Chad Sarno is R&D Chef and Culinary Educator for Whole Foods Market®’s Health Starts Here program. Through the intersection of clean food and culinary education, Chad shares his passion for helping others achieve their health goals, starting in the kitchen, one bite at a time. His new cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, co-authored with Kris Carr, is available now. Read on for a recipe from the book and a chance to win a copy.
I’ve always been fascinated by food. As a child, I adored being my mom’s sous-chef, manning my station on a stool pulled up to the stove. My mom and my Italian grandma, Nana, loved to create elaborate meals highlighting the freshest ingredients. When I recall my fondest memories of Nana, I remember family gatherings filled with delicious, rustic, real food. These meals shaped the foodie I am today. Just like most kids though, despite the fresh food put on the table at home, I had a love affair with processed dairy and sugar.
During my childhood, I was asthmatic. I was the kid who had severe asthma attacks at school and on the sports field. Slightly traumatizing? Ah, yeah, definitely. Little did I know that my diet was the culprit. After years of paralyzing attacks and pockets full of inhalers, I finally connected the dots between my health and my diet. In my late teens, I started hearing about how dairy products can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Determined to kick asthma out of my life, I broke off the romance and eliminated dairy products from my diet. Within six months, my asthma disappeared. This was my experience and while it may not be the answer for everyone with asthma it was my personal wake-up call, my “a-ha! moment,” the reset button that made me hungry for more answers and led me to a diet that revolved around plant foods.
As a young adult, I started exploring the world, traveling far and wide to work, study, and seek the guidance of leaders in plant-based medicine and culinary arts. My vagabond tour of duty took me zigzagging across the country and to different parts of the globe. From the mystical redwood forests of California to the rural villages of the Philippines, I experienced life and culture through real, honest food. As a result of my extensive travel, life-schooling, cooking, and now teaching, I have learned that you don’t need to sacrifice outstanding taste for health.
By eating animal-free, whole foods, I’ve experienced a level of vitality, energy, and health that continues to humble me today. I’ve seen firsthand the remarkable results that my friends, family, and fellow team members at Whole Foods Market® have experienced with the plant-based lifestyle. As we all can begin to discover through conscious food choices, our forks are our greatest tool for activism and there’s no better way to take a stance than to learn how to triumph in the kitchen, one bite at a time.
Today, you can go on your own journey to vibrant health with Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution. Over the past year, I’ve been working with Kris Carr, best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer thriver, to create this phenomenal cookbook.
Take a look at the behind-the-scenes “making of” Crazy Sexy Kitchen mini-documentary and experience the wild ride we took together (and the delicious food we ate!) while writing, cooking, and tasting the year away. Here’s one of those recipes for you to try now:
For a taste of what’s between those pages, here’s a sweet, comfort-food recipe from the book:
French Toast with Amaretto Crème
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours to overnight in water (to soften)
1 can coconut milk (for raw version, blend 1⁄2 cup coconut meat with 1 cup coconut water)
1⁄2 cup nondairy milk of choice
1⁄2 cup amaretto liquor
1⁄2 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
1⁄4 cup agave
Pinch of sea salt
1⁄2 cup raw almond butter or cashew butter
11⁄2 cups vanilla almond milk
1⁄4 cup whole spelt flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1⁄4 cup maple syrup or date paste
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1⁄2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Sea salt, to taste
Whole-grain baguette or your favorite whole-grain bread (whole-grain cinnamon raisin bread is superb as well)
3 tablespoons Earth Balance or any vegan butter
Toasted pecans (optional)
1. Prepare Amaretto Crème: In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.
2. Prepare French Toast: In a medium bowl, whisk the almond butter, almond milk, flour, yeast, cinnamon, maple syrup, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt to make the batter, or blend ingredients in blender until smooth. Set aside.
3. Slice the baguette or other bread in thick slices. Dip bread slices into batter. Allow each slice to sit in the batter for a minute, which helps it absorb more.
4. Add tablespoon vegan butter to a flat pan, flat grill, or large sauté pan on medium heat. Once melted, add battered bread slice. Add additional tablespoon of vegan butter for each bread slice. (It’s okay if the slices are wet with lots of batter—this is what creates the delicious crust.)
5. Cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with spatula, and cook other side until lightly golden.
6. Serve: Drizzle Amaretto Crème on while French Toast is still warm and top with a generous handful of fresh berries and pecans.
If you’d like to sample more Crazy Sexy Kitchen recipes, sign up for a digital sneak peek right now!
You can also join Kris and I in the kitchen through our online Crazy Sexy Cooking Classes, which were filmed at Whole Foods Market Culinary Center at the Bowery store in NYC. And don’t miss out on all the outstanding offers we’ve put together for those who purchase Crazy Sexy Kitchen! (Get your copy soon, these offers are available for a limited time.)
I’d love to know what inspires you and gets you cooking? Tell me in the comments below by November 14 and we’ll pick five readers at random to receive a copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen.
The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends November 14, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.