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

Our Favorite Warm Beverages for Cozy Days

At the beginning of November, the holiday season becomes more lively as the weather becomes more chilly. We like to enjoy these cold autumn days by cozying up on the couch and watching movies, having long talks with our loved ones, or just curling up with a great book. Our favorite accessories for these activities? A comfortable blanket and a warm beverage.

Our Favorite Warm Fall Beverages

  • Spiced Rooibos Tea: This caffeine-free herbal tea is rich in antioxidants and features an aromatic blend of ginger, cinnamon and orange. It’s rich in flavor and soothing to the soul.
  • British Tea: If you’re in the mood for a warm milk tea, try our British tea recipe! In England, milk is added to lower the temperature of the tea to drink sooner, but also to sweeten and add richness to the beverage. For those that want a more refreshing cup of tea, substitute for lemon and honey to deepen the flavor profile.
  • Oh So Soy Latte: If you’re looking for a dairy-substitute or a tea-alternative for your cozy evening – give this soy latte a try. Simply brew your favorite coffee or espresso and add in your milk-substitute, like soy milk!
  • Hot Indian Lassi: Instead of milk, try a warm yogurt-based drink. A lassi is commonly enjoyed in India and can be sweet or salty. This recipe is for a warm, sweet variation of a traditional lassi, made with Greek yogurt and cardamom.
  • Cold Buster Soothie: Feeling a little under the weather? Try our soothie, a beverage that aims to soothe the body and comfort your throat – and all you need is lemon, hot water and honey.

Share the Warmth

Image link: https://www.zojirushi.com/user/images/prod/267.3.jpg 

When we make larger batches of warm drinks for the whole family, we use the Zojirushi Glass Vacuum Carafe (AH-FAE10). The beautiful design of this product was inspired by Imono – traditional cast-iron products in the Japanese culture. Matte black accented with gold features an elegant contemporary spin to the classic aesthetic, making it a perfect addition for your home or office.

 

As it gets colder, we tend to all love reaching for a warm beverage for comfort. Thermal Carafes are great for keeping hot beverages at-the-ready, anywhere in your home. Its vacuum insulation provides superior heat retention, keeping your beverage hot on the inside, while the exterior stays cool to the touch. Just pour yourself a cup to enjoy a hot cuppa, anytime, anywhere.

A Closer Look

Have you ever looked inside your glass lined carafe or air pot and noticed a shimmer? It’s because between the 2 layers of glass, there is a silver plating. The plating helps reflect heat like a mirror, to improve heat retention. The high quality vacuum glass liner in all Zojirushi Glass Carafes provides excellent heat retention. Learn about different ways to prevent heat transfer here:

All Zojirushi vacuum glass liners are made in Japan, and use medical-grade borosilicate glass which not only provides superior heat retention, but also repels odors and stains! It’s also safe for food contact, and really easy to clean. If you’re interested in learning more about how glass liners are made, take a look at this fascinating video here: https://youtu.be/wvxX5DgoDxw

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

Hosting the Perfect Tea Party at Home

Hosting a tea party at home is one of our favorite ways to entertain our guests. If you’re looking to gather a small group of family together for some afternoon tea, you’ll need to begin the planning a few weeks in advance to prepare some tasty finger foods and have an array of teas available for your guests to choose from on the day of the party.

The Basics

Before you start to work on the menu, make sure you have everything in order!  We provided a checklist so that you can have your bases covered:

  1. Pick a date that works for you and most of your guests.
  2. Send out an invitation so everyone knows when and where you’ll be having your party.
  3. Be sure to ask your guests if they have any allergies, so you can keep that in consideration when planning your menu.
  4. Confirm how many guests can make the event.
  5. Plan to have enough mugs, plates, cutlery, snacks and a wide selection of tea for the group.

Menu Planning

Tea parties differ from brunch or dinner parties, and generally require a lighter menu that features a selection of finger foods. Here are some of our favorite go-to recipes from around the world that can be easily made using your Zojirushi Breadmaker that you may want to consider for your upcoming event. Pro tip: make as many of these treats of these ahead of time as possible, so you can enjoy getting ready and just hosting your friends on the day-of.

  • Apple Danish: Originating in Denmark, this is one of many sweet pastries from around the world enjoyed by all. This flaky bread with sweet apple filling can be part of a relaxing breakfast, or a satisfying mid-afternoon snack.
  • An-Pan: An-pan is a Japanese sweet bun filled with red bean paste and is recognized as one of the most popular snack breads in Japan. It was first made by a former samurai during the Meiji period (around 143 years ago), when Japan was becoming more westernized. Make sure to pinch shut the bottom of the dough to prevent it from opening while baking!
  • Bacon Pain d’Epi with Coffee Spread: Pain d’Epi is a type of artisan bread in which baguette dough is baked in a shape of a wheat stalk. Our version features a slice of juicy bacon over a robust coffee spread inside.
  • Broccoli Salmon Crescent Pocket: This large, flaky crescent sandwich is filled with salmon and cheesy broccoli. It’s the perfect tasty party dish.
  • Luscious Blueberry Loaf: Our recipe for this luscious blueberry loaf uses fresh blueberries and finishes with a crumb topping for a lovely presentation. Add the blueberries when the kneading cycle completes to maintain its shape and color.

Tea Selection and Temperature

As important as it is to have a wide array of finger foods, it’s also great to have a variety of teas to offer your guests at your party. This allows them to select the taste and caffeine level they are comfortable with. Some different types of tea we love include: Matcha, Gyokuro, Oolong, Black Tea & Herbal.

Did you know that different teas are best brewed at different temperatures? If you don’t brew at the right temperature, the tea could become bitter or not be as fragrant and tasty as it should. Zojirushi water boilers have different temperature settings ideal for a variety of teas, so you can brew your tea to perfection.  Find the perfect temperatures for your favorite teas below:

Secret Weapon

The Zojirushi Micom Water Boiler & Warmer’s (CD-NAC40) capability to heat water to various perfect temperatures is one of the main reasons this machine is our secret weapon for all tea parties.

But, there are many other features that make the water boiler useful, on a daily basis. For example, its Quick Temp Mode. Zojirushi water boilers are all designed to boil the water first, before keeping it warm at the select temperature. This was designed for safety, as well as to reduce the chlorine in tap water. If using bottled or purified water, this step can be omitted by using the Quick Temp Mode, which skips the boiling process and heats to the select temperature, reducing time and energy.

Additionally, the boiler has a useful timer. The timer setting will shut off the heater for an extended period of time, and automatically turn it back on, so you’ll have hot water ready for you after 6-10 hours. This is useful to set up at night so hot water is at the ready in the morning without keeping the heater on all night, using up electricity. With features like this, every day can be a tea party with very little effort!

Learn more here:

 

Did you try any of these recipes or host your own tea party? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan #ZoParty