Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Review of Pure Food, A Chef's Handbook for Eating Clean with Healthy, Delicious Recipes #Benbella

As luck would have it, at the same time I decided to start my new eating program, I also recieved gorgeous cookbook from Benbella Books called Pure Food that was released to the public this month. In return for this book, Benbella requested an honest review which was a given because I am always 100% honest with my readers and all opinions are my own.  I did not receive and monetary compensation for this post.

This lovely cookbook was written by Kurt Beecher Dammier, the owner of Beecher's Handmade Cheese.  I loved browsing their website and I am planning on ordering up the "just add wine" gift box for my husband who has been supporting my new eating plan by giving up alcohol along with me. When this 28 day period is over we will celebrate with wine and cheese, two items not allowed on this eating plan that I miss terribly.

This cookbook is filled with Kurt's story about how he first became aware of food additives when he had an allergic reaction to MSG.  This sent him on an exploration to find what, exactly, the manufacturer's are putting into our foods and bodies, which in turn led him to find a better way.  It reads easily and is filled with gorgeous photos and handwritten notes. 

Kurt has also started a program called Pure Food Kids, where he and his employees go to schools and hold hands on nutrition classes. "Since 2006 we've taught almost 90,000 students how to be 'food detectives'."  We are all called to action by joining the Pure Food Revolution.

There are a lot of amazing sounding recipes in this book starting right off the bat with Oven Dried Grapes and a Roasted Grape Salsa.  Another recipe I will have to wait for as grapes are not allowed for the 28 day eating plan either.  But there are plenty of recipes I can make and enjoy right now, including: Pork Bibimbap, Maximus/Minimus Grilled Chicken Thighs, White Fish Salad, tons of roasted veggies and a delicious sounding Red Quinoa Pilaf.  All of these are on my 'to make' list and I will be sharing them with you when I do.

But to share with you today, review day, I decided on this gorgeous Red Cabbage Peperonata.  I made a couple of slight adaptations. I reduced the recipe.  I used a red balsamic vinegar instead of white as that was what I had in the cupboard.  I was also out of oregano but I had some Italian herb paste that I used instead. Kurt highly reccommends using expeller pressed safflower oil and explains why in his book.  I intend to buy some but haven't gotten out to do so yet, so I substituted hemp oil.

I made this last night to take to John and Kirsten's for dinner.  They had invited us over for steak and salad.  I brought  mushrooms and onions in a grill basket to put on with the steaks, a half dozen ears of sweet corn and this incredible sweet/sour salad to share.  This peperonata should really not be eaten in Phase 2 because of the oil in which the peppers and cabbage are cooked. I decided to live dangerously and have a little anyway, especially since I couldn't have any of that sweet corn. Boy, am I glad I did.  This is like a party in the mouth with all the different wonderful flavors.

I also took John a Strawberry/Rhubarb Pie because today is his birthday and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is his favorite. I like to spend John's birthday with him so I can rub in the fact that he is older than me, at least for another month LOL.  You can find my recipe for this pie here.

I am linking up over at Foodies Read 2016 where we foodies share what we are reading with others.

Red Cabbage Peperonata
adapted from Pure Foods

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. Italian Herb paste
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
4 grinds of black pepper
1/4 c. hemp oil
1/2 lb mini sweet peppers, roughly chopped on the bias
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 head red cabbage, coarsely chopped

Combine the garlic, salt, herbs, red pepper and black pepper into a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a large skillet over high heat, heat 2 T. of oil.  Add the sweet peppers and stir to coat, then let cook for about 3 minutes, until they begin to brown.  Add 1 1/2 T. of balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute or two, until the liquid is reduced and the peppers are crisp tender.  Transfer to the bowl containing the seasonings.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaing 2 T. oil.  Add the cabbage and stir to coat.  Let cook without stirring until some of the cabbage begins to brown, a couple of minutes.  Add the remaining 1 1/2 T. of vinegar and allow to reduce for a minute before transferring to the pepper mixture.  

Stir well to combine and allow to come to room temperature before serving.  Print Recipe


  1. I think after reading more and more of your posts that I will probably not be very successful with this diet either. I don't understand limiting cheese or grapes. And giving up coffee about killed me last time. It is probably a good way to drop a bunch of weight to start with though. Good for you for having the wits about you to do this!!

    1. Yeah, the grapes thing is because they are so high in sugar. Same with dried fruits. The whole idea is to keep your metabolism stable. But, for sure, it wouldn't be for everyone. A lot of eating plans work, you just need to find which is right for you.


I enjoy getting comments and feedback from my audience. Please let me know what you think, keeping in mind that we are all entitled to our own beliefs and opinions. I am happy to hear yours as long as they are stated nicely.