JUICY TENDER BRAISED SHORT RIBS

With fall just around the corner, we are finally getting into one of my favorite food seasons of the year! Something about braising, hearty, rich foods that just sticks to your bones….those are the types of recipes that I enjoy this time of year. These short ribs, DEFINITELY fit the bill for that type of food, and this season.

Just a quick heads up, make sure that you have plenty of time to make this recipe, there is a FOUR (4) hour cook time! Slow and low baby, that’s how we get that super tender, fall off the bone meat!

Short ribs can tend to be fatty and sometimes a little tough. This is why we are using a braising cooking method. First we want to get a good sear on the outside, to lock in all the juices and create a bit of a crust. Then we will put them into a pan with some aromatic vegetables, some apple juice, and red wine, cover it up and into the oven it goes on a low low heat to render out the fat, and make the meat itself less tough. The longer we cook it the more tender is becomes. The low heat slowly breaks down the meat. If we cooked it on a higher temperature, it would cook too fast, dry out, and not have time to break down, thus keeping the meat tough and chewy!

Braising is a great cooking technique to use. It can really be used for just about anything that you want to break down, make tender without over cooking whatever it is you are braising. Because the short ribs are going to be rich and hearty, we are going to need a little something to “lighten” our dish. We will be making a gremolata, to add not as only a garnish, but because of the ingredients, it will make cut some of that ft and richness, essentially lightening the dish. The gremolata is super easy to make, and you will find yourself making this over and over again and using it for several different dishes.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I enjoy cooking with alcohol. I think it adds some flavors to food that you just don’t get from “regular” ingredients. I first learned to use alcohol in my cooking from my dad. He always had two large jugs of Carlo Rossi hanging around, one red and one white. These wines went into a lot of the food he made (and of course a little into his glass while cooking), and I have sort of continued to do the same. I have kind of expanded my repertoire and graduated to using beers and liquors as well. I suppose working behind the bar for for the better part of 20yrs, didn’t hurt either.

Ok, lets get into this recipe…….

Ingredients:

  • 1 package bone in short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup Carlo Rossi Paisano (or other red cooking wine)
  • 2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • any kind of blackening, steak, beef seasoning of your choice

Directions: First off, we will need to preheat the oven to 265 degrees. Next we will want to generously season our short ribs. Once we have seasoned our short ribs, heat a skillet on medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sear both sides of the short ribs (about 3-4 minutes per side). Remove the short ribs, and place them into hotel pan, or 13×9 inch baking pan. Using the same oil, and fat that is left in the skillet, add in the carrots, celery, and onions and saute for about 2- minutes on high heat. Next add in the red wine and de glaze. Next add in the apple juice and combine thoroughly. Pour this mixture into the same pan that the short ribs are in. Add in the beef stock. Finally you want to disperse that 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme into the baking pan. Cover with foil, and place into the over and cook for four hours. When you remove the short ribs from the oven, be careful when removing the foil. There will be a lot of heat and steam released when opened. Once opened, remove the short ribs, and strain the remaining. SAVE THE JUICE! We will use this as our sauce. You can discard the other ingredients.

For the Gremolata:

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish (strained of any liquid)
  • 2 medium sized garlic cloves

Directions: Simply chop all ingredients together as finely as possible, set on a paper towel to remove any excess liquid. Use as garnish for the short ribs

“She Came From Jesus”

For those of you that are fans of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of Potomac, you may remember this cocktail from Season 3. If you are not a fan of the show, or are new to my page, here’s a little back story.

I’ve been a part of the food & beverage industry for longer than I care to mention. That being said, curating food and cocktail menus has always been a passion project for me. When I met my wife back in 2012 or 2013, I was serving as the Beverage Director, for a now defunct dim sum restaurant, I was just getting into my cocktail creation groove. At the time, she (my wife) only really drank red wine, on Thursdays, while watching Scandal, in her aptly named “Olivia Pope” balloon wine glasses….enter me!

Curating and creating cocktails can be a tedious task of trial and error, all while attempting to achieve optimal balance and great taste. It also usually results in several missteps and plenty of drunken afternoons and nights! While we were dating and living together, Candiace quickly started to expand her horizons and take on more than a glass of wine, and was clearly benefiting from all of the tasting she got to take part in on a nightly basis. After months of tasting cocktails for everyone else, Candiace wanted me to create a cocktail for her. Not just any cocktail, but one that represented her. Beauty, style, grace, all rolled into one sexy cocktail.

When creating a cocktail, I usually start with the spirit/liquor that I want to showcase. I knew that this cocktail was ALWAYS going to be brown, to represent that smooth sexy skin tone. Initially I thought bourbon, but landed on rum, a spiced rum at that, since, well you know, shes a little spicy! At the time I was creating this “special” cocktail, bitter-esque cocktails using amaros and other similar style spirits were having a moment, and being used a lot. I thought a slight bitterness was the perfect fit to go with spiced rum. It took me quite some time to find the perfect one that wasn’t too bitter, and still was able to add depth. Now, despite what you may see on your tv screen, Candiace is actually a very sweet person, so I needed a sweet component to this beverage. Orange is a great flavor that works with rums. Initially I was looking at a fresh made orange simple syrup, then just orange juice, but it just wasn’t giving what i needed it to. I also wanted this cocktail to be stirred, to keep that sexy, smooth look to it. A shaken cocktail, especially with orange juice, would leave the drink with cloudy look, and just not the look I wanted. So, keeping it a stirred cocktail, looking for an orange element, I began looking at things like Cointreau, Gran Marnier, even Gran Gala. I finally settled on Mandarine Napoleon and it gave what needed to be gave! To finish off the drink and bring it all together, we added a few dashes (3 of them to be exact, because that is my favorite number) of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters, and a flamed orange peel for garnish to drive home that orange aroma.

Naming cocktails has never really been my strong suit, my creativity only goes so far. For the longest time this drink was simply called “Candiace’s Cocktail”. After we wrapped filming of our first season on #RHOP, and Candiace delivered her iconic clap back; “I came from Jesus!”

I figured now was as good a time as any to #driveback and revisit one of my favorite drinks and share those #benefits with you all. Check out the full recipe below, and don’t forget to tag me in your pictures of you enjoying “She Came From Jesus”!!

Cheers!

“SHE CAME FROM JESUS” Recipe:

  • 2oz of Thrashers Spiced Rum
  • 1oz of Cardamaro
  • .75oz of Mandarine Napolean
  • 3 dashes of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters

Directions: In a mixing glass, add all of the above. Add in a fair amount of ice. Stir for 15-20 seconds. Strain mixing glass into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel. Enjoy!

PERFECT SUMMER HERB OIL MARINADE

Now that summer time is officially here, it’s time to get those grills and smokers fired up! I am often asked what do I “marinate” my steaks in. The truth of the matter is that rarely do I ever use a marinade. I honestly feel that salt & pepper is all you really need for great steak on the grill.

How many times have you gone to the cookout and heard the “grill master” say something to the effect of, “I have been marinating these steaks for 2 days!” Well let me let you in on a little secret. If there is any vinegar, or lots of citrus juices, or any acid in that marinade, chances are he or she has already overcooked those steaks! Think about the classic dish of ceviche. Fish “cooked” in citrus juices. This has the same effect on chicken, steaks, and pork chops as well. Because meat is made up mostly of water, your marinade really is not getting THAT deep into the meat to “flavor” and “tenderize” it. It really is mostly surface flavor. Now I am not saying to NEVER use any acid in a marinade, but if you chose to do so, I recommend that you do not let it sit for more than an hour. This will prevent the outer part of your meat from becoming mushy and mealy.

Check out this video to see how I make my “Herb Oil Marinade” that works great on steaks, chicken, lamb, or pork chops. It adds a great flavor to whatever you re cooking, especially on the grill. It not only works as a marinade, but with all of the olive oil in it, it helps prevent your meat from sticking to the grill as well.

Herb Oil Recipe:

1 bunch of parsley, 1 bunch of cilantro, 1/2 bunch of rosemary, 1 bunch of thyme, 2 qts of olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Using a large, deep storage container, trim the leaves from the parsley and cilantro using your chef knife, and add them to the container. Next, remove the leaves from the rosemary and thyme stems, and add those to the container. Season with salt and pepper. Next add in the 2 qts. of olive oil. Finally, using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. I like to use ziploc bags as opposed to containers with lids when marinating anything, I feel I can get more coverage by removing the air from the bag, and everything is submerged.

Let me know your thoughts, and any other cooking questions/videos/recipe ideas you want to see! Enjoy