Monday, December 30, 2013

Cafe Rio Luncheon for 90 people

I recently oversaw a luncheon for 90 people.  We served a Cafe Rio style meal.  Thought I'd share my planning notes:

Tables and chairs set up during the week- round tables with seating for 90 people.  Rectangular tables in a line down middle for the food.  5 round tables on each side. 9 chairs per table.  Small table for dirty silverware and a garbage can near door by kitchen
Round white Tablecloths
Paper products: dinner plates, dessert plates, cups, napkins
Decorations: We did a spring theme with forced yellow forsythia and turquoise/robin’s egg blue.  I placed a round blue place mat in the center of each table, topped with a paper doily.  A bunch of fake forsythia was put inside an overturned wine glass.  On top of the glass was placed a votive candle and the stem was tied with a blue ribbon.  Next to the glass was a white ceramic bird.  The center of the serving table had a blue vintage table cloth and a large arrangement of forced forsythia in a white ceramic pitcher.

Menu
Dessert: Mini Cheesecakes
Beverage: Water with lemon slices

Café Rio Sweet Pork Style Salad
Salad Ingredient Assignments

Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork
Café Rio style Chicken
Cafe Rio style creamy Cilantro Dressing
60 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips and deep fried and lightly salted 
7 large heads of Romaine lettuce (not hearts), washed and torn 

Cafe Rio style Black Beans
Rice with Cilantro and Lime 
Pico de Gallo (can substitute salsa)
Chunky Guacamole
6 bags of Cheese, Mexican blend (4 c per bag) 
80 Flour Tortillas 

Assembly:
Items on serving table in this order: Tortillas, cheese, beans in crock pots, rice, meat, lettuce, pico or salsa, guacamole, dressing, tortilla strips.
Cheesecake already sliced on plates on dessert table.  Water pitchers on tables.  

Recipes

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans

16 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained, or 25 cups cooked black beans (about 6 ½ lbs dry)
1 c garlic, minced
¼ c, plus 1 T, plus 1 teaspoons  cumin
2 c olive oil
2 46oz cans, plus one 11 oz size can of tomato juice
2 ½ t salt, or to taste (using low sodium tomato juice will affect this)
2 cup chopped cilantro, optional

In a non stick pan, cook garlic, cumin and olive oil over medium heat until fragrance is released. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add beans and 2 cans tomato juice.  Cook down, if needed, for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid is absorbed and evaporated. Add more tomato juice, if needed,  and salt to taste.
Stir in chopped cilantro when ready to serve.

Mexican Rice with Lime and Cilantro (Prepare 4 batches)

Can prep and have cook in ovens that morning.
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups rice
6 cups boiling water
3 chicken bouillon cubes worth of granules
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 T lime juice
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Boil water. Spray or oil a 9 x 13 inch cake pan and pour in the 3 cups of dry rice. Sprinkle on the cilantro, butter, chicken bouillon, sugar, and garlic. Add boiling water and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 for 1 hr, 15 min. Fluff with a fork and stir in the lime juice before serving.

Pico de Gallo

16 seeded and chopped tomatoes
4 small onion, about 4 cup chopped, white or sweet variety
1 bunch chopped cilantro
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
¼ c lime juice
4 cloves garlic, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Best if made at least one hour before serving.
Store in fridge, but let come to room temperature before serving.

Chunky Guacamole ( make 2 batches)

9 avocados, not too ripe-peeled, pitted and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
3 large fresh tomato, chunked, or 6 romas
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
¼  c, plus 2 T lime juice
6 cloves minced garlic
3 jalapenos, seeds removed and finely chopped (optional or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chopped avocados in a bowl. Slightly mash a few of the avocado pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the lime juice. Mix together and put in serving bowl.  Smooth the top and pour lime juice on top.  Do not stir in lime juice till just before serving.  This should keep the guacamole from darkening.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate till serving time.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork, 60 servings
For roasting meat:
23 lb Pork Shoulder*
1 T onion salt
fresh ground pepper
5 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
20 oz Coke, not Diet, coke zero is supposed to work

For sauce after roasting:
20 oz diced (mild to medium) green chilies
48 oz canned red enchilada sauce
3 1/3 cups light brown sugar
40 oz Coke

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.
If using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more  pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.
Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.
Place the pork in 4 large crock pots.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast. Cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan. Discard.
Place meat back into crockpots or into large metal pans, shred with forks.
Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess.  I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Tip: If preparing ahead, follow directions until meat has been shredded. Refrigerate or freeze meat at this point. When ready to serve, prepare sauce and pour over meat. You preheat the roasters at least 20 minutes before adding the meat, to reduce scorching. No hotter than 325, well-covered, and as soon as it reaches 180 in the middle, turn down to 180. Again, timing depends on amount per roaster and temp of meat at start, as well as how saucy it is, allow at least 3 hours. Turn down if it reaches temp before 3 hours.

Fire Grilled Chicken (20 servings)
10 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 bottles zesty Italian dressing
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
6 garlic cloves, minced
Mix all together and marinate as long as you can stand to... a few minutes to overnight. Grill and slice. This has a really good flavor.

Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing, make 4 batches

2 cups mayonnaise (not light)
2 cups sour cream
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, washed, stems removed
3 tomatillos, quartered (remove outer paper-like skin)
2 stems green onion, green parts
1 garlic clove
1 jalapenos, seeded
2 T lime juice
salt to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon
Place all ingredients in a blender or use a hand immersion blender and blend until smooth.
Store in refrigerator.  Keeps in fridge for about 10 days.

Smaller Portion Recipes

Pico de Gallo

4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, about 1 cup chopped, white or sweet variety
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, optional
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Best if made at least one hour before serving.
Serve at room temperature.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

For roasting meat:
13.5 lb Pork Shoulder* (yield approx 6 1/2 lbs cooked, fat removed, shredded pork)
2 teaspoon onion salt
fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
1 can or approx 12 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper, not Diet

For sauce after roasting:
3- 4 oz cans diced (mild to medium) green chilies
1-28 oz can red enchilada sauce
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cans or 24 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.
If making a full recipe and using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more  pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.
Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.
Place the pork in a large heavy roasting pan or crock pot.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast.
Cover tightly with foil, so no steam escapes. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open oven. Turn oven to 200 roast for 2 more hours. Alternately, Place the pork into two large crock pots. Follow directions, except cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan.
Place meat back into roasting pan, shred with forks.
Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess. Visualize the icky barbecued meat in the frozen section at the grocery. I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Yield: about 35 servings.

Tips:
-*Important: Make sure to buy Pork Shoulder or Pork (Boston) Butt.  Pork Roast or Pork Loin does not have enough fat to produce a product that will shred properly. I like Pork Shoulder best for this recipe. A large Pork Shoulder can be found at Costco for approximately $2.00 per pound.
-This recipe may also be used as a taco filling or for burritos.
-If preparing ahead, follow directions until meat has been shredded. Refrigerate or freeze meat at this point. When ready to serve, prepare sauce and pour over meat. Heat up in oven or on stove top at low heat.
-This recipe freezes well. When I have leftovers, I freeze the meat and drain off the sauce. When I want to use the frozen meat, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight; then place the meat in a pan on top of the stove. I make fresh sauce but only prepare 1/3 of the recipe above.
-If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you may add water, 1/4 cup at a time.

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans

2-15 oz cans black beans, (drain one can, don't drain the other)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-11.5 oz can tomato juice
salt ( kosher or sea salt) and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a non stick pan, cook garlic, cumin and olive oil over medium heat until fragrance is released, about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic.
Add beans, cook down for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid from the beans is absorbed and evaporated. Add can of tomato juice and seasoning to taste.
Stir in chopped cilantro when ready to serve.
Yield 8 servings


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