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