Monday, May 21, 2007

Bringing the southwest to us...

It was just one week ago today that we posted the pictures about the just-born baby birds right outside the front door. We peaked in the bush again yesterday and take a gander at just how fast these little guys develop!

We often make side dishes that are hearty enough to be a main if you just increase the portion size a bit. Tonight's dinner, Fiesta Rice, happened to be one of those recipes - I'm sure it would be a knock-out side dish for a Mexican entrée, but it was filling enough for us as a main dish dividing it out into 4 servings instead.

To bring out the sweetness in the corn, the kernels are first pan-roasted in olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Fresh green onions are then cooked in a pat of butter, followed by brown basmati rice, cumin and minced garlic to give the rice a chance to quickly toast. Instead of using water to cook the rice, chicken broth and fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chiles are added to infuse the dish with a southwestern flare. After the rice has cooked, black beans and a big handful of chopped cilantro are tossed in with a splash of fresh lime juice to brighten the flavors. You can use regular chunky diced tomatoes if you already have them in the pantry, but I do like the extra depth that the fire-roasted tomatoes give. A hearty dish that packs a deep smoky flavor, combined with the golden corn, black beans and nutty basmati rice was a filling blend that transported us back to the time we were living out west in Arizona! You could probably get away with adding some chipotle chilies if you wanted to kick up the heat, but even we liked this dish without the added heat since it had such a bold flavor already.


  1. I need to have my head examined. I skimmed your post on Bloglines and immediately thought the birds in the first photograph were part of your dish in the second.

    I. Need. Help.


  2. Ack... Certainly no birdies were hurt in making this dish!

    I guess I should have broken it up a bit more - hee hee!

  3. Mmmmm. Baby Birds.

    We had a batch...I mean a nest of them in our back yard last year. My daughter hung an old bird house from a low hanging branch and some bird laid her eggs in it....about 4 feet off the ground. It was fun watching the birds grow, but the mama bird kept dive bombing us in the back yard.

  4. The Fiesta Rice looks great! I have a bag of frozen corn in the freezer, some green onions in the fridge, and a can of black beans in the pantry, so I am definitely going to try it for lunch someday soon. Thanks!

  5. Wow, those birdies are growing fast! This rice is going into my 'to try' pile for sure -- looks great.

  6. They're so big! They'll be flying off before you know it. We have a nest on the back porch--between ours and the one above it--and every year I can hear little baby birds chirping away.

  7. Anna - we have a pair that decided the newspaper bin on the mailbox was a great place to make a nest. Now it is almost impossible to get the mail without being dive bombed by them!!

    Midwestmaven - A pantry dish for sure - we usually have all the ingredients on hand.

    Anj - I know! They are already out of their nest now.

    Jen - They were chirping and flying all over the steps this morning!