Friday, June 24, 2011

Fiesta Rice

I just celebrated the birthday that I will be celebrating the rest of my life.  Thirty nine.  Okay, now let's talk about food.

A couple weeks or so before my birthday, my friend and I were chatting about it and I told her that I was going to host an outdoor birthday dinner party.  "Im going to make the Tacos Al Pastor on my blog."  Then I asked her, "What do you think I should make as a side to go with them?"  "Oh, I think you should make Spanish Rice." she responded knowingly and went on to tell me all the good things she adds to hers.  "Corn, green peppers, onions."  She's the kind of friend who just has to look at you a certain way and you know everything she's going to say.  We started adding ingredients taking turns in the conversation, our eyes getting bigger and bigger as if each ingredient that came to mind outdid the last.  The more we talked, the more excited we got about...rice.  Who get's excited about rice?  Apparently we do.  And you're about to.

If you want your birthday party to be what you expect it to be, you'll have better luck throwing it yourself.  Well, unless another really good friend makes you dinner and orders your favorite cake.  That (and many other reasons are) what friends are for, right?  I had a great time putting together my own party though.  I bought lanterns to hang outside from our table umbrella, citronella candles, cute party plates and napkins that I got out of a sale bin, and decided on the theme.  I have to tell you, dinner was great, but the best part was the outdoor movie we enjoyed after the sun went down.  Upon inviting my guests, I asked them to bring a lawn chair and a very warm blanket.  We set up the laptop, speakers and video equipment on a table in the yard and aimed the movie projection at the back of the house where we have some very large windows.  We all sat in a row, snuggled up and watched one of my favorite movies.  I think it was one of the best birthday celebrations I ever had.  And it should be if I'm going to celebrate it for years to come, right?

I included the rice recipe.  Keeping with the birthday theme, I called it Fiesta Rice.  I also served chips (Juanita's - which are my personal favorite!) and salsa, and a great summer crab salad.

Fiesta Rice

1 T butter
1 C. long grain white rice
1/2 C. chopped red pepper
1/2 C. chopped orange pepper
1/2 C. chopped white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C. Herdez Ranchero Sauce, Salsa or tomato sauce
1 1/2 C. water
1 small can green chilis
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the rice.  Stir to coat.  Add the peppers, onions and garlic and  cook for five minutes until rice is lightly toasted and vegetables are softened.  Stir occassionally.  Add the Ranchero Sauce and water.  Cover skillet and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes until rice has absorbed the liquid and is done cooking.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the green chilis and black beans. Serve hot!

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