Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

Short Ribs

There’s nothing more comforting and heartwarming on a crazy cold day than braised short ribs with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. Can we say heaven in a bowl?

These short ribs take a while to make but they’re worth the wait (I promise!) – I made them a little bit spicy with dried chile peppers, garlic and onions, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a chipotle infused olive oil (I love 7 Barrels brand!) along with a dash of cocoa powder (the super intense Dutch red kind made by Guittard is my fav). They’re braised in broth, a full bottle of red wine (you’re welcome), and topped with fresh parsley.

Once they’re done cooking they will be falling off the bone – then I made a reduced sauce with a knob of butter at the end to make it super silky and delicious. I served these with roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower (simply roast them in olive oil and sea salt on 375 for about 45 minutes, tossing them every 15 minutes until crispy and delicious), but I recommend serving them with some creamy mashed potatoes or egg noodles as well (or even some crusty French bread) to mop up that delicious spicy-savory-chocolate-chile-wine sauce. OMG.

Go ahead, indulge. You can always work it off tomorrow. Besides, a big bowl of comfort food and Netflix is more fun anyways 🙂

Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6-8

A classic Winter comfort food dish, these delicious braised short ribs are made with chile peppers, chocolate, red wine and lots of fresh garlic, onions and herbs. Super savory and tasty, served with roasted veggies, and either mashed potatoes or egg noodles.


  • 2 large dried chile peppers, stemmed and deseeded
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 5 1/2 pounds center cut short ribs, on the bone
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle olive oil (or regular EVOO if you prefer less spicy)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Dutch red cocoa powder (Guittard)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • One bottle red wine (Pinot Noir or Merlot or Cab Sauv)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme)
  • Knob of unsalted butter (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, for serving
  • Mashed potatoes or egg noodles, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to lower third.
  2. Cover chopped chile peppers with boiling water and let sit, covered for about 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle short ribs on both sides generously with kosher salt and pepper and let rest to room temperature about 15 minutes while peppers are soaking.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook short ribs in batches, searing evenly on both sides until golden brown crust forms (about 7 minutes per side/15 minutes per batch).
  5. Once all short ribs are seared, place on a platter tented with foil and set aside.
  6. In a blender or food processor, add the chiles, water, stock, tomato paste, cocoa, garlic, onions, and a little dash of salt and mix thoroughly together until smooth.
  7. Pour the red wine in the Dutch oven and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan (deglazing the pan) and turn heat up to high bringing to a boil for 2-3 minutes, then reducing heat to a simmer, letting wine reduce by half (about 20 minutes).
  8. Add the pureed chile-onion mixture, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs to the pot and boil together for a few minutes. Return the short ribs to the pot, cover tightly with a lid and braise in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until meat is tender and falls off the bone.
  9. Place the ribs back on to a large platter and tent with foil to keep warm while making the sauce.
  10. Put the Dutch oven on the stove and heat over medium-high for another 10 minutes or so until sauce thickens and reduces. Remove from heat and add a knob of butter into the sauce to make it extra silky and smooth.
  11. Add the ribs back into the sauce and coat thoroughly. Serve on plates with sauce on top along side roasted veggies and mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste.


You can also substitute hard cider or a dark lager beer for the red wine.


Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts w/ Salted Caramel Pumpkin Spice Glaze

Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts

Fall has arrived my friends, and we all know what that means. Pumpkin Spice. Everything. In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to make some Mini Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts with Salted Caramel Spiced Pumpkin Glaze.

Vegan ingredients

They’re a perfect fall dessert, and healthy too! These doughnuts are made with all natural vegan ingredients – red kidney beans, unsweetened soy milk, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder – and you wouldn’t believe how good they taste.

KitchenAid Mini Donut Pan

They are so delicious (and cute!) and easy to make with the help of my KitchenAid® Diamond Blender and Mini Doughnut Pans – and they bake in only 10 minutes in my Convection Countertop Oven!

Glazed Mini Donuts

The glaze is super easy to make too – made in my KitchenAid Stainless Steel sauce pan with fresh pumpkin puree, coconut cream and coconut sugar and pumpkin pie spice all cooked into a gooey luscious caramel sauce then topped with flaky sea salt – it’s the most lovely combination of Fall flavors in one tiny bite!

mini vegan chocolate donuts

ooh…aren’t they lovely and delicious? Oh, and they’re vegan and gluten-free too! Isn’t that wonderful.

bet you can’t have just one bite! 


Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

Fall has finally arrived – my favorite season of the year! I love the cooler weather and dressing in jeans, sweaters, boots and leather jackets. I love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. And I love the gorgeous fall produce and warmer, cozier comfort foods that come with the season.

Pears Hazelnuts

One of my favorite things to make in the fall is pie – sweet or savory with gorgeous fruits and veggies and all sorts of lovely ingredients and spices.

Pear Filling

There’s something so soothing about the smell of pie baking in the oven that warms up the home and goes perfectly with the crisp fall air and cooler days and nights.

KitchenAid Stainless Pie Pan

I recently got a KitchenAid® Stainless Steel 8-Piece Set of cookware along with a new KitchenAid® 9” Professional-Grade Nonstick Pie Pan and was inspired to make a gorgeous Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie with a Chocolate Graham Crust. The flavors of nuts, homemade caramel, fresh pears, chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg pair perfectly together and scream fall.

Pour Salted Caramel Sauce


Top 10 {Things I Love} :: June 2012

Big Green Egg
Big Green Egg

1. Big Green Egg Smoker/Grill

On a recent trip to Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend I discovered this awesome Big Green Egg grill. If you haven’t seen one of these things – its totally cool and easy to use. And it’s BIG. And GREEN. And looks like and EGG. It’s actually a ceramic grill and smoker that reaches temperatures up to 700 degrees F and has the ability to grill, smoke or steam everything on the planet in about 15-20 minutes. Very cool. We made a delicious Thai Sea Bass in Banana Leaves recipe from their Big Green Egg Cookbook and for our big BBQ party we smoked some amazing Texas-style Beef Brisket for about 11 hours and grilled a ton of fresh veggies from the farmer’s market. The result? Perfectly cooked crispy veggies and BBQ with a charred seasoned crust to DIE for – if only I could have one of these cool tools on my NYC rooftop, life would be even sweeter than it already is!

Butterfield Market NYC
Butterfield Market NYC

2. Butterfield Market, UES NYC

It’s funny how when you live in Manhattan, going to another part of town feels like going to another country at times. I discovered this cool market on a recent  excursion to the Upper East Side when I went to a book launch party at Candle 79 for Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious. It’s more than a grocery store, and its not just a farmers market. Butterfield’s has an amazing bakery full of fresh baked breads, pastries, cookies, pies, tarts and cakes that will make you feel like you’re on a little hidden street in Paris. Rows and rows of fresh fruits and veggies, cheeses, frozen yogurt, gourmet prepared meals, sushi, sandwiches, soups and salads, imported goodies (chocolates, oils and vinegars, jams, caviar, coffees and teas..the list goes on) in their gift shop and a great catering menu to boot. Definitely worth paying a visit even if it means taking a trip to the other side of the world (just kidding!) or you can check them out and order some goods online.

Mandarin Napolean at Manhattan Cocktail Classic
Mandarin Napolean at Manhattan Cocktail Classic

3. Mandarin Napolean

I recently attended The Manhattan Cocktail Classic – a really cool event in a private suite at the Andaz Hotel sponsored by Mandarin Napolean liquor brand. The waitresses were decked out in French costumes, the lounge suite had old B&W movies with backgammon, zengo games on the table and some video games you can play with the help of sites like – and the outdoor bar had some really unique cocktails they whipped up featuring this delicious Belgian liqueur – a rich Sicilian Mandarin orange flavor-infused luscious brandy. Mandarin Sours, Belgian Coffee, Mandarin and Tonic,  and Mandarine Mojitos are just a few of the creative cocktails we sampled at the event. The story goes that Napolean actually created the idea for this unique liquor back in 1892, by soaking Mandarin oranges in cognac – Mandarin oranges were a symbol of wealth and power, a perfect blend for the powerful ruler – and a legend to this day.

Manducatis Rustica
Manducatis Rustica

4. Manducatis Rustica, LIC NYC

Manducatis Rustica is a cool little Italian place in Long Island City, run by owner and head Chef Mamma Gianna. They serve classic rustic Italian dishes and fresh pasta such as Lasagna, Wood-fired Pizzas, Antipasti, Chicken Piccatta, and Lobster Ravioli in Sage Lemon Butter and more. What’s even cooler are the life-sized statues out front, imported from Italy (which according to Mamma Gianna won’t be there much longer, so visit while you can!) and their famous homemade gelato in tons of different flavors like Pistachio, Mocha, Lemon and Tiramisu..mmmm!

Melt Shop NYC
Melt Shop NYC

5. Melt Shop, NYC

I don’t know about you, but I’m an absolute sucker for a mean Grilled Cheese sandwich. Enter Melt Shop, the ultimate hot shop for comfort food in Midtown Manhattan, run by Spencer Rubin and Chef Katy Sparks. They offer 13 different kinds of gourmet Grilled Cheese sandwiches – try the Truffle Melt made with Havarti, Arugula, fresh cracked black pepper and truffle oil, or the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Melt full of Jalapeno-Jack cheese, red cabbage slaw and Melt sauce, or the 12-hour Braised Pulled Pork with sharp cheddar, dill pickles and homemade BBQ sauce. Their Tater Tots are amazing and come with 5 different types of dipping sauces like Parsley Pesto or Truffle Mayo, and they also serve a great list of Breakfast Sandwiches, Wraps and Biscuits and have a few tempting desserts and handmade milkshakes on the menu too. Don’t forget a side of Homemade Tomato Soup to dip your Grilled Cheese in for the classic comfort food fix.


6. RTR Bag & Co/Baggalicious NYC

Handpainted and made to order by RTR Packaging, these bags are just chic, creative and downright cool. Most of their clients are corporate but their bags are so fun that I might just need to track them down to get some hand-painted bags of my own – perfect for an event or party!

Tello Chelsea
Tello Chelsea

7. Tello, Chelsea NYC

If you’re looking for a great Sunday brunch place in NYC – this is the place to go. Tello is a trendy Chelsea-based Northern Italian trattoria decked out with red-checkered tablecloths, a big brass and wood bar, year-round Christmas lights, a jukebox pumping out Sinatra tunes, outdoor cafe seating and a Prix-Fixe Brunch Menu including cocktails for only $20. I ordered the Moules Frites (steamed mussels soaked in buttery white wine, garlic and herbs) with a refreshing Mimosa while soaking in the sun on the patio reading a good book and being amused by the Chelsea crowd walking by. According to NY Magazine, their Fried CalamariPenne and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce and Chicken Tello (boneless pieces sautéed in garlic and white wine with mushrooms and sausage) are a few of their specialties also worth a try.

Barolo's Garden, Soho
Barolo's Garden, Soho

8. Barolo’s Garden, SOHO NYC

Located on West Broadway in Soho, Barolo’s Italian Ristorante and Garden is just a beautiful place to eat, period. I went there with some friends this past Easter for Sunday Brunch, and we dined on their magical garden patio surrounded with Cherry Blossom trees studded with sparkling white lights. We sampled a delicious Watermelon, Feta and Arugula salad and Fresh Mozzarella with Basil and Tomatoes for starters while sipping Champagne and enjoying a beautiful sunny Spring Day. For entrees, we had the Risotto with Gorgonzola and Blueberries (interesting combination of flavors!) and their Classic Rigatoni with Sausage and Peas in a Tomato Cream Sauce. They specialize in Northern Italian cuisine from the beautiful wine region of Barolo, Italy and also have an amazing wine list with over 1,200 Italian and imported wines and also have a huge restaurant inside and offer space for catering and events. A must-see for a special or romantic occasion!

Dekalb Farmer's Market, Atlanta
Dekalb Farmer's Market, Atlanta

9. Dekalb Farmer’s Market, Atlanta

It’s amazing to me that I lived in Atlanta Georgia for 12 years and only visited this awesome international farmer’s market maybe ONCE?! I was down there for Memorial Day Weekend this year visiting friends and we took a trip over there to buy some fresh goodies for our Thai Sea bass we made one night. This market has fresh fruits and veggies from all over the world, and also has every kind of spice you can imagine along with fresh baked breads, seafood, meats, cheese, a pastry and dessert section, teas and coffees and ingredients that you won’t find here in the U.S at a regular grocery store. I bought about 12 different bulk spices (all for less than $10!), tea, Thai coconut, mini wild blueberries, pecans, pistachios, sea salt, seasonings and other dried goodies that I could take back in my suitcase with me. Oh, and you can’t take pictures in there (I actually got scolded and was asked to put away my camera LOL) but you’ll absolutely love this place – it’s like taking a trip around the world and finding the best international gourmet foods all under one roof.

Yogi Mayan Cocoa Spice Tea
Yogi Mayan Cocoa Spice Tea

10. Yogi Mayan Cocoa Spice Tea

I may be a die-hard coffee fan, but tea is something I’ve been trying to drink more of not only for its health benefits but also to reduce the caffeine buzz in my life. I discovered this Mayan Cocoa Spice tea at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market but I’m sure you can find it at health food stores or other gourmet grocery places. This delicious tea is a concoction of ground cocoa shells, (full of powerful antioxidants!) mixed with Ayurvedic warming and cleansing spices of Cardamom, Clove and Organic Cinnamon Bark, Black Pepper, Chicory Root, Natural Vanilla and Ginger Oil. Perfect way to start your day before a healing yoga session or a run – and it will get your blood flowing without the caffeine jitters with only 5 mg of caffeine. Serve it with a natural sweetener and steamed milk and you’ve got yourself a tasty Cocoa Chai Latte you can make at home!

Top 10 {Things I Love} :: March 2012

Anthropologie Home
Anthropologie Home

1. Anthropologie Home

I don’t know about you, but I am completely obsessed with Anthropologie. Everything in that store has a handcrafted, creative, bohemian feel that makes me want to throw on a pair of sandals and a sundress and move to California. The home store is a mecca full of beautiful dishes, plates and table settings and the kitchen and cooking area is a must-see for the foodie and cook in the house. Gorgeous hand-painted plates and ceramics, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, pottery, linens, and oh my, the cute aprons! Totally love this place. Find this fun, cool stuff online or in retail stores.


buon Italia
buon Italia

2. buon Italia, Chelsea Market

The next time you’re in New York City, you must visit the Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District – if only for the FOOD!! My favorite place in there is buon Italia, an Italian food store that sells fresh cheese, butter, meat, fish, olives, bread, and pasta. Inside is every Italian imported foodstuff you could ever dream of: truffles and capers, olive oils and vinegars, coffees, teas and chocolates, sauces, spreads and preserves, pastas, grains, nuts and spices…you name it, they got it! It’s a foodie haven and impossible to pass by (or leave once you enter!) Everything in the store is fresh and authentic Italian, and reasonably priced too. You won’t walk out of there without an Italian feast ready to be made at home – this I promise you.

buon Italia, Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave, New York NY 10011 | 212 633 9090


mina harissa spicy
mina harissa spicy

I discovered these lovely sauces when I attended the Just Food Conference in NYC and love the tasty flavor and heat. Harissa is a traditional Moroccan red pepper sauce made with red chiles, red bell peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. Creator Mina, a native from Casablanca, learned how to create this luscious spicy sauce from a neighbor when she was 16, and experimented over the years to develop her own recipe. This sauce is delicious as a condiment with a kick – pair it with lamb, BBQ chicken, or grilled scallops, or use it as a base in a tagine (a North African meat and vegetable stew served in an earthenware pot) served with couscous or rice. The sauce comes in mild, medium or spicy (my favorite!) and can be ordered online at Abe’s market.


Annas Thins
Annas Thins


4. Anna’s Thins

I found these delicious little treats on a recent excursion to The Cellar at Macy’s on 34th Street in NYC. Anna’s Thins are crispy, thin and come in four flavors: Ginger, Orange, Chocolate Mint and Almond. They have just the perfect amount of sweetness, are delicate and crunchy, and totally melt in your mouth. I dipped the Ginger thins in a vanilla latte which was delicious – another tasty idea would be to crumble them over butternut squash ravioli for a touch of some sweet crunch, or use them to make a cheesecake or pie crust. According to Anna’s and Swedish tradition, these crunchy thins can bring you good luck too. Simply place one of the cookies in the palm of your hand, then make a wish. Tap the cookie in the middle with your index finger – if it breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true. Sweet!


34 degrees crispbreads
34 degrees crispbreads

5. 34 Degrees Crispbreads

I love these fun, clever crackers by 34 Degrees! Super light and crispy, these flatbreads are also made with all natural ingredients. They have 6 different flavors: lemon zest, whole wheat, cracked pepper, rosemary, original and sesame. Great with cheese and are an awesome alternative to bread – pair brie with prosciutto, arugula and fig for a great snack. Top the crisps with smoked salmon, an herbed chicken salad or southwestern shrimp salad. If you want a mini-dessert, try layering mascarpone cheese and lemon curd topped with a mint sprig or spread them with peanut butter, honey, and almonds. I really love how light and airy they are…they really let the toppings shine and are also great on their own. Cute design too!


Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream
Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream

6. Le Querce Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream

I found this delectable chocolate spread when I was at Buon Italia (see store info above) in Chelsea Market. It’s kind of like Nutella, but even better! It’s made with Acacia Honey, Piedmont hazelnuts and cocoa and has a sweet, creamy, chocolate-y, nutty flavor, with a hint of honey – this stuff is addicting! Delicious on toast, crackers, pancakes or simply by itself. Beware: don’t try this stuff at home alone.


Friedmans Lunch
Friedmans Lunch

7. Friedman’s Lunch, Chelsea Market

On a recent trip to Chelsea Market, my friend and I were in search of a healthy lunch and a glass of wine. We discovered Friedman’s Lunch – a great little spot inside the market that serves up fresh, local and organic food. Friedman’s Lunch was named after Milton Friedman, the famous economist, who popularized the expression “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. And while the lunch there isn’t free, it’s certainly delicious and reasonably priced.

Friedman’s has a fun, buzzing atmosphere with an open kitchen, friendly waiters, music, large mirrors and chalkboard menus making it a welcome spot for a cozy lunch while shopping at the market. The menu has a great assortment of comfort food including down-home favorites such as buttermilk fried chicken, beef brisket burgers, two-bean turkey chili and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.

Friedman’s Lunch is committed to using organic ingredients, mostly from local food purveyors around New York. Their brunch and dinner menus offer a wider variety of salads and breakfast dishes and delicious all the same. They’re open 7 days a week and also deliver with online ordering. Definitely worth a trip (if only for the gooey grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup!)

Friedman’s Lunch
Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011 | 212.929.7100


NY Gourmet Coffee
NY Gourmet Coffee

8. New York Gourmet Coffee

I discovered this great line of handcrafted artisan coffees at the Coffee and Tea Festival last weekend in NYC. With all the coffee and tea brands overwhelming me at the show, this one particular brand stood out. Why? First off, they have about 100 different flavors that will knock your socks off: Vanilla Macadamia, Banana Caramel, Chocolate Irish Cream, Crème Brulee, Holiday Sugar Cookie, Kahlua Cappuccino, Jamaican Me Crazy…and the list goes on. They also offer a line of specialty and organic/fair trade coffees (Costa Rican, Brazilian, Kenya-AA, Sumatra, Columbian, etc.) The best part of all is that it’s a local New York brand originating in Long Island, and the owners are passionate about making fresh roasted coffee on a daily basis and handcrafting all of their unique flavors. You can purchase their coffees online and at several retail locations in LI, NJ and CT. Next stop is Manhattan!



9. Falksalt

I don’t know about you, but I love salt. Not overdone, of course, and not just regular table salt. I’m talking REAL salt. Big, flaky, sea salt. The GOOD stuff. Falksalt is a Swedish brand that has been making this good stuff for over 180 years, and is made with the advice of professional gourmet chefs. This is serious salt, folks. Big, chunky, crystal flakes; so beautiful you almost don’t want to take it out of the package. Falksalt has a line of flavors that will knock your socks off: Wild Garlic, Wild Mushroom, Smoked, Citron, Rosemary, Red Chili, Chipotle, Black and Natural. Perfect for sprinkling over fresh or roasted veggies, rimming a fancy cocktail or for crusting a beautiful piece of fish or steak. This is not your everyday table salt – save it for a delectable occasion.


Joseph Joseph Bowls
Joseph Joseph Bowls

10. Joseph Joseph

Joseph Joseph is a cool brand I discovered that makes fun, colorful, modern kitchen and cooking tools. With their bright colors and sleek, edgy designs, you can’t pass these up. I bought the 5-in-1 Unitool – which basically gives you well, 5 utensils in 1: slotted spoon, turner, cutting tool, solid spoon and spatula. Even better, it’s safe for non-stick cookware and heat resistant up to 480 degrees. Love it! I also got the Nest 6 Multicolor Prep Bowl Set that comes with six kitchen items in one: 4 measuring cups, and a small and medium mixing bowl, that fit nicely together and come in gorgeous bright colors to brighten up your kitchen.  Check out their other cool tools online, or find them at Sur La Table or The Cellar at Macy’s. Fun!


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