Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Kitchen

October 13, 2015(updated on February 3, 2023)
The Homemade Kitchen

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.

THK Contents

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.

How to Cook a Vegetable

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.

Queen Garlic

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.

Reusables in the Kitchen

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.

The Kitchen in the Morning

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.

prize pack pic

Disclosure: The nice folks at Clarkson Potter sent me a copy of this book for review and photography purposes. No additional compensation was provided.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

638 thoughts on "Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Kitchen"

  • My stand by for potluck is egg salad. Being gluten free for health reasons is difficult when we go to potlucks so I always make sure I bring something like this that I can nibble on or in a pinch eat for my main course,

  • My favorite potluck dish is a mixed vegetable side dish made with whatever is fresh and good. I work for a farmer at a couple of markets. The latest featured cranberry beans, Brazilian eggplant, tomatoes and sweet and chili peppers.

  • I love bringing a pea salad. It’s both a quick dish to make up, and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.

  • I take a cheese plate: a log of good local chèvre, sprinkled liberally with toasted walnuts and drizzled with honey from a friend’s farm, surrounded with water crackers. So good…though I do have to remember to track down my wee spreaders at the end of the evening.

  • i usually bring a fruit salad to a potluck. That way I know I have a fresh and healthy side available. And the kids always scarf it up. Would love to win this book! Thank you!

  • Definitely pizza monkey bread! Takes a little fussing with right before serving, but never fails to get polished off right after it hits the table!

  • Kale salad with cranberries, carrots, and vinaigrette. Everyone says they don’t like kale, but they always eat it!

  • Having been to a lot of potluck dinners via band, scouts, and church, I would say my favorite dish to take is homemade mac and cheese for a winter dish, and a cold pasta salad with more fresh veggies than pasta for a spring or summer pot luck!

  • I always bring Pat’s Broccoli Salad – i am almost always coming from work and need to bring something cold or room temp! Book looks amazing

  • My favorite potluck dish is a green salad, with lots of chopped toppings. I line the bottom of a large plate with salad greens, and make columns of different toppings. That way, if someone doesn’t like tomatoes or olives or cheese, they don’t have to select any of that column.

  • For us and our friends, wouldn’t be a potluck without Cabbage Radish Salad. It includes fresh jalapeno, slivered almonds and a wonderful citrus dressing and is perfect for any season. Thanks for the intro to this amazing-sounding new-to-me writer!

  • My broccoli, Mac and cheese with chicken casserole, sometimes I switch out roasted butternut squash for the broccoli.

  • My favourite potluck dish is homemade meat pie or Tourtiere. I serve it with homemade dill pickles and pickled beets along with a homemade spicy ketchup that is amazing

    1. “chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, October 11, 2015.”?? May want to have the date changed seeing the 11th has past.

  • Spinach salad with cranberries, bacon, walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette. Add cherry tomatoes or other seasonal treasures for an extra kick.

  • Homemade bread is always welcome. I like to bring a couple of different loaves, maybe a cheddar or a lemon, rosemary, gruyere.

  • I love bringing homemade baked beans. I cook them in my crockpot, they are always delicious and perfect with any combination of pot luck dishes.

  • The recipe comes from an old cookbook titled something like 365 ways to cook chicken. It’s a casserole with chicken and celery in a taragon cream sauce and is served over rice. It’s ridiculously rich, but a real crowd pleaser and memorable because taragon is not a common ingredient in potluck fare.

  • My favorite potluck dish (to bring) is a family recipe — the best way to describe it is spinach, cream cheese, rice and eggs — baked and cut up into brownie-like squares! So simple and delicious!

  • My go-to dish is an almond skillet pie. Way easy to make, it’s a one bowl recipe that can easily be ready in an hour or pulled from the freezer and served.

  • When I taught school, we had pot luck breakfast and I always brought a breakfast casserole. Prepare the night before, pop in the oven while getting dressed, nice and hot when I get to work. Easy peasy and everyone loved it.

  • I don’t know why, but I always go the appetizer or dessert route! Gougeres are easy, but delectable little cheese rolls that everyone seems to love, and my go-to dessert is olive oil cake: delicious, light and definitely not from a box! Alana’s book looks lovely– Please pass along my sentiment that her photos and fonts are incredibly pleasing to the eye. <3

  • I love to make red lentil dal for a potluck! People are always curious about it, and it’s mild enough that most like it 🙂

  • My favorite potluck dish is either Japchae …so many haven’t had Korean food before, which makes it fun!

  • What a great prize, thank you for the opportunity to win this gorgeous book! The potlucks I’ve been to were always heavy on pasta dishes so I always tried to bring something different that would feed a lot of people. Skinless, boneless chicken thighs cooked in the crockpot with brown rice was my go-to, I had a few different seasonings…Mexican, Italian, Moroccan…and there were never leftovers.
    (Pick me, please! lol)
    Sue Blando

  • I like to bring hot German potato salad. It’s hearty and can be served warm in a crock pot or at room temperature.

  • Wow – thanks for doing this! My favourite potluck dish is usually a variety of hummus flavours plus some home made pita chips

  • My favorite cool season potluck dish uses just four ingredients, chicken, corn, black beans and Pace salsa, cooked up in a crockpot. Have been asked for the recipe many times, so it must be a winner.

  • While I don’t have a potluck go-to dish, I suppose my signature dish to pass/share is my homemade jalapeño jelly on cream cheese with triscuits. I can’t show up at a holiday or family gathering without it!

  • I try to be aware of eating preferences and any sensitivities when making a potluck dish. I always bring a label with ingredients. Due to the preponderance of spaghetti squash in my garden my latest potluck dish is stuffed spaghetti squash with all those yummy summer veggies in a sauce. Vegan (unless I add cheese) and gluten free…and delicious!

  • My favorite pot luck dish is a farfalle pasta dish with grapes, tomatoes and a balsamic dressing. It can be served warm or cold and always tastes better the next day.

  • My all time favorite is an Oriental Salad made with crunchy ramen, almonds and sesame seeds browned in butter, mixed in with chopped Napa cabbage and topped with a sweet dressing. It is necessary to put together on site but oh so worth the effort!

  • For Autumn, my favorite pot-luck dish are my homemade pumpkin fritters! I make my own roasted pumpkin puree and fry them up in my trusty cast iron skillet. They translate well with gluten-free flour as well, so I can make sure all of my family members can have some!

  • While I love baking, I always end up bringing a salad. Deb’s kale salad from her cookbook is one of my favorites.

  • I love doing a three-bean salad. It often turns into a 6 bean salad – I like that it’s flexible. Plus, vegetables! And my kids love it.

  • Hmmm. My go-to to make is a corn casserole/spoon bread thing. My fave to sample at a pot luck would be baked beans. Will try them any possible way. Yum!

  • My favorite potluck dish is muffins from The Tassajara Bread Book… Always different and always good. Lots of dried fruit and mixed flours, especially rice flour and some corn or buckwheat; nutmeg, cardamon and a touch of ground cloves.These are crowd pleasers.

  • I often bring salads to pot lucks, and customize them depending upon the season. I also often bring homemade chutney or jam (from FIJ recipes!) on a crostini with fresh goat cheese. I love Alana’s first book and would love to get the new one!

  • Shepherd’s Pie. Always a favorite and easy to adapt with seasonal vegies.I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes for the top.

  • I know they aren’t fancy but I love the little meatballs in the sauce that’s made with bbq and grape jelly. So retro and delicious!

  • My favorite potluck dish is anything I can bake, like cakes, pies, breads. Since there’s only me living in my house (whooohoo! The kids are grown!) any time I bake anything, I’m eating it forever and ever and ever. Potlucks give me the opportunity to bake and enjoy some, without the forever cycle.

  • I love my Aunt Glor’s Broccoli Shmutz – it’s an embarrassingly easy combination of broccoli, Ritz crackers, and Velveeta, among other things. At least the broccoli makes it healthy… right?

  • I am the dessert queen so I usually bring a couple different options, one for the kids and one for the adults. Adults might get a unique pie or tart, like sweet potato or pear, and the kids get something fun, like mummy pretzel sticks or boston cream cupcakes. Now that the weather is turning colder I’m looking forward to more potluck suppers with friends!

  • I love to bring chili or lasagna. They’re things that I’ve figured out how to make easily, and people are so excited when you bring them. But if I don’t have time, it’s cheese and a selection of things I’ve canned (pickles, chutneys, jams, etc.).

  • Often times it is a dairy kugel – noodles, cottage cheese, yogurt and raisins. Lately it’s been a “broccoli pie” – cottage cheese, parm cheese, cheddar cheese, frozen broccoli chopped fine, farm fresh eggs.

  • My favorite potluck is anything my granddaughter will eat. She is 3. Loves cheese and Vegetables. Sometimes a simple vegetables and fruit platter with dip will do. Ty for the chance

  • Great book! My favorite potluck dish depends on time of year. My grandsons request mac& cheese. But my favorite is during peck of cucumber season …..make a big batch of refrigerator dill pickles and take in my huge vintage glass jar. Add a set of tongs to fish out the one you want. Heaven. There is always room for a cold, crisp pickle. Put my name into the hat for this book. Thanks.

  • Depends on the potluck. Casual party with snacks? Some sort of cheese plate with really good cheese (not the CostCo party platter). Brunch? Either homemade English muffins or a sausage/cheese/sourdough brunch casserole. Lunch/Dinner potluck? I’ll probably a black & white bean/corn salsa side dish.