Mom’s Home Cooking: Pumpkin Nimono かぼちゃの煮付け(Japanese Boiled Pumpkin)

Japanese simmered pumpkin, which is slowly cooked to a soft, melt-in-your-mouth dish, is one of the most popular home-cooked dishes enjoyed throughout the fall and winter. It’s made with kabocha, a Japanese winter squash that is much sweeter than American pumpkin. You’re sure to think of mom’s home cooking when you try this dish, and it is an easy and nutritious addition that you can add to any meal. And the best part? This dish can be prepared in about 30 minutes and has an incredibly long shelf life. Let’s learn more about this delicious dish below.

Kabocha is a Japanese squash that is similar in texture to pumpkin and sweet potato. The color is usually a dull deep green with white stripes. An average kabocha weighs about 2-3 lbs.

Kabocha continues growing even after it is harvested! It takes a long time to become ready to consume. After harvest, kabocha needs to be ripened in a warm environment for up to 13 days to let the starches develop into sugar. Then, it’s stored in a cool place to increase carb content. This process can take up to 3 months.

It is much harder to cut than other pumpkin varieties when it comes to the rind, but once cooked, the rind is edible too. The flesh is a deep, reddish-yellow, and turns orange when cooked. In addition to being boiled and seasoned, kabocha can be prepared as tempura, croquettes, desserts, pastries, and even lattes!

How to prepare this dishThis dish is traditionally prepared with dashi, sake, mirin, and sugar, and can be prepared in just about 30 minutes. You can prepare this dish in your Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet EP-RAC50.

  • First, cut the kabocha: The rind is very tough, so be careful when cutting. Use a large knife and cut slowly. Another option is to let it microwave for a few minutes to get it soft.
  • Remove the seeds: Use a spoon to scoop the seeds and then discard.
  • Cut into smaller pieces: Make sure the pieces are cut into roughly the same size so they can cook evenly.
  • Prepare the broth: Place the cut kabocha skin side down and pour dashi on top in a skillet.
  • Stir in the sauce: Once the broth has softened the squash, add the other ingredients and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Serve hot or cold: You’ll know this dish is done cooking when you can easily poke a hole into the kabocha. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and serve either hot or cold.

So, what do you think about this dish? Let us know if you tried making this dish at home or used our Electric Skillet by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

What’s In Your Toaster Oven?


One day I decided to see what I could make in my toaster oven, from breakfast to dinner. Since I don’t cook, they all had to be easy to make—I found out that baking is a pretty easy way to cook. And toaster ovens don’t get as hot as a regular oven, they’re right on the counter, and they’re big enough for mostly anything (mine is anyway).

First up was my breakfast. Egg toast with cheese. Have you ever tried this? Just put a dent in the middle of a piece of bread and drop an egg in it. Spread some cheese around the top and leave the egg exposed. Then you just pop it in the oven for like 12 to 15 minutes at around 375°F until you see the cheese turn brown.

I used the bottom of a glass to make the cavity, which was easy because you notice I used very thick bread! This is the Japanese shoku pan style bread that you can find at most Asian supermarkets. These slices came from a 340 gram (3/4 lb.) loaf that had 6 slices. You can find varying thicknesses too, sometimes the really thick ones have only 4 slices! If you’ve never tried this kind of bread I would recommend doing so immediately—it’s got a texture that is unbelievably soft (but not squishy), a crust that isn’t hard at all, and a satisfying milky taste. Even with the thinner slices, shoku pan toasts beautifully on the surface while still staying fluffy on the inside.

Aaand…breakfast!

Gotta say I went a little long with the baking on this one. I prefer my yolks runny. Oh well, next time… One great way to eat it though, is to add some Japanese mayo as a topping. The tang of the mayo really compliments the cheese and egg combination nicely.

Kale Chips

Since when did people start eating kale and making it a thing anyway? Didn’t we just ignore it when restaurants used to use it as a decoration on your plate, eventually destined for the busboy to clear off after you were done with the real food? Nobody actually ate it because it tasted horrible! Well, I got news for you, to some of us it still tastes horrible, ha-ha! But somehow they found out it was good for you and kale became the darling of salads. My wife loves kale—I do not. But Kale Chips? OK, I gotta admit they’re pretty good! This is easy—just coat with olive oil (not too much), salt and pepper, and bake it for 10 or 15 minutes at 350°F. Try to brown but not burn it.

One thing; make sure you cut the kale into large enough pieces. It shrinks considerably. Otherwise, it makes a good snack. believe it or not.

My own version of a snack. Mix it with popcorn. Doesn’t this look more like I’m justifying eating this stuff?

Foil Packet Chicken

Sorry, I can’t take the credit for this one—my wife helped me out because she didn’t want me to ruin dinner! But this was easy too. The sauce is made from olive oil, Dijon mustard, herbs you would have around the house and lemons. There are a bunch of similar recipes you can look up online, but the real benefit of cooking with foil is that everything steams inside at the same time, even the potatoes. Took about 30 minutes at 375°F. One thing we forgot was to slice the potatoes in half, which would have helped bake them faster—I would recommend not skipping this step. Otherwise, you get half-baked potatoes.

Dinner is served! No pan to clean—just toss the foil after cooking, or serve it like that and pretend you’re outdoors camping. There’s a whole library of foil cooking recipes out there; just remember it’s not just for camping. It’s great for oven baking too.

My dirty little secret: our regular oven doesn’t work really well, which is the real reason we’ve been using a toaster oven ever since it went on the blink. But you know what—we don’t really miss it. As long as you don’t need to bake for a crowd or have multiple baking pans or cookie sheets you have to do at the same time, you don’t really need a big oven. As long as your toaster oven is a high quality larger capacity one, you’ll find it’s well worth the counter space!

Just For Fun

This guy actually broke into our house by chewing the screen!

The same one on a raid. He came repeatedly for weeks and weeks. We tried hot pepper on the screen, taping it shut, etc.

Finally had to call an exterminator. Sorry guys, squirrels are cute but not when they start invading. He even brought a buddy one day. That was the last straw for me!

 

 

Products used in this post: Micom Toaster Oven ET-ZLC30

Please note that these recipes were not tested by Zojirushi America.

All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2021

 

 

 

 

Fall Favorite Recipes

We love the fall for its seasonal ingredients (hello, pumpkin!), and the hearty dishes we can make with them that make this season extra cozy and special.  Today, we’ll be sharing the recipes we’re most excited about, and how you can easily make them with the help of your Zojirushi appliances. Plus, you’ll get an exclusive look at our product of the month, the Zojirushi Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet for Yin Yang Hot Pot EP-PFC20, and see how to upgrade your cooking skills with its multi-functional capabilities. Let’s get to it!

Pumpkin Dishes

Pumpkin is without a doubt one of the most popular ingredients for fall cooking. It’s healthy, hearty, and can be served sweet or savory. Here are our top choices on Zojirushi pumpkin delights:

Pumpkin Bread

A flavorful bread made with robust fall spices, pumpkin puree, and toasted crunchy walnuts. It’s the perfect fall treat for breakfast, coffee, or dessert. Bake it with one touch with a wide range of our bread makers. If you want to make this loaf perfectly, make sure to follow close attention to the directions. Loaf got you stuck? Try wiggling the wingnuts under the baking pan. Doing so will move the kneading blade, releasing any baked dough that is causing it to be stuck and the loaf should slide right out! Just don’t wiggle it too much or the loaf might get a big hole.

Harvest Pumpkin Roll

This is a sweet pastry that features pumpkin puree and maple syrup. Sticky, warm, and the perfect treat for any occasion. To get the fluffiest rolls, remember to use fresh ingredients. This is especially important for yeast because it’s a living organism. Once the yeast is opened, store it in the fridge to maintain freshness and use it as quickly as possible.

Pumpkin and Ricotta Cannelloni

A savory Italian appetizer that will make your heart sing. This is a dish that you can make in your Zojirushi breadmaker. Expert tip: Use a digital kitchen scale to measure your ingredients instead of measuring cups. Measuring by weight is always accurate and consistent so you will always enjoy perfectly baked goods every time!

 

Soups Stews, and Grills

There’s nothing more comforting than indulging in a savory, hot soup to warm up during the colder months. This month, we’re introducing our latest multi-functional Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet for Yin Yang Hot Pot EP-PFC20, which can make delicious stews, and more!

 

The versatile skillet has two cooking pans: a deep pan with a divider for Yin Yang hot pot, and a dual surface griddle pan for grilling meats and vegetables. Both pans are titanium and ceramic enhanced nonstick coated, with a 1,300 watt heating system for quick heating. It also has a tempered glass lid to monitor the cooking process, and a detachable power cord for easy storing. Learn more on our product video: Zojirushi Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet for Yin Yang Hot Pot EP-PFC20

Impressive, right? Below are a few hot pot soups you can make this month with the help of the Yin Yang Hot Pot:

  • Sichuan Hot Pot: A popular Chinese dish that is spicy and numbing. Throw in your favorite fall veggies and enjoy.
  • Kimchi Hot Pot: Kimchi is a fermented Korean dish with a kick and is delicious when served warm for the fall. Add pork belly, tofu, and spices for an all-in-one meal.
  • Daikon Pork Layered Hot Pot: This easy recipe features dashi, soy, pork, and mushroom. A perfect fall combination.

Ready to try the grilling feature? Here are our top choices:

  • Japanese Barbequed Lamb: Eat as you go with this savory grilled dish. Toss in the vegetables first, then the marinated lamb.
  • Grilled Veggie Open Faced Sandwich: A vegetarian alternative to enjoy this fall. Featuring veggies marinated in red wine, honey and olive oil for a balanced flavor profile.  
  • Fancy Grilled Lobster Tails: This dish features tender lobster tails with lemon zest and butter sauce along with fluffy potatoes topped with sour cream and bacon

Did you try any of these recipes or have a favorite? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan #FallDishes #Pumpkin #Hotpot

 

 

 

Mom’s Home Cooking: Japanese Hot Pot (鍋 / Nabe)

Nabemono, or Nabe for short, is a hearty Japanese dish that was traditionally prepared in clay pots. “Nabe” actually translates to “cooking pot,” and “mono” translates to “thing.” This popular dish can be prepared in many different ways depending on which region of Japan you’re in, but is typically made with vegetables, flavored broth, mushrooms, and meat. As a staple dish that reminds of mom’s cooking, we know that most moms will add a festive touch by preparing flavorful dipping sauces and colorful accoutrements. Nabe is a delicious dish that brings families and friends together, as it is a social event where the meal is cooked right at the table and enjoyed collectively.

History of Nabe

Nabemono is said to be as old as Japanese earthenware, dating back to a thousand years ago. It was traditionally enjoyed during the fall and winter seasons over a sunken fireplace, or “irori,” which was typically built at the center of Japanese homes.

As time progressed, nabe was moved over to charcoal stoves, and became portable with the invention of the “shichirin” clay stove. Today, nabe can be made at any time of year thanks to modern portable stoves.

Preparing nabe can be ceremonial as well — the family nominates a “nabe bugyo,” who is in charge of deciding which ingredients are cooked and in which order.

Types of Nabe

There is a dizzying number of ways nabe is enjoyed throughout Japan. Depending on the region, exotic ingredients such as pufferfish and wild boar can be used! Here are some of the most common styles of nabe you can keep an eye out for the next time you’re looking to enjoy Japanese hot pot:

  • Yose-nabe is the most common and type of nabe, made with a mix of vegetables, mushrooms, meats and seafoods. Often, raw eggs and cooked rice are added to the condensed broth to end the meal with a thick rice porridge.
  • Sukiyaki features thinly sliced beef or pork simmered with vegetables in a mix of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and water. Ingredients are usually dipped in raw egg before eating.
  • Shabu Shabu often has a lightly flavored broth, made with kombu and dashi. Vegetables are added to the pot, and meat is added last. The thinly sliced meat only needs a few moments to cook before it is removed and dipped in a ponzu or sesame sauce before enjoying
  • Oden broth is often simmered for hours, and includes ingredients such as fish cakes and potatoes. You can find oden ready-to-eat at many Japanese convenience stores.
  • Chanko is a type of Japanese nabe that is eaten in huge quantities by sumo wrestlers as they attempt to gain or maintain their fighting weights in Japan. The broth is usually made from dashi and/or chicken, sake, and mirin. Fun fact: sumo wrestlers will not use beef and pork for soup base because being on four legs represents a loss in sumo wrestling.

How to Enjoy Nabe

The great thing about nabe is that you can truly make it your own. There are some basic guidelines, however, that can help make your nabe experience more enjoyable (and tasty!). Here are some of our favorite tips on how to enjoy nabe:

  • Set the table. Each person should have a small personal bowl in which they can ladle their ingredients into. Additionally, each person should have personal condiments and dipping sauces nearby for when the ingredients are ready to eat.
  • Prep the sauces. Depending on what kind of nabe you are having, you can have different condiments such as ponzu, grated daikon, yuzu kosho, and mustard. Feel free to mix and match the sauces, or even try something completely new!
  • Make the most of it. Near the end of the meal, make the most of your leftover broth by adding rice or noodles to it. Or, save the broth for the next day and simply add water to dilute and enjoy with rice or noodles.

Make Nabe at Home

Zojirushi’s Vegetarian Miso Nabe

Ready to show off your nabe-making chops to your loved ones? Zojirushi has nabe recipes that you can make in the comfort of your own home using your Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet EP-PBC10 or EP-RAC50. Which one will you be making tonight?

Let us know if you try (or make) any of these dishes by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Zojirushi’s Colorful Flip-Open Mugs are the Perfect Back-to-School Companions

Stainless Mug SM-SR36E/48E/60E

As the summer wraps up, you know what that means – back to school! There are so many things to prepare, as the new school year begins, including keeping your student hydrated and refreshed throughout the day. With Zojirushi’s Stainless Flip-Open Mugs (SM-SR36E/48E/60E, SM-WR36E/48E/60E), your child will love taking a sip every chance they get, especially when they’re filled with tasty drinks. Today we share why our product of the month is an essential back-to-school item, as well as tips to maintain this mug to last for many school years to come. Let’s dive right in!

Meet Our Product of the Month

Stainless Mug SM-WR36E/48E/60E

  • Choose from 9 different colors: Yes, you heard that right! Start the school year off in style with any one of our attractive colors, including Mint, White, Silky Black, Matte Gold, and Pearl Pink for the SM-SR36E/48E/60E. If you’re looking for even more color options, the SM-WR36E/48E/60E comes in Mint, Cantaloup, Light Blue, and Dark Gray. The color choices help differentiate your child’s bottle from their siblings, your morning coffee, or even their classmates.

    Ultra-lightweight and compact design

  • Pick your size: The compact and ultra-lightweight mugs come in three different sizes, conveniently fitting in any backpack or schoolbag. Weighing between 6-9 oz. empty, these mugs are light as air. They come in  20, 16, and 12 oz. sizes so there is one that is just right for everyone. We find that the small bottles are great for younger children, while the larger bottles are perfect for on-the-go hydration on long school days or after-school sports.

Air vent on the mouthpiece allows beverages to flow out smoothly without gushing or overflowing

  • Designed for easy drinking: The 2-step lid releases at the click of a button and helps prevent excess condensation on the stopper from being flung as the lid opens. This protects other items in the child’s locker or backpack, as well as their desks as they move from class to class. Additionally, the air vent in the mouthpiece ensures that the flow of beverages will always be smooth, and the mouthpiece also completely disassembles for easy cleaning. It’s a win-win: no messes while drinking, no messes while cleaning!
  • Safety Lock: Flip-open lids are convenient, but not when they accidentally open in your bag and spill your drink all over. Zojirushi’s flip-open lids have a safety lock, so even if something pushes against the open button, it will keep it from opening. The tight fitted lid also prevents spills and helps keep your drink hotter or colder.
  • Superior vacuum insulation technology: Our mugs are made with high-quality 18/8 stainless steel and will keep your drinks hot or cold for hours. This is especially important if your child has afterschool activities and are craving a cold drink to quench their thirst. If they enjoy warmer beverages, for example before their choir debut, this mug will also support those temperature needs.

Pro Tips on Using and Maintaining Your Stainless Mug with a Flip-Open Lid

  • Wide mouth opening: The large opening makes pouring drinks into the mug super easy and fits full-size ice cubes. This is great for busy parents who value every second when getting the kids ready in the morning.
  • Nonstick interior: Makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze, while also keeping out stains and odors. And what’s more, all areas of our mugs that come into contact with your beverage are BPA-free.

    Stopper disassembles for thorough cleaning

  • Keep Clean: Zojirushi lids are designed to disassemble for easy and thorough cleaning. The parts should be cleaned after every use with a soft sponge and a mild dish detergent. Then, they should be allowed to air dry fully before reassembling. This will keep the lid as hygienic as possible and ready for use!
  • Open the Lid All the Way: The flip-open lid has a spring at the hinge, allowing the lid to open completely, and then stay in-place, so it doesn’t close on your nose when drinking. If you’re holding your bottle towards the top when opening the lid, your hand can be obstructing the lid from opening completely, so stay clear of the opening lid.

Green Tea White Virgin Sangria

Delicious Drinks to Add Flavor to the School Year

One of the best ways to prep your child for the school day is by making sure they’re hydrated, whether they’re studying diligently in the classroom or participating in their extracurricular activities. Of course, water is our number one recommendation, but if your child needs more creative ways to stay hydrated, these easy and nutritious recipes will have them reaching for their Zojirushi stainless mug to refresh themselves throughout the day.

  • Green Tea White Virgin Sangria: A fruity and delicious drink that can be enjoyed by the whole family and a great way to keep your child cool on a warm day.
  • Cold Buster Soothie: Go back to the basics with a little warm water, lemon juice and honey to add a soothing touch to any day as we ease into autumn.
  • Fresh Fruit Tea: Use your child’s favorite fruits, whatever you have on hand that’s in season, or any of our recommendations. This versatile tea has a sweet and delicious aroma, that’s a fun and festive way to work on your child’s hydration.

Did you try any of these recipes for back to school? Which mug is your favorite color? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan #ZoRice