Succot is the Jewish holiday that makes us more keenly aware of the
weather than any other. We sit outside in structures so temporary that
they have a mere three walls (sometimes four) to shield us from wind,
and tree branches, through which you must be able to see the night
stars, to shelter us from rain.And the only thing predictable about the
weather during this transition from summer to fall is its
How do you plan outdoor meals, especially if
you are observant and must buy all your ingredients before the one or
two days of the High Holy Day, when you’re not sure if you’ll be wearing
sunblock or a wool hat in the succa? In the face of uncertainty, I
offer up grilling as a solution, with an indoor backup plan.
is a foolproof strategy for Succot and other October meals. Marinate
some meat overnight and be ready for whatever the next day brings. Warm
and sunny? Fire up the outdoor grill. Cold and rainy? Heat up a grill
pan inside. Bring whatever you’re grilling to room temperature and have a
If you’re cooking a thick piece of meat, get those grill
marks and a nice sear, and then move to a cooler part of the grill or to
a moderate temperature oven to finish cooking the inside without
burning the outside. Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes to
distribute the juices and slice right before serving. Got the grill
(pan) on and want to keep cooking? Slice up some fruit or a few pieces
of pound cake, brush with olive oil or butter, and let the grill give
them a cross-hatch char.
year, I’m ready. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will
get in the way of my dinner. I have my grill and my grill pan on
Skirt steak diablo
adapted this recipe from one I learned in a course on dry heat cooking.
It’s a great, basic way to grill beef and you can dress it up with any
sauce you’d like instead of the salsa, or eat the steak unadorned
alongside some grilled vegetables.
For diablo salsa:
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 1 kg ripe tomatoes
- 2 fresh jalapeno chiles
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (rough chopped)
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste (from 2-3 cloves)
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice and zest (3-4 limes)
- salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 kg skirt or flank or hanger steak
- diablo salsa (or use a large jar of good pre-made salsa)
Take meat out of the fridge, and pat dry. Allow to come to room
temperature while you’re making the salsa. Finely chop the oregano.
diablo salsa. There’s a lot of chopping and fine dicing here! Chop the
onion very finely and then soak in cold water for a few minutes (this
softens the raw onion taste). Quarter and seed the tomatoes. Then cut
them into a quarter-inch dice. Wearing rubber gloves, seed and finely
chop the jalapeno peppers. Wash and rough chop the cilantro, removing
tough stems. Combine onions (discard water), tomatoes, jalapeno, and
cilantro in a big bowl. Zest and juice limes over the bowl and mix. Add
salt, pepper, and oil to taste.
In a large bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, oregano, sugar, salt, half
the salsa, and the meat. Marinate meat for 30 minutes at room
temperature, or up to six hours in the fridge. If it’s been in the
fridge, make sure to bring the meat to room temperature before grilling.
your grill or turn your stove to medium and heat up a cast iron grill
pan. When the grill (pan) is hot, remove the meat from the marinade and
grill for 3-4 minutes per side — this will be nice and rare (add 1-2
minutes more if you want medium rare/medium). If the meat sticks to the
grill/pan, then it’s not ready to be flipped. When you can take the meat
of the grill/pan easily, it’s ready to flip.
Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes to let the juices distribute.
Once you slice it, it will get cold really quickly, so wait until
you’re ready to serve before slicing.
Slice. Slice the meat against the grain, holding the knife at a 45˚ angle with the cutting board.
Eat. Arrange meat on your platter and serve alongside or topped with diablo salsa.
Middle Eastern chicken skewers
recipe is adapted from Chef Michael Solomonov’s lamb skewers in Food
& Wine Magazine — I just replaced the lamb with chicken. You don’t
need the extra sauce, but if you have time, just boil down the marinade
and serve it alongside the skewers The chicken is really moist, so it
doesn’t need extra sauce, but the marinade is so good, it’s a pity to
waste. Boil it down (since it’s been mingling with raw chicken) and dip
pita in it or pour it over couscous.
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 4 (or more) sprigs of flat leaf parsley
- 1-2 lemons (for 1/2 teaspoon zest and 3 tablespoons of juice)
- 1 teaspoon ras al hanout spice mixture or allspice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 1 kilo of boneless skinless chicken breasts (or boneless chicken thighs or a mix)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
In a blender or food processor, puree onion, garlic, parsley, lemon
juice and zest, ras al hanout (or allspice), salt, and saffron.
Cut. Cut the chicken into cubes, approximately 1-inch on each side.
Fill a large plastic bag with the chicken and then pour the purée over
it. Shake everything around until the chicken is well coated. Zip the
bag, pressing out any air. Refrigerate overnight (or at least six
hours). Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to allow the
chicken to come to room temperature.
Light your grill or turn your stove to medium and heat up a cast iron
grill pan. Remove chicken chunks from the bag and thread them onto
skewers (about 4-5 per skewer). Reserve the marinade. Brush the chicken
skewers with oil and grill over high heat until all sides are lightly
charred, about 8 -10 minutes. Turn the meat occasionally – you’ll know
it’s ready to be turned when it easily releases from the pan. If it
sticks, don’t touch it. Poke a knife into a piece of chicken to make
sure it’s cooked all the way through and not pink inside.
Boil. Pour the remaining marinade into a pan and bring to a boil. Serve with the skewers or on rice or couscous.
Gayle Squires publishes recipes and photographs on the blog, Kosher Camembert. Her cooking and baking is inspired by international travel .