Alisa Fleming ~ I’m about to make a rather bold statement here, but I think The Pure Kitchen by Hallie Klecker is my favorite new cookbook of the year. True, we aren’t a gluten-free household, but I love dabbling in the art of gluten-free, particularly when the ingredients are wholesome and easy to find. And the Pure Kitchen is a truly wonderful whole food cookbook that is 100% dairy-free! I definitely love being able to say that last part.
To give you a little background, I met Hallie earlier this year at the Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Expo. She is incredibly adorable and the sweetest Midwestern girl, but I didn’t expect such an adventurous cook and baker behind that shy exterior! Hallie is one of those amazing people who can turn short ingredient lists into delicious meals, snacks, and treats. As I flipped through The Pure Kitchen, I found myself drawn into every single recipe. No exaggeration. Not only do they all sound great, but they also have these wonderfully simple, “everyday food” ingredient lists. In fact, I could make more than 50% of the recipes right now, without even having to go to the store. For the other 50%, just two more flours and some fresh ingredients, and I would be covered.
Of course, I couldn’t literally make all of the recipes (not yet, anyways), so I started with a selection of recipes that caught my eye …
First up was the Thick & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. You should all know by now that it is my duty to sample the peanut butter cookie recipe in every single cookbook. Alas, we finished them off before I got a photo, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, they were thick, they were chewy, they were delicious, and I will be making them again. However, Hallie’s version was different from most. This is a hearty, snack bar-like cookie that’s sweetened with dates and maple syrup. I found them filling and energizing yet sweet enough to fix my husband’s sugar cravings … not an easy thing to do!
Next up was a double-whammy Pure Kitchen lunch. I went light with the Buckwheat & Olive Oil Flatbread and the Arugula & Fennel Salad. This was my first venture into baking with buckwheat, and we loved it. Though gluten-free, the bread had a wonderful texture and a simple earthy taste. I’m looking forward to experimenting with herbs and flavors in that recipe. The salad was brilliant in both appearance and taste. It was spiked with a double dose of orange, and paired with the bold flavors of balsamic and Dijon.
Next on my “to try” list from The Pure Kitchen are the …
- Cherry Ginger Smoothie
- Grain-Free Granola Balls
- Seeded Breakfast Muffins (pictured below – photo shared from Hallie’s blog)
- Two Step Tortilla Chips
- Greek Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Tahini Sauce
- Moroccan Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew
- Maple Glazed Root Vegetables
- Coconut Fish & Cauliflower Curry
- Vegan Sloppy Joe Bowls
- Brownie-Crusted Berry Pizza
Now, a few other important vitals about The Pure Kitchen:
- This cookbook is entirely gluten-free (yes, wheat-free too) and dairy-free (that means no casein, lactose, whey, or otherwise), and I believe it is soy-free (if there are any soy ingredients in there at all, I didn’t spot them), and there are many grain-free recipes to enjoy, too. Hallie does use eggs in many of her recipes, but she does note at the top of each recipe if they are egg-free or vegan … and there are many of these to choose from.
- Hallie doesn’t use “gums” (xanthan gum or guar gum) in her recipes. She focuses a lot on wholesome gluten-free flours like almond, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, teff, and coconut, using lighter flours and starches sparingly and only when needed for taste and texture.
- The Pure Kitchen is free of refined sweeteners. Hallie uses only fruit, agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar, honey, and maple syrup to sweeten her recipes.
- Like the recipes, the layout of The Pure Kitchen is clean, simple, and appealing. I love the organization of this book, and how clear it is to follow, from the intro to the index.