Soy foods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries, according to the Soyfoods Council, a nonprofit organization created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers.
While Iowa lays claim to being the country’s No. 1 soybean grower, soybeans also rank as the top crop in Franklin County at about 57,000 acres, according to local production estimates.
“Soybeans are a good source of protein,” Rebecca McFarland, family and consumer sciences agent for Frontier Extension District No. 11, which serves Franklin County, said.
“Soy milk is popular for those who are lactose intolerant,” McFarland said.
In recent years, soy foods have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties, the Soyfoods Council said in a news release. In addition to a source of protein, soybeans provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat, the release said.
Soy-based foods became popular in the late 1990s to early 2000s, McFarland estimated.
Evidence indicates soy foods reduce the risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer, the Soyfoods Council release said.
For those who want to consider a soy option this holiday season, here are a few recipes from the Soyfoods Council:
Butternut Squash Pavé
1 tablespoon butter
6 cloves minced garlic
2 minced shallots
1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups soymilk, plain
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 egg yolks
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and sliced 1/16” thick
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16” thick
2 tablespoons butter, cold (for buttering the pan)
Salt and pepper
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Over medium, in a large saucepan add butter, melt. Add garlic and shallots, stir until translucent. Add seasonings, mix to a paste consistency. Whisk in soymilk, add thyme and bay leaf, bring to a simmer.
Remove from heat, cool for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme. In a separate medium mixing bowl, add egg yolks, whisk.
Slowly add milk mixture, whisking constantly. Using a mandolin, very thinly slice squash and potatoes. In a well-buttered pan, place a single slightly-overlapping layer of potatoes. Sprinkle very lightly with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Next place a single slightly-overlapping layer of squash into the pan, arranging the squash perpendicular to the direction that the potatoes were laid.
Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese, continue sprinkling each layer with salt, pepper and cheese. Continue alternating layers of potatoes and squash, alternating directions with each layer. Once all of the squash and potatoes have been used (or you are within the top ¼ inch of the pan, slowly pour the cream mixture over the squash and potatoes.
You might have to tip the pan from side-to-side or carefully press down atop of the vegetables to allow the cream to flow down among the layers. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool slightly. Place the pan into a larger high-sided pan to catch any possible overflow.
Lightly drape a sheet of parchment paper over the pan. With another 11-inch square pan, press down firmly atop the potato and squash to compress the layers. Some liquid might expunge around the sides of the pan; this is to be expected. Place a heavy weight atop the second pan (a few large cans of food works great) and refrigerate overnight. Remove the weights and pan from the mixture, gently peel away the parchment paper. With paper towels, wipe away any excess moisture and cream from the sides of the pan.
Cover with foil, bake at 375 degrees until warmed throughout, about 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the top layer with ½ cup parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered until browned. Cut and serve immediately.
Yield: 16 servings
½ cup chocolate coated espresso beans
1 (12-ounce) package firm silken tofu
¼ cup strong brewed espresso
¼ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ Tablespoon lemon juice
10 ¼-½ inch thick disks of vanilla sponge cake (the disks should be roughly the size of the inside of 6-ounce tall juice or parfait glasses)
Espresso or Kahlua (optional)
Cocoa powder to garnish
Chocolate coated espresso beans to garnish
In food processor, grind chocolate coated espresso beans until finely ground. Add tofu, espresso, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Blend until smooth and reserve.
Place a sponge cake circle in the bottom of each glass. Drizzle cake with a few drops of espresso or Kahlua. Spoon several tablespoons of coffee- tofu mixture over cake. Place another sponge cake circle on top of the coffee tofu mixture. Spoon remaining coffee-tofu mixture into shot, to reach almost to the top of the shot containers. Chill for at least 30 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tops of the shots with cocoa powder and top with a chocolate coated espresso bean.
Yield: 5 (3-4 oz.) servings
Chipotle Corn Casserole
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon diced canned chipotle peppers
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen sweet corn, thawed
½ cup plain soy milk
1 cup silken tofu
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan.
Dice the chipotle peppers.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the diced chipotle pepper, creamed corn, sweet corn, soy milk, silken tofu, melted butter, egg substitute, sugar and cheddar cheese and mix until well combined.
Mix in the corn muffin mix and transfer to the 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife, inserted in the middle of the casserole, comes out clean.
Yield: 16 servings