Kathy Gunst, Food Journalist and Resident Chef of NPR’s “Here and Now,” Shares a Spicy Miso Caramel Sauce Recipe

            Ankeny, Iowa, November 24, 2020—If you’ve been looking for homemade holiday food gift ideas this year, look no further. Food journalist Kathy Gunst, Resident Chef of NPR’s Here and Now, shares her homemade recipe for a specialty caramel sauce, and you’ll note that miso makes it merrier. “I give a lot of food gifts,” she says, “I love spending time in the kitchen thinking about food gifts for people.” Examples of past gifts she’s given include simple salad dressings, jellies, chutneys and tomato sauces made with ingredients from her garden. This year, Gunst will be giving jars of Miso Caramel Sauce. Even better, she is sharing a spicy variation of her recipe with The Soyfoods Council. Miso is soybean paste fermented with rice, barley or other grains. It comes in white, yellow or red varieties and adds a blast of flavor, along with approximately 2 grams of protein, to sweet and savory recipes.           

            “In a given year, I develop hundreds of recipes between my radio work, newspapers and magazines and cookbooks. When I developed Miso Caramel Sauce, I said ‘Okay, this is my favorite of the year.’ Then I started experimenting with different flavors,” Gunst says.

            She recommends presenting the gift in a Mason-style jar, tied with a piece of ribbon or raffia. She usually prints out the recipe and pastes it onto a card with a hole punched in it so that it can be tied to the jar.  Miso Caramel Sauce, she says, is a simple recipe to make, and will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator. “When you provide the recipe,  you are giving something concrete as well as a gift that keeps on giving—saying ‘If you like this, you can make it yourself.’”

            Gunst says there is no end to the flavor variations you can add to Miso Caramel Sauce. To create Spicy Miso Caramel Sauce, she adds a chile pepper in a piece of cheesecloth tied with kitchen string.  You can also make the sauce using fresh ginger or a cinnamon stick.  For Ginger Miso Caramel Sauce, for example, tie a one-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger in cheesecloth and let it simmer in the pan along with the caramel ingredients. After cooking, remove the ginger.

            Gunst explains that she adds the miso to her  recipe at the end of cooking. Miso  adds to caramel what it always adds to foods—umami or meaty depth of flavor. “Miso’s earthiness is unexpected in caramel sauce, but not weird at all. It is a seamless fusion that just ups all the other flavors without lessening the sweetness. Miso balances the caramel sauce with its savory flavor. With Spicy Miso Caramel Sauce, you have the flavors of sweet, savory, umami and chile pepper heat. ”

             When Gunst first started experimenting with the role that miso plays in sweet foods, she added a teaspoon of very light miso paste to the filling for an apple and pear pie. “That pie was incredible,” she says. She keeps four or five different miso types in her refrigerator. “When  I don’t want a dish to be overwhelmed by miso, I go with lighter or white miso, such as in salad dressings. I use darker  or red miso —it is more aged—when I am making heartier dishes where there is nothing delicate.”

            Spicy Miso Caramel Sauce is simple to make. Kathy Gunst starts with her basic caramel recipe and adds the flavor of chile pepper. For this recipe, you will need cheesecloth; look for cheesecloth made for cooking at your local supermarket, Target, Walmart or online at Amazon.

           

 

            In a medium saucepan, heat cream and butter over moderate heat until just bubbling. In another medium saucepan mix sugar and water with a soft spatula. Place over medium heat and cook without stirring for 5 minutes. Swirl the pan from side to side occasionally to keep caramel moving and prevent clumping up. Once the mixture turns amber color, remove it from the heat.

Carefully add warm butter and cream mixture. It will bubble up: No fear. Whisk cream into the sugar caramel over a low heat; whisk until smooth. The heat will lift up any caramel sticking to the  bottom or sides of the pan. Whisk miso and vanilla into the caramel until smooth and cook for a minute or two to make sure sauce is smooth and warmed through. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

            “I like giving food gifts every year, but this year even more so. As we go into winter lockdown and the pandemic numbers rise even higher, the idea of comfort food takes on a whole new meaning,” Gunst says. “We are almost at the one-year mark of the pandemic and it is really hard on so many levels spending this much time at home, in quarantine. We need to give ourselves a break. These are unprecedented times, so if you feel like eating miso caramel on toast for breakfast, don't judge yourself and just enjoy.”

            She suggests various other ways of enjoying Spicy Miso Caramel Sauce: Drizzle the sauce over apple or pear slices, enjoy it on pancakes and French toast, or serve it as an accompaniment to pumpkin pie or a topping for vanilla ice cream. Try adding a bit of it to roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

            In addition to creating memorable recipes, Kathy Gunst is a James Beard Award-winning magazine and newspaper food journalist, and the author of 16 cookbooks.  The latest one is Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury and Women’s Voices (Tiller Press/ Simon and Schuster, 2020) by Katherine Alford and Kathy Gunst.

            The Soyfoods Council website offers other soyfoods ideas that make great holiday gifts. You can also download a free copy of the digital cookbook, Really Fast, Really Easy, Really Good with gift- worthy recipes such as Honeyed Soynuts, D.I.Y. Granola and Wonderful Sour Cream Cookies.  Visit www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com to access the cookbook collection of recipes.  The Soyfoods Council website also offers resource information and research about soyfoods and health

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About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice markets about the many benefits of soyfoods.  Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.

            ¾ cup heavy cream

            3 tablespoons unsalted butter

            ¾ cup white sugar

            2 tablespoons water

            1 chile pepper tied in a piece of cheesecloth

            2 tablespoons of white or light miso paste

            ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Here’s how to make one cup of

Spicy Miso Caramel Sauce:

Spotlight Article: The Facts About Plant Oils

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If you've been wondering which oil is best for your health and if any oils should be avoided - you'll want to check out this article that gives a detailed comparison of all of the plant based oil types. 

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation when it comes to oils. Rather than listen to unqualified media talking heads, you should get reliable information from qualified nutrition experts. This article provides just that. 

In addition to a comprehensive comparative chart of all of the plant based oils, frequently asked questions are answered, such as is coconut oil healthy or not, and does polyunsaturated fat cause inflammation? 

Head over to Tufts's article on The Facts about Plant Based Oils for all of the nutrition information! 

Soyfoods Create Dips, Dressings and Sandwich Spreads for Fruit & Vegetable Season 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts: 

Linda Funk

Executive Director

The Soyfoods Council

515.491.8636

lfunk@thesoyfoodscouncil.com
 

Ankeny, Iowa, August 13, 2020 — You’re probably already on a mission to eat more fruits and vegetables. Like most of us, you’ve been exploring the culinary and health benefits of plant proteins, too. Now it’s time to complement the season’s garden-fresh produce with condiments that incorporate soyfoods such as tofu and miso. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat. 

According to Euromonitor, 59% of global consumers are now motivated to buy high protein foods, such as soyfoods. For example, tofu is a cholesterol-free plant protein that offers all of the essential amino acids in amounts required to meet nutritional needs of children and adults. A three-ounce serving of silken tofu (the kind that comes in a box) provides approximately 8.5 grams of protein. 

Spiced Fruit Dip: Few things are as good as ripe fruits—peaches, nectarines, berries—unless it’s ripe fruit enhanced by a sweet tofu-based dip. Not only will you be adding protein with this dip, you’ll be adding flavor.  In a blender, combine 1¼ cups of firm silken tofu with 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. This easy-to-make dip is rich enough for a dessert, but simple enough for a quick afternoon snack.

Tofu Ranch Dip/Dressing: Ranch Dressing remains the most popular salad dressing flavor in the country. You can easily make your own plant protein version, featuring tofu. Serve Tofu Ranch Dip with raw vegetables, toss it into garden-fresh salads, or use it as a change-of-pace condiment for BLT sandwiches. In a food processor, combine one package of soft silken tofu with 5 Tablespoons of soybean oil, 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, and a teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and ground black pepper. Puree until the dip is smooth. If needed, add a small amount of water to thin it. 

Miso Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise is currently the favorite condiment in the U.S., but did you know you can add even more pizazz by stirring miso into it?  Use this happy marriage of miso and mayo as a sandwich spread for grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, veggie wraps, or your burger of choice. To make it, simply stir 1 Tablespoon of miso into 6 Tablespoons of mayonnaise. For this recipe, we prefer white miso, the mildest type, but you can also use yellow or red miso. Each Tablespoon of Miso offers approximately 2 grams of protein. It is a fermented soyfood that contributes a savory umami flavor note. Miso also provides nutrition benefits, including probiotics (naturally occurring live bacteria in cultured and fermented foods) that are good for the digestive system. Look for miso in the refrigerated section of your supermarket.

For more dips and dressings made with soyfoods, visit The Soyfoods Council website: www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com. You’ll also find updates on soyfoods-related research, cooking tips, and family friendly recipes.

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About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods.  Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.

About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries.  In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat.  In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer.  All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.

            Running Short of Ingredients? Try These Six Clever Soyfoods Recipe Hacks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Linda Funk

Executive Director

The Soyfoods Council

515.491.8636

lfunk@thesoyfoodscouncil.com

Photos Available Upon Request

Ankeny, Iowa, April 23, 2020 —Have you been running low on staple ingredients lately due to making fewer grocery shopping trips? The Soyfoods Council reminds you to keep tofu and TSP (textured soy protein) on hand. While not everybody is into improvisational cooking or inventing new recipes, tofu and TSP are versatile ingredients that can keep you cooking your old favorites even when you’re short on eggs, ground meat, milk or ricotta cheese. Here are six examples of how soyfoods can simplify your life in the kitchen—and perhaps inspire new family traditions featuring high-quality plant protein.

• Out of eggs? Use firm silken tofu for eggs in your favorite meatloaf recipe. You’ll have a moist meatloaf with all of its familiar flavor and texture, plus an added boost of protein. Three ounces of silken tofu adds approximately 8.5 grams of cholesterol free protein to the recipe.  For a quick reference, ¼ cup  pureed silken tofu  equals 1 egg.

• Short of ricotta? Water-packed tofu can extend ricotta cheese in recipes such as lasagna and stuffed pasta shells. Add extra vegetables to your meal by incorporating chopped onion and thawed, chopped frozen spinach into the tofu. A 3-ounce serving of water-packed tofu offers approximately 8 grams of protein. Visit The Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com for recipes, including Easy Stuffed Shells.

• Running low on ground meat? Create TSP blends (also called textured vegetable protein or TVP) to extend the beef, pork, turkey or chicken you have on hand. Simply mix equal amounts of TSP and ground meat. Form the mixture into patties or add it to chili or pasta sauce.  TSP provides 8.75 grams of protein per ¼ cup. The Soyfoods Council offers recipe ideas for recipes like Chili with Textured Soy Protein.

• Can’t find enough milk in supermarket dairy cases? Use silken tofu in recipes such as mashed potatoes and creamy soups.  Tofu’s neutral flavor and smooth texture retain the richness and enhance the protein content of these comfort food classics. Try The Soyfoods Council recipe for Mashed Potatoes with pureed soft silken tofu and soymilk.

• Looking for an inexpensive breakfast protein? Blend about ¼ cup of TSP with 1 serving oatmeal for hot cereal with a protein punch.   Recipes such as Textured Soy Protein Biscuits and Gravy from The Soyfoods Council offer other bright ideas to start your day.

• Are specialty cooking oils breaking your budget? Soybean oil is a workhorse, with its high smoke point for sautéing or frying, and a neutral flavor for salad dressings and baking. Soybean oil (also called vegetable oil—check the ingredient label to be sure) is the most widely consumed oil in the U.S.  It is affordable, abundant and offers heart-health benefits. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of a qualified health claim for soybean oil:  Consuming one-and-a-half tablespoons of soybean a day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when it replaces saturated fat, without an increase in calories.

For other soyfoods cooking tips, information about soyfoods and your health, research updates and a wide range of family-friendly recipes, visit The Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com

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About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods.  Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.

About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries.  In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat.  In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer.  All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.

Soyfoods Month Fermented Foods

April is National Soyfoods Month: 

Branch Out With Fermented Soyfoods that Offer Health Benefits

Miso Chicken Soup with Snow Peas and Tofu Recipe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: 

Linda Funk

Executive Director

The Soyfoods Council

515.491.8636

lfunk@thesoyfoodscouncil.com

 

Photos Available Upon Request

 

Ankeny, Iowa, March 19, 2020 — During National Soyfoods Month in April, The Soyfoods Council invites you to discover the culinary and nutrition advantages of enjoying fermented soyfoods. Fermented foods—including miso and tempeh—are the number one superfood trend this year, according to the Pollock PR “What’s Trending in Nutrition” 2020 survey.  Similarly, Japanese umami flavors, including miso and natto, are also among the year’s hottest culinary trends listed in the National Restaurant Association “What’s Hot” 2020 survey. Fermented soyfoods such as miso, tempeh and natto offer a satisfying complexity of flavor as well as potential health benefits. 

Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds salty, savory umami flavor notes to everything from salad dressings to meat marinades. It is available in American supermarkets, and comes in white, yellow and red varieties that offer a range of flavor intensity. Tempeh also is widely available in supermarkets across the U.S. It is made from fermented soybeans, and combines a firm meaty texture with a mild, nutty flavor. Creative tempeh dishes in restaurants include tempeh reuben sandwiches, tempeh Caesar salads, and one-bowl meals. Tempeh provides approximately 15 grams of protein and five grams of fiber per serving. Natto, with its sticky texture and cheese-like flavor, appeals to adventurous eaters who like to experiment with global condiments. Made with fermented soybeans, natto is served as a traditional accompaniment for rice in Japan, and also is used as a flavoring in recipes. You can find it in grocery stores that sell Asian ingredients, or make your own natto in an electric pressure cooker by following instructions in YouTube videos. Brands such as NYrture New York Natto also are available online (www.nyrture.com/order-natto.

Fermented soyfoods contain probiotics (live organisms) that can offer potential digestive health benefits when eaten on a regular basis. And, if the benefits of fermented foods are already on your radar, two new studies suggest that fermented soyfoods may offer other protective benefits as well. 

Eating fermented soyfoods is related to lower mortality rates. A recent study in Japan involved more than 90,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 74. Participants filled out food frequency questionnaires every five years to assess the types and amounts of soyfoods they consumed. When investigators compared individuals in the top fifth of those consuming fermented soyfoods with participants in the bottom fifth, they found those who ate the most fermented soyfoods were 10 percent less likely to die from all causes during the study period. 

Eating natto may contribute to bone health. Those who take bone health into consideration when making food choices will be interested in a recent study suggesting that eating natto is related to a reduced risk of fractures. A Japanese population-based osteoporosis cohort study was based on 1,417 postmenopausal women who were followed for approximately 15 years. Their consumption of natto, tofu and other soyfoods was surveyed. Women who ate about a serving of natto per day were shown to be only half as likely to suffer a fracture, in comparison to the women who ate natto infrequently. 

During National Soyfoods Month in April, embark on a culinary adventure to explore new ways to add miso and tempeh to your everyday meals. If you’re an adventurous eater, experiment with natto, too. For details about research studies related to fermented soyfoods, and a wide range of family-friendly recipes, visit The Soyfoods Council website: www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com

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About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods.  Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.

About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries.  In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat.  In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer.  All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.

This classic miso soup is adapted from a recipe in A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds. It’s a splendid way to spotlight tofu. Make sure to use the water-packed firm variety. 

 

3 pounds chicken quarters

12 cups water

8  slices fresh ginger, smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife

1/2 cup miso paste

1  pound water-packed firm tofu, cut into cubes

3/4 pound snow or snap peas, strings removed

3 tablespoons minced green onion

 

1. Combine chicken and water and ginger in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce, heat, simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove chicken and cool. Discard ginger. Scoop out and reserve 1/2 cup broth.

 

2. Remove the meat from the chicken, and shred. Discard skin and bones. Add chicken to broth. In small bowl, combine reserved broth and the miso paste; stir until smooth.

 

3. Add tofu and snow peas to soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and add miso mixture, and stir well. Ladle soup into serving bowls; top with green onions. Yield: 6 servings. 


 

CALORIES 295 (34% from fat); FAT 11g (sat  2.3g, mono 3.4g, poly 4.2g); PROTEIN 37.9g; CARBOHYDRATE 10.7g; FIBER 2.3g; CHOLESTEROL 83mg; IRON 3.4mg; SODIUM 1074mg; CALCIUM 163mg; 

Tempeh Rice Bowl Recipe

 

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced carrot

1 tablespoon white miso

1 8-ounce package tempeh

1 cup brown rice

1 3/4 cup water

2 cups tightly packed leafy greens, such as baby spinach, Swiss chard and/or arugula

Crushed peanuts, for garnish

Splash of tamari or soy sauce, for serving (optional)

 

Set the Instant Pot on the sauté function, using the adjust button to increase to more heat. Add the sesame oil, onion, and carrot and sauté for about three minutes. Add the miso and continue sautéing until the miso becomes creamy and mixed well with the vegetables. Add the tempeh, crumbling with your fingers as you remove it from the package. Using a spoon crumble the tempeh while sautéing. Do this for about 8 minutes. The tempeh should begin to resemble small beans (or meat crumbles). Add the brown rice and water. Turn the sauté function off. Cover the Instant Pot, move the steam valve to sealing, press manual (high pressure) and adjust the time to 22 minutes. Allow for a natural release.

 

Remove the lid. Stir in two cups of leafy greens. Prop the lid on the top of the pot, without sealing, for just a few minutes to allow the greens to slightly wilt.

 

Serve in a bowl with crushed peanuts and a splash of tamari or soy sauce (if using).

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

Recipe by JL Fields for The Soyfoods Council

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