain off half the liquid. Shred meat, discarding fat. Mix the sugar, salsa, and shredded meat back in the slow cooker. Cook on low for about an hour, until sugar is melted.

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped

3/4 c sour cream
1/2 packet Ranch dressing mix
1/4 packet Fiesta Ranch dressing mix
4 tomatillos, husked and cut into fourths
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed
juice of 1-2 limes
1 clove garlic

Put sour cream in blender, then add the remaining ingredients. Keep refrigerated.

1 avocado
minced onion
garlic powder
lime juice (about 1 T)

Mash avocados with a fork. Mix in other ingredients to taste.

Red Salsa
3 tomatoes, cored
1/4 onion
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime

In a blender, combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, and a few shakes of salt. Blend until smooth. Taste with a tortilla chip and add more jalapeno, lime juice, and salt to taste. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

To assemble salads:
On individual plates, top 1 tortilla with rice, beans, and meat. Cover with lettuce and dressing. Top with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream as desired. Serve with chips and salsa.


Tianna said...

My husband is gonna love you for this. If I'd let him, he'd eat at Cafe Rio at least 3 times per week. I'm not kidding. Before we got married, that was his average. He'd take me at least once a week and I got burned out really fast. That and being on a budget has greatly limited his Cafe Rio intake. But seeing as today is Cinco De Mayo and I'm in a good mood and just happen to have a pork roast…

You have made one man very happy today. He just doesn't know it yet. I think I'm gonna make it a surprise.

Rachelle said...

I'm so happy to help!

If he's a serious Cafe Rio connoiseur, I'm sure he'll be able to tell that this recipes's not 100% authentic. But I think it's still extremely tasty! We seriously love this meal, even if it isn't quite as good as the original. :)

I hope your Cince de Mayo surprise was a success!

Rachelle said...

Hi! My name is Rachelle too---I don't meet many other people with the same name :-) I just found your site today, and this recipe looks awesome! We live in Texas, so we rarely get Cafe Rio, but I love it when I do!

Rachelle said...

Ooh, another Rachelle! How fun... there aren't many of us, you know. Have you tried these Cafe Rio salads? They're not quite as good as the real deal, but I think they are pretty irresistible! Let me know if you have any suggestions to make them more authentic!