, DECEMBER 18, 2006 (STAR) C‘EST CEBU By Honey Jarque Loop - Intercare Healthcare Systems, the country’s pioneering and leading integrated healthcare facility, marked its 13th year of service with the opening of its fourth Philippine branch in uptown Cebu City recently.

Guests of honor were Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano, Presidential Management Staff director general Serge Remonde, represented by his wife Marit Remonde, and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. Coincidentally, Secretary Durano delivered a convincing testimony of his personal experience with Intercare. Governor Garcia eloquently expressed her faith and confidence in the multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare and wellness. Likewise, Marit Remonde gave a statement on behalf of her husband certifying that the treatment successfully eliminated the need for invasive surgery.

Founding partners doctors Armando Soto and Martin Camara, both graduates of the Palmer Chiropractic Center in San Jose, California, have created a superb team of specialists, therapists, and instructors to assist patients with different pain concerns to make them feel better by directing them to a state of natural balance, thus empowering them to live a pain- free life. Notable doctors include Serry Pizarro, a chiropractic specialist certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners-United States of America, and Ferdinand Decena, a rehabilitation medicine practitioner who specializes in back stabilization programs and sports-specific conditioning programs, mostly involving treatments of problems associated with the knee, shoulder, and arm.

Intercare integrates traditional and medically oriented models of care with alternative and complementing methods, such as chiropractic medicine, which deals with pain caused by unhealthy joints and muscles or even nerves that have been irritated; acupuncture, an ancient Chinese health art that aims at helping restore balance to one’s body, which leads to a state of overall well-being; myotherapy, a muscle and relaxation therapy that reduces tension and pain, relaxes muscle spasms, improves circulation and alleviates pain; and the Alexander Technique, which is an intelligent way to solve the common movement problems that cause chronic pain and stress.

At the end of a most interesting evening, discussions were centered on how and when to avail of the wellness program that promises overall wellness, health, peace, and harmony.

The food with a wiggle to it A TASTE OF LIFE By Heny Sison The Philippine STAR 12/14/2006

For the French, it is gelatine meaning edible jelly; gelato or gelatina in Italy meaning to freeze. In Pinoyspeak, it’s Ferna gelatin to me. It is a wonder ingredient, which enhances our creativity in the kitchen for its versatility and usefulness.

Gelatin is an odorless, colorless, tasteless thickening agent, which comes from the nutritious glutinous protein material obtained from animal tissues. Sounds boring, yet there are probably a thousand and one reasons why we love it.

As kids, we would patiently eat whatever is served for dinner just to be rewarded with the sweet translucent dessert that bounces and jiggles in all colors of the rainbow. I would play around with mine before I pop it in my mouth and savor the fruity flavor, which dissolves on my tongue: a burst of citrusy orange or lime, perhaps, which were my favorite flavors then. Right after, I would stick out my tongue and look at a mirror, amazed to see if my tongue would still have the bright orange color from the jiggly dessert I just enjoyed.

As a cook and homemaker, I am impressed by its tremendous versatility. Probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions gelatin is dessert. However, gelatin is a meat by-product. Hence, it works equally well in savory dishes as it does in desserts and molded salads. It is used as a thickener, an emulsifier, and a stabilizer or texturizer in foods, such as ice cream, jams, yogurt, cream cheese, and margarine.

Weight watchers and the health-conscious have only nice things to say about this wonder food. Since unflavored gelatin is 85 percent protein and low in calories, it makes the perfect pick for dieters and diabetics. In fat-reduced foods, it is used to simulate the mouth feel of the removed fat and to create volume without adding calories.

As a good source of protein, scientific studies have proven that gelatin promotes general joint health, helping relieve knee joint pain and stiffness in athletes.

Gelatine vs. Gulaman

Although gelatin is locally known as gulaman, they are not the same in terms of texture and properties. While gelatin is a protein, gulaman is a carbohydrate sourced from a plant, specifically seaweed, which is also known as agar. Boiling water is needed to dissolve gulaman, while only hot water is required to dissolve gelatin. Gelatin sets at a refrigerated temperature, while gulaman sets at room temperature.

With regard to texture, gulaman produces a firm textured bite to it, while gelatin produces a pleasing melt-in-the-mouth texture that allows the exquisite flavor of the product to linger long after it is gone.

Let me share with you time-tested tips when using gelatin.

•Unprepared gelatin has an indefinite shelf life as long as it is wrapped airtight and stored in a cool, dry place.

•Keep gelatin dishes refrigerated until ready to serve to maintain their gelatinous state.

•Do not add fresh or frozen pineapple to gelatin. These fruits, along with raw figs, kiwi fruit, guava, ginger root, and papaya, contain an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down gelatin causing it to lose its thickening properties.

•The enzymes are deactivated by cooking, so canned pineapple and kiwi are fine to use.

•To avoid clumping, dry unflavored gelatin should be mixed with a little cold water first for three to five minutes to moisten and separate before adding hot water.

•Store gelatin dessert in a covered container to avoid the formation of a thick rubbery skin on the surface.

•Too much sugar can inhibit gelatinization. The more sugar in the recipe, the softer the resultant gelatin will be.

•Firmness varies on the ratio of water to gelatin and temperature. You can successfully melt down (gently using a double-boiler) and re-chill gelatin several times before the mixture loses its thickening ability.

•Gelatin takes twice as long to dissolve when used with cream or milk.

•When using sugar with unflavored gelatin, mix the sugar and gelatin first before dissolving.

•To suspend fruits, meats, or vegetables in gelatin, chill until it’s the consistency of cold egg whites. Then mix in the additions and chill until completely set.

•Be sure to drain all solids of their liquid before adding to gelatin to avoid watering down the gelatin.

•For two cups of gelatin mixture, allow one to two cups of solids, either minced, cubed, or cut into small pieces.

•To easily unmold gelatin, spray the mold with cooking oil before filling. If you want to avoid an oily film, which might cloud the surface by using oil spray, simply rinse the mold with cold water prior to filling. Or dip the mold into warm (not hot) water to the depth of the gelatin for five to 10 seconds, loosen edges with a knife or spatula, and unmold. Return to the refrigerator for 20 minutes to refirm.

•Use one envelope (one tablespoon or 1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin to two cups of water for standard firmness. Decrease or increase water for your particular needs. One three-ounce package of flavored, sweetened gelatin needs two cups of water. One tablespoon of unflavored powdered gelatin equals four sheets of leaf gelatin.

•Two hours of chilling should be enough for standard clear molds, while it may take up to four hours for those with additions. Layered gelatins will take longer, since each layer must be individually chilled and firmed before adding the next layer.

•If you are doubling a recipe originally calling for two cups of liquid, use only 3-3/4 cups of liquid in the doubled recipe.

•Other liquids can be used in place of water to prepare gelatin, including fruit juices, clarified vegetable or meat stock, wine, vegetable juices, and seafood broths.

•Do not bring gelatin mixtures to a full boil or you risk losing its thickening properties.

So, if you’re looking for something different to satisfy your sweet tooth, jazz up your desserts with gelatin. A recipe I’d like to share with you is this yummy blueberry cheesecake, which you can serve to your loved ones this holiday season. Enjoy a taste that is soothing and oftentimes silky, and a healthy indulgence, which makes eating twice a pleasure!

Ferna Blueberry Cheese Cake

For the crust:

40 grams white sugar

100 grams Graham cracker, pulverized

60 grams butter, melted

For the base:

280 grams white sugar

600 grams cream cheese

500 grams all-purpose cream

4 grams Ferna vanilla liquid

150 grams pineapple juice

20 grams Ferna clear unflavored gelatin

300 grams blueberry filling

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 375 °F for 30 minutes.

Combine all ingredients and mix evenly. Place into the base of a 10-inch springform pan.

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool. Set aside.

For the base:

Combine Ferna clear unflavored gelatin and pineapple juice. Set aside.

Place sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Mix for 10 minutes at medium speed.

Add all-purpose cream and Ferna vanilla liquid. Mix for another five minutes.

Heat the gelatin mixture in a double boiler until gelatin is completely dissolved.

With the mixer set at low speed, gently add gelatin to the mixture. Continue mixing for another two minutes at medium speed.

Pour into prepared crust. Level with a spatula. Freeze for three hours.

Top with blueberry filling before serving.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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