Maria Provenzano

http://www.fromscratchwithmaria.com

Book: EVERYDAY CELEBRATIONS FROM SCRATCH by Maria Provenzano

Recipes:

Three Bean Salad in a Jar

When it comes to a picnic, something has to be in a jar! Mason jars are a classic that simply will never go out of style. They are not only easy on the eyes but also make packing for a picnic super easy. This three-bean salad is my attempt to recreate the three-bean salad that I used to order at a fancy restaurant in Los Angeles. Sure, a three-bean salad may not sound like fine dining. Still, I used to go to this posh LA hotspot, the Ivy, when I was running around from audition to audition when I first moved out to Hollywood, and believe me, the taste and price tag of this three-bean salad was an event in itself. So hopefully, my three-bean salad will help you channel your inner A-lister. 

Tips

■ Using freshly cooked bacon makes a huge difference! It’s crunchier and saltier than if you make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge.

If you want to add an element of heat, you can add some crushed red pep- per flakes, one of my favorite ways to spice it up!

The lemon juice on the avocado pre- vents it from getting brown but it also adds a nice tangi- ness that I think helps to balance out the flavors.

This sandwich is best with bread that is soft with a slight crunch on the outside.

Bring extra ranch in a jar in case you want to dip!

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 English cucumber halved lengthwise and diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 teaspoon freshly chopped oregano

 1/4 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

 3/4 cup brined artichokes, chopped then measured

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste

Salad Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add the chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, oregano, parsley, artichokes, and salt and pepper, and use a spoon to combine.

Make the dressing and then pour half of it over the salad and toss to combine everything together.

Add as much dressing as you feel it needs (I usually add all of it). Add additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.

Allow the mixture to sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

Make the dressing: Place the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, clove, Dijon mus- tard, oregano, and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. You can also add all of these to a mason jar with a lid and shake everything together.

Tips

  • If you are taking this salad to a picnic, it can be placed in mason jars to make the transport easy and adorable.
  • You can use whatever beans you like! My go-to is adding in green beans as well as sesame seeds for a nice crunch.
  • This can be tossed with salad greens to stretch it out a bit if you are serving more people.
  • I highly recommend using fresh herbs for this. They add such a great brightness to the dish that you won’t get from the dried herbs.
  • If you don’t like the bite from the red onion (which I happen to love!), you can soak the cut onion in ice water for about 5 minutes, then rise and place in the salad. This helps to soften the pungent flavor while keeping the onion nice and crunchy.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Everyday Celebrations From Scratch, Copyright © 2022 by Maria Provenzano. Used by permission of Harper Horizon.

photography by Leslie Grow & Bree McCool

Blackberry Italian Sodas

Did you know “Italian” sodas were actually created in the United States? I will say, Italian Americans adore them. These sodas are a refreshing way to get that bubbly flavored drink taste by using fresh fruit syrup. If you want to make this extra special for your picnic, you can can turn the sodas into desserts by adding in a scoop of ice cream—boom, you have yourself a float.

Makes 1 serving

Ice

1/4 cup Blackberry Fruit Syrup (recipe belowadd more or less to taste

1 cup carbonated water

1/2 cup ice cream, optional

Fill a large cup with ice. Pour the fruit syrup over the ice. Pour the carbonated water over the syrup and give it a gentle mix with a spoon.

Optional: replace the ice with 1/2 cup ice cream.

Blackberry Fruit Syrup

Makes 1 serving

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 pound blackberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently.

Stir in the berries and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently and using a wooden spoon to gently press the berries to release their juice.

Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the mixture into a small bowl. Stir in the lemon juice.

Let the mixture cool before adding it into the drinks.

Tips

  • Add a slight creaminess without the extra sugar by including a splash of half-and-half instead of the ice cream.
  • You can use other berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries, instead of blackberries.
  • Don’t overmix! You don’t want to lose the bubbles.
  • If you plan to make these at your family picnic, make sure all the items stay cold on the road by adding ice packs to your cooler.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Everyday Celebrations From Scratch, Copyright © 2022 by Maria Provenzano. Used by permission of Harper Horizon.

photography by Leslie Grow & Bree McCool