Cook | 40 years in desert established Jews as picnic experts

My husband, the cycling aficionado, recently secured a cargo bike from Craigslist. He intended to use it to transport the children home from preschool and day care. But I can fit on it, too.

I don’t think Alex imagined that his new two-wheeler would be used to cart three non-pedaling ladies around San Francisco’s sloping streets, but it is. Luckily for him, the beach is straight downhill from our home, which means he can glide our family of four there along with our picnic basket — at least until I get my own bike.

Eating outdoors is really quite a Jewish thing. One has to figure that our ancestors ate the majority of their meals picnic-style, what with all that wandering in the desert.

When preparing for a picnic, choose options that won’t erode too quickly in the sun. I’m a fan of hummus, deviled eggs, baguette and brie, along with plenty of fresh fruit.

Just beware the uphill ride home.


Horseradish Deviled Eggs

Serves 10

10 hardboiled eggs

2 Tbs. mayonnaise

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. pickled lemon rind, diced (or substitute 1⁄2 tsp. grated lemon zest)

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish

1/4 tsp. Spanish paprika

1/8tsp. salt

1 pinch celery salt

1 Tbs. parsley, chopped

Slice hardboiled eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and transfer to a small food processor or mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients (except parsley) to yolks and puree until smooth. If you prefer not to use a food processor, mash yolks with a fork until smooth. Using a small flexible spatula, fill each egg white with yolk. Dust with a little more paprika and chopped parsley to serve.


Lemon Paprika Hummus

Serves 8-10

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. Spanish paprika

11/2tsp. salt

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

Plenty of fresh black pepper

Combine all ingredients in food processor. Blend until smooth. Serve dusted with paprika.


Raspberry ’n’ Brie Sandwiches

Serves 6-8

1 baguette, sliced in half lengthwise

1/4 cup raspberry jam

8 oz. brie, cut in 1/8-inch slices

Freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches watercress

1 Tbs. olive oil

Spread both cut sides of baguette with a thin layer of jam. Arrange sliced brie on one side of baguette. Grind fresh black pepper generously over cheese. Heap greens on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Top with other side of baguette and slice into desired sandwich sizes. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or foil to keep fresh.


Watermelon Mint Salad

Serves 6-8

1 small seedless watermelon

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup mint leaves, julienned

Remove the green rind and the white inner rind from the watermelon. Dice watermelon into one-inch cubes. Toss in a bowl with lime juice and mint. Seal in a large container and serve with forks.

Josie A.G. Shapiro won the 2013 Man-O Manischewitz Cook-Off, is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet” and works at the JCC of San Francisco. Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Her website is

Josie A.G. Shapiro

Josie A.G. Shapiro won the 2013 Man-O-Manischewitz Cookoff and is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet.”