Hola, amigos! And that's about the extent of my Spanish speaking abilities, despite the fact that Dick has tried to give me multiple lessons when I'm trapped in the car with him on the 4-hr drive to see his family in So. UT. He lived in Chile for 2 years when he went on a mission for our church, and he loves to speak Spanish any chance he gets. But just because I don't speak Spanish doesn't mean I won't eat it! I tried my hand at some Mexican recipes this week in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, and they were a big, BIG hit!
The entree I chose to make is a copycat recipe from a very popular Mexican restaurant called Cafe Rio. By far the best thing on their menu is the sweet pork salad, so that is exactly what I made! My awesome sis-in-law, Megan, happened to find these recipes on this website, and let me in on her little secret. I thought it would take forever to make them because there are a few different parts to the salad if you want to get them just right, and I did! You start with a warm flour tortilla sprinkled with cheese, followed by cilantro-lime rice, black beans, sweet pork, lettuce, and topped off with the best cilantro ranch dressing in the WORLD! It didn't take long at all, just a little planning ahead for the pork to be in the crockpot, which gives you plenty of time to put everything else together. Trust me, if you like Mexican food, and you like salads, you're going to looooooove this one! And don't skimp on any part - its totally worth making the entire thing!
For dessert, I had to go with Tres Leches, of course! Its super sweet, and super soggy (in the best way you can possibly imagine), and completely and utterly satisfying. That is just a normal slice of this 3-milk cake, but when you add the mango & cinnamon this recipe calls for it will literally uproot you from where you are sitting and take you to a Mexican beach, leaving all of your worries behind. Mangoes are definitely my worst enemy when it comes to pitting a fruit, but they are so delicious, and absolutely take this cake over the top, so it is well-worth the sticky hands and juicy mess - trust me! Well, now you have to make it, don't you?! Enjoy!
Sweet Pork Salad From Cafe Rio
Assembling your salad:
1. start with a warm flour tortilla, sprinkled with cheese.
2. Top with a heaping spoonful of cilantro-lime rice.
3. Top with a spoonful of black beans.
4. Top with 1/4-1/2 c. sweet pork.
5. Top with 1-2 c. of shredded Romaine lettuce.
6. Drizzle with cilantro ranch dressing.
7. Dig in!
1 c. uncooked rice (I used brown w/ good results!)
1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime juice, chicken broth & water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, sugar & cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice & mix in as you fluff the rice.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
In a nonstick skillet or saucepan, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over med. heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice & salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.
2-3 lbs pork (I used bone-in Boston butt)
3 cans coke (not diet!)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can enchilada sauce, medium spiciness
1 c. brown sugar
Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc back 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 & put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in a crock pot on high 3-4 hrs, or low for 8 hrs, until it shreds easily (don't let it dry out!). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred the 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 & sauce in a crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!
Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not buttermilk!)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, husks removed, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno (I kept the ribs & seeds for a little kick!)
Mix all ingredients in a blender. That's it!!!
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, May 2010
Non-stick spray, to prepare your pan
4 large eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. milk (I used skim w/ excellent results!)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12-oz can evaporated milk
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 ripe mangoes
2 Tbsp. sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Make the cake: Beat the eggs & sugar in a large bowl w/ a mixer until pale & slightly thick, ~6 min. Slowly beat in the melted butter, then beat in the vanilla & 1/4 c. milk.
3. whisk the flour, baking powder & salt in a bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture, then gently fold together w/ a rubber spatula to make a thick batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan & bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, ~30 minutes. Run a knife along the edges to release the cake from the pan.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 c. milk, the evaporated milk, & condensed milk in a bowl. Pierce the warm cake all over w/ a fork, then pour the milk mixture evenly on top. Cover & refrigerate at least one hour, or overnight.
5. Before serving, make the mango topping: Peel, pit, & dice the mangoes. Puree half the mangoes in a blender w/ 2 Tbsp. sugar. Transfer to a bowl & fold in the remaining diced mango.
6. Top each slice of cake with mango topping, a little whipped cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon.