Soy milk surprises

Nutty flavor suits many dishes
BEN MARKS

Soy Milk Pumpkin Pie

Ours is a two-carton household. Half of the family can drink only soy milk, while the other half can pour 2% over breakfast cereal until the stuff floats, with no apparent adverse digestive effects.

Cereal was the sole reason we stocked soy milk in our fridge until the other evening, when I was in the last stages of mashing potatoes for dinner and discovered we were out of milk. "No we're not," my oldest son corrected.

I looked suspiciously at the carton of soy milk in his hand. It'll never work, I thought darkly. But the two members of the family who weren't privy to my last-minute recipe change cleaned their plates more quickly than usual. The soy had given the potatoes a nutty flavor that we loved.

What other dishes, I wondered, might benefit from that flavor? This month, an obvious candidate is pumpkin pie, which can lure lactose-intolerant souls to their dairy doom. Turns out it's as simple as substituting a little less soy for the evaporated milk most recipes call for. In our tests, the plates came back clean!

MORE SOY SUCCESSES

The slightly sweet, nutty flavor of soy milk is particularly well suited to recipes based on plant foods. To substitute soy milk for regular, just reduce the amount of milk called for in your recipe by about 20 percent. Here are just a few dishes in which we've substituted soy milk for dairy with delicious results:

Quiche. Soy behaves well in pies, sweet or savory. It tastes great in a vegetable-laden quiche.

Cream of mushroom soup. Soy's flavor is a distinctive backdrop for earthy mushrooms. Make sure you don't boil the soup once the milk is added.

Muffins. Soy adds complexity to fruit-studded muffins. We especially like it in blueberry ones.