Easy and Delicious Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas

Welcome to the Month of Love, Zo-fans – a time to celebrate your partner, especially on Valentine’s Day. While many couples decide to have a date night out, some may opt for a more intimate and romantic night in with a homecooked meal. Making dinner at home is a great gesture, but it can also be overwhelming to make a dish that’s more elevated than an everyday dinner, while not being too complicated to make or add hours to clean-up.

We’ve rounded up some ideas to help you prepare a dinner that’s delicious and sure to impress with our best tips for simple prep and clean-up.

Delicious Appetizer

Tomato & Basil Appetizer Style Thin Crust Pizza: Use your Zojirushi Breadmaker to make a homemade pizza appetizer, with fresh tomatoes, prosciutto, and cheese. Simple, yet refined. A wonderful beginning to any meal.

Side Dishes to Pair with Your Meal

Caprese Rice Salad: Use your Zojirushi rice cooker to make this twist on a caprese salad, with a rice base. Featuring pine nuts and herbs, this dish is tasty and can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for 12 hours before serving.

Green Peas and Asparagus Doria: Similar to French gratin, this Japanese dish is made with buttered rice with vegetables, meat or fish, soaked in a bechamel sauce and topped with cheese.

Okra, Asparagus, and Cherry Tomato Salad: This side dish is easy to prepare in minutes, by blanching vegetables with hot water from your Zojirushi water boiler.

Entrée Options

Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast: Faster than roasting a whole turkey but just as festive. This dish has a delicious stuffing and can be made in our product of the month, the Multicooker (EL-CAC60).

Baked Risotto Lasagna Style: This variation of lasagna is baked to perfection with layers of meat sauce and rice (instead of pasta).

Roasted Chicken and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli with Sherry Sauce: Luxurious porcini mushrooms are the star of this tasty ravioli dish, easy to make using your Zojirushi breadmaker.

Ending on a Sweet Note

Layered Trifle Tower: Not sure about baking? No problem! The batter is baked in your Zojirushi rice cooker. Just layer with custard, whipped cream and fruit!

Chocolate Raspberry Tofu Pie: If you’re looking for a non-dairy but luxe dessert to enjoy, try this pie with a smooth raspberry chocolate filling made with tofu.

Do More with Your Multicooker

You can use your Zojirushi Multicooker (EL-CAC60) to help with a variety of meals for your Valentine’s Day dinner. Nine convenient menu settings include: sauté, simmer, slow cook, steam, rice cooker, quinoa, yogurt, and keep warm. The appliance has 4 temperatures for slow cooking, and preprogrammed grain and yogurt settings that automatically adjust cooking time and temperature to make white rice, brown rice, quinoa and yogurt. The machine also comes with a full color recipe book to continue to make easy and delicious meals to enjoy with your partner. Learn more here:

Easy to Make, Easy to Clean

The best part about Zojirushi appliances is their thoughtful construction, not only for cooking but also for clean-up. Here are some tips to clean and maintain the rice cooker used for your Valentine’s Day meal:

Remove & Clean Inner Lid: During the boiling process, starchy foam will adhere to the inner lid and become dirty. The inner lid is designed so it can be removed and washed thoroughly. Especially if you add any ingredients other than rice (such as condiments) when cooking, wash thoroughly to prevent odors.

Remove & Clean Steam Vent Cap: The steam vent cap is there to catch any foam that forms during cooking. Make sure you remove and clean it after each use to prevent from clogging.

Tips to Keep Inner Pan Scratch Free: The inner pan is nonstick coated for easy cleaning (rice is very sticky). When cleaning or washing, don’t put forks, knives or other cooking utensils in the inner pan. The pan should be hand washed with a soft sponge and a mild dishwashing liquid. Please only use the rice spatula that came with your rice cooker to keep the pan from scratching and deteriorating.

What are your favorite meals to make for your significant other? Are you planning on trying any of the recipes or tips we shared today? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

On-the-Go Tea Time with Our Tea Tumbler

Happy National Hot Tea Month, Zo Fans! At Zojirushi we love enjoying a cup of tea in the morning, on-the-go, at work, and even at the end of our day. Our new Stainless Tea Tumbler with Handle (SE-KAE48) is leak-proof, vacuum insulated and designed to perfectly house your beverage whether you are at home or on the run, and that’s why it’s the first product of the month in the new year! Inspired by the traditional purple clay teapot, the fine texture of its porous finish creates the sense of familiar comfort with every sip. Keep reading to learn all about this tumbler, how to take care of it, and how to use tea to prepare delicious dishes to celebrate this month.

Tea Tumbler Special Features

Excellent Temperature Control: This tumbler is built with a stainless steel vacuum insulated wall to offer superior heat and cold retention for hours after pouring into the container. The stainless steel vacuum insulation also minimizes heat transfer to keep the exterior from getting hot and minimizes condensation if you’re carrying a cold drink.

Tea Strainer & Infuser: Included with this tumbler is a stainless steel direct brewing tea infuser & strainer combo, which has a handle for easy removal. Use just the tea strainer to brew large loose tealeaves like oolong, or the infuser for black and green tea. The tea strainer will keep tealeaves from flowing out, or if you prefer, the infuser/strainer combo can be removed and placed on the lid that conveniently turns into an infuser stand.

Leak Proof: The lid and handle are designed to be carried with you and provide peace of mind to be leak proof (when used according to the manual). Take it with you on your morning walk, in the car on the way to work, or as you move around the house to enjoy your Sunday.

Caring for Your Tea Tumbler

Zojirushi loves building products that last. Here are some tips on how to clean, maintain or update your tumbler to keep it as good as new:

How to remove coffee & tea stains: As the tumbler is used, tea or coffee stains may accumulate on the interior surface of the mug. These stains can be easily removed using a bleach/chlorine-free food and beverage stain remover.

When to replace gasket and plastic parts: The gaskets should be replaced if they are becoming less flexible or cracking. The cover and stopper should be replaced if they are damaged or cracked. We recommend that the parts are carefully inspected at least yearly in case a part is showing signs of wear.

Don’t use bleach: Bleach will cause the stainless steel to rust and the stopper and cover to experience premature wear. The tumbler and its parts should be hand washed with a soft sponge and a mild dishwashing liquid.

Our Go-To Tea Recipes

You’ve heard of cooking with wine, but did you know you can use tea as a signature ingredient in many other dishes? Take a look at our favorite recipes below that incorporate various teas and pro-tip: make more tea than the recipes ask for so you can have something to sip on while the dishes are being prepared.

  • Black Tea Panna Cotta: This creamy Italian dessert with a hint of Earl Grey tea makes an excellent afternoon dessert. Make some extra tea when you are preparing the dessert to enjoy in your tumbler while the dish is being prepared.
  • Green Tea Chicken Stew: If you’re looking for something savory, this green tea chicken stew is a delicious and comforting soup that features grated ginger, sake, mirin, and other umami-rich flavors.
  • Oolong Tea Chicken Bites: This dish features meatballs cooked in a delicious oolong tea soup, which adds a savory and unique flavor profile. Warm and comforting, perfect for National Hot Tea Month.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy tea? Are you planning on trying any of the recipes or tips we shared today? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

Holiday Planning Made Simple

The holiday season is something we look forward to all year long. A time to catch up with old friends safely and to have some of our favorite meals with our favorite people. If you are hosting this year’s get together and are looking for delicious crowd-pleasing recipes that will allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests, look no further! Here are our top recipes and kitchen tool tips to give you a hand with your upcoming gathering.

A Warm Welcome

Welcome your guests with a warm beverage when they first arrive. Program your Micom Water Boiler & Warmer (CD-NAC40/50) in advance to one of 4 keep-warm temperature settings, ready for the welcome beverage you plan on serving. Your guests might enjoy:

  • Houjicha: A Japanese tea, unique from other green teas because it is roasted over charcoal, and therefore the leaf color tints reddish brown. This roasting creates a distinct and soothing aroma.
  • Oolong Coconut Milk Tea: A slightly sweet milk tea, offering a creamy afternoon treat that’s perfect for vegan and dairy-free guests. Boil and add in your favorite boba for a fun twist on this drink!
  • Matcha Made in Heaven: For the adults, consider this warm matcha cocktail. Subtly sweetened with honey to complement a delicate matcha flavor, paired with whiskey and garnished with lemon.

Dinner on Standby

Many Zojirushi products have a Keep Warm setting to help you prep for dinner beforehand and keep your foods hot until ready to serve. Utilize your appliances to free up time! Our Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle (EA-BDC10), for example, helps prepare appetizers ahead of time and uses the keep warm feature so they stay at the perfect temperature until guests are ready for seconds.

Offering appetizers on skewers is a great option if you’re running out of serving spoons or want to offer guests a quick grab-and-go right from the skillet while they’re waiting for dinner to be formally served. Some of our favorite options for appetizers on skewers include Corn Dog Nuggets and Cheesy Spinach Munches.

Making dinner rolls for a family get-together? The automatic rise-then-bake function on our new Micom Toaster Oven will proof the dough for the second rise and then automatically bake it for you. Bonus: it frees up your oven for other dishes! The Micom Toaster Oven (ET-ZLC30) can also help you make delicious Spanakopita, a savory pastry pie made with a spinach and cheese filling, inside of a buttery and crispy filo crust – perfect for a side or an appetizer.

If you’re wondering how to offer a time-saving twist on main entree classics, consider making Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast, a more compact and faster way to offer roasted turkey using our Multicooker (EL-CAC60), or a Spinach and Turkey Lasagna using the Home Bakery Supreme® Breadmaker (BB-CEC20).

A Sweet Ending to a Sweet Day

The best dinners end with dessert and a good cup of coffee. A Zojirushi air pot will keep your coffee hot to the last drop, without making it bitter. Air pots are great for self-serve beverage stations, too!

Did you know you can prepare many delicious desserts using the Home Bakery Supreme® Breadmaker (BB-CEC20)? Here are some of our favorite recipes you can use to close out your holiday meal:

  • Skillet Bread with Cranberry Cheese Dip: A delicious finger food that can be baked right in a cast iron, with a cranberry cheese dip that’s a holiday treat.
  • Bourbon Street Beignets: Donut hole-like pastries that are coated generously with powdered sugar, and a New Orleans classic
  • Choco Cornet: Shaped like an instrument, the Italian-named pastry is a treat any chocolate lover will love

What are your favorite Zojirushi appliances to use on busy days? Are you planning on trying any of the recipes or tips we shared today? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

Common Bread Baking Problems

We understand the frustration of your loaf not quite being picture perfect!  Don’t worry, we can help!  Let’s first make sure our ingredients are fresh, then explore some common bread baking problems, and the steps that can be taken to correct them.

Collapsed or sunken loaf (rising and falling)

Cause: too much yeast, sugar or water, too little salt, or high altitude.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reduce your yeast by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to start with, and using cold water.  If you see an improvement but it’s still not quite there, continue to reduce incrementally.  Alternatively, you could try increasing salt, or decreasing your sugar or water.

Short, dense, and/or dark loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid; less often a result of too little yeast, too little sugar, too much salt, or old ingredients.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reduce your flour* or increasing your liquids.  You can always check your dough during the KNEAD cycle to make sure the texture isn’t too dry.

Lopsided loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients), not enough liquid, or recipe size is too small

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.  If you’re using your own recipe, you may need to increase the recipe size.  The minimum loaf size for our 2 pound bread machines is 1 1/2 pounds (BB-CEC20 and BB-PAC20), and 1 pound for our 1 pound machine (BB-HAC10).

Lumpy Loaf

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.  Check the dough during the KNEAD cycle—if it appears knotty or lumpy, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time until a nice, round ball of dough forms.

Unmixed Ingredients

 

Cause: The kneading blades were not installed properly, or kneading blades have worn out.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:  Installing kneading blades before adding ingredients to the baking pan.  If you suspect they have worn out, take the baking pan out of the bread machine and place the kneading blades on the metal shafts.  Then, try turning the blades with your finger.  Do they catch the shafts and make them rotate?  If one or both doesn’t, it’s time to replace them.

Add Ingredients Didn’t Mix

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:  Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquid.  When the dough is too dry, add ingredients like nuts and raisins cannot penetrate the dough ball.

*The weight of a cup of flour can fluctuate significantly depending upon how the flour is measured.  Using the measuring cup as a scooper, or pouring flour into the measuring cup will result in more of the ingredient being used than our recipes call for.  You can reduce your flour using one of two methods:

  1. Volumetrically: Fluff your flour with a fork or a whisk to loosen it; then, spoon it into your nested measuring cups, and level off without tapping or shaking.
  2. By weight: Weigh your flour with a digital kitchen scale (128g/4.51oz per cup for bread flour; 120g/4.23 oz for whole wheat flour, and 125g/4.41oz for all purpose).  This method yields the most consistent and optimal results, and conveniently cuts out the guesswork.

Still having trouble, or don’t see your baking problem listed here?  Please contact our customer service team for assistance or give us a message on our Facebook.