'Don't skip dessert' and 9 other food resolutions

By Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Feb 03 2011 03:10 PM | Updated as of Jan 05 2012 08:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Chef Sau del Rosario is a known advocate of organic cooking and healthy eating.

'People need not be deprived of good food,' said Chef Sau del Rosario.

Through Le Bistro Vert, a one-year-old restaurant in Makati City, del Rosario wants to spread the word that good food is not necessarily bland or obscenely expensive.

"Organic food is not only for rich people. We want to send a message through this restaurant that people need not be deprived of good food," he told abs-cbnNEWS.com during the Philips MyKitchen product launch in the restaurant.

He continued, "It may be slightly more expensive, but that's only short-term. Health is more important."

Del Rosario claims that Le Bistro Vert only makes use of organic and locally sourced ingredients, from farm-raised chickens in Tagaytay and tuna from General Santos City to herbs in the restaurant's very own garden.

The chef stressed that if he and Le Bistro Vert can go green and healthy, we can, too.

Here are del Rosario's 10 kitchen resolutions so we can start the year right in terms of eating and food preparation.

If you're busy, get a smoothie

No need to resort to greasy muffins for a quick energy fix -- a smoothie is the ideal breakfast for those who don't have time to spare in the kitchen, according to Rosario.

Coconut pineapple lassi

"It's so easy, it only takes 10 seconds," he exclaimed.

A smoothie can be consumed while driving or cruising from one meeting to the next.

And unlike fast food and sweets which may make you feel sleepy or dizzy, this fruit drink will leave you feeling revitalized and more energetic, the chef said.

For those who want an Asian twist to their smoothies, Del Rosario recommends his coconut pineapple lassi, which only requires 4 cups (or 1 liter) of coconut milk, 2 cups (or 500 grams) of fresh pineapple chunks, 4 tablespoons of yogurt, and ice.

All you have to do, he said, is mix all ingredients in a blender for 10 seconds or less, and voila -- a healthy breakfast!

When it comes to chicken, when it's free, it's healthy

While poultry sold in most groceries are okay, Del Rosario said it's still best to get the free-range kind.

Free-range chickens are those bred without the use of chemicals and other artificial substances, which may eventually affect human health.

Don't rely heavily on supermarkets for your chicken dishes, he said. Instead, try to visit other poultry sources such as weekend markets.

Full steam ahead

It's not just about where you buy the food, but also how you prepare it.

Del Rosario said an ideal way to cook food is through steaming as this locks in the juices and nutrients of vegetables and meats.

And the best part, he said, is that it doesn't require additional fat or oil.

Whip up your own sauce

It's very easy to prepare sauce at home, said Del Rosario, who has worked for some of the Philippines' top hotels.

Try adding a little kick to seared tuna by adding a red curry vinaigrette, which only requires salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar and red curry paste.

Spend more time in the kitchen and come up with your own concoction instead of grabbing a ready-to-use sauce from the grocery shelf.

Explore other options outside of the grocery

Going on a road trip in search for quality ingredients will not only give you more food options.

Del Rosario said an out-of-town trip will also help reduce stress, speed up your metabolism and improve your body's ability to absorb nutrients.

Do it fast

The faster you cook your food, the more nutrients are sealed into them, according to del Rosario.

He suggested the use of induction stoves, among others, to speed up the cooking process.

Use herbs and spices

Salt and a bit of fat is okay. But too much of these can add on the calories and sodium, which may eventually put your health at risk, del Rosario said.

Instead of these, make it a point to use herbs and spices.

Don't skip dessert, just make it more healthy

Most people think that not eating dessert may help them lose weight. This isn't necessarily true, however.

According to del Rosario, this may cause someone to feel deprived, and eventually binge eat. So instead of skipping dessert, just consume small amounts or make them more healthy.

The chef said a simple and quick treat is your favorite fruits with a dollop of fat-reduced cream. For those who want something sweet and savory, Del Rosario suggested cheese ravioli with strawberries.

 

 
Cheese ravioli with strawberries

 

These deep-fried wonton pockets with cheese, when topped with pureed strawberries, are guaranteed to satisfy anyone's taste buds, Del Rosario said.

Don't be afraid to experiment

Add a little flavor here and there. Tweak some old recipes and come up with new ones. This will bring fun and enjoyment, and will help you learn new skills in the kitchen.

Learn to love cooking

Try to feel the joy of preparing food for yourself and for your loved ones, and you'll do your health a big favor.

E-mail the author at karen_flores[@]abs-cbn.com. Visit her food blog at http://asliceofkeix.blogspot.com.