Monday, September 17, 2012

MAKE IT: Cafe Rio Pork Salad and Ruth's Apple Pie


Seriously, you are going to want to make this immediately. THIS IS THE CAFE RIO PORK BARBACOA SALAD (and all the fixings!) RECIPE OF YOUR UTAH DREAMS. Also, don't forget to scroll to the bottom for my perfected apple recipe of my very own (a variation of a food network classic).

As a person for whom food has been the enemy for most of the past three months, and sleep the go-to naptime ritual, you will probably be shocked to hear that yesterday was the first Sunday since probably before my marathon training that I DID NOT TAKE A NAP WHEN MY BABY DID and instead I cooked for two hours. Gasp, I know right? Go ahead and call me lazy, I am fully aware of my lack of productivity and that will have to wait for another post. It was totally worth it.

I have been craving Cafe Rio Salads (specifically the pork barbacoa) ever since I stepped foot off the plane from Utah. I am a COMPLETE Cafe Rio snob so everything I have tried out here in Boston has failed to meet expectations (even when I lowered them) so, naturally, I took to pinterest and picked out a few recipes, thinking I would try one out and if it didn't work... proceed to the next till I found the "perfect" one. Well, I hit the jackpot and nailed it on the first try... EVERYTHING!
Had it for dinner last night and lunch today. Still just as good!

I got the cilantro lime rice recipe from the-girl-who-ate-everything blog (since Michelle recommended it as a tried and true success), and the rest of the food (including the pork) was from favfamilyrecipes blog. I made exactly what each recipe called for and it made plenty for three adults with enough leftovers for at least another meal or two. Photos are all my own from last night. Without further ado...
  • from FFR.... Salad Checklist:
  • 6 large Tortillas [uncooked are the best way to go on that one!]
  • Shredded cheese, Mexican blend
  • Cafe Rio Rice [see below]
  • Cafe Rio Black Beans [see below]
  • Cafe Rio Sweet Pork [see below]
  • Lettuce (NOT iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)
  • Diced tomato, onion, and cilantro [I just threw them in the blender and made my own pico de gallo!]
  • Guacamole [unless you are a pregnant Ruth...]
  • Sour cream and Tortilla Strips were two things I didn't care for and were omitted
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled (or you can use Parmesan)
  • Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch [see below]

2 pounds pork (we like to use boneless pork ribs)
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chilies
3/4 (1ooz) can red enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness)
1 c. brown sugar
Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.
Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don’t let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.
In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little. Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours. That’s it!
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. (**NOTE** we added a can of corn, drained, to the beans with a dash of cumin and chili powder, it was AWESOME! We recommend doing this even though it’s not “traditional Cafe Rio”)
1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno (we like it SPICY so we kept the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds)
Mix all ingredients together in the blender. That’s it!

Café Rio Lime Cilantro Rice 
Source: girl who ate everything blog

2 Tablespoons butter 
pepper to taste
1 ¼ cup uncooked white rice [I used Uncle Ben's]
juice and zest 2 small limes [we don't really like zest]
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro [I was a little more generous with the cilantro]
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin

In a skillet melt butter with rice. Add the chicken broth and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Ruth's apple pie (adapted from the Bobby Flay  five star apple pie recipe found on foot network site... Pie crust is food network's, pie filling is all my doing!):

Combine 2 c all purpose flour with 3/4 tsp salt and 1 cup shortening (room temp) cut into small pieces until mixture is uniform. (I used a fork to mix it together)

Beat one egg, 2 tbsp water and 1 tbsp white vinegar to blend and pour liquid over flour mixture, stir until all mixture is moist. Divide dough in half, shape each into a ball and flatten into a 4 inch circle, wrap and chill dough for at least 15 minutes to ensure easier rolling.

Preheat oven to 400'.

Peel, core and slice apples. I slice mine super tiny because I don't like big chunks of apple. I used three cortland (a tart and hard Massachusetts apple) and three gala (sweet and tender) apples. I've found that I like to combine at least two types of apples to get the best flavor... Last time I used Jonathan with golden delicious and it was equally good.

Dust rolling pin, flour surface and roll out dough to uniform thickness to fill pie place. Or, if you're like me and the dough keeps breaking on you. I just pounded the dough into the pie plate :) classy I know.

Layer apples, cinnamon, small (super tiny slivers of butter, about 1-2 tbsp total) and mixture (of 1/4 c granulated sugar, 1/2 c brown sugar, 2 tbsp all purpose flour) until you fill the pie to your liking. Place second pie crust on top, form to edges of pie plate and cut slits in top crust to allow steam release.

I also added a crust saver to cover the crust from burning for the first 30 minutes (you can also just use aluminum foil), and then take off and cook an additional 5-10 minutes.

Perfection!! Enjoy! This was my best meal yet... I don't know how I will top this one :)


anna. said...

oh my delicious. can't wait to try this out!!!

Sarah Elizabeth Kron said...

omggggg. trying this whole meal out. and then will promptly go into a food coma. but i don't care. SO YUM. (: way to go!!

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