Recipes from My Home Kitchen Review
Provided by Rodale Books
Reviewed by Jordan Sward
If you caught MasterChef Season 3 on FOX, you got to see Christine Ha create one stunning dish after another to earn the winning title. The chef, who tragically lost her eyesight in her twenties, learned to cook using her heightened senses of taste, touch, smell, and sound. In her cookbook Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food, Ha highlights comfort foods of her Asian heritage and American upbringing, from My Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup to Humble Apple Pie and more.
Although I love Asian food, I've always been somewhat intimidated to make the dishes I've eaten at restaurants. As I flipped through Recipes from My Home Kitchen, I was excited to see a bunch of recipes with simple techniques and inexpensive ingredients. Ha takes American classics and gives them a Southeast Asian twist. The second chapter of the book called A Bowl of Comfort includes recipes for Vietnamese soups and rices, as well as American soups like clam chowder. For those who want to try their hand at a new cuisine, but still stick to ingredients they know, this cookbook creates the perfect balance.
The book includes stories about Ha's childhood and her time on MasterChef, as well as tips and definitions of various techniques and dishes. Sitting down to read the book is entertaining, inspiring, and super helpful! For example, she includes a secret tip on how to make perfect mashed potatoes, Pasta 101 techniques, the secret to light and crispy deep-frying, reasons why to use a wok, simple ingredient substitutions, and much more.
One of my favorite chapters is the Food for Casual Gatherings chapter. The dishes in this chapter are meant for entertaining, and they're a way to get friends and family together at the dinner table. The photos for Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Skewers and Pork Belly "Sliders" are mouthwatering, and they're both recipes that are super easy to make. The side dishes chapter includes recipes like Cowboy Corn on the Cob, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli-Rice Casserole, and more. Each recipe looks better than the last. Finally, for the desserts, a mix of classic recipes like Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are followed by fun new recipes like Ginger-Coconut Tuiles.
Recipes from My Home Kitchen is the perfect combination of some dishes that are unique and some classic dishes, which are all easy to prepare and don't require super fancy ingredients. Just like she did on MasterChef, Christine Ha puts her cooking expertise to good use in this book. It's a joy to read and great to use as a go-to cookbook for all kinds of recipes, so you can cook like a Master Chef at home!