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Your email address will not be published.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"

  • I take a bacon ranch pasta salad to the potlucks at my work. Just last month was the third time! I may have to pick something else next time. I can eat this all by myself. Bad for the waistline!

  • My favourite potluck dish is a fusion entree that I created aptly named enchilagna. As you might guess its a cross between enchiladas and lasagna! I layer tortillas and cheese throughout with a butternut squash, black bean, onion and spinach mix, spiced with, cumin, pasilla and ancho chillies, and homemade canned taco sauce. If I am feeling extra ambitious I will make a fresh pico de gallo for on top. This dish is delicious and is always a hit.

  • Fall favorite…reuban casserole with rye toast or crisps. I love Alana’s blog, writing and first book. Can’t wait to devour the new one.

  • All this summer it was vegetarian baked beans with homemade mustard and apple BBQ sauce. Had to make double batches, they would go so fast.

  • Corn pudding is my go-to for most events. My mom has the cookbook it’s in (I believe it’s called “Saw Grass and Mills” or something to that effect; I think it was a county-wide collection of recipes from north Florida) but I haven’t had to look at the actual recipe in a long time.

  • I like to take an Asian Peanut Cabbage Slaw. It is super colorful, fresh and stays crisp throughout the event.

  • Homemade rolls or cupcakes. At our church potluck, there is never any bread! My mom always brings cornbread dressing served with either a roast chicken or turkey breast. Most of the goodies these days at our pot luck are procured…so few home cooks in the next generation.

  • It’s best in summer, but my favorite is this salad: orzo cooked in chicken broth, chick peas, crunchy sprouts (sprouted chick peas and other big beans), and a LOT of finely chopped fresh mint and basil, with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Fresh, surprising, multi-textured, and always a big hit.

  • I like to mix it up a bit. Mac and cheese is a standard for me, as is black bean and sweet potato stew. For dessert I do Momofuku’s corn cookies if I have some freeze-dried corn on hand. If not, or if I’m super pressed for time, Frog Commissary’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies make a good back-up.

  • Depending on the type of party, I like to bring either mac & cheese, pasta salad, or IPA blue cheese dip (SOOO good). As a vegetarian, those are my go-to’s.

  • I love all potluck foods because of the variety of things to try. My favorite growing up was something my mom called American Chow Mein – good memories! Now, I use my corn relish as a base for a salad of whatever is fresh and easily accessible!

  • My favorite potluck dish is my Grandma Jan’s baked beans! With big butter beans and a sweet and spicy sauce, the canned stand-by doesn’t even compare. I like making them just as much as I like sharing them with loved ones because I always feel like I get to spend a few more precious moments with Grandma.

  • Two popular choices I take to potlucks are marinated tomatoes or corn pudding, depending on the season. The marinated tomatoes I like to use various heirlooms to make it colorful.

  • I am always asked to bring macaroni and cheese. I enjoy baking so I always take cookies, brownies, chewies, or cake. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • All summer for every get together my broccoli salad is requested. One of my nieces tells me that if that was all the food that was there, she’d be happy!

  • My most recent fave potluck item is the Winter Vegetable Dal recipe from Eating Well magazine. It always seems that the potlucks I am invited to are heavy on the desserts and grain salads and light on hearty main courses. This dal is a thick, delicious and satisfying soup that always gets rave reviews when I bring it. I le to bring it in a crockpot to keep it warm.

  • I love to take Patty’s Killer Noodle Salad to potlucks. It does not need to be refrigerated, makes a big portion, and everyone seems to love it. It is an asian noodle salad and was the winner of the “best recipe” from all recipes published that year in the Portland Oregonian (quite a few years ago). You can find it on the internet.

  • Deviled Eggs. People seem to forget how much they love them until they see a huge platter – and, of course, they’re gone in seconds. This cookbook looks beautiful!

  • I am originally from MN so I love to bring smoked fish, its so easy to do on the stove I use tea and wood chips to smoke, only for about 15 minutes. You can shred the fish and mixed it with room temp butter and lots of black pepper to spread on bread or pile them on a plate and serve with onions, capers and lemon. Yummy

  • My favorite potluck dish used to be hot dogs wrapped in cheesy dough. It was great when we had kids. Now I lean more towards desserts, any desserts. Guess that is because with only two people at home now a whole dessert recipe is more than we should eat!

  • My favorite potluck recipe is one called “Cowboy Chili”. It’s like a chili con carne, but not spicy, and then you add a can of pork and beans. What a wonderful flavor it has and what a comforting dish.

  • A big pot of winter minestrone soup, and a loaf of hot french bread slathered in butter. 🙂 All I can think about is soup at this time of year.

  • My go-to favorite is a jalapeno popper dip that rarely lasts more than one hour. It’s easy to make on short notice.

  • I enjoy bringing vegan or vegetarian friendly dishes to potlucks. A soba noodle and edamame salad or a simple massaged kale salad are my go to options.

  • Everyone I go to potlucks with knows I’m a baker, so they get mad if I don’t bring cookies or brownies or something similar ?

  • I like to bring a huge potato salad with my homemade pickles mixed in or a chickpea salad. Yay, thank-you for making this open to Canadians!

  • I like to bring a butternut and kidney bean chili to potlucks. Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I like to have hearty and filling options besides the meat dishes too. I also like to bring homemade hummus and good tortilla chips.

  • I love potlucks! I usually bring mac and cheese or a favorite dessert, or if I’m feeling rushed I grab a jar of jelly, crackers, and goat cheese.

  • Serbian eggs. No idea why it’s called that. It’s basically eggs, cheese, Bisquick and butter, bake in a baking dish, serve with salsa. Great brunch potluck dish.

  • It’s not very fancy – but whenever I take a tray of egg salad sandwiches to a potluck, they vanish! I never bring any home! I’m a little bit rebellious – even if it is a sweets only potluck, I usually take my egg salad sandwiches. And, they always go lickety-split. I suppose I am not the only one who wants something a little more solid than a plateful of desserts!

  • My favorite potluck dish to share is roasted roots. It’s a great addition to bbq or any hearty meal, can be used with any thing you have in the fridge, and its an easy set it and forget it dish.

  • favorite potluck dish? I think the biggest hit was either slow cooker carnitas, or the whole roasted cauliflower head from Food52 by Alon Shaya. Both of those things were gone long before any of the other food at our annual knitting retreat.

  • I like to bring maple butter tarts to a potluck. They’re easy to make, a little unusual, and a nice single serving treat.

  • I like bringing grain/bean salads to potlucks. There are a ton of variations, and they are good at room temperature. Also, for dessert at a summer potluck, the blueberry pie bars from Smitten Kitchen are always a hit!

  • My favorite potluck dish is pasta salad with lots of veggies, garbanzo beans, cheese, olives, and fresh herbs. It’s a family favorite.

  • My favorite potluck dish is fresh bread and home made peach preserves, although my most requested dish is usually buffalo chicken dip.

  • Depends on the season, but pesto chicken and pasta is a favorite. Soup often in fall or winter. If I’m feeling lazy, chocolate raspberry brownies come together quickly and use jam, which I usually have plenty of.

  • I have serious potluck issues. I never know what to make. I usually go with some sort of bread, either banana or yeasted. Possibly with cheese.

  • i like to bring baked Brie. I place the Brie on pastry dough ( either phyllo dough or crescent roll dough) put some of my homemade jams on it (I like chunky fig jam, but have used peach and spicy tomato, too) , wrap the dough around the cheese and make a topknot. Seal with egg wash and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, til dough is cooked and golden brown..mmmmm

  • My go-to potluck dish is couscous salad with tons of veggies, goat cheese, caramelized onions, and a balsamic vinaigrette. It tastes great at room temp and travels and scales easily!

  • My mom has a really easy peach cobbler recipe. Unfortunately it’s unhealthy. Sine I am usually in a time crunch, I do that. People love it, but I am always embarrassed to give out the recipe– lots of margarine ( can’t use butter).

  • Depends on what is being requested – dessert, side, or meat dish, but everyone loves my homemade Jalapeno Jelly on Cream Cheese with Crackers.

  • During the Summer, my usual potluck dish to bring is my Nanny’s (my Italian grandmother) green bean potato salad which is made with bacon and garlic.When garlic is an ingredient in anything, I usually double, if not triple, the amount. My friends like to joke about my love of garlic and have renamed this salad as Gina’s Garlic with Green Beans and Potato salad. It is really good with pancetta as well. During the cooler times of the year, I usually fall back to a sweet item, most often brownies or Banana Chocolate cake. This is a cake i once had at a gathering at a stranger’s house and HAD to get the recipe because it was so good. it gets the same response every time I make it.

  • I almost always bring a baked thing. I brought rhubarb crisp to my husband’s family reunion and it stole the show, if I do say so myself 🙂

  • when i go to potluck i am asked to bring my red slaw or my german slaw. both are wonderful. the german cole slaw recipe was given to me by my gramma and the red slaw i found in the little seasonal recipe/coupon book found at checkout station. it has been shared and has gone to the south and east coast.

  • My favorite thing to bring to a potluck is mini cream puffs stuffed with creamy buffalo chicken salad. Easy and tasty!

  • If I go to a brunch potluck, I usually bring a quiche – usually with some green vegetable and/or mushrooms. If it’s a lunch or dinner, i bring deviled eggs and/or a salad of barley with cherry tomatoes and chunks of mozzarella cheese and herbs.

  • I have a antipasti salad that I love to make for putlucks. Its roasted brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers, olives, cubed provolone and salami/pepperoni, artichokes, and croutons. Drizzle over my homemade vinaigrette the dish is ready to go.

  • How can you pick just one favorite?! Chili is always my go-to, but I often have people request thay I make a desert since I love to bake. This time of year, pumpkin cream cheese rolls are absolutely essential in my life.

  • Go to potluck choices are some sort of muffin or bread and/or a grain salad featuring whatever fresh veggies I have around. My pantry usually dictates my choices.

  • My favorite potluck dish to eat is Ambrosia because my Mother never made it so the only time I get to have it is if someone brings it to a potluck.

    My favorite potluck dish to make is a cold curry rice shrimp salad.

    You cook a package of rice mix. I like a wild rice mix. Then you add a half cup chopped green pepper and a half cup chopped celery. Add cooked shrimp, whatever size and kind you like.

    Then whip a half cup of whipped cream, add a half cup of mayonnaise and curry powder to taste.

    The mix it all together and chill. I usually add a few shrimp and some parsley on top to garnish. Maybe a dash of paprika on the top for color.

    It’s easy to make ahead. The color is a little offputting but the minute people start eating it, I never have leftovers to bring home.

  • My favorite to take is a pan-fried cole slaw. I also make it with some smoked sausage and cubed, cooked potatoes to make it a main dish.

  • I bring a different thing every time- which means about 1/3rd of the time I’m trying to hide some total disaster toward the back of the table…

  • I love to take an Alsatian onion tart. It’s super simple, but looks and tastes luxurious! I use a rectangular tart pan to make slicing portions easy too. I love Alana’s 1st book, and can hardly wait for this one!

  • A good friend once told me “You don’t win friends with salad”, so I usually bring a dessert like Smitten Kitchen’s Popcorn Cookies. But I love salad! So I bring a green salad chock full of interesting flavors to family dinners.

  • When I first met my husband, his ‘signature’ potluck dish was sweet potato shepards pie with chipotle and venison. It won me over for sure! Now I steal his glory and make it myself. Would love to win this beautiful new book, thanks for the chance!

  • My mother’s fried rice is probably my favorite to eat, but I typically end up bringing eggless cupcakes (I have an egg allergy).

  • My go-to is a variation on a good old bean salad. The most recent iteration was kidneys, pintos, and spaghetti squash in a chipotle dressing. It was a hit!

  • Favorite pot luck dish would have to be the 7 cheese mac-n-cheese my sister made. It was so rich and decadent that you couldn’t help but go back for more. It was gooey but the texture was just right. It had to be served with a spoon like a good mac-n-cheese should be.

  • Whenever asked to being something along….the request is almost always my signature Guacamole. Lots of cilantro and scallions, slightly mushy avacadoes, loads of lime juice, and then the organic salsa. Sometimes even with rustic homemade tortillas.