Last spring, I spent the better part of four days tucked into a tiny cabin near Neumann University, working on my natural sweeteners book. I took a cooler full of food, a pile of cookbooks to use as reference when my own inspiration failed me, and a few things to read simply for fun.
Included in my pleasure reading was a PDF of Alana Chernila’s book The Homemade Kitchen, provided by her editor in the hopes that I might write a sentence or two of praise. After my first day of writing was over, I warmed some soup for dinner and settled down to read.
My original intention had been to read just a bit that night and then go to bed early. Instead, I sat at that little, formica-topped table and hungrily took in every word. Friends, I devoured this book.
Now, I had a feeling I would like The Homemade Kitchen before I even opened up the document. I am a fan of Alana’s writing and always feel a moment of anticipatory pleasure when I discover she’s posted something new on her blog. What’s more, since we met four or five years ago, Alana has become a dear friend. We don’t get to see each other too often, but whenever I find myself passing through Western Massachusetts, I point my car in her direction.
The reason I tumbled head first into these pages is that they bring together everything I want from a cookbook. It’s got appealing food, smart and sensible kitchen advice, wonderful writing, a glimpse into the author’s life, a pretty design, and glorious pictures.
When the physical book landed in my mailing box late last week, I was reminded of my time with that PDF all those months ago. While I haven’t cooked anything from it yet, I’ve broken the spine in half a dozen places and have littered the pages with post-it notes.
Just a few of the recipes I’ve marked include Broccoli Raab with Cheddar Polenta (page 61), Roasted Salmon with Yummy Sauce (page 163), and the Congee with Chicken and Greens (page 202). I’m hungry just listing them out.
Disclosure: The nice folks at Clarkson Potter sent me a copy of this book for review and photography purposes. No additional compensation was provided.
My favorite (easy) potluck dish is hands down my stepmother’s brownies. Super simple to make, and oh so tasty. Also a huge crowd pleaser! My favorite slightly more complex dish to make is baked meat empanadas, Argentine style. Also very tasty and a huge crowd pleaser, but they require significantly more time and effort.
I love to bring a meatless pot luck. Butternut sqash roasted with tortellini .
A couple of sage leaves, some grated cheese some walnuts.
Olive oil…. I get rave reviews. It’s easy to do.
And it tastes really good.i always bring recipe cards, as everyone wants to make this at home.
Doesn’t everyone bring recipe cards?
One of my favorite things to bring to a potluck (especially an indoor potluck, where I’d have access to an outlet to plug in my crock pot) is vegetarian chili and cornbread. I never had to worry about leftovers with this one! Other favorites: baked ziti and salad, fruit kabobs with a chocolate and/or caramel dipping sauce.
I love making an antipasti pasta salad for potlucks, but really anything carb-y makes me happy 🙂
I love bringing dessert to a potluck. Pie is a usual “go to” and it tends to be seasonal.
I usually get suckered into bringing dessert, not that I am sad about that. A swiss roll with homemade cherry jam always goes over well.
My favorite potluck dish is a piece of local soft brie-like cheese ( made by Wholesome Homestead), warned up then covered with my homemade jam! Blackberry is really good, but so is the ginger peach jam and the plum rum jam I’ve made! Some nice crackers or slices of french bread…. Yum!
My mother’s swedish kringle with thinly sliced almonds and almond flavored frosting on top as well as my Aunt Janet’s Banana Cream Pie are my 2 staples for a potluck..you can never have to many sweets at a potluck! 🙂
Chicken enchiladas (green Chile)!
Simple salad–dark green leaves, a sweet fruit, and toasted nuts, with some reserved juice from the fruit for a dressing. I introduced this at a family meal some years ago, and it’s become tradition to have during the holidays as a counterpoint to all the other rich (delicious) foods.
I bring some sort of salad…usually kale salad!
I’m anticipating this year’s Family Christmas party, as I will be bringing a selection of home-made cheeses (goat, sheep and cow milks) and home-made sausage (turkey with cranberries, duck with sun-dried tomatoes and basil). I’m looking forward to using the smoker on the sausage – it should be outstanding!
Oh, and the meat in the sausage is home-grown, too!
I often make Singapore Chicken Wings.
I will usually bring my eggplant parmesan. It is always a crowd pleaser and very easy to make.
I bring my green bean salad. Fresh green beans, feta ,red onion, toasted pecans and homemade balsamic dressing, always a hit!
either a large pasta salad or vegetable salad
Green Chili made with beautiful pork tenderloin and large roasted chilies and seasoned with Chili Pequin. Hands down favorite every time!
Our family favorite salad is a ceasar made with romaine, parmesan, croutons and a simple dressing of equal parts olive oil and lemon juice with 2 tsp of dijon mustard and 2 cloves of pressed garlic-holds up beautifully for pot-lucks!
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a potluck, but often when we got together to brew beer with friends and people would chip in with snacks for the day, I’d usually be the one to bring a couple of good cheeses and local salami to share. You can never go wrong with cheese! 🙂
Cold Veggie pizza is always a hit. Fresh veggies on a ranch cheesy base. Crescent rolls make the crust.
I love bringing potato salad
Beautiful cheeses with some yummy crackers and a bit of fruit.
I always love bringing desserts. They are easy, delicious, and I never have to worry about bringing home the leftovers.
I found a recipe for a cheesy onion dip on a bag of Vidalia onions from Plantation Sweets. I made it for a block party (about a quart and a half) and people licked the bowl clean. They were spooning it as a side dish…I couldn’t believe it. I was worried no one would like it. I had so many people asking me for the recipe…I thought it was a joke some of my neighbors were pulling on me. I’ll certainly make it again.
Slow-cooked meatballs are always a winner in my potluck book, as is anything cheesy (mmm, baked brie…)
I like to bring caramel popcorn. People really like it and always ask for the recipe.
cooler corn (just add boiling water to a cooler filled with corn and let sit for awhile) is my go-to. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll make a few flavored butters to choose from and smother on the corn – yum!!
I love grain salads for potlucks. People always think they’re fancy, when they’re really so easy!
My favorite potluck dish is a spinach, chili and cheese fruitless quiche if it’s for a brunch, otherwise a green chili chicken tortilla casserole!
A salad with something home grown or a surprising ingredient.
My favourite has to be my mother’s version of macaroni and cheese. She first caramelizes Spanish onion, into this goes 2lbs cooked elbow macaroni, and 19 ounce can of chopped plum tomatoes. The whole thing is covered by a shredded mixture of whatever cheeses you like, and top of graham cracker crumbs, which have been generously dotted with butter. Into a 375°F oven it goes until the topping is slightly brown and crunchy.
I do it with Catelli gluten free pasta and a combination of old cheddar, goat cheeze and mozzarella.
Every time I take this to a potluck, I fill an 8 quart Dutch oven and there is never any left to take home!
I bring a mac and cheese in an enamelled cast iron pot and hope that there is room in the oven to heat it up!