"Soy" Many Options in Cooking
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"Soy" Many Options in Cooking

Soy is all the rage these days, and with so many nutritional benefits, it is easy to see why.  The protein and isoflavones in soy provide antioxidants which can aid in lowering LDL cholesterol and prevent artery clogging plaque.  The fiber in soy can help reduce the risks of certain types of cancer.  Soy's protein can help the body absorb calcium, helping to prevent osteoperosis.  This wonder food can even help control diabetic and kidney conditions and help to alleviate PMS and menopause symptoms.  Research shows that a daily intake of 25 grams of soy protein and 30-50 mg of isoflavones can improve and protect your health.  Here are some examples of soy's versatility in the kitchen:

There are a wide variety of soy products on the market today.  There are the prepared products that the consumer just heats and eats (veggie burgers, "chicken-less" strips, "meat-less" meatballs, even veggie bacon and sausage.  These are handy, relatively low in fat, contain fiber and are often very good substitutes for the meat versions.

Then, there are the basics: We'll start with tofu (soybean curd).  Tofu comes in different textures, from soft, for tasks such as adding a little protein to your smoothie, to firm which is ideal for seasoning (as you would your favorite meat) and grilling.  Medium can be used in stir fry in place of or alongside another protein.  You can't go wrong with a light fry (until edges get a bit crusty) and a good coating of "Rad Prik" (lightly sweet, chile-garlic) sauce...add some veggies and rice, you have a meal.

Now, the soybean (edamame) is delicious and healthy when steamed and eaten straight out of the shell, salted, but these little beans can do more.  While you can toss them into a veggie medley or salad, one of my favorite uses is Edamame Puree.  I puree the cooked beans in the food processor, adding the cooking water as necessary, a little at a time until it is a bit thicker than hummus.  I add a little wasabi and salt to taste and throw in a dash of dark sesame oil.  This is a tasty and fun appetizer when piped onto a slice of cucumber or crispy wonton skin (like a chip) and garnished with ultra thin carrot slices/cilantro.  You could also make wontons filled with the puree or use it as a healthy veggie dip.

Then, of course, they are soymilks...I find that the taste depends on the brand and can run the gamet.  "Silk" is one I enjoy...a little chocolate soymilk in my coffee in the morning is a nice way to wake up.  There is a good array of soy yogurt on the market, (some fairly good, some awful.  Whole Foods sells some pretty good ones.  I find these can work well in smoothies.  Soy creamer is creamy, but it seems as though the soy flavor has been concentrated and it is a bit strong for my taste.

There are now some decent soy cheeses out there.  Many will melt as well as dairy cheese and are lower in fat and calories.

There is even a soy for baking.  Replace some of your regular flour with soy flour (up to 1/3 to achieve best taste) and you've lowered your carbs and added extra protein.  You could also use soymilk in place of dairy milk in your baked goods.

As you can see, there are several ways to cook with soy.  For helpful tips and recipe ideas, visit:

http://www.soyfoodsillinois.uiuc.edu/recipes/index.html

References:

http://soyfoods.com/soyfoodsdescriptions/soycheese.html

http://www.geocities.com/virtuesofsoy/health-benefits.html

Additional resources:

Community update: For those requesting information, please see our summary of ongoing lawsuit against Mark P. Mazza and Patrick Melvin Williams of PromoCodeWatch.com
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