Alana Chernila

Alana Chernila writes, cooks, and teaches cheesemaking in Western Massachusetts. She is the author of three books: The Homemade Pantry, The Homemade Kitchen, and Eating From the Ground Up.
Recipe: One-Dish Chocolate Cake
When my daughter Sadie turned nine, she asked if she could have a weekly cooking night. Thursday nights became Sadie’s territory, and as is our habit, I knew we’d work out the details as we went. When Sadie plans her dinner menu, she always includes dessert. This is her favorite chocolate cake, adapted from a recipe from one of the first books she took into the kitchen, Mollie Katzen’s Honest Pretzels. The results of Sadie’s weekly dinners have been extraordinary.
Jan 21, 2020
Recipe: Minestrone
When it’s time to clean out the fridge, it’s minestrone day. Minestrone is a soup of scraps, and because the recipe is infinitely changeable depending on what you have, it’s also a soup of the moment. This recipe is a lot like one of those choose-your-own-adventure books. Choose chicken stock for your liquid and the soup will have a rich, deep taste. Use vegetable stock or even water, and the soup will become light and scented with the herbs you choose to add.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Pear Gingerbread
I dreamed of this cake before I ever figured out how to make it. I could taste it and see it in my mind, and I was sure there must be a recipe out there somewhere. It was, after all, just gingerbread and pears. For an entire fall, I made every pear gingerbread, pear-ginger upside-down cake, and classic gingerbread with pears. I’d never loved gingerbread before, and yet, I loved the idea of the cake I craved.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Creamy Spinach and Dill
Classic creamed spinach is good in the same way that mashed potatoes or mac and cheese is — it’s usually all cream and flour, with the spinach adding only color. This is a different dish, and that’s why I call it creamy (not creamed) spinach. The cream’s function here is to mingle with the garlic and nutmeg, adding just enough richness to elevate things above straight-up sautéed spinach.
May 1, 2019
Recipe: Asparagus Bacon Pasta
Add this one to the dinner plan ASAP!
May 1, 2019
10 Small but Mighty Ways to Make Vegetables Better
I could eat the majority of vegetables steamed with a little olive oil and tamari every day. It’s just about the simplest way to prepare them, but still it might be the best. Whether I’m making broccoli, bok choy, Napa cabbage, watercress, or kale, they all only need the following treatment: five minutes in a steamer, olive oil, and soy sauce. Bam.
May 14, 2018
Recipe: Stuffed Winter Squash
Every fall, the squash calls begin again. They’re part of the season, like apple cider donuts and the colds that come from tromping around without a warm-enough coat. They start off just coming here and there, maybe one a day. But as November overtakes us, the pace quickens and the calls become more panicked. “Help. Need squash recipes.” Who can resist those winter squash?
Nov 10, 2015
Recipe: Swiss Chard and Sausage Bread Pudding
When I invite friends over for dinner, I always swear to myself I’ll have dinner all ready and the kitchen cleaned up when they arrive, but more often than not, we drink our first glass of wine together while I’m still working at the stove and shoving dishes in the sink. Unless, that is, I remember to pull out this recipe. Then I’ve got dinner in the oven and I’ve had time to clean up before they even walk in the door.
Nov 9, 2015