Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saucing It Up for National Soyfoods Month

No surprises today dear readers. Although, I am bewildered by the fact that I have never celebrated National Soy Food Month on this blog. I know it’s a bit late in the month, since the celebration began at the beginning of April, but, hey, better late than never I suppose.

April is Soyfoods Month
It is not known with certainty when cultivation of the soybean began, but it is believed that it was a staple of the Chinese diet centuries before the pyramids were built. In fact, the story of how the soy bean was first discovered by a caravan of traveling merchants is one of China’s oldest legends. In 2853 BC, the reigning Chinese Emperor Sheng-Nung first named a group of five sacred plants, also known as the Wu Ku, that were considered essential to the Chinese people. These were soybeans, rice, wheat, barley and millet. It is documented that the soybean was a greatly valued crop to the Chinese people in this era and that the soybean was sown annually with great ceremony by the emperors of China. In addition the early records also reveal that many Chinese poets wrote substantially about the soybean, extolling its virtues in their poetry. History of Soybeans
There were so many directions I could follow down the soy bean trail that quite frankly, the prospect of celebrating Soy Food Month became a bit over whelming. Just look at this brief list of the power of the soybean.

Soybean Power at a Glance

Soybean Power at a Glance
During the American Civil War soldiers used soybeans as “coffee berries” to brew “coffee” when real coffee was scarce.
Oil extracted from soybeans is made into shortening, margarine, cooking oil, and salad dressings.
Soybean oil is used not only in food products but also as renewable raw material to produce a variety of non-food products, including biodiesel, inks, plastics, crayons, paints and soy candles.
A 60-pound bushel of soybeans yields about 11 pounds of oil and about 48 pounds of meal.
One acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.
Soy milk was first developed in the United States by John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of corn flakes and granola and head of the Battle Creek Sanitarium for over 50 years.
Henry Ford experimented with soy-based plastics in the production of his cars. In 1940 he swung an axe at a car trunk to demonstrate the durability of soy plastics.
Soy ink is used in over 95 percent of America’s daily newspapers that circulate more than fifteen hundred copies per run.
Soy flour and grits, made from grinding whole soybeans, are used in the commercial baking industry to aid in dough conditioning and bleaching.
Lecithin, a product extracted from soybean oil, is a natural emulsifier and lubricant used in many food, commercial, and industrial applications. As an emulsifier, it can make fats and water compatible with each other. For example, it helps keep the chocolate and cocoa butter in a candy bar from separating. It is also used in pharmaceuticals and protective coatings.
In addition to their high protein content, soybeans are rich in folate, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, iron, fibre and many other essential nutrients.
Fresh soybeans, known as edamame, are green in color and can be eaten raw or lightly boiled in salted water.
Soybeans are the United States' second largest crop in cash sales and the number one export crop.
The protein density of soy sauce is greater than that of the soybeans themselves. Although there are many types of soy sauce, scientists have given particular attention to tamari. This denser soy sauce is often considered the most health-promoting variety because of its strong antioxidant properties. It’s also wheat-free and ideal for those individuals who are gluten-intolerant.
Bean Sprouts To The Rescue | 1943
In 1904, George Washington Carver discovered that soybeans were a valuable source of protein and oil. He also realized the benefits for soybeans for preserving good quality soil. Mr. Carver encouraged cotton farmers to "rotate" their crops in a three-year plan so that peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes or other plants would replenish the soil with nitrogen and minerals for two seasons, and then the third year farmers planted cotton. To the surprise of many farmers, this produced a far better cotton crop than they had seen for many years.
The Soy Sauce Cookbook

Do you have a bottle of Soy Sauce in your pantry? If you do, lets celebrate Soy Food Month with a saucy attitude:) I have the recipes, go fetch the sauce!

What is Soy Sauce?

”Called liquid spice, naturally brewed soy sauce contains more than 280 aromatic ingredients including extracts of vanilla, fruits, flowers, meat, fish, and alcohol which enables it to enhance many dishes with its subtle bouquet. Naturally brewed soy sauce is free from additives and preservatives. There are, however, other less natural processes which chemincaly produce soy sauce. These are considered to be inferior in aroma and flavor by true soy sauce connoisseurs.”

History of Soy Sauce

”The Chinese were the original users of soy sauce. They introduced it to Japan, along with the influence of Buddhism, over 1,500 years ago. The Buddhist religion forbade the use of meat and fish based sauces, which traditionally played a great part in flavoring foods. Soy sauce soon became a popular seasoning in Japan although it was developed and changed from its original form; it was originally made from soy beans, and the Japanese version had wheat added to it.”
Vegetable Beignets Recipe

Here’s a “Soy-i-fied Cornbread just in case you’re all out of Soy Sauce.

Soy-i-fied Cornbread
Harvested from The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council
This cornbread is moister than some, taking on an almost custardy texture thanks to the silken tofu.
1 1/2 cups coarse-grain cornmeal
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup soy flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces soft silken tofu
1 1/2 cups plain soy milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 8” or 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, all-purpose and soy flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In blender container, puree tofu until smooth. Add soy milk and oil; blend just until combined. Pour into cornmeal mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into pan; smooth top with spatula.
Bake cornbread 50 minutes or until lightly browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes before slicing. Wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate to store. Makes 9 servings.

And one more recipe for a Chinese Cashew Casserole from The Soy Sauce Cookbook by Jenny Stacey and Maureen Keller ©1996
Chinese Cashew Casserole Recipe
Chinese Cashew Casserole Recipe
Have a wonderful day everyone. I’m headed outside to do a bit more clean-up. I’ll be catching up with all your delicious blogs this evening:) Until then, enjoy! Resources
1. 4 Soy Foods To Add To Your Diet
2. How to Make and Cook Tempeh-Mother Earth News
3. History of Soy Sprouts
4. How to Make Homemade Tofu
5. Growing Soy Bean Sprouts
6. Mark Bittman's Egg Noodles with Soy Broth (a personal favorite of mine:)
7. Tofu Walnut Lettuce Cups
8. 100 Cleanest Packaged Food Awards 2014: Gluten-Free-House Foods Firm Organic Tofu


  1. A great post Louise. Soybeans are one of the major crops of Illinois and there is nothing more pleasing to my eye than a drive in the country in summertime when soybeans and corn are growing.

    1. Hi Beth,
      They're a pretty important crop here in PA too. I was just admiring the tiny soy bean plants growing in the fields today. They're pretty small yet but they won't be for long!

  2. Good evening Louise , what a wonderful and delightful post .I never gave soy sauce a second thought , just knew it was a good flavor for foods . Now I know why Chinese are more healthy and has long lives and they are not as fat as a lot of cultures .I am going to try my hand at soy sprouts , in a large herb pot to see what happens . The vegetables beignets looks delicious , a must try .
    Of course , I will make the 'Chinese Cashew Casserole' ... I will ask my baby boy to help me (Man) , boy and when he see the wine he will yell ... mama is making drunk food . Now the cornbread is something my family will love ;-D they love anything that don't bite back . (((HUGS))) to you and Marion thanks for sharing :)

    1. Hi Nee!

      Soy beans and all they bring to the table are pretty amazing Nee. If you are going to attempt sprouting soy beans, read up on it. They aren't as easy to sprout as some other beans. Good luck! It's a great project for the kids too:)

  3. Dear Louise, I do like soy milk, though it is so expensive these days; because of this I switched back to basic whole milk. I do like the taste though, especially in cereal.
    Have a beautiful Sunday. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. Hi Catherine:)

      I drink soy milk every once in a while but as you say, it seems overly priced these days. I actually wanted to try making soy milk for today's post but I couldn't find the right soy bean. I amy do it yet! It's really easy to make but it is important to use the right beans. I'll let you know when I attempt it. I may try making tofu too!

  4. Ah dear soya is really important in this house, of course I love soya sauce that we use in chinese salads or some fishes.
    We use too "soya meat" that really is dry soya I use for my daugther because she is veggie (only eat fish) so when I madd lasagna I make kne witb beef meat snd other with soy meat for her.
    Really interesting this post Louise hope you have an amazing day:)

    1. Oh Gloria!
      I'm so happy you found this post useful. I'm guessing your daughter eats tofu. You should try to make her some one day. What a surprise that would be and it's pretty easy too! I'd love to try it for my son in lasagna. He is a vegetarian too:)

    2. Yes and we love tofu but is difficult find here.anyway Imake for esperanza falafel(sure you know) she loves them and I make with chickpeas .xo

    3. You make Tofu with Chickpeas, Gloria? Now, that sounds really interesting. I hope you are planning a post:)

  5. So, should we feed 80 people, or let 800 people have fun with new boxes of 100 Crayolas? On a gloomy day like today, I'm thinking maybe the crayons would be a great choice.

    1. Gloomy day? Oh no Marjie, it was a beauty of a dya down here. You must have gotten the storm's leftovers. Sending sunshine your way!!!

  6. I grew up in a family that grew soybeans, so the crayon factoid was fun because I didn't know and because... I used to love to color.

    1. I still love to color, Channon. I'm not too sure about soy crayons unless they are Crayola, lol...

  7. Thanks for the usual surfeit of food for thought here ... I use soy sauce all the time, but it's odd that this month is soy month and I haven't dribbled a bit of soy sauce into anything, as I didn't buy it for my temporary kitchen! I'm relying on fresh herbs for flavor, not doing any Asian foods except restaurants. My usual reaction to your remarkable posts applies today: WHO KNEW? And I did want to know.

  8. Soybean coffee----those Yanks and Rebs were desperate, I think. Again, Louise, this is the comprehensive history of the soybean! :) Thanks for all the info and recipes.

  9. Well, Louise, you might be just a tad late to the party, but your certainly didn't skimp on the soy! Consider me now, far more educated on soy than I was at the start of April! Edamame for everyone!

  10. Really informative post! I had no idea it was National Soyfoods Month. By pure coincidence, we have Vegan Mapo Tofu for dinner last night (best tofu recipe ever, IMO). And, because we had loads of leftover rice, had fried rice today (liberally flavored with soy sauce). So we did our part! ;-) Fun post -- thanks.

  11. Muy interesante su post Louise en casa comemos carne de soya,me gusta estos cultivos que son saludables,abrazos y buena semana

  12. I really like soy sauce, but otherwise I am not good at preparing soy at all :)

  13. Thanks for the information! A very interesting read.



  14. Soybeans are US second largest crop but soy milk is a bit steep over there ?! Shame :D Never knew that crayons are a by-product of soy . I love vegetable beignets , it's deep-fried lol

  15. Well. That was a lot of information about soy, Louise! Will there be a quiz? :)
    I did my part...had soy sauce on my rice last week and edamame for dinner last night!

  16. Wow you put a ton of research into this Louise! I bought miso paste a week ago for a recipe--didn't know how timely I was!

  17. hi louise, there's a lot of info here regarding soybeans. yeah we chinese use quite a lot of soy sauce in our cooking . It is one of the essential item in our kitchen..and soybeans are widely used too by vegetarians for making stock in replace of other meat. I love soybeans..when i was studying, i used to drink soy milk everyday. Thx again louise for your lovely comment in my blog. You know reading what you wrote brings me comfort and less guilt! have a nice day!

  18. Nice to know. I am a huge fan of soy milk. I occasionally purchase the soy sour-cream as well.

  19. Hi Louise, Sorry that I haven't gotten over to visit sooner, have been busy, but boy I am glad I did. Here I only thought that soy was, milk and soy sauce at a Chinese Resturant. What an abundance of fantastic information. Love the Soy Bean trivia, the Civil War used it way back then for coffee, who knew? Love all the recipes and I especially like the Chinese Cashew Casserole. Great post Lousie, you always have such different and interesting posts. Thanks for sharing...Have a blessed day, It is really lovely out here on Long Island, hope where you are it is a beautiful day! Dottie :)

  20. Excellent post! That cashew dish looks wonderful. Glad I used soy sauce today! I feel better now. Edamame soon.

  21. I love soy and soy products…but coffee…I don’t think so!! Great post, Louise!

  22. I love soy sauce and this casserole has already transferred to my "to do" files haha! I loved all the info you gave us on soy Louise you are a true treasure! Have a great week my dear!

  23. I loved the Cashew Chicken Casserole....Great post dear...You always come up with interesting & informative post...

  24. Hi Louise, great posting. I love soy beans too You always got very interesting and classic topic to blog about. Really appreciate your effort and time. The above recipes look delicious too. 2 thumbs for you, keep up the good job.

    Have a nice day.


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise