Chefs Lau and Jac share healthy recipes to make this season of love special
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means people are in that extra, loving mood again. But while chocolates, flowers, and dinner by candlelight are sure to leave anyone breathless, there is another romantic way that can leave your beloved’s heart beating faster—and healthier—this season: Home-cooked, healthy meals.
According to the Calorie Control Council, February 14th is one of the biggest restaurant nights of the year. But heavy meals and sweets stock up a lot of calories and fats which can be detrimental to anyone’s diet.
“Processed meats and fatty foods are very common during Valentines,” says noted culinary expert and celebrity chef Rolando “Lau” Laudico. “But there are options that can serve as healthy options and taste just as good.”
With the help of Sunnywood ambassadors Chef Lau and dessert extraordinaire Chef Jacqueline “Jac” Laudico, you can whip up a perfect, romantic Valentine’s dinner that is—literally—good for the heart.
A healthy, happy heart
Set the mood for the night with a classy dish that is sure to tickle the palate. For your main course, Chef Lau recommends using black rice. “It has a lot of nutrients and antioxidants so you get to enjoy an appetizing and healthy meal.”
Antioxidants also help prevent cancer and heart problems. The darker the rice, the higher it is in antioxidants.
Try this new and healthy twist to the beloved paella that will surely leave your date impressed and amazed of your cooking skills.
Seafood Black Rice Paella
- 2 cups Jordan Farms Black Rice
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or any available oil
- 4 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 cup onion small diced
- 1 cup tomatoes large diced
- 1 piece chorizo large diced
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2 cups clams (boiled in 1 cup water)
- 1 cup boiled clam juice (reserve liquid)
- 1 cup squid rings
- 1 cup prawns
- 1 cup fish fillet (cubes)
- 2 pieces crabs (boiled, halved)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat oil then brown chorizo. Saute garlic, onions and tomatoes for 5 minutes then add raw black rice and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and clam stock season with salt and pepper then let simmer until rice is almost cooked around 40 minutes or more.
- Add squid, prawns, fish, clams and crabs and cook for 5 minutes. Top with garnishes.
For the Garnishes
- 1 tbsp each of red, yellow and green bell pepper diced
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley or any fresh herbs
- 1 lemon or lime sliced in wedges
Heart-friendly, guiltless sweets
Valentine’s Day would not be complete without mouth-watering desserts. Unfortunately, a lot of sweets are loaded with sugar which can cause serious health problems.
“Rice isn’t always a go-to ingredient when you think of sweets but it is a good alternative, and a healthy one too,” explains Chef Jac who specializes in desserts.
Jordan Farms’ Brown Rice helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Moreover, it is rich in fiber and essential oils which help prevent heart diseases.
Make your date night sweeter by capping it off with a healthy, heart-friendly dessert that is very easy to prepare.
Creamy Brown Rice Pudding
- 2 liters milk
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup Jordan Farms Brown Rice / Harvester’s Brown Rice
- 4 eggs beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Cook rice in sugar and milk in low heat for 1 hour. Cover and stir often.
- When the texture becomes creamy take off from heat and slowly add the beaten eggs. Continue stirring and add the salt.
- Pour in a pan, cover with plastic wrap and leave to cool. You may place it in a pan with ice to make it cool faster.
- Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve in bowls and add more milk or top with fruits if desired.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to express your love for your special someone. Doing this, however, doesn’t always require lavish gifts and presentations. As Chef Lau puts it, “Sometimes all it takes is for one to know that they mean a lot to you. And what better way to do this than help them take care of themselves better.”