The Homemade Kitchen (a cookbook review)

Happiness is… getting a copy of Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Kitchen before it was officially released.  (^_^)


I’ve read through Chernila’s first cookbook, The Homemade Pantry, a few times because it really appeals to the part of me that wants less processed foods in my life.  (It’s probably a pipe dream of mine.  Work lunches are my downfall, and I’m never going to give up frozen pre-made Chinese dumplings.)  So when I found out that I could get my grabby hands on her new book, I didn’t even hesitate.

Overall impression?  I love it.

More detailed impressions and a recipe?  Keep reading.

The book is divided into odd chapters.  For example, one is called “Do Your Best, and then Let Go.”  It starts off with a story of Chernila’s support of local farms and practical views.  Then, the first recipe of the chapter is Skirt Steak Salad with Cucumbers and Mint with a side page about how to buy local meat products.  The section similarly moves onto the topic of chicken, tofu, salmon… and then suddenly changes gears for four pasta recipes.  (Oh, but they are mightily delicious-looking and easy-sounding pasta recipes.  Tagliatelle with fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinegar is on the to-do-list for this weekend.) 

I’m probably better off treating this book like my recipe archive – that is to say that you should rely on the index once you have a feel of what kinds of recipes are in here.

The recipes themselves sound quite yummy and manageable.  Diverse too!  There’s a recipe for stuffed winter squash and a recipe for congee with kimchi.

So far, I’ve made the Spicy Pumpkin Hot Chocolate.  It was good but ultimately not what I prefer in my hot chocolate.  But the pumpkin?  A great idea.  I didn’t even realize that it could be a thing.  It sweetens the drink without adding sugar but still adding body.

So, I’ve adapted it to suit my tastes and kitchen habits.

Spiced Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

I was in NYC recently with my best friend.  We ended up at Comebuy Cafe for milk tea.  Well, in my case, I had ginger hot chocolate.  It was very gingery, like “large slices of ginger in the bottom of my cup” gingery.  I loved it.  So, it had an influence when I decided I wanted to use something other than cinnamon and nutmeg (which Chernila uses in her book).

makes 2 servings

1 ½ cups milk (whole or reduced is fine)

2 oz (56g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped or broken into smaller pieces

½ cup (120g) pumpkin puree

1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or to your taste – just be careful that too much may make your drink a little gritty feeling)

Heat the chocolate, ginger, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk until the chocolate is melted.  Add the pumpkin puree.  Keep whisking until everything is incorporated and it’s heated to a temperature you like.  Pour into mugs and serve.  

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Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.

Reference Links


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