Spread the Independence


What better way to celebrate Israel's independence and the start of spring than with this easy-to-prepare picnic menu? All the dishes can be made ahead of time, packed into containers and carried with you wherever you go.

Start with hummus, which comes together in minutes in the bowl of your food processor. Keep the basics — like chick peas and tahini — on hand, and you'll never be far from homemade hummus that's so much better than the prepared kind.

The perfect partner for hummus is pita bread, something you're thinking you'd sooner buy than make. But this recipe is so quick and easy that you'll never go back to packaged pita. Chances are, you've got everything you need in your pantry.

The dough comes together quickly in your stand mixer, rests for only 20 minutes, and is in and out of the oven in less than 5 minutes. Sound too good to be true? Then give it a try.

Round out your picnic with a tabouli-style salad. The salad features all the components of tabouli — parsley, tomato, bulgar, lemon juice — but given a rustic twist. For a real meal-on-the-go, fill the pita with hummus and salad, and you've got a picnic in the palm of your hand.

For dessert, stick with something simple with these almond cookies that require only three ingredients — almond butter, sugar and egg. Their taste and sophistication belie their simplicity; no one will ever know how little effort they require.


2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained 
2 Tbsps. tahini 
4 cloves garlic 
3 Tbsps. lemon juice 
1/2 cup olive oil 
salt and pepper 
pinch of cayenne pepper

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chick peas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice, and process until combined.

Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, and process until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 2 cups.

Tabouli Salad

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice 
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 
1/2 cup bulgar wheat 
3 Tbsps. lemon juice 
2 Tbsps. olive oil 
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine of all ingredients; toss well.

Season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4.


3 cups flour 
2 tsps. salt 
1 tsp. yeast 
2 Tbsps. olive oil 
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 500°.

Place two baking sheets in the oven to heat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all of the ingredients and mix on medium speed.

Continue mixing until dough forms a smooth ball and clears the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a loose ball, cover and leave to rest about 20 minutes.

Roll each ball into a flat disk about 1/8-inch thick.

Place 2 pitas directly onto each hot baking sheet and bake until cooked through and puffed, about 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining pita.

Cool the pita on a wire rack. Serve warm.

Makes 8 pitas.

Almond Cookies

You can use any nut butter.

1 cup almond butter 
1 cup sugar 
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.°

Grease 2 cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, and mix until blended and smooth.

Shape tablespoons of dough into balls and arrange on prepared pans. Flatten balls to 1/4-inch thick with the bottom of a glass.

Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 18 cookies.

Keri Fisher is a food writer and the co-author of One Cake, One Hundred Desserts. E-mail her at: [email protected]


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