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Cookbook Giveaway: The Picnic, by Andrea Slonecker, Jen Stevenson, and Marnie Hanel

This week, we're giving away a copy of The Picnic, by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson. Andrea Slonecker is a truly talented recipe developer and food stylist, and she and her friends put this beautiful book together to share their love of picnicking with the world.

Why we picked this cookbook

There is just so much to love in this cookbook. The book is absolutely gorgeous. It is beautifully illustrated, which is a really refreshing deviation from the usual sexy food photography. Don't get us wrong--pretty pictures of food are great, but we're suckers for illustrations. They're timeless and classy and don't leave you with an inferiority complex when your finished dish looks absolutely nothing like the one in the photo. This book also has a gingham ribbon, and you know we love a good ribbon. This book is definitely beautiful enough to be a lovely gift for someone, and it's not going to look dated in 5 years.


Excerpted from The Picnic by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Illustrations by Emily Isabella.

But really, even though we love pretty things, we appreciate substance. We like it when cookbooks look nice, but if the recipes don't work or the copy is bad, count us out. The Picnic is charming from cover to cover. It really does give a ton of useful information for would-be picnickers from how much food to bring per person to tools you should pack in your picnic kit to how to avert common picnic crises. The authors of this book have thought of everything so you don't have to.

And the recipes! From a dozen adorable variations on the classic deviled egg to melon gazpacho, chicken liver mousse, and kale panzanella, the recipes are simple, fresh, and beautiful. This really is the perfect picnic primer, and it will get you thinking beyond cold sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies.

Excerpted from The Picnic by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Illustrations by Emily Isabella.

Why we picked this recipe

This is one of those hearty vegetable salads that I love so much. It's something I would happily eat for lunch any day of the week. In this salad, unlike more traditional carrot salads, the carrots are shaved rather than grated. The resulting carrot ribbons are a pleasure to look at and to eat. If you allow the carrots to sit in the dressing for a while, this salad is even better (salads that get better over time are perfect picnic salads).

I also love that there are prunes in this salad. Prunes are underused and misunderstood. I don't know how they managed to get such a bad reputation in this country because they're delicious. Any time I find a recipe that uses prunes, I do a little happy dance inside.

A beautiful tangle of carrots with a smoked paprika vinaigrette, chickpeas, prunes, and fresh mint makes for a stunning and texturally satisfying salad. I would serve this at a picnic for sure, but I'm also keeping it in my quiver for other occasions.

How to enter this contest

Simply click on this link and enter your name and email address in the form. A winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. Good luck!

Rainbow Carrots with Smoky Paprika Vinaigrette
Serves 4 to 6


Excerpted from The Picnic by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Illustrations by Emily Isabella.

Author's note: Part of the fun of preparing this vibrant salad stems from searching for just the right mix of heirloom carrots, in a spectrum spanning from deep purple to bright yellow to ivory. (Good old orange works, too.) We prefer sweet (dulce) smoked Spanish paprika, or pimentón de la Vera, in this recipe, rather than the hot (picante) variety; look for it at specialty grocery stores.

           1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
           1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
           1 teaspoon honey
           1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
           1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika

           1 pound rainbow carrots

           1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
           1/2 cup dried plums (prunes), chopped
           1/4 cup chopped fresh mint


1. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and paprika in a large bowl until emulsified. Set aside.

2. Shave carrots into ribbons*.

3. Add the carrots, chickpeas, dried plums, and mint to the bowl with the vinaigrette, and toss well so that everything is coated nicely and thoroughly mixed together. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the salad to a portable container and refrigerate until the picnic, or up to 8 hours.

*To shave carrots:

            1. Peel and discard the tough outer layer from the carrots and trim the tops.

            2. Pin the tip of the carrot to a cutting board using a fork, and shave it into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler until you reach the core.

            3. Flip the carrot and continue shaving until, again, you reach the core.

            4. Pile the gorgeous tangle of carrot ribbons into your salad bowl, and toss the cores to your dog, who's giving you side eye. He'll thank you.**

**(Or, if you're like us and have a cat who couldn't care less about anything, much less carrots, chop up the cores and reserve them for any recipe where carrots are called for--soups, stir-fries, etc.)

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Make the dressing first to give the flavors some time to meld. Combine in a pint-sized Mason jar:
     2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a rasp grater
     1 tablespoon whole...