"The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." - Mark Twain
We love a good food fight, and it starts at the table with a great entrée crowded out by irresistible side dishes. That’s what we will be bringing to your righty here, and ongoing growing list of great items for all levels of cooking skills to make and share with friends and family.
We want to highlight some of our favorites, but further down we include a full listing of all the delicious sides and great accompaniments for you to add to your table.
Like it or not potatoes probably top the charts for amazing side items. After all, the saying ‘meat and potatoes’ didn’t just happen. It took time for the phrase to become integral to western food culture. More recently the meme that shows ‘hashbrowns, fries, mashers, and vodka to wash it down all come from the potato, other vegetables really need to step up their game’ demonstrates just how entrenched, and versatile, taters are as part our food scenery.
We have some fun ideas for you to try. Smashed potatoes are all the rage, here’s our easy to make take on that trendy dish. Even though they are more Belgian than anything, French Fries are completely rooted in the American food landscape…and you can make a tasty version without actually frying them. A simply baked potato is truly a joy to eat, but we can show you how to take that to an even higher level with our Bacon Jam recipe. Then you’ll know what fully loaded should mean. We would be remiss if we did not bring that most ubiquitous of summer dishes, old fashioned Potato Salad.
Breads and such
“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ― James Beard
And it makes the greatest of sides, perhaps even rivaling the humble spud. For those of us who love to join the clean plate club, the best mop for the job is that last crust of delicious bread sopping up the sauces and juices from your favorite meal. Life is good.
There’s always room for the classics. That’s why we brought you our great DIY version of Hawaiian Bread. It’s not just for holidays anymore when you can make it anytime you want, and at a fraction of the cost. In contrast we have our Cheese Muffin-Biscuit hybrid that is so ridiculously easy to make that you will become the star of the family kitchen every time you serve it.
Pasta and Noodles
Pasta is a great crossover food, shining as the star entrée of many exceptional meals, it is also a marvelous companion on your main plate. Seared chicken served with our Alio Olio noodles, or Italian sausages with a meat free version of Pasta with Vodka Sauce are both combinations that will have your guests raving and asking for more.
From rice noodles in peanut sauce with pickled vegetables, to a chilled pasta salad with and Asian flair, to mac and cheese, cold, hot or in between, there’s a pasta dish from every culture that will fill the bill for a complete meal. In Italy they serve it as its very own course, and that can be fun. But exploring all the ways you can enjoy pasta as a compliment to your own main meal is its own reward when you follow that path, and here’s a good map to success; Pasta Time.
Salads and Slaw
Side or starter course? Both, in our opinion anyway. In a restaurant you are likely to get a salad as a first course, at the family table it is often served with the meal. And that is generally referencing a green salad. We mentioned pasta salad, but rice, bulger, couscous, fruit, and a whole lot more all fall into the category.
Cole Slaw is a classic, and ours is a fun and easy version. We especially enjoyed sharing a classic favorite of ours, the Broadway Pea Salad, a great accompaniment to brunch, lunch, or dinner. From Caesar to Waldorf, there’s a whole range of big-name salads. And a bunch of little ones to find on the way too.
Rice and Grains
Rice alone is a book worthy topic. Just our favorite varieties are quite the list; basmati, jasmine, Cal-rose, arborio, and wild rice, to name a few. Work them into side dishes from the old school Pilau to risotto to rice and beans, you get a geography lesson along the way.
The grains see some overlap with mentions in the salad section. Couscous, the food so nice they named it twice, is about as easy as side dishes can get. Grits or Polenta are really good, adding cheese and some cream puts them at risk of stealing the spotlight from your main course. Quinoa is all the rage for good reasons, nutritious and well flavored, it lends itself to flavorful additions. Those ’endless waves of grain’ provide a near endless array of choices to add to any meal.
The fact is it is impossible to even know where to start on this category of side dishes. From a simple bowl of steamed carrots with butter to a fennel and acorn squash puree, there is a lot of latitude for what falls under the heading of vegetables.
The amazing thing is that you can find a vegetable that shines in every single cooking technique (sauteed, steamed, simmered, seared or smashed) and at every temperature. Each and every part of the world has their own favored veggie and a special way to serve them. The longest journey starts with one step, but you can spend a lifetime in exploration of vegetables.