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Choose healthy for the Holidays


By Paulyne L. Fermin

Olive oil has high levels of antioxidants like polyphenols and oleic acids. Rich in vitamins A, E, and K, it also helps lower cholesterol and prevent some cardiovascular diseases.

Everybody is busy, busy, busy! Our social calendars are filled with Christmas parties, reunions, and annual meetups with friends and family. For the ladies who are hosting festive soireés in their homes, the challenge is to come up with a menu that guests will enjoy. Unfortunately, this is the time of the year when indulging in sweets, meats, and all kinds of treats is encouraged and calorie counting is frowned upon. The New Year (as years that came before) is the time to make that all too familiar resolution to lose the weight gained over the holidays. But you don’t have to tip the scale unnecessarily because healthy dishes can be made without having to sacrifice taste.

Cheese Panna cotta with lemon, infused olive oil and pistachios, is the perfect dessert to any meal.

Cheese Panna cotta with lemon, infused olive oil and pistachios, is the perfect dessert to any meal.

 The Outstanding Olive Tree

The olive tree traces back its roots way back in 3500 BC.  Its fruit, which grows abundantly in the Mediterranean region, has high levels of naturally occurring antioxidants and vitamins. Research shows that oil extracted from this fruit is the healthiest of all.

Locally, homemakers can avail of Doña Elena olive oil from Fly Ace Corporation, which is made from a combination of two kinds of olives, hojiblanca and piqual. Since each of the bottles is made from 80 percent monounsaturated oleic acids, the powerful olive duo makes each bottle a powerful and healthy concoction. Moreover, these fruits are grown in the Andalucia region, which is known worldwide as a superior olive producer assuring the consumers of the highest quality and taste.

Delish dish. Surprise your guests with this savory Cuban beef stew with yellow rice.

Delish dish. Surprise your guests with this savory Cuban beef stew with yellow rice.

Recently, members of the media were invited to 49-B Heirloom to sample delightful dishes especially created by executive chef Erica Aquino. The hearty five-course meal were all cooked using Doña Elena olive oil, all are being served as part of the restaurant’s holiday menu.  But before we started eating, Doña Elena senior product manager, Zen Prudentino, candidly shared with us the many uses of olive oil. I was amused to learn that olive oil could be used to add luster to the hair, clear pimples, and remove makeup, too! “We want to impart to our discerning customers that food cooked with our healthy oil is just as pleasing to the palette. Taste is never compromised,” Zen added.

For cooking, one has to know the three different kinds of olive oil to make the recipes come out at their most flavorful. There’s Extra Virgin olive oil for salad dressing, bread dips, and drizzle for food; Pure olive oil for sauté and frying and pomace for deep frying.

Of the healthy spread served that day, my favorites are the Cuban beef stew with yellow rice and that decadent dessert cheese panna cotta, both of which I finished with much gusto! The other dishes were also quite impressive like the grilled shrimp on patacones,  a South American appetizer served with chilled cucumber yogurt soup. I also tried considerable portions of the olive and chorizo stuffed roast chicken as well as the tilapia fillet with red onions and relish. Recipes for all featured dishes are available at the @donaelenacuiseneraclub both on Instagram and Facebook.

Is olive oil expensive? Not at all! For all the health benefits it gives, the price is quite reasonable. Doña Elena also offers the most comprehensive sizes. It comes in 250 ml, 500ml, 1l, and 5l bottles, so you have all the options for every need and purpose.

So go ahead and indulge your cravings this Christmas with meals that are delicious but healthy as well. Do check out those healthy recipes. Happy cooking!

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