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sides help!

arjunsr Mar 24, 2012 09:53 PM

cooking for the dad's side of the family for the first time.

i want to make bobby flay's recipe for his spice rubbed pork tenderloin (basically enhanced chili powder) with red bell pepper sauce and cilantro oil. he serves it with a tamale but i want something more general. they've never had mexican food before, so i can't make anything in that line. is there something safe and yet impressive that would complement it?

  1. i
    INDIANRIVERFL Mar 25, 2012 05:07 PM

    As I can be away from any computer for weeks or months at a time, the fact that arjunsr hasn't responded yet is not an item to be considered on my part. I would like to know a little more about the people who have not been exposed to Mexican cuisine. I suggest that recomendations for Mennonites would be very different from that for recent immigrants from Bolivia.

    A little more info please.

    1. k
      katy1 Mar 25, 2012 04:23 PM

      It may be way off what you're looking for, but I love tzatziki with pork....strained or greek yogurt, crushed garlic, shredded cucumbers, a little evoo and vinager, salt....some people add dill or onions, but im not a big fan...i love the freshness, lightens the pork....even better with some french fries in olive oil...or baked

      1. chefj Mar 25, 2012 03:21 PM

        The OP did not want to serve anything "Mexican" as a side.
        "they've never had mexican food before, so i can't make anything in that line."

        6 Replies
        1. re: chefj
          ChristinaMason Mar 25, 2012 03:23 PM

          I assume you're replying to me. I did read and understand the original post, but thanks.

          I think between the sour cream and the cheddar, using a very small amount of either chipotle or smoked paprika would enhance the flavor and compliment the main without being overtly "Mexican." Plus, the sweet potato would help to balance the spice in both the mash and the pork.

          1. re: ChristinaMason
            chefj Mar 25, 2012 04:05 PM

            No, I was actually responding to almost everyone who was posting "Mexican/South West" items which seems to the majority. Seemed like everyone missed that.

            1. re: chefj
              mrbigshotno.1 Mar 25, 2012 04:12 PM


              1. re: chefj
                katy1 Mar 25, 2012 04:18 PM

                black beans are not particularly mexican...and a little cheddar cheese, and minced green onions make it lighter....i never use lard...i use olive oil in most things. Sundried tomatoes can also take it out of the mexican theory

                1. re: katy1
                  chefj Mar 25, 2012 04:38 PM

                  Can't say I agree Black Beans are closely associated with Mexican, Central and South American cooking. But as always this is only my opinion.

                2. re: chefj
                  mcf Mar 25, 2012 04:53 PM

                  I didn't miss it, I just thought the guacamole salad doesn't have strong unfamiliar type flavors when it's mixed, and would be a great side.

            2. ChristinaMason Mar 25, 2012 03:04 PM

              A mix of sweet and white potatoes, boiled and mashed with sour cream, grated white cheddar, and just a touch of chipotle en adobo OR smoked paprika.

              I also think fresh pineapple would be very nice on the side, perhaps broiled to caramelize a bit?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChristinaMason
                ChristinaMason Mar 25, 2012 03:44 PM

                Gratin potatoes cooked in garlic cream would be another good option. I know linguafood has posted a recipe on Chowhound a couple times. Worth a search.

              2. alkapal Mar 25, 2012 02:19 PM

                corn pudding!

                now i can tell you two ways: easy peasy but still really, really good: sour cream corn muffin mix recipe (honestly, this is terrific for how simple it is!). everyone LOVES this, even food snobs <SNORT!> http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1950,145182-250205,00.html not a soufflé, but i'd venture it is soufffé-like…more so than a pudding. oh, i don't know…it is just darned good!

                PITA but very delicious as well. tomalitos corn pudding from chevy's -- http://domesticdittodiva.blogspot.com...

                frankly, i'm inclined to go for the former…..
                no out of the ordinary flavors,,,,just good corn tastiness (and related to a tamale heh heh). i mean, who doesn't like corn pudding? (oh..someone will pipe up that they don't like it….and i think i know those usual suspects. LOL). this corn pudding is a "safe" bet, delicious, and a respite from any "crazee red chile" issues that some may have. ;-)).

                i also agree with the green veggie, and i'd go for some nice crispy green beans, bright and lovely to complement the somewhat muted colors on the plate otherwise. ps, i don't want to mess up bobby flay's game, but i think a tart-sweet cranberry relish (on my mind from another thread) with a bright citrus note like lemon zest… would be a nice kicker. maybe add some toasted walnuts or pecans in that relish, too.

                1. mrbigshotno.1 Mar 25, 2012 10:08 AM

                  Maybe just a simple rice pilaf and some steamed fresh or frozen young green beans with butter. If they are "simple eaters", this might be the best way to go for a first meal. You can always "kick it up a notch" later.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                    greygarious Mar 25, 2012 10:40 AM

                    A local steak house chain is revered for its rice pilaf, for which there are several copycat recipes.

                    Basically, it's rice that is sauteed with sweated onions, to which are added chicken broth, spinach, and more butter than seems prudent. Since the OP's family is not used to Mexican food, it would be wise to include something fairly fatty as a side, to counteract the capsaicin in the entree. Alternatively, I like the idea of creamed corn too, since corn is a staple of Mexican and basic American cooking.

                    1. re: greygarious
                      katy1 Mar 25, 2012 04:20 PM

                      the rice sounds really good grey

                  2. chefj Mar 25, 2012 10:06 AM

                    Here are a few non-Mexican ideas
                    Hasselback potatoes, Straw pancakes with herbs(Rösti), Pommes à la Dauphinoise and an endless parade of Potato dishes.
                    Rissotos work well as side dishes and are very versitile(but do take last minuet attention)
                    For vegetables stay seasonal, Peas, Asparagus, Spring Carrots, Spring onions ,Leeks, etc.....

                    1. DiningDiva Mar 25, 2012 09:59 AM

                      If you want something similar to the tamal, but approachable to that side of the family, why not go with Alton Brown's Better Than Grannie's Cream Corn recipe - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... . It really is extremely good, easy to make and a crowd pleaser.

                      1. k
                        kengk Mar 25, 2012 09:31 AM

                        I think that rice pilaf or mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach would go nicely.

                        1. s
                          suzigirl Mar 25, 2012 08:39 AM

                          I think I posted to the wrong person for your request to 'sides help. If so please read the mexi-corn and black beans and let me know if it was of any help. It is one of the posts on your thread. Good luck with the pork. I am trying a pork loin tonight. Yikes! I hope it is not dry.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: suzigirl
                            hotoynoodle Mar 25, 2012 09:15 AM

                            pork loin only becomes dry when it is overcooked. err on the side of pink rather than cooked through.

                            to the op: i like the idea of polenta as mentioned above and also the leeks. people are funny about fennel so i wouldn't go there with unknown palates.

                          2. mcf Mar 25, 2012 08:12 AM

                            This recipe is gorgeous to look at, not spicy despite jalapenos, and very refreshing. I add a dusting of ground cumin to it just before dressing. I've made it both with and without the beans, fabulous either way: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mcf
                              ChristinaMason Mar 25, 2012 03:41 PM

                              That looks very tasty, thanks for the link.

                              1. re: ChristinaMason
                                buttertart Mar 25, 2012 04:09 PM

                                That does!

                                1. re: ChristinaMason
                                  mcf Mar 25, 2012 04:49 PM

                                  It's so refreshing, a summer staple in our house... and colorful. I make a half recipe when it's just the two of us, it's best made fresh and eaten same day, though is good enough the next day. Hope you make it and enjoy it as much as we do, and think about adding that bit of ground cumin...

                              2. Hank Hanover Mar 24, 2012 11:20 PM

                                Mexican rice and refried beans or black beans

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Hank Hanover
                                  charlesbois Mar 25, 2012 07:39 AM

                                  Hank's suggestion sounds like it's in line with the flavors you will be creating in the main dish. A harmonious meal is the way to impress.

                                  If you wanted to get a little different, how about sauteed, diced sweet potatoes garnished with seasoned pepitas and some skillet cornbread. A tomatilla salsa with chips to start and some hibiscus iced tea to drink. Dang, now I want to make this.

                                  1. re: charlesbois
                                    suzigirl Mar 25, 2012 08:32 AM

                                    What about a mexi-corn style dish? Saute a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes in some butter and garlic until they pop and get kind of 'jammy' for lack of a better term. Add a bag of frozen corn kernels and some chili powder to taste,not to heavy handed. A half teaspoon or so. Add a quarter cup of water and cook til heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. I think the black beans are a good idea too. I make them with canned beans. Saute half a small onion and a clove of garlic in a pot. Add a heaping tbsp of Goya sofrito or jarred salsa in a pinch. Cook for a few minutes to marry flavors and add a pinch of oregano,cumin and chili powder. Add a bay leaf and a quarter cup chicken stock or water. Simmer low for twenty minutes or so stirring it now and then. So good.

                                  2. re: Hank Hanover
                                    katy1 Mar 25, 2012 04:14 PM

                                    good choice hank. I'd do the black beans with lots of cumin, garlic, and onion, and the rice with a little saffron, diced tomatoes, and maybe a little orange zest...and of course garlic and onion..ok, im predictable

                                  3. Euonymous Mar 24, 2012 10:17 PM

                                    Polenta would work well as a starch. I agree entirely on the braised fennel or leeks for vegetables, especially if you put some garlic into them.

                                    1. j
                                      jaykayen Mar 24, 2012 10:07 PM

                                      Mashed potatoes go with everything and are delicious. Grits would also work well.

                                      Braised fennel or leeks if you want a vegetable.

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