Shabbat Picnic

By | Tagged: culture, Practices

In the winter, there’s nothing I like more than huddling around a table in a warm kitchen with good friends, sharing a Shabbat meal. Matzah ball soup, cholent, kugels, roasted vegetables, and a nice hefty cake–they’re all perfect dishes for December, or year-round if you happen to live in Siberia.
But I live in New York City, and we’re quickly approaching the time of year when I try to divide my time evenly between sitting outside drinking in the sunshine, and lying motionless on my bed, basking in the glory of my ceiling fan and trying not to melt. This means I don’t want to spend tons of time in the kitchen, and I definitely, definitely don’t want make cholent. In fact, what I really want is to eat my Shabbat meals outside on a picnic bench or a plaid blanket. But what kind of dishes lend themselves to my July requirements? Here’s a roundup of possibilities you can whip up on a Friday afternoon, and relish in the park the next day.

There are only two soups I will even consider on hot summer days, and luckily they both basically require a food processor and a spoon–not a minute with the oven on.
Gazpacho (delicious, and the most guilt-free food ever. Yum!)
Cucumber Soup (try our recipes, or Emeril’s–they’re all refreshing, creamy, and smooth with a fantastic kick.)
Or skip the soups (sometimes difficult to mess with bowls at a picnic) and try some finger foods and dips instead. Try our awesome recipes for hummus, (we have a variation with walnuts for the nut lovers), muhammara, pickled cauliflower, stuffed grape leaves, or crunchy and delicious Radish, Chive, and Cream Cheese Tartines.

For a main course, you have a number of options:
Schnitzel travels well and cooks quickly, so you can make it before Shabbat and bring it to the park in a Tupperware without much fuss.
Cold pizza and savory tarts are also great picnic foods. Try our Jewish Italian recipe or these other options:
Three-onion tart with Taleggio
Pizza with caramelized onions, gorgonzola and pecans

Posted on July 10, 2009

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