Rice & Gravy


  • 1 lb sirloin tip, stew meat or round steak, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock
  • 1 onion, medium sized, sliced
  • Optional: 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 Tbsp butter or olive oil (for the meat and onions)
  • 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil (for the roux)
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups of prepared rice


  1. Cut beef into about one inch wide strips or cubes
  2. On medium heat, heat a large pan or medium pot, add 1 Tbsp oil
  3. Add beef and brown
  4. Add onions and pepper (if using) and stir until soft
  5. Add Rotel (do not drain)
  6. Leave beef and vegetables to simmer on low
  7. In a separate small pot, heat 2 Tbsp oil on medium and add 1/4 flour
  8. Stir flour constantly until roux is peanut butter color
  9. Remove roux from heat and add beef broth slowly. Stir every so often to thin out the roux/broth mixture
  10. Add gravy back into beef
  11. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour to 1 hour or until beef is tender
Serve over white or brown rice

I ain’t dead… yet

Sorry for the lack of updates. I appreciate all of the kind comments recently and this has led me to realize that I need to keep this site going from time to time.

I am about to graduate this May… but I am entering an intense Masters’ program at Stanford University in June. I doubt I’ll have time to cook. But when I come across something that needs posting, I promise to post it!

Thanks again,


Ground Beef and Mirliton Skillet


2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups diced mirliton (chayote squash), about 2 medium sized mirlitons
1/3 cup chopped onion, about 1/2 an onion
1 small chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C water or beef stock
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 Tbsp. creole seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste


Halve and de-seed the mirlitons and cut into 1-inch cubes. With mirliton, it is often easier to boil them (like potatoes) before cooking with with them. Boil the diced mirliton in lightly salted water for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain mirliton and set aside. In a large skillet, sautee onion in heated olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and bell pepper. Add ground beef and brown. Add water and seasonings. Add mirliton and stir well. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes. I like to mash the pieces of mirliton into the beef, although this tends to happen on its own as the boiled squash is fairly soft.

I also think the addition of 1 can of tomatoes (Ro-tel) might be nice. If you try this, skip the water and use the canned tomatoes as the liquid.

Makes 3 servings.

Smothered Cabbage

I keep meaning to try this one. Now that I have posted it, perhaps I will be motivated to do so.


1 medium head of cabbage, cored and chopped
5 slices of bacon
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste


Fry bacon in heavy pot. Add chopped cabbage. Cover. Stir occasionally (cabbage will brown in bacon drippings as the two cook together). Cook for about 30 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

This isn’t exactly a New Orleanian recipe, but it ought to be as it tastes exactly like a cherry sno-ball. Agua de Jamaica (ha-ma-IKE-uh) is a brilliant crimson drink made from the dried flowers of a hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and is very popular in Mexico, Central America, Texas, California, Egypt, and Latvia (of all places). Here in California you can find bottled Jamaica in most stores along with powdered mixes.

Agua de Jamaica
2 ounces flor de jamaica (dried jamaica flowers)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
6 cups cold water

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the flowers and the sugar and stir while the mixture boils for one minute. Pour into a glass bowl (or other non-corrosive bowl) and steep for at least 2 hours like you would tea. The flowers stain, so be sure to use a non-staining bowl if you don’t use glass. Strain the mixture through a sieve pressing on the flowers to extract as much liquid as possible. Taste for strength and sweetness. If it’s too strong, add bit of water or if it’s too tart then add more sugar.

Cover and refrigerate until time to serve. Serve over cracked ice.

Mirliton Casserole, a Mexican-Creole fusion

School’s out for summer and we’ve moved. Now that I have more time to cook, I thought I’d try to make mirliton casserole again. I realized as I was gathering my ingredients that I didn’t have any mushrooms, but I did have a can of pickled carrots (zanahorias en escabeche) from our local Latino grocer. I love these. If you’ve never had them, they are carrots pickled with jalapeños and onions. The vinegar adds a nice edge to the dish I didn’t know it needed.

Latino Mirliton Casserole

3 medium mirlitons, boiled, peeled, and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 toes garlic, minced
1 lb. chicken thighs, deboned and diced
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced on bias
1-14 oz. can diced tomato or Ro-tel (canned tomato and jalapeño)
1 small can pickled carrots (zanahorias en escabeche)
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2-2 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs

1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Halve the mirlitons and boil them in lightly salted water until you can pierce them all the way through without using excessive pressure. Then remove them from the pot and set them aside to cool.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and sauté the chicken until browned. Add sausage and brown. Add onion and bell pepper, sauté until wilted. Add garlic and sauté until everything is soft and tender. Add carrots, tomato, and spices. Scoop the cooked mirliton meat into a bowl and mash or dice well.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Add to the the mirliton meat to the mixture and cook until the sauce forms a paste-like consistency (15 minutes).

Begin working in bread crumbs into the casserole mixture (this is best done a little at a time). When all the crumbs are added, you should end up with a somewhat dry paste that sticks to the spoon. If it is still too moist, add a few extra bread crumbs, if the mixture it too wet it will run during the baking process. If your stuffing mix turns out too dry, moisten it with a little canned chicken broth.

Transfer the mixture to a large casserole dish. Put the dish into the oven on the center rack, and bake it uncovered for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the topping turns a toasty brown. For a little extra, liberally sprinkle the casserole with shredded Parmesan cheese when it has 10 minutes left to bake in the oven. This will form a nice crusty topping on the dish.

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Carnival Shrimp

In honor of carnival season and crab season, this is a stuffed shrimp recipe—New Orleans style. This dish has all the hallmarks of good creole cooking… butter, wine, and seafood! Unfortunately for me, I had to use prawns in this recipe because jumbo gulf shrimp are unheard of out here. Prawns have a much blander taste than gulf shrimp do (it’s due to their diet), so I compensated by seasoning each shrimp. I didn’t include this step in the recipe because some folks are lucky enough to have access to real shrimp. If you use prawns, sprinkle each raw prawn with Old Bay before topping.

Carnival Shrimp

Carnival Shrimp

1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup water
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 lb. lump crab meat
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 Tablespoon Creole seasoning
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
2 lbs. large shrimp (or prawns)
Italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350º. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until the onion glistens. Add flour and make a quick roux. Add water and thin out the roux. Add bell pepper, salt, Creole seasoning and stir until everything is incorporated. Add wine. Cook mixture for 2 minutes (5 minutes if wine was added) until bell pepper is soft. Fold in crab meat and try to keep pieces as whole as possible. Set mixture aside while you clean and peel shrimp. Butterfly the cleaned and peeled shrimp and lay each shrimp on a greased baking sheet. Take a tablespoon and top each butterflied shrimp with a tablespoonful of the crab meat mixture. Sprinkle enough bread crumbs over each shrimp to just cover. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serves 6.

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