Monday, March 23, 2015
|My Homemade Colloidal Oatmeal Skin Cream|
I have an off-and-on problem with eczema on my face and chest, and it's been "on" for the last few years. It's better since I got rid of all detergents and palm oil from my life (there are detergents in SO many things-- shampoos, conditioners, etc-- and many of them derived from palm oil). I don't use anything scented. I won't go into everything I do or use, or have tried, but, suffice it to say that I've done extensive research and that I prefer not to use cortisone creams (having had a bad rash from one in the past).
Lately, I've been using ground oatmeal and warm water as a facial scrub and it always feels really nice after that, but I still was getting some redness and flaking-- not very day, but enough to be discouraging.
So I have been reading and watching videos about the benefits of colloidal oatmeal-- which is really just finely-ground oatmeal boiled with water to extract the colloidal material. Basically, it boils down to this: "The many clinical properties of colloidal oatmeal derive from its chemical polymorphism. The high concentration in starches and beta-glucan is responsible for the protective and water-holding functions of oat. The presence of different types of phenols confers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Some of the oat phenols are also strong ultraviolet absorbers. The cleansing activity of oat is mostly due to saponins. Its many functional properties make colloidal oatmeal a cleanser, moisturizer, buffer, as well as a soothing and protective anti-inflammatory agent." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17373175
There are many commercial products that contain colloidal oats (see this article), but most of them have some ingredients that I find objectionable, and they can be very expensive. So, I did some research, and looked up lots of homemade recipes. Many had expensive and even hard to find ingredients. So, I just went for it yesterday and made my own cream with what I had around the house. I ground rolled oats to a fine powder-- much cheaper than buying colloidal oat powder to make colloidal oatmeal-- it's the same thing!
I'm so pleased with the results! The cream was easy and cheap to make and feels wonderful on the skin-- it doesn't feel greasy, it just makes the skin feel soft. And, best of all, my facial skin is already better one day later! But I would use this even if I wasn't prone to eczema!
BRYANNA'S HOMEMADE COLLOIDAL OAT SKIN CREAM
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
1/2 cup very finely-ground oatmeal (best ground in a clean dry small electric spice mill to a powder, or in a home grain mill, or a dry high-speed blender)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons shea butter
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon soy or sunflower lecithin (this is an emulsifying agent)
(NOTE: If you don't have lecithin, or can't use it, try using 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon or guar or xanthan gum instead.)
1000 mg vitamin C tablet, crushed to a fine powder (for preserving qualities)
Whisk the oat flour/powder and water together in a medium pot or deep microwave-safe measuring beaker or bowl. Either stir it on the stovetop until it comes to a boil, then urn down, cover and simmer for 20 minutes OR microwave at high power for 5 minutes. Either way, it should result in a thick "glop".
Strain the "glop" through a fine mesh strainer into a deep container that you can use with a immersion blender.
Melt the shea butter over low heat in a small pot, or on half power in a small microwave-safe vessel, in one minute increments.
Pour the olive oil, melted shea butter, lecithin and crushed vitamin C into the oat "glop". Blend with an immersion blender until it is creamy and emulsified. Place in scalded jars with tight lids and refrigerate. Keep refrigerated between uses.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
UPDATE MARCH 23, 2015: I MADE A VARIATION THIS MORNING-- FRUIT UTTAPAM! SEE END OF RECIPE
I was interested in making uttapam for my husband as a more interesting way for him to eat oats, and as a way to includes legumes in a breakfast food. Oats and legumes contain lots of soluble fiber, which is helpful for many conditions, such as angina. After perusing many South Indian cooking blogs, I was interested to find that oats are being incorporated into Indian cuisines because they are a healthful addition to diabetic diets, and diabetes is unfortunately becoming more prevalent in India,
I tried some quick recipes with rolled oats or quick oats and urad dal (hulled, split black gram-- easy to find in Indian markets and well-stocked grocery stores) and they were good, but I realized that I wanted a fermented batter, leavened with the natural fermentation of the oat and legume batter sitting overnight. The fermentation in good for the gut and it makes the batter foamy and full of flavor, with no added leavening.
I decided to start the batter with soaked oat groats (whole oats) and either urad dal, moong dal (split hulled mung beans) or the easily-available split yellow peas. Our local Real Canadian Superstore carries urad dal in their bulk section, so I had plenty of it on hand and that's what I have been using most often. But yellow split peas are another excellent option.
|Soaked Oat Groats|
This is not an "instant recipe, but the "hands-on" time is very minimal and the finished batter can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so-- it just gets better!
UPDATE: SEE FRUIT UTTAPAM VARIATION BELOW RECIPE
BRYANNA'S FERMENTED OAT AND URAD DAL UTTAPAM
Servings: 18 uttapam
Yield: about 6 cups batter
An excellent breakfast, lunch, supper or substantial snack dish. Serve with your favorite dal or sambar, and/or chutneys, and perhaps some non-dairy yogurt or cheese. The Nutrition facts are for one Uttapam, without toppings. NOTE: You can use this batter to make dosa as well.
1 cup oats groats (whole oats)-- you could substitute steel-cut oats, if necessary
1 cup urad dal (split, hulled black gram), moong dal (split, hulled mung beans), or yellow split peas
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (NOTE: This is a fermentation aid, but, if you can't find them, omit.)
For the Batter:
2- 2 1/2 cups mixed soaking water from oats and dal
1/2- 1 teaspoon salt
For Cooking: (amounts will vary depending on how many uttapam you are making at one time)
oil for greasing the pan
thinly-sliced vegetables of your choice (could include: sweet potato, cooked potato, squash, cabbage, kale or other greens [dry], halved grape tomatoes, chiles, any color bell peppers, halved grape tomatoes, grated carrots, grated coconut, chopped cilantro, green onion, or leeks, etc.
Non-dairy cheese shreds
Your favorite dal or sambar (here's a good sambar recipe: http://abcdsofcooking.com/2009/12/sambar-south-indian-lentil-stew/)
Indian chutney and/ or raita (vegetable and yogurt salad, made with non-dairy yogurt)
chopped fresh cilantro, basil and/or mint
The day before you plan to make the Uttapam, about 6 hours before you go to bed:
1. In separate bowls or pitchers, cover the oats and dal or split peas with water by several inches. Add the fenugreek seeds to the dal. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand at room temperature for about 6 hours.
Just before you retire for the night:
1. Drain the soaked oats and dal separately, saving the soaking water.
2. If you have a large, high-speed blender, you can blend the drained oats, drained dal, salt and 2 to 2 1/2 cups reserved soaking water all at once.
3. If you have a less sturdy blender, blend the oats with 1- 1/4 cups soaking water, and the dal with 1- 1 1/4 cups soaking water in separate batches and then mix them together in a large bowl with the salt.
4. Whichever way you do it, the batter should be like a pancake batter-- thicker than a crepe batter-- but very smooth.
5. Scrape the batter into a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a lid or towel. Place in a warm-ish spot (maybe the oven with the light on) and leave overnight.
In the morning the batter should have risen a bit and be full of bubbles.
1. You can use it immediately, or place the batter in a covered jar or storage container and refrigerate for up to a week. It will get more flavorful as it sits! If you are cooking some uttapam, immediately, prepare your veggie toppings and veggie cheese, if using, and set out your Garnishes. Have some plates heating in a low oven.
To cook the Uttapam:
1. Have your veggie toppings ready and heat your favorite pancake skillet or griddle over high heat until cold water sizzles when sprinkled on it. Turn the heat down to medium-high and spray with a bit of oil from a pump-sprayer. I use a soup ladle with a rounded bottom that holds about 1/3 cup to scoop out some batter and also to spread the batter.
2. For each uttapam, pour the ladle-full of batter into the center of the pan and , starting from the center, use the bottom of the ladle in a circular motion going outwards to shape a round "pancake" about 6" across.
Cover the pan briefly, if you like. When the bottom is golden brown, quickly sprinkle the top with a handful of your veggie toppings, press it down lightly into the batter, loosen the bottom of the uttapam and quickly flip it over.
Cook just until the veggies look cooked and a bit charred. Serve at once, veggie side up, or you can make several at a time and keep them hot in a 200 degree F oven until you are ready to serve.
Nutrition (per “pancake”): 55 calories, 4 calories from fat, .5 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium, 123.1 mg potassium, 9.6 g carbohydrates, 3.2 g fiber, .5 g sugar, 3.4 g protein, 9.8 points.
FRUIT UTTAPAM VARIATION:
I had a brainstorm last night while trying to fall asleep (long story)-- why not use fruit on the uttapam batter instead of veggies, and serve with maple syrup (maybe with some vegan ricotta or vegan yogurt).
I decided to make blueberry uttapam this morning and served it with maple syrup-- it was fantastic!
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Oh, yes, there will be another version! But I just couldn't wait to post about it.
Suspiro de Limeña is a romantic name for a luscious dessert with a long history. The name means "A Limenian Woman's Sigh". It's a fabulous Moorish-based dessert that can be traced back to the early 1800's in Peru. (Most rich and sweet Spanish desserts have Moorish origins.) Evidently is was created by Amparo Ayarez for her poet husband, José Galvez. Because the dessert is both intensely sweet and delicate at the same time, he named it in honor of his wife. It is immensely popular in Peru.
I decided to make this the other night on the spur of the moment (almost) for company, since I made some other Peruvian dishes for dinner. (Many of you already know that my father was Peruvian.) What encouraged me to try a vegan version of this usually egg-and-dairy-laden sweet treat were the threads on Facebook about vegan meringue (check out this group and this one. This particular meringue is made with sugar and, of all things, chickpea cooking broth (or the liquid in a can of chickpeas). Yes, you heard right. And, it works-- read on.
I can't really take much credit for this particular confection, except for putting it together. It is basically dulce de leche (which is called manjar blanco in Peru) with egg yolks, topped by a soft Italian meringue made with port.
For the pudding itself, I used the Un-Dulce De Leche recipe from Terry Romero's great book on vegan South American cooking, "Viva Vegan" as the starting place for the pudding. It's delicious! It takes a little time, but it's worth it for a treat now and then. Terry's recipe, if you don't have the book, is available online as a PDF file here.
For the meringue, I didn't used the exact recipe that is being discussed on Facebook-- it's for baked meringue. I used a version from The Gentle Chef which is meant for a lemon meringue pie. The recipe is here.
|Here's the meringue after beating.|
So here are the basic directions, and then I'll tell you why I want to do another experiment:
For the Manjar Blanco, make 1 1/2 times Terry's Un-Dulce De Leche recipe (or just double it and you'll have some left for another recipe.) NOTE: I followed the recipe exactly and I used So Delicious Original Coconut Coffee Creamer. However, it didn't thicken as much as I'd hoped, so I ended up adding another 4 tsp. of tapioca flour with a little more creamer at the end and that did the trick.
To finish the pudding, set aside 2 1/2 cups of the Manjar Blanco in a tall pitcher suitable for immersion blending (save any extra Manjar Blanco for drizzling on another dessert). In another container, with an immersion blender, blend until smooth : 1/2 cup firm silken tofu (or medium firm regular tofu) with 1/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast and a pinch of black salt. Pour some of the Manjar Blanco into the tofu mixture and blend until well-mixed. Scoop this back into the remaining Manjar Blanco and briefly blend until smooth.
Distribute this pudding evenly between 6 small pudding dishes, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Now make the meringue, following this recipe. It makes alot, so you will have some left for another dessert, or you can cut the recipe in half. I used Xanthan gum, but there are two alternatives. I used 1/2 cup of the broth from cooking chickpeas (there is a white bean option, too). My chickpea broth is quite viscous because I let it cook down just to the top of the beans. I used the vanilla and added a teaspoon of cognac.
Now, here is why I want to try this again: the meringue is supposed to made with port. #1, I didn't have any; #2, I wasn't sure if the meringue would work with that much alcohol. Next time I will try it with 1/4 cup chickpea broth (perhaps reduced down from 1/3-1/2 cup to 1/4 cup) and 1/4 cup port. If that works, I will be brave and try it again with just port. You never know until you try!
You can immediately spoon some of the meringue on top of the puddings, swirling it a little with a small spoon. Refrigerate (uncovered) until serving. The meringue did "sink" a little overnight in the fridge, so I would advise eating it within a few hours of making it.
Sprinkle the meringue with little ground cinnamon.
So, stay tuned for updates, and, if you decide to try it yourself, let me know how it goes!
Thursday, February 26, 2015
In 2010, I wrote a blog post about a new (to me) discovery-- drinking chocolate."Technically speaking, hot cocoa and hot chocolate are two very different beverages. Hot cocoa comes from a powder, while hot chocolate is (once again, technically speaking) what many call "drinking chocolate" or "sipping chocolate" - it's made from chopped bits of chocolate or small chocolate pellets that are melted (slowly and painstakingly) and then blended with milk, cream and/or water. True hot chocolate tends to be much denser and richer than its powdery relative.
Interestingly enough, some Americans are repulsed by this more European beverage because it is so rich. However, I think this has more to do with American ideas of beverage sizes. Europeans tend to drink hot chocolate in small mugs or demitasse cups, while Americans are accustomed to over-sized mugs for their hot drinks. I, too, would be disgusted by the idea of drinking a huge mug of (basically) melted chocolate, but I find that drinking chocolate is a wonderfully satisfying winter drink when served in smaller quantities." From: http://coffeetea.about.com/b/2009/10/16/hot-cocoa-vs-drinking-chocolate.htm
There are several delicious brands commercially available, but I have a hard time obtaining them in my area, so I decided to make my own mix, combining cocoa powder and some dark chocolate. It's easy, absolutely divine, and would make a lovely gift, too. If you have never tasted "hot chocolate" made this way, you are in for a wonderful surprise.
BRYANNA'S HOMEMADE DRINKING CHOCOLATE MIX
Drinking chocolate provides a rich, velvety, not-too-sweet chocolate hit-- about 77 calories for an espresso cupful (using 1/4 cup non-dairy milk), which is small, but very satisfying.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably fair trade, organic, Dutch-processed)
5 tablespoons good-quality semisweet chocolate chips (preferably fair trade, organic)
OR USE 2.3 oz./66g chopped or grated good quality semisweet chocolate (preferably fair trade, organic)
OR USE 2.3 oz./66g chopped or grated good quality semisweet chocolate (preferably fair trade, organic)
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons brown sugar, coconut sugar or Sucanat (dehydrated sugar cane juice)
4 teaspoons cornstarch (organic is available)
1 pinch salt
OPTIONAL: (Note: Add flavorings just before serving, for better flavor.)
pure vanilla extract, chili powder, cinnamon, grated orange rind or other flavoring of your choice, to taste
FOR EACH SERVING, ESPRESSO-STYLE:
1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice, or water, if you prefer
To make the the Drinking Chocolate Mix:
1. In a very dry blender container, grind the cocoa, chocolate, sugar and cornstarch at high speed until there are no lumps in it. Store in a clean, dry jar, tightly covered.
For each serving:
(You can prepare several servings at once, of course.)
|Those lumps you see, BTW, are not chunks of chocolate-- they are clumps of the powder|
1. Mix 2 tablespoons of the Drinking Chocolate Mix into 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, or water, if you prefer, for each serving. Blend with a hand-held immersion blender (or use a blender if you are making a large batch) until well mixed and quite frothy.
2. I heat the mixture in the microwave-- high power for 2 minutes for 3 or 4 servings is fine. For one serving, start with 30 seconds and add seconds as appropriate. The mixture should stay frothy and thicken. If you prefer the stovetop method, heat the mixture in an appropriately-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once the chocolate starts to melt, gently whisk the mixture to combine. Bring the mixture just to the boil-- keep an eye on it! If you are adding a flavoring, this is the time, but don't overdo it!
3. Serve in small espresso cups and enjoy immediately!
Serving size: 4 tsp. mix
Amount Per Serving
Calories 56.48, Calories From Fat (20%), 11.48, Total Fat 1.72g,
Saturated Fat 1.02g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 21.86mg, Potassium 105.72mg,Total Carbohydrates 12.3g, Fiber 1.98g, Sugar 6.71g, Protein 1.19g
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
It's Pancake Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday)-- I almost forgot!
What is Shrove Tuesday and what does it have to do with pancakes? Here's a short history. It's known as "Mardi Gras" in French-speaking regions (including New Orleans, as I'm sure you are aware). "Mardo Gras" means "Fat Tuesday", the day before Ash Wednesday, when Christian Lent begins. It's referred to as "Fat Tuesday" because fat and eggs, etc. had to be used up before the Lenten fast. Cakes, rich breads and pastries, and pancakes were made in order to consume these foods and not let them go to waste, and also to let loose and celebrate before the fast. Pancakes seem to be a nearly universal way to celebrate.
I actually had pancakes for breakfast this morning, even though I had forgotten it was Shrove Tuesday. Yesterday I had made some batter for grain and bean-based Indian crepes called Adai. These were made with soaked, split. skinned mung beans (mung dal), oatmeal and chickpea flour. They were so easy to make and quick to cook, AND nutritious and delicious. I'll post the recipe soon. (There are two other Indian crepe recipes listed below.)
So, pancakes and crepes can be made out of all sorts of ingredients and they can be sweet or savory. I've compiled a list (with links to the appropriate blog post) of all the pancake and crepe recipes currently on my blog. They are all delightful for any meal of the day. A few can only loosely be described as pancakes, being flat or flattish, but no matter, they are all good!
Of course, being vegan and often low-fat, these recipes are not necessarily the best way to use up fat (and certainly not eggs and milk), but you can always slather them with vegan butter to keep the spirit of the day! And, vegans don't have to "give up" meat, eggs, dairy products and animal fat, but any excuse to eat pancakes!
NORTH AMERICAN-STYLE PANCAKES (or pancakes that are normally eaten with sweet toppings or fillings):
|VEGAN ALL-AMERICAN "BUTTERMILK" PANCAKE MIX|
"I wanted a healthful vegan mix that produced a light, fluffy, white pancake (it's full of whole grains, but it looks white!). I also wanted it to have very few additions, so that it was really quick and easy. You only have to add water and a little lemon juice to this mix, and it produces pancakes you can be proud to serve to children, picky eaters, omnis, anybody!"
|MULTI-GRAIN, HEMP PROTEIN PANCAKE MIX (There are some options if you don't want to use hemp.)|
"Why a hemp pancake mix?
This is a multi-grain vegan pancake mix that I originally devised for a proposed hemp book. That deal fell through, but it's a good mix, and a fun way to add some hemp to your diet. You can read about the ecological benefits of hemp here. Hemp can play a role in an anti-inflammatory diet, since it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp is a good source of fiber and protein, and it is a very sustainable, versatile crop that can grow in North America without pesticides! It is grown in many countries, including Canada, and is considered a good crop to replace tobacco."
"Here is my vegan version [of sourdough pancakes, using whole grain flours. It turned out beautifully! BTW, sourdough pancakes have a slightly different texture from regular pancakes-- fluffy, but a little more "bready". And, of course, with that sourdough tang that I love."
"Light, fluffy ALL-whole-grain vegan pancakes with the added fiber and antioxidants of flax, cranberries, and pecans. You can use this recipe as a template for plain multi-grain pancakes or pancakes with other flavors, fruits and nuts or seeds...They contain four different kinds of whole grain flour, a combo that makes a very light pancake. I like to keep all of these flours together in the freezer to have at a moment's notice when we feel like having pancakes, without scrambling around to find everything."
BLUEBERRY-OAT PANCAKES (No-Fat)
"This is a great basic high-fiber, but very light and tender pancake recipe, due to the oat flour and wholewheat pastry flour."
"When I was at the McDougall Celebrity Weekend in Santa Rosa in June  , we were not supposed to use any added fat or oil, even pan-spray on the pans. I was planning to make no-fat crepes made with whole wheat pastry flour, chickpea flour and oat flour. In the nonstick pans Mary [McDougall] provided, I made about 50 crepes for audience tasting, and then, in the workshop, I made several in front of the audience, with no mishaps. They were very impressed, and Chef Kevin Dunn told me he never would have tried that! This is the crepe recipe I made at that McDougall event."
SAVORY PANCAKES, CREPES, ETC.:
"Uttapam (or ooththappam or Uthappa) is a South Indian or Tamil pancake-like dish made with a batter of grain (such as rice, semolina or millet), or grain and legumes, similar to dosa batter. Dosa is thinner and crepe-like--sometimes crisp and sometimes softer. Uttapam is a thick pancake, with toppings of vegetables added to the "pancake" when it is just ready to be flipped over. Uttapam is sometimes called an "Indian pizza". It's a common breakfast and snack food in Southern India."
There is also a fruit variation!
"These crepes are a type of dosa that is made only from dal and is unfermented. These are actually a bit sturdier than the crepes we're used to, but they fold and roll nicely. You can just eat them with chutney or an Indian-style vegetable stir-fry, or with a more elaborate vegetable curry, if you like. They can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or for a lunch or supper dish. (They would be great for a gluten-free diet, too.)... this simple, delicious, nourishing, and filling meal was so inexpensive to make!"
VEGAN OKONOMIYAKI (JAPANESE OMELET OR PANCAKE) (Can be GF and Soy-free)
"I've worked on this recipe on-and-off for a little while. Besides making them vegan, I wanted to use ingredients that most North Americans would be able to obtain easily. These vegan savory omelets or pancakes, however you choose to think of them, are so simple, cheap and quick to make, but absolutely addictive! They originated as frugal street food and were eaten often in the days of reconstruction after WWII."
"So what is this mysterious “pancake”? It’s a delicious and nourishing snack food, a flatbread, really. In Nice, their version, Socca, is a street food, cooked huge copper pans over wood burners (rather than baked), pieces eaten out of hand like French fries in a cone of paper with lots of pepper. In Italy, it is eaten at home, with a knife and fork, or at a bar. In Genoa, there are farinata bakeries everywhere. In Argentina, they eat it on pizza! Both Italians and Niçois will tell you that it should not be made at home and it won’t taste the same if it’s not made over a wood-fired stove or in a wood-fired oven, but, trust me, a very reasonable approximation can be made and enjoyed at home!...This from my book Nonna's Italian Kitchen.
This is a thin version, which I prefer. You can sprinkle the top with chopped garlic and rosemary, thyme or sage before baking, if you like. Ligurians, who eat it with a knife and fork, sometimes also top it with thinly sliced onions or green onions, or even slices of baby artichoke. I like the leftovers cold, too. (UPDATE: Here's another great way to serve farinata.)"
"For some reason, I've always been fascinated with recipes using plain beans and whole grains that are soaked and ground and used to make delicious, simple and healthful breakfast treats, breads and snacks. We need more recipes like this under our belts, so to speak, to get through hard financial times in good health and spirits... I used to make this type of dosa years ago for my children for breakfast. They loved it and I still do!"
In Arabic and Persian cuisines there is a type of thick baked omelet or fritatta that can utilize almost any vegetable (but always contains some green herbs). It can be eaten hot or cold and is often used as a picnic food. In Arabic it is called "eggah" ( عجة ʻaggah or ʻajjah) and in Perisan it is called "kuku" (کوکو). According to food historian Alan Davidson, these are most probably the origin of Italian fritattas and Spanish tortillas (not the Mexican corn variety)... Sometimes the mixture is made into small "pancakes" or "patties" and is shallow-fried in oil or clarified butter instead of baked. This is the type of thing I wanted to try, but, of course, egg-free and made with only a little oil. I also wanted to make the potato variety because it sounded nicely substantial and I thought the potato would help hold things together. (It can be made with eggplant, parsley and green onions, leeks, broad beans, spinach and other greens, cauliflower, squash...) I decided to try a mixture of mashed tofu and chickpea flour instead of the egg....It was super simple to make and very tasty—open to alot of variation, too, so I will be playing with it further. I think the potato did help, but you could probably use less if it was baked—something for further experimentation."