Alana Chernila, mother of two and author of The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making, visited Longfellow Books in Portland for a reading not long ago. Alana’s gorgeous cookbook is chock full of simple recipes for breads, cheeses, snacks, pasta, and more delicious everyday dishes.
After browsing through the book, MP couldn’t wait to test some recipes. Before each recipe, Alana includes humorous personal anecdotes, which help inspire confidence. In a chapter on dairy products, Alana writes; “Ricotta was the first cheese I made at home. When I witnessed the separation of curds and whey, I could not help but announce to my empty kitchen, ‘I’m a cheese maker!’”
No wonder she chose ricotta to start—there are only 4 simple ingredients in the recipe (whole milk, lemon juice, heavy cream, and kosher salt)—and the results are so satisfying. All you need is a little patience and time to prepare.
After having success with ricotta cheese, MP decided to try the basic yellow cake recipe for a friend’s birthday. CP#1 deemed this the best cake batter she’s ever tasted, and MP would agree. The cake itself is dense and delicious… so much better than boxed!
CP#1 selected cornbread for our last test. This simple recipe features maple syrup as a sweetener rather than sugar (love that). MP was able to make the recipe in 30 minutes. We all enjoyed warm cornbread for dinner to accompany our barbecued chicken and beans. Alana calls cornbread, “safety in a pan,” and she’s so right. This is a recipe you can count on for comfort every time you serve it.
If you couldn’t tell already, MP adores this cookbook. She can’t wait to try making graham crackers, sandwich bread, mozzarella, peanut butter cups (yes!) and yogurt with the kids.
To learn more about author Alana Chernila, visit her blog, Eating from the Ground Up.