Archive for October, 2012

soyajoy, diy-astyla

You can make your own soymilk? And even tofu? Yep, and it’s so easy, I wanted to teleport myself back to the vegetarian years when I bought the stuff all the time and kick my (even more broke than now) college behind. There are gadgets you can buy that will make it for you (soyajoy, etc.), but you don’t need a machine if you have basic kitchen tools (pot, blender, strainer, brain)… kind of like how you don’t need a “yogurt maker” if you have mason jars and a large pot of warm water… think about how to use what you have to do what you want to do before you throw money at the problem!

Here’s how easy it is:

Soak a cup or so of soybeans overnight in about 4 cups of water (bonus if you buy 50# bags of organic beans from your nearest farmer or mill- it’s $34.50 here from Ted’s Organic Grains in DeKalb… carpool and stock up on all your staples in bulk once and rejoice in lower grocery bills the rest of the year… and them’s drought prices, son… albeit cheaper at the source).

Then throw ’em in the blender with another cup or two of water and get them as smooth as you can.

Add in another 4 cups of water and put the whole mess in a pot.
Stir and bring it up to a boil (it will foam up like crazy at one point, don’t make a mess and let it boil over and scorch all over the stove… ask me how I know).
Seriously, don’t stop stirring or walk away until the foam goes down… this doesn’t take long. Sing yourself a little soy song while you’re at it, or something.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes (this de-activates the trypsin inhibitors in soy that make it impossible to digest the protein otherwise, or so says the Rodale Home Food Systems book on my shelf that like me, came out in 1981). Both of us are still good sources of useful information, haha.

Strain it through a fine mesh strainer and/or cheesecloth (or a clean pillowcase? use whatever you’ve got… coarse fabric or doubled cheesecloth in a strainer is probably best).

Press out all the drops with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Rinse a bit by pouring more water through and strain again if you want thinner soymilk and to get out the last of the goodies, especially if you’re making tofu with the soymilk and don’t care about the texture of the milk,,. if you’re not, reserve the “first pressings” for drinking and the later bits for cooking with.

There you go! You can add vanilla, honey, sugar, cocoa powder, Tang (ew!) or anything else that strikes your fancy. Now if I only liked soy in my coffee, I’d be set for quarterly grocery runs… Still hooked on the dairy wagon for now as long as I require that caffeine IV drip of joe.. we’ve all got our vices, hey? Actually, I’m fine with powdered milk in my coffee but the fellow draws the line there. Fair enough.

The bean pulp that’s left is called okara- you can season it and use it as a meat replacer or stretcher (the same Rodale book has a surprisingly yummy recipe for “soysage”) or feed it to your chickens! They LOVE it.
Here’s the mise for my soysage, aka “cheatloaf”, which is surprisingly tasty:

What will really blow you away is how easy it is to make tofu at this point… and how similar it is to making cheese, if you’ve ever done that (don’t worry if you haven’t, it’s not rocket science and you can still eat your mistakes)!

Mix up a cup of water and 1 1/4 t. epsom salts (or nigari or calcium sulfate if you have those… I don’t). Bring the soymilk back up to a boil, add the mixture one third at a time, letting it boil again and stirring gently between each addition.

Kill the heat and let sit for a few minutes, and you should get soy curds and whey! Back to the singing… “little miss moffet, sat on a toffet, eating her bean curds, oh hey!”

Ladle into a mold (anything food safe and porous… strainer works fine again, though I have a couple plastic cheese molds that I saved from some store bought panela that had ridiculously sturdy “disposable” molds as packaging) and let drain. Press with a weight on top if you want firmer curds.
Use the whey in your next soup stock or bread. Mind blown! Sooo cheap, it’s almost free.

In other home dairy news… our neighbor just got goats! So in addition to the visiting goats at the park, we also have a trio of permanent resident Nigoras (Angora and Nigerian Dwarf crosses)… Olga and her daughter, and little Walter, the future stud-muffin who for now is getting pushed around by the ladies. So there is goat milk soap in the future… and our neighbor agreed to teach me to weld in exchange for soap-making lessons. I love our street. Most of the time…


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Door’s open, c’mon in!

Late breaking news (sorry to not get this up sooner, it’s been a madhouse over here)… we are ON for tomorrow, to continue the first Sunday tradition of open studios at Alewyfe… “A trading post for the exchange of goods, ideas, and good will!!”

11 am-6 pm, Sunday Oct. 7th
Coffee and beer (to drink), soaps and sundries (for sale), ideas and good will (priceless).

We’re also concurrently hosting the October meeting of the Chicago Young Aggies group, so come by for farm chatter, soil schemes and dreams, or to meet others agriculturally minded! Afterwards, (or before, if you’re an early bird) head down the street to the Conservatory to visit the Garfield Goats, who are snacking on the prairie grasses this week! Sani, Salvi, and Gracie are dairy goats who live near Midway airport but spend a week a month vacationing in our ‘hood, grooming the park grounds, and getting some fresh forage. I only wish I’d thought of it first. :-)

Tell friends and bring friendly strangers, or just stop by for a beverage!

We’ll of course have our usual selection of handmade organic soap, local honey, jams, salsas, and relishes, dry herbal teas from the garden, and all manner of various and assorted sundries to offer.

Do you need; A pair of cast iron corn stick pans? A couple Kodak Brownies and a Holga camera, and lots of darkroom ephemera? Canning jar lids? Homebrewing bits and pieces? Misc bike parts? A saltwater reef tank? Leather pants? A traffic light? We’ve (still) got all that, and much much more!!! Despite what Alefellow may tell you, the dog is NOT for sale. Actually, he’s mostly stopped trying to sell her now that he likes her despite still claiming to not be a pet-person. She’s pretty charming. Except for the gas. Though I could say the same for myself, or the fellow… so it works out.

Virtually no offer refused, stuff has to go and we need to raise funds for things like masonry pointing, insulation, windows, a new roof, and the crew of 18 or so weight lifters it will take to get the bowling lanes back OUT of our basement and installed upstairs for floors… Thanks a million times again to those of you (and gravity) that helped get them in there! We will have to have a bowling party and set up some pins when they’re installed (and before we put up drywall, haha). Aaand we may board up the lower sections of the windows (those that aren’t already, that is). :-D

Email alewyfe (at) gmail to RSVP or if you need the address. Hope to see you tomorrow!

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