Taste Testing: Latin Lover Lite

Latin Lover Lite by Chef LaLa

Low on funds? Is making this Valentine's Day special proving especially difficult? Then I have some good news! You don't need a lot of money to show your beloved that you care. What you need is Latin Lover Lite by Chef LaLa. Trained as a nutritionist, Chef LaLa's book aims to keep all of the flavor of traditional Latin food while eliminating the fat.

I hatched a plan to make these recipes for my husband for Valentine's Day. I enlist the help of a friend, who invites another friend, and pretty soon I’m setting a table for 5 for the test run.

The Meal

Our Spicy Mango Salad was plagued by the sad realities of winter in North America. Three out of four mangoes we purchased weren’t ripe enough and we were only able to find one perfect avocado. Nonetheless, we scraped together enough of the ingredients to attempt the dish. The banana chips and basil vinaigrette were an interesting new taste combination and the Tabasco sauce added a pleasing zip. It was actually too spicy for some of us, so it's important to adjust the heat to your lover's palate.

The Matambre is a popular dish in Uruguay and Argentina and I was excited to push the boundaries of my Latin American culinary skills. Roughly translated, Matambre means "shoe leather", but I had confidence that the dish would overcome its unfortunate name. You know it is a good sign when a hush falls over the table while people are eating, and when we served this dish you could hear a pin drop. The boiled egg yolks added an unexpected creaminess to the meat that kept it moist. Chef LaLa's chimichurri lacked the bite of lemon and vinegar that I prefer, but was perfect for covering up my terrible roast tying job. One pointer, I’d recommend parboiling the vegetables first so that you can be sure they are fully cooked through. The Matambre isn't a complicated dish, but it is certainly worth a practice run if you plan on making this for any special occasion.

Paella is just an all around sexy dish. It's one of those incredibly satisfying plates that can fan a spark of desire into a roaring flame by meals end. Chef LaLa's preparation was simple and easy to follow but I'd recommend using a heavy hand with the saffron. Everyone agreed that the most notable drawback to this dish was the absence of sausage. Our love may last longer without pork products, but I'm not sure I want it to.

Chef LaLa's Arroz con Leche was prepared using non fat condensed and evaporated milk, so it was a treat I felt free to indulge in. But once your loved ones taste the delicious meal you've made using Latin Lover Lite, YOU might end up being what's for dessert!