Winter Comfort :: Braised Short Ribs with Dried Cherries & Red Wine

I can't think of a much better meal for comfy, coziness on a chily day than braised short ribs.  These little gems fall off the bone and melt in your mouth.  The perfect charm to warm you up on a cold weekend or after a long day on the ski slopes--and easy to serve up for a big group.  And the addition of polenta makes this a nice gluten-free dish (just be sure to dredge the ribs in a gluten-free flour).  Keep the meal balanced with a nice starter salad.  Toss in some sliced pears, toasted walnuts, maybe a touch of gorgonzola and a drizzle of balsamic-honey vinaigrette and you're good to go.

Braised Short Ribs :: with Dried Cherries & Red Wine

Serves :: 6


3 pounds short ribs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour for dredging

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

4 to 5 cippolini onions (or 1 medium yellow onion), roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed gently with a knife
1 1/2 cups carrots, roughly chopped
2 cups cremini or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 to 2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup dried cherries
½ bottle dry red wine 
2 cups beef stock 


Polenta with Truffle Oil

2 cups water

2 cups whole milk

1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

1 teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons truffle oil


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Dip in flour to cover each side. Brown the short ribs, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
Add onions, garlic and carrots to the pot and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Add in mushrooms and herbs.  Stir in the tomato paste and dried cherries and place the short ribs back into pan. Add the wine and beef stock and bring to a simmer.
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 2 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven, place the short ribs on a platter, and reduce down the liquid for about 20 minutes on the stovetop. Add ribs back into pot.  Serve short ribs and sauce with creamy polenta with truffle oil.


Polenta with Truffle Oil

Bring water and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in polenta in a steady stream.  Add in salt and pepper and whisk continuously for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat.  Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, whisking briefly every 10 minutes or so.  Whisk in cheese and truffle oil and serve.  

image via Nourish

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The Little Things…

Sometimes it's the little things that make you appreciate life a bit more.  When favorite foods come to mind, I've got a decently long list running, much of which is inherently healthy, but of course there are a few indulgences sprinkled in there as well.  Among others on the list...a small plate of thinly sliced, artisanally-cured Italian meat with a touch of heat when it hits your tongue.  Pair that with a glass or two of vino and I'm a very blissful gal.  Even better when the meat, in this case soppressata, is home-cured.  You know a lot of time and care went into it.  Someone was kind enough to drop this tasty little gift off to me last week and it made a gray, snowy weekend much, much brighter.     

TAGS: italy, meat, soppressata

posted: 01.23.12


Refreshed and Refined :: Rue Magazine Jan. 2012 Does Detox

As usual, I am gushing over the gorgeous pages of Rue Magazine's newest issue that just dropped yesterday.  Airy, fresh and inspiring all over, this issue brings warmth to the cold winter months.  And if you're still reeling from one too many holiday over-indulgences, check out the trusty food column with take-home tips for a quick, cleansing reboot and a refreshing and detoxifying salad recipe by yours truly -- all brought to life by Jen Altman's yummy photos (it's pg. 38-39 if you're looking).

Oh, and a lil side note...the incredible LA-based decor and tabletop rental boutique, Casa de Perrin, blew me away with their dollhouse spread and tasty treats.

Orange, Avocado and Shaved Fennel Salad :: with Toasted Almonds & Lime-Sesame Vinaigrette

Serves :: 2 to 4


1 bunch watercress
2-3 oranges, segments/supremes (or a mix of blood, cara cara and/or navel oranges if you can get them)
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
1 bulb of fennel, halved and finely shaved with a mandolin
2 tablespoons sliced/crushed almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Zest of one lime
Red pepper flakes for sprinkling

Lime-Sesame Vinaigrette

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
Juice of one lime
1/2 to 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons grapeseed or avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon honey (optional)
Salt to taste
*dressing will make extra



Toss together watercress, oranges, avocado, fennel, almonds and scallions. Whisk together all ingredients for vinaigrette and drizzle lightly over salad.  Toss to coat.  Garnish salad with cilantro, lime zest and red pepper flakes. 

TAGS: salad, rue magazine, detox

posted: 01.18.12

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