Cook: Celebrate Shabbat under the stars for otherworldly meal

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

I’ve always enjoyed grilling and eating outside, especially on Friday nights. It feels so special to welcome Shabbat with a meal outdoors, watching for the first signs of sunset (and maybe toasting a few marshmallows on the grill as we wait).

The secret of cooking and serving outside is to organize the menu so there is no running back and forth from kitchen to grill. For an easy Shabbat menu, I recommend grilling the steak and salad, baking potatoes ahead of time to wrap in foil and reheat on the grill, and making Karen’s Very Chocolate Brownies for dessert (maybe topping them with those toasted marshmallows).

Be sure to let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing as thinly as possible against the grain (cutting perpendicular to the long meat fibers) for the juiciest and most tender results. The steak also can be cooked indoors under a broiler or in a grill pan or on an electric grill.


Red Wine–Marinated Grilled Steak

Serves 6

1⁄2 cup olive oil

1 cup red wine

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled fine

2 lbs. flank steak, London broil or skirt steak

vegetable oil

Mix olive oil, wine, garlic, pepper, salt and oregano. Reserve 1⁄4 cup. Place steak in a glass dish or plastic zipper storage bag. Add remaining marinade. Marinate for 2 hours, turning occasionally. Before preheating grill, brush rack with vegetable oil. Preheat grill to medium-high heat, place steak on grill and discard liquid it marinated in. Grill steak, turning and basting occasionally with the 1⁄4 cup reserved marinade. Timing will depend on your grill and the cut of meat. Cook to just slightly less done than you prefer (since it will continue to cook while it rests), remove meat to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before cutting into very thin slices against the grain.


Grilled Lettuce Salad

Serves 4-6

1 head romaine lettuce

vegetable oil

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1⁄2 tsp. salt (or to taste)

1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper (or to taste)

2 Tbs. lemon juice (or to taste)

Separate and wash lettuce leaves. Shake off excess water and dry. Grease grill rack with vegetable oil. Heat grill to medium. Mix olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with lettuce until coated. Lay lettuce flat on grill rack. Check and turn regularly until slightly wilted and charred. Remove from grill, cut into bite-size pieces and toss with lemon juice.


Karen’s Very Chocolate Brownies

Serves 12-16

1 cup vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing pan

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

11⁄2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 11×14-inch baking pan. Melt unsweetened chocolate and set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Without stirring, add oil and eggs to center of flour mixture. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Now stir, starting slowly, then beating well until smooth and dark brown. Add chocolate chips and mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake 30 to

35 minutes until edges look crisp and have shrunk slightly away from sides of pan. Place pan on rack and let cool. Cut into bars or squares.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs at Contact her at [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].