martes, 10 de noviembre de 2009

A Medicine Woman, A Soybean Project, & little old me

I was a lucky lady to spend a day with the knowledgeable and wise Doña Aura, a practiced natural healer and nutritionist, not to mention accomplished author, and director of the Ahualcatl Center of Natural Therapy. She hosts a series of hands-on medicinal plant/healthy foods workshops, (including the preparation of salves, soaps, teas, and foods) based on our local climate, crops, and culture--this was a Nutrition/Food Preparation class.

First Doña Aura revealed the unofficial four food groups of Latin America and which local foods fit into which category
We decided that my farm has a great start in each group! I was advised to plant yucca (a staple carbohydrate) and more sunflowers (with the intention to harvest and press the seeds into oil). Doña Aura was very impressed at my attempt to grow soybeans, a highly available plant protein source in Nicaragua AND the featured food in our workshop.

The Soybean Project
After an overnight soak, we rubbed the beans to remove the clear skins (which contribute to gas).

Next up, grinding the softened soybeans into a thick paste--Aura uses a hand grinder, a great arm workout, though a blender will also do the job.

Add the soy mash to a pot of boiling water and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes, until a froth forms on top.
Remove from heat. Once cool, squeeze the milky mixture through a cheese cloth, retaining the solids in the cloth and saving the liquid in the pot.
Said liquid IS your freshly made soy milk! Doña Aura prefers to add lemon leaves for flavor and also recommends vanilla, cinnamon, and a bit of sugar. yuuum!

On to those soy curds that were separated out from the milk.
Doña Aura actually makes this stuff on a regular basis and sells it as soy "chorizo" (sausage); it is that good!

We enjoyed each other's company over heavy chopping: feast your eyes on our rainbow of sliced and diced onions, peppers, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, and carrots.
The diced bits were mixed in with our soy "meat," along with a dash of salt, to create the coveted chorizo de soya:
Doña Aura's fresh soy sausage can be spread as is on bread or toast, or fried lightly in oil as a crispy patty.

As for our Homemade Four Food Group Luncheon Extravaganza, the larger veggies pieces were sauteed in a sumptuous stew topped with fried cheese. ¡Que rico!
It was an honor and a privilege to spend the day with a gardener and nutritionist of such enviable experience and delightful demeanor. ¡Muchas gracias Doña Aura!

5 comentarios:

Nell Jean dijo...

I gathered some soybeans before the combine came to the field. I haven't shelled them yet. Maybe I was waiting for Dona Aura's instructions on exactly how to cook and use them. The recipes I found on the net were not nearly so clear and explicit. Thank you.

azplantlady dijo...


What a wonderful experience to spend time with this wise woman. The soy sausage sounds delicious.

Liz dijo...

Yay, i'm glad the info is useful to you Nell Jean! fyi, the numbers are 1 pound of dry beans, 4 liters of water.
The soy sausage is so good! I especially love to add it to a breakfast burrito :)

Sonia dijo...

I was wondering where to find Doña Aura. I am an expat living in Nicaragua for the past 2 years and I would love to get some more examples of healthy foods to make using local ingredients.

Liz dijo...

Awesome Sonia! where are you living? I still get email updates from Dona Aura, so I assume she continues to do her good work. Check out her website for contact info:

Aura Maria Uriarte Cortes
Visita mi pagina Web