Disclosure: All my trip expenses were paid for by The Soyfoods Council. Thoughts and opinions below are my own.
Embarrassingly, it’s been two months since I went on The Soyfoods Council editors’ trip to Iowa but I’ve been wanting to write a worthy post ever since.
I got to spend three days with some super cool bloggers Alex, Jen, Robin, JL, Jenna and Jan, along with our “soy hostesses”, Linda and Jantina. I learned so much about the resourceful soybean from farmers, researchers, chefs, professors and local Iowans.
Just some of the trip highlights:
Interacting with soybean farmers. In my previous life, I worked for the dairy council and one of the things I miss the most is working for farmers. We got to visit AJ & Kellie Blair’s farm - a young couple and fifth generation farmers whose passion for the future of farming was inspirational.
Bonus: I got to drive a tractor.
Making tofu in the kitchen labs at Iowa State University. We got to experiment with different flavors – basil, chives, jalapeno and even chocolate. We all agreed this should be the next wave in packaged tofu – flavored tofu options!
Spending the evening at Better Homes & Gardens headquarters. We toured the iconic magazine’s test kitchens and enjoyed a delectable array of soy dishes while listening to Nancy Wall Hopkins, Senior Deputy Editor, speak of current food and cooking trends (seeds & nuts, entertaining at home and baking from scratch - all hot topics!)
Visiting Gateway Market & Cafe (picture a local Dean & Delucca type store – swoon) and a cooking demo by chef partner, George Formaro. He whipped up a Faux “Sausage” Gravy with Biscuits using textured soy protein (some call it TVP with the V = vegetable) and I gotta say, it was fantastic.
Visiting the World Food Prize headquarters in Des Moines. I had never heard of the World Food Prize but similar in scope to the Nobel Prize, this award is specific to those who advance human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Learning about the history of the award and the foundation’s mission of promoting global food security was humbling.
Getting to know the Soybean Council’s fantastic interns and Iowa State students. Two of them, Lauren & Celia, helped create and edit all the recipes in this new online soy cookbook. More recently, they won the People’s Choice Award at the Iowa State Fair with this tasty and creamy Basil Lime Dressing using silken tofu. I made it over the weekend for guests – it was delicious over a simple bed of greens with oranges and pecans. Next I want to try it over grilled romaine.
Admittedly, I’ve never cooked with much soy besides edamame until the ‘Do You Tofu?’ Recipe ReDux challenge last year when I made a Grilled Tofu BLT Sandwich and was blown away by all the fantastic ways ReDuxers used tofu in recipes (check out all the ReDuxers’ tofu recipes.) Silken tofu is like magic – it can be whipped into puddings, dips, soups and dressings for a protein boost.
Now, to be honest, I prefer the taste of dairy milk, cheese and yogurt, but I really like the idea of adding other soy foods to my eating routine as an additional plant-based protein source.
A few things on my list of soy “to dos” in the kitchen:
- Use TVP in chili and try to recreate that sausage gravy
- Add edamame to hummus and guacamole
- Experiment with soy flour
- Do something with pumpkin and silken tofu for fall!
Do you cook with soyfoods (tofu, TVP, tempeh, edamame, soy flour, etc.)? What’s your favorite way to enjoy soy?