High Holidays

SUKKOT FEATURE: Take it outside: Hail kale (salad), bring on the beef (stew)

Chopped kale salad with Apple and Roasted Beets is satisfying and sweet in the sukkah. (Shannon Sarna)
Chopped kale salad with Apple and Roasted Beets is satisfying and sweet in the sukkah. (Shannon Sarna)

Take it outside: Hail kale (salad), bring on the beef (stew)

(MyJewishLearning.com) — During the summer we all relish al fresco dining. The moment we can bring our meals outside is always a happy one, and we schedule the summer months with picnics, barbecues and rooftop cocktails as much as possible.

Then the autumn arrives, and we box up our plasticware and move indoors. But Sukkot offers us such a beautiful moment to extend our time outside and enjoy the tastes of early fall.

Give me a salad with some roasted beets and I am a happy lady. The Chopped Kale Salad recipe with Apples and Beets is satisfying and sweet with crunch from some walnuts and a hint of tartness from dried cranberries. The kale is hearty and will hold up well if you need to transport it to someone’s sukkah for lunch or dinner.

Apple Cider Beef Stew uses one of my favorite fall treats, apple cider, to make a rich stew that is perfect to serve on a chilly fall day over some egg noodles or rice. It’s also a great alternative to cholent for a hearty Shabbat lunch in the sukkah.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting will have your guests asking incredulously, “are you sure these are nondairy?” And yes, they are.

The sweet potato ensures a super moist cake even without milk or butter, and the slight spice sings of fall flavors. The marshmallow frosting is super easy to make and even more fun to toast using the oven broiler or a small hand torch if you have one.

Chopped Kale Salad with Apple and Roasted Beets
3 cups chopped fresh kale
2 medium beets
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 cup chopped candied walnuts
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the beets. Place in tin foil and roast in oven for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool. Remove the outer peel of beets using hands or a vegetable peeler.

Cut beets into bite-sized pieces.

Place chopped kale in a large salad bowl. Add beets, apple, candied walnuts and dried cherries or cranberries. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or salad dressing of your choosing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Apple Cider Beef Stew
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2 inch cubes
Salt and pepper
All-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3-4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch crushed red pepper
2 cups apple cider
1 cup red wine
1 cup vegetable or beef stock
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4-5 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper liberally over beef. Cover beef in light coating of flour.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large oven-safe pot. Brown meat on all sides and then remove from pot and set aside on a dish.

Add another tablespoon olive oil and saute onions, carrots and garlic cloves, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add cinnamon, bay leaves and pinch of red pepper flakes, continuing to stir. Saute vegetables until transluscent.

Add apple cider, red wine, stock and balsamic vinegar and let come to simmer. Add salt and pepper. Place beef back into the pot, stir and cover cooking for 2 hours in preheated oven.

At the 2-hour mark, add the potatoes. Taste the stew, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Put stew back into the oven for another 45 minutes.

Serve with rice or noodles.

Yield: 6 servings

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until soft. Let cool.

Cut potatoes in half and scoop out flesh. Place in a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse until smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add pureed sweet potatoes, sugar and oil to a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture in batches; beat just until blended.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line and grease muffin tins. Fill muffin trays until 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out cool. Allow to cool.

Make frosting (see recipe below).

Pipe frosting in a swirl on top of each cupcake. Using a hand-held blow torch, gently drag the torch across the frosting, toasting the frosting until just lightly brown.

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Marshmallow Frosting (half recipe)
(via Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes)
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Yield: enough for 2 dozen cupcakes

(Shannon Sarna is editor of The Nosher blog on MyJewishLearning.com, where these recipes originally appeared.)