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Your Favorite South o' the Border Dishes (Non-Mexican)

It's amazing how much Mexico dominates the south-of-the-border (Caribbean inclusive) segment of the culinary scene in the US. Now I'm hardly complaining, because I love the stuff, but I'm also very curious about other cuisines and their dishes from down that way.

Have you got any of which you're particularly fond? If so, I'd like to hear about them.

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  1. I had aunties from Cuba, and from my childhood, I have VERY fond memories of black beans and rice (with fresh oregano), and Cuban coffee cooked on the stovetop, sweetened liberally with sweetened condensed milk. I felt so grown up drinking it but it was probably 80% milk/condensed milk and 20% coffee.

    7 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      I would love to explore Cuban cuisine. Alas, the Cubanos are not heavy on the ground in west Texas.

      But I did recently made a Dominican dish. It was spaghetti with a tomato sauce seasoned, in part by Badia Seasoning, and instead of meatballs or ground beef, sliced franks. Reminded me of the Franco-American Spaghettios with Franks that I used to eat back in the 70s, but much better.

        1. re: pinehurst

          Will post it later. Tonight, if I get the chance.

          1. re: pinehurst

            At your service, ma'am.

            1 lb. spaghetti
            6 franks sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
            Salt to taste
            1 T. olive oil
            3 T. olive oil
            1/2 green bell pepper diced
            1/4 red bell pepper diced
            2 cloves garlic minced
            1/3 onion minced
            1/2 chicken bouillion cube
            1/2 T. Badia Complete Seasoning (or other Latin seasoning blend)
            2 cups jarred pasta sauce (I use traditional Ragu)
            3/4 cup water

            1. Sautee franks, peppers, garlic, onion, bouillion cube and Latin seasoning in 3 T. olive oil for nine minutes.

            2. Add pasta sauce and 3/4 cup water. Mix well.

            3. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes uncovered.

            4. Cook spaghetti in salted water with 1 T. olive oil. Drain and serve with sauce.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              H. is away this weekend at his brother's. I'm making a mess of this for me. Might sub a diff. kind of pepper for the bell...cubanelle, which I can eat by the bushel with no ill effects.
              THANK YOU!

              1. re: pinehurst

                If you really want to put on the ritz, you could use that Rao's that so many around here go on about. Then again a fine sauce like that might undermine the kitschy nature of the thing. At any rate, bon appetit!

          2. re: Perilagu Khan

            Same thing here in the Bay Area: I loved the tostones and Cuban black beans and rice I had in Florida, but if I want them where I live I have to make them.

            I've recently had some interesting Peruvian dishes and would like to try more. We do get some Salvadorean food around here, but Mexican - especially Michocoan- food dominates around here.

        2. Costa Rican gallo pinto with a couple of over easy eggs and some Salsa Lizano. Yum!

          3 Replies
          1. re: seamunky

            We were in Costa Rica for a month awhile back, and we had gallo pinto at pretty much every meal. I liked it for breakfast better than for dinner.

            1. re: jeanmarieok

              Breakfast in Costa Rica is the best! Gallo pinto, fried eggs, and banana con leche!

            2. re: seamunky

              When I lived in Costa Rica for 7 months and ate gallo pinto for every meal (with little else b/c I was living with a relatively impoverished family), we got to calling gallo pinto "Crime and Punishment". I would have daydreams about what I would eat when I got back home. But now gallo pinto has returned as all-time favorite, especially with some beloved Salsa Lizano poured on, and a batido on the side!

            3. I like Cuban foods in general. I also like Jamacian jerk -- especially good jerk pork.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Yet another that I've actually not tried, although it is in my recipe rotation and should be coming up soon.

                I also loved the fresh, grilled snapper I had (frequently!) while in St. Kitts.

                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  I think you will like jerk pork. It is not super healthy, but it is not super unhealty neither. I prefer it get done using the pork shoulder, but you can use tenderloin if you want a leaner cut.

                  You may want to try it from a local Jamacian restaurant if it offers jerk pork. I think you will like it.

              2. Ropa Vieja – Pan Caribbean
                Feijoada – Brazil
                Beef shanks con mani - Peru

                Quiet a bit out there that's tasty and easy to prepare if one is willing to explore a little.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mike0989

                  Add to this Moqueca capixaba, a lighter cerviche like version of Bahian fish stew.

                2. Peruvian empanadas - meat, fish, cheese, or fruit

                  Uruguayan smoked sweetbreads (mollejas) w/chimichurri

                  Brazilian bauru sandwich (feijoada has been mentioned)

                  Costa Rican black bean soup w/ poached egg

                  The daily black beans and rice throughout Central America and parts of the Caribbean becomes tiresome like groundhog day.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Veggo

                    I expected you'd weigh in at some point, Veggo. :)

                    1. re: Veggo

                      Seems every dish in Rio comes with black bean, rice AND French fries. But I honestly don't tire of it.

                      Attached is a picture of a Bauru that Bob and I shared for breakfast in Rio one morning.