Last Sunday, I had the privilege of attending a cooking class taught by the one-of-a-kind entertainer and educator Chef AJ and fitness guru John Pierre. Not only was I treated to many tasty samples and three original songs by “Chef AJ and the Kalettes” about the importance of eating veggies, Chef AJ showed off with a head stand demonstrating that yes, you can have this much energy eating plant-based foods.
Tag-teaming to offer valuable nutritional statistics, trivia, guidance, and jokes, Chef AJ and John Pierre showed the veg-curious class exactly how to eat to live. It turns out that the key to experiencing the true flavors of your food (and gaining the most fulfillment from it) is to actually eat most of it unprocessed. But unprocessed doesn’t mean high-maintenance—my favorite part was seeing Chef AJ drop an entire bunch of chard, whole sweet potatoes, and whole onions into a pressure cooker to make one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever had. “Cutting is for suckers,” she said, putting a smug smile on my face (I’ve never learned to properly use a knife). But how to reduce our dependency on packaged goods?
Chef AJ holds our hand with her book Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight, which includes her inspiring personal story of defying cancer with her diet, plus loads of recipes to help us get started. And just because AJ shuns salt, oil, and refined sugars, that doesn’t mean that she forgoes dessert! Famous for her truffles, AJ made sweets the first section in her collection. Her rationale? “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
Well, if you insist…
*Live in the Los Angeles Area? Chef AJ’s next cooking class is on June 16. In addition, AJ’s Healthy Taste of LA
(all-day cooking demonstrations and tastings by the best chefs in the business with a keynote address by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn) will be held on November 4. Purchase tickets to both here.
Peanut Butter Fudge Truffles
- 1 batch of Chocolate FUNdue (recipe below)
- Chopped unsalted peanuts or almonds
- Prepare FUNdue and place in glass bowl and chill until firm.
- Using a small cookie scoop, measure out the FUNdue and roll in nuts. Freeze until firm.
- 1 cup peanut butter (no salt or sugar)
- 1 cup date paste
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or carob powder
- 3/4-1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 Tbsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp caramel extract (optional)
- Place all ingredients except milk in a food processer fitted with the “S” blade and process until ingredients are incorporated, scraping down sides if necessary.
- Slowly add non-dairy milk, a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. You can eat this immediately or chill for a firmer texture.