Zojirushi Blog

About Bert Tanimoto

Oldish father (still) of two youngish (but now young adult) kids. Zojirushi enthusiast and professional writer. California resident with roots in Hawaii and Japan. Classic rock, popcorn movies, audio books, spam, sushi and cone filtered coffee. Guilty pleasures include donuts and pop bands like ABBA and Wham! Don't laugh, you should see my vinyl collection--I give hair bands and prog equal credit.

The Thrill of the Grill

closeup of veggies in front of grill

Grilling season has started and we’re ready to rock and roll at our house. Mind you, I have a Weber® that I break out once in a while, but I’m not great at it. I often miscalculate the amount of charcoal I’m supposed to use and that leads to undercooking or overcooking the meat. But thankfully, and this isn’t a shameless plug or anything, grilling indoors on an electric grill has benefits. I still get the charbroiled marks, I’m not fighting the wind and it’s safe for amateurs like me.

For these grilled vegetables, I coated them with a little olive oil and salt in a bowl before tossing them on the grill. Then like an assembly line I moved them over to a serving platter as they got done.grilled vegetables lined up on electric grill

Of course since I’m not a vegetarian, I’m not against adding a nice steak to this cook-in.steak on grill with vegetables

For steak aficionados, it might be a sin to pre-cut a beautiful piece of sirloin into slices like this, but we do this sometimes if we have a side dish like these grilled veggies that are just as beautiful as the steak. Seriously though, since I like my steak with rice, it’s easier for me to eat this Japanese style—with chopsticks. Here’s a tip—when eating with rice, try dipping in soy sauce and wasabi, as if you’re eating sushi. Trust me, you’re gonna love it.thinly sliced steak surrounded by grilled vegetables

It was so much fun using the grill to cook those vegetables, you have a lot of leftovers and no more steak to eat it with. What do you do? Make a grilled veggie pasta salad of course. This is the kind of salad that holds up well in the refrigerator and probably tastes better on the second day anyway, as the dressing soaks into the pasta. I brought mine for lunch the next day and had it at room temperature—my favorite way to eat a pasta salad.grilled vegetables pasta salad

Did you do grilled pineapples like I did? If you did, you can cut them into small chunks and marinate them in rum for about 30min. Then all you do is use them as a topping with vanilla ice cream and you get the most delicious dessert. Get some Häagen-Dazs® and this really starts to taste like their rum raisin ice cream. Hey, I won’t judge you if you decided to drizzle more rum on top either (hic!).chunks of pineapple on vanilla ice cream

Last month I tested some Zojirushi recipes. I’m going to try doing this from time to time so you guys can get an idea of how they actually come out. I’ve never baked their Baguette recipe in my bread machine, so I tried it. Even though you need to bake it in your own oven to get the shape you want, it still helps to let the machine do the dough. Follow the recipe to do these steps:4-segment collage of dough; flattened, folded showing pinched edges, slits showing on formed dough, fully browned and baked baguette

Once I got the bread baked, I wanted to make a Pan Bagnat, a French sandwich that is a specialty of Nice, France. Yay! I’ve been there (a long time ago) but I didn’t have this at the time. If you’ve ever had a niçoise salad before, this is kind of like that salad in between two slices of a baguette. Personally, I love tuna so this kind of sandwich was made for me. Here are the basic ingredients.ingredients for Pan Bagnat sandwich and plain French baguette

The dressing is just a basic vinaigrette that’s brushed on the bread. You can leave out the anchovies if you don’t like them, or add for more punch.Pan Bagnat French sandwich assembled on French bread

After I assembled it I decided to smash it down with a cast iron pan just to get it more easy to manage. This is the type of sandwich that gets better with allowing it to sit for a while to let the dressing soak through the ingredients. The baguette remains crispy on the outside so it doesn’t get soggy as long as you eat it in a reasonable amount of time.sandwich wrapped in plastic wrap being pressed by heavy cast iron pan

As a matter of fact, my Pan Bagnat made a perfect lunch box. Try this—it’s not hard at all, but remember, it all starts with the bread!sandwiches wrapped in plastic wrap in lunchbox with drink bottles is background

Products used in this post:Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker BB-SSC10, Indoor Electric Grill EB-DLC10

Please note that these recipes were not tested by Zojirushi America.
All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2024

Testing Zojirushi Recipes

cube steaks on rice

Have you ever tried any of the recipes on the Zojirushi site? This month I tried making as many of them as I could because I thought you readers might be interested! So in honor of Father’s Day (June 16th), International Sushi Day (June 18th) and Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, I made Diced Steak, Sausage Rolls, Chakin Sushi, and Green Vegetable Sushi from the Zojirushi recipe page. Fun! Let’s see how they turned out.

I changed up the Diced Steak a little bit to make it easier for me. The version you see above was pre-seared on my griddle to get it nice and browned before getting ready to sauté. cube steaks searingThe heat on the griddle is not as high as on my skillet, so if you have a skillet I would recommend using it instead. It took a little too long to achieve the fast sear I was looking for.

The Zojirushi recipe this was based on, the Diced Steak with Japanese Grilling Sauce, is more about making a sauce for dipping so it’s less important to have the meat be rare. My Diced Steak was further cooked with a butter and fresh garlic mix after searing, so I really only wanted it browned. This looks good, right?butter and garlic cubed steaks

I mean, this is pretty simple stuff and great for Father’s Day. Of course, I’m going to have mine with rice.

Next up for Father’s Day I tried the Smoky Sausage Roll from Zojirushi. After using the Pizza Dough course on my breadmaker as instructed, I divided the dough into 6 pieces and rolled them out into long pieces, roughly twice the length of my hot dogs.strips of dough on board

Then I rolled them up! Make sure you give the dough plenty of time to rise before starting the baking—that part only takes about 12 minutes, so most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to rise properly. If you’ve done that, your hot dog rolls should bake perfectly. row of hot dogs in dough before baking

See that? Take them out as soon as you see it brown. The hot dogs get roasted at the same time. I mean, these guys look beautiful! row of baked hot dogs

This recipe is very easy and doesn’t really take much effort because the breadmaker does the hard part of preparing the dough. The only tricky part is working with the dough because it’s stretchy and you have to get used to shaping it. Mine don’t look so great, but once you wrap it around the hot dogs it doesn’t really seem to matter because they still bake nicely.

Serve with whatever condiments you like. hot dog bite with ketchup and mustard

As you probably already know, there are several sushi recipes on the Zojirushi site that I could have tried making, but I chose their Chakin-Sushi because it looked challenging. He-heh; I was right. The ingredients are simple enough, and most of it we had around the house anyway. I only had to go out to get the imitation crab. This recipe uses a lot of eggs (9 of them) so be forewarned. And the other thing is to find the longest green onions as you can. It’ll make it easier for you to tie your chakin sushi egg pouch.ingredients to make chakin sushi

The other thing is to make the egg crepe as thin as possible if you can. I think mine came out too thick, so practice and try to do better than I did.sushi rice filling on top of egg crepe

Once you get the hang of it you’ll be fine. Don’t overstuff them, but if you follow the recipe you’ll have the correct amount of rice mixture for each one anyway. And like I said—thin egg crepes allow you to make the pouches easier, and a longer green onion stalk gives you more to tie it with. BTW, the flavoring was excellent with this recipe, and it still came out looking halfway decent!chakin sushi in egg crepe pouches

My last Zojirushi recipe was the Green Vegetable Sushi to celebrate not only International Sushi Day, but also Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month. This recipe seems so simple (and it is) but it brings out the true flavor of sushi rice and its sweet vinegary aroma. If you’re a fan I would recommend it because it packs a lot of flavor and it’s so light and refreshing. Wait a second..nuts and raisins!? Trust me, it all works out in the end.ingredients for veggie sushi bowl

Make your sushi rice in an unfinished wooden salad bowl, or if you have a Japanese hangiri like this one, use it to absorb the moisture of the rice and retain the heat so that it doesn’t get watery when you toss it with the rice vinegar dressing. Toss the rice with your paddle, chopping it vertically and turning it over in sections rather than stirring.veggie sushi rice mixed

Since I’m more of a meat/fish eater I wasn’t sure I would like this all-veggie recipe but it was really tasty and satisfying. I think the minced ginger helps to bring it to life, and I didn’t mind the raisins and chopped nuts at all. It’s kind of more like a salad than sushi. It just looks so healthy, doesn’t it?veggie sushi rice on plate

How many Zojirushi recipes have you tried? If you haven’t tried any yet, what are you waiting for? The recipes are a great way to introduce you to new ways of using your Zojirushi product, and you learn a lot about different styles of cooking too.

Products used in this post: Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker BB-SSC10, Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-HCC10, Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle EA-DCC10

Please note that the Garlic Butter Cube Steak was not tested by Zojirushi America.

All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2024

May Days

<!–vcv no format–><!– vcwb/dynamicElementComment:51842251 –><div class="vce-row-container" data-vce-boxed-width="true"><div class="vce-row vce-row–col-gap-30 vce-row-equal-height vce-row-content–top" id="el-51842251" data-vce-do-apply="all el-51842251"><div class="vce-row-content" data-vce-element-content="true"><!– vcwb/dynamicElementComment:8f62e911 –><div class="vce-col vce-col–md-auto vce-col–xs-1 vce-col–xs-last vce-col–xs-first vce-col–sm-last vce-col–sm-first vce-col–md-last vce-col–lg-last vce-col–xl-last vce-col–md-first vce-col–lg-first vce-col–xl-first" id="el-8f62e911"><div class="vce-col-inner" data-vce-do-apply="border margin background el-8f62e911"><div class="vce-col-content" data-vce-element-content="true" data-vce-do-apply="padding el-8f62e911"><!– vcwb/dynamicElementComment:b49b1d59 –><div class="vce-text-block"><div class="vce-text-block-wrapper vce" id="el-b49b1d59" data-vce-do-apply="all el-b49b1d59"><a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/main.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8151" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/main-300×200.jpg" alt="cakes in background and salad in front" width="900" height="600"></a><br><p class="p1">Just for fun, let’s see how many holidays in May I can cover using my Zojirushi stuff. Ready? The first one is obvious—Mother’s Day! This was my spread for Mom’s Day; homemade cake and a salad. I made Strawberry Short Cake using the cake settting on my breadmaker. This was my first try so it wasn’t perfect, but I’m betting you guys can do better with practice. Here are the steps:<a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/cake-steps-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8152" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/cake-steps-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="4 steps in making cake" width="900" height="600"></a></p><br><p class="p1"><b>1.</b> <b>First, bake the cake.</b> The bread machine will do everything. Then slice the top off so it'll be easier to decorate.</p><br><p class="p1"><b>2. Slice it in half. </b>Just use a bread knife or bread slicer to do this as evenly as you can.</p><br><p class="p1"><b>3. Fill it with strawberrries.</b> Make your own homemade whipped cream or just buy Cool Whip and layer the bottom slice with cream, sliced strawberries, and more whipped cream.</p><br><p class="p1"><b>4. Frost the cake.</b> Use the rest of your whipped cream to decorate all around and on top of your cake. Top it with whole strawberries and there it is!</p><br><p class="p1">OK, I’m not a pastry chef and it may not look professional, but it’s very cute, right? I mean, it’s the thought, right? Right? This actually tasted pretty good tho because the strawberries were sweet.</p><br><a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/cake-pair-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8153" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/cake-pair-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="2 strawberry short cakes" width="900" height="600"></a><br><p class="p1">Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day!<a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/cake-presented-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8154" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/cake-presented-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="Strawberry short cake on plate, being held and presented" width="900" height="600"></a></p><br><p class="p1">By the way, did you know May is also National Strawberry Month? Well, now you do.</p><br><p class="p1">Let’s get back to that salad I made for National Salad Month. What?! What? You didn’t think I’d miss that opportunity, did you? This is a legit Chinese Chicken Salad the way the locals eat it. (Of course there are a gazillion variations so don’t come at me please.) Bake some chicken breast in your toaster oven. You can always save and use the extra for another purpose some other time.</p><br><a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/baked-chicken-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8155" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/baked-chicken-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="Two chicken breasts cooked in oven toaster" width="900" height="600"></a><br><p class="p1">Assemble your Chinese Chicken Salad with fried wonton strips, Romaine lettuce (this has to be Romaine, any other kind is sacrilege), sliced almonds, mandarin orange slices (if you want), julienne carrots, cilantro and the shredded chicken. Now here’s the important part—only use real Chinese Chicken Salad dressing, either a good bottled brand or make your own from a trusted recipe. With a salad, the dressing makes or breaks it, agree?</p><a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/salad-complete-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8160" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/salad-complete-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="salad on bamboo placemat" width="900" height="600"></a><br><br>Growing up in Hawaii, I always thought this salad was a local kine food, but I know now that it has roots in California. That’s OK—the fact remains it’s not really from mainland China. but is actually Asian-American. And that’s why it’s the perfect salad to make for AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Month. See what I did there?<br><br>Yes, May is AAPI Month. And to show I don’t always only talk about macaroni salad and SPAM®, we made a classic Filipino recipe called Chicken Adobo. My first exposure to adobo was Pork Adobo, a deliciously tangy dish that was regularly served at the employees cafeteria at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, where I worked as a telephone operator during my college days. Most of the housekeeping staff at Hawaii’s hotels were from the Philippines, so I guess that’s why they had it on the menu. What makes this dish special is the vinegar based sweet/sour marinade.<a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/pouring-adobo-sauce-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8156" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/pouring-adobo-sauce-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="pouring sauce on chicken" width="900" height="600"></a><br><br>This is a good one to do in your electric skillet. Just looking at this image, while knowing the tartness of the flavor, makes my mouth water.<br><br><a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/sizzling-adobo-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8157" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/sizzling-adobo-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="chicken pieces cooking in skillet" width="900" height="600"></a><br><br>And of course you eat this over rice because it’s Asian American. So good!<a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/adobo-and-rice-copy.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8158" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/adobo-and-rice-copy-300×200.jpg" alt="chicken adobo on bed of white rice" width="900" height="600"></a><br><br>And now a word about SPAM®. Did I say I wasn’t going to talk about it? Did you know that cans of SPAM® are given as holiday gifts in South Korea? In fancy boxed sets? Introduced by the U.S. troops during the Korean War in the 1950s, this canned meat has become a staple of Korean culture and isn’t looked down upon as it usually is by some Americans (outside of Hawaii). One of their most popular dishes is called Army Stew, which loads up on <i>kimchi,</i> sausage, ramen noodles and SPAM®! So you see, SPAM® isn’t just an Asian American Pacific Islander thing. It’s much more than you think!<br><br>If you want to see how I made Korean Army Stew, check it out <a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/asian-hot-pot-month/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span class="s1"><b>here.</b></span></a><a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/army-assembled-2.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-8159" src="https://www.zojirushi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/army-assembled-2-300×200.jpg" alt="Korean army stew dish" width="900" height="600"></a><br><br><strong>Happy May and all its holidays. And May the 4th be with you!</strong><br><br><span style="font-size: 8pt;"><em>Products used in this post:&nbsp;</em><em><strong><a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/app/product/etzlc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Micom Toaster Oven ET-ZLC30</a></strong></em><em><strong>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/app/product/bbssc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker BB-SSC10</a></strong></em><em><strong>, <a href="https://www.zojirushi.com/app/product/eppbc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet EP-PBC10</a></strong></em></span><br><br><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Please note that these recipes were not tested by Zojirushi America.</span><br><br><span style="font-size: 8pt;">All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2024</span></div></div><!– /vcwb/dynamicElementComment:b49b1d59 –></div></div></div><!– /vcwb/dynamicElementComment:8f62e911 –></div></div></div><!– /vcwb/dynamicElementComment:51842251 –><!– vcwb/dynamicElementComment:ddfbff46 –><div class="vce-row-container" data-vce-boxed-width="true"><div class="vce-row vce-row–col-gap-30 vce-row-equal-height vce-row-content–top" id="el-ddfbff46" data-vce-do-apply="all el-ddfbff46"><div class="vce-row-content" data-vce-element-content="true"><!– vcwb/dynamicElementComment:19df98a8 –><div class="vce-col vce-col–md-auto vce-col–xs-1 vce-col–xs-last vce-col–xs-first vce-col–sm-last vce-col–sm-first vce-col–md-last vce-col–lg-last vce-col–xl-last vce-col–md-first vce-col–lg-first vce-col–xl-first" id="el-19df98a8"><div class="vce-col-inner" data-vce-do-apply="border margin background el-19df98a8"><div class="vce-col-content" data-vce-element-content="true" data-vce-do-apply="padding el-19df98a8"><!– vcwb/dynamicElementComment:888d5e6a –><div class="vce-text-block"><div class="vce-text-block-wrapper vce" id="el-888d5e6a" data-vce-do-apply="all el-888d5e6a"></div></div><!– /vcwb/dynamicElementComment:888d5e6a –></div></div></div><!– /vcwb/dynamicElementComment:19df98a8 –></div></div></div><!– /vcwb/dynamicElementComment:ddfbff46 –><!–vcv no format–>

Bert-san’s Kitchen Hacks

miso balls on plate

What are these? They’re miso balls! Huh? Did you know you could pre-make these little guys and store them in the fridge for a week, or freeze them even longer than that? Wrap them in plastic wrap and yes, miso keeps very well.

To make these, get your ingredients together (dehydrated ones work best) and mix together. Here the ingredients you see are dried wakame (seaweed), fu (a dried wheat gluten) and freeze dried green onions, plus some fresh green onion. BTW, that dried mixture came in a bag that you can buy at a Japanese market! (I never knew dehydrated miso soup ingredients like this existed)ingredients to make miso ballsForm the miso ball in 1 Tbsp sizes. If you freeze the miso mix for about 10 minutes to firm it up, it might help to make it easier to shape. Then use plastic wrap to store in your fridge for a week, or even better, store in your freezer and it’ll keep for up to three months. One thing about miso, it doesn’t freeze solid so you don’t have to thaw it ahead of time to use it. This makes these miso balls perfect for meal prepping for a week of lunches.miso balls in refrigerator

To use your miso ball, just add 200ml (little over 3/4 cup) of hot water, which is just about one full soup bowl. Boom! One serving of REAL miso soup instantly. water boiler pouring water into bowl

It also happens to be the exact capacity of the soup container that comes with your Zojirushi Lunch Jar, if you have one. So instead of bringing the hot soup with you (even though I know you can, in your Lunch Jar), why not add hot water to your miso ball and have it super-fresh? lunch jar bento set

Just in case you didn’t already know it, you should be aware that leftover rice makes the best fried rice, and leftover rice can be frozen and stored for a month. If you already plan to put away some of your rice after you’ve made a fresh pot, it’s best to put it in an airtight container immediately when it’s still hot, so the steam and moisture gets trapped inside and be there when you’re ready to thaw it in the microwave. No worries if you don’t though, just sprinkle some water on it before microwaving to bring back the moisture. At our house we simply use plastic bags to save space in the freezer.ingredients to make bacon fried rice

What’s the best kind of fried rice? Bacon Fried Rice, of course!cooking fried rice in Sizzler

Don’t use fresh rice to make fried rice. It’ll tend to get clumpy and not separate as well as it should, leaving areas of the rice not completely covered in the flavor you want. Plop a fried egg on it to make it Bacon Fried Rice á la Tanimoto.fried rice with fried egg on top

Wait, ice cold drinks next to my Water Boiler? What’s up with that? Just bad photo composition?different drinks line-up

Somebody’s got some ’splaining to do…drinks toppled over without spilling

I know, we missed April Fools—but if you want to fake out your kids or even your adult friends with a clever gelatin trick, try these out. I just thought they were hilarious; plus, who doesn’t like gelatin desserts? (And yes, the ice cream is real)eating green jello

Just use clear gelatin to get the “ice” for the tropical drink. An ice cube tray works for the mold and all you do is scoop it out. You’re going to have to “float” them and the fruits by partially hardening the gelatin halfway in the glass, then add more of the liquid on top and refrigerate again until the whole drink hardens. Be sure to let the new liquid cool before adding it—you don’t want to melt what’s already in the glass. I used pineapple gelatin mix. By the way, it’s much easier to make something like this if you have a water boiler; the hot water is always ready.gelatin ice cubes

OK, that seems easy. And the orange juice is just gelatin mixed into real O.J.; yeah, I get it. But how did he make those beers?? And the foam?collage of gelatin foam making step by step

1. Make apple juice gelatin first, then whip it up to get the foam to appear.

2. Pour the juice carefully into a glass or cup and leave the foam.

3. Spoon the foam onto the top of your “beer” gelatin, then refrigerate.

4. After it hardens, your beer gelatin is ready to fool your friends!

Be sure to account for added sweetener when making gelatin from natural apple or orange juice. You can sweeten the gelatin ice cubes as well, if you want.

Cheers! ¡Salud! Kampai! Serve with a spoon!beel glasses toasting


Products used in this post: Gourmet d’ Expert® Electric Skillet EP-PBC10, Micom Water Boiler & Warmer CD-LFC30, Mr. Bento® Stainless Lunch Jar SL-JBE14

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

All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2024



Do the Spring Thing

Irish coffee with clover design

Is everyone ready for Daylight Savings Time? Don’t forget it’s “spring foward” on March 10th. Even though some people say to ease into the time change by sleeping earlier by 15 minutes a day because you’re going to lose an hour, I say do it cold turkey and deal with it, ha-ha! There are only two states that do not follow DST—Arizona and Hawaii, and they both have their reasons. Arizona because it’s a desert state and nobody wants more scorching sunlight than they already have throughout the year. The exception is the Navajo Nation part of Arizona which extends into New Mexico and Utah; they wanted to be able to be on the same time schedule as the rest of their reservation, so they follow DST. Hawaii on the other hand, is so close to the equator that the amount of sunlight doesn’t vary that much throughout the year anyway. Interesting, huh?

St. Patrick’s Day is coming too, so I wanted to take a shot at brewing an Irish Coffee using my new coffee maker. Since I didn’t have any bourbon or whiskey lying around I used rum and it came out pretty good—I didn’t really put in that much anyway.

Irish coffee next to coffee maker

There are multiple recipes online so take your pick. The four leaf clover is fairly easy—it’s just a stencil that you can cut out and mount to a skewer. Almost lay it right on top of the whipped cream and sprinkle cocoa power on top. Very carefully remove your clover stencil to leave the design intact. Try not to put the whipped cream on while the coffee is too hot; it’ll melt real quick. If you make homemade whipped cream, be sure to whip it till it gets pretty thick. You can use Cool Whip from the store too, that’ll work just as good.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish coffee glasses in a toast

At our house one of our favorite soups is Matzo Ball Soup. The chicken broth is so homey good and I really like how the matzo meal soaks up the soup and gets all the flavor. It’s a fun kind of soup to eat I think, and perfect for Spring weather when it can still get chilly sometimes.

Matzo ball soup in food jar

I still had my food jars out from last month so I decided to fill them up to see what it looked like. The matzo balls look so good popping up, don’t they? Try it and bring some to work for lunch next time.

Matzo ball soup in food jar

For those who are interested, this is a traditional Jewish soup that is often served during the holiday of Passover, which commemorates the Biblical story of the Israelite’s escape from slavery in Egypt. During this major Jewish holiday that lasts a week, leavened foods like pasta, bread or cookies are abstained and matzo meal is substituted as kosher. Fun fact: did you know the famous hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut once ate 78 matzo balls, each weighing 3.5 ounces (99 grams) in a span of 8 minutes, for charity? Wow! And yeah, he holds the world record.

The last time I tried a steamed fish dish was when I reviewed my Zojirushi NL-GAC 10/18 Rice Cooker and used the steamer basket to make a Chinese style black cod. It was such a success that I took another crack at it, this time using fresh salmon. Fish is always a good Spring food because it’s so light tasting.

foil salmon ingredients uncooked

If you want to try this, here’s a valuable lesson I learned about Zojirushi rice cookers. When I did the black cod I cooked 2 cups of rice and was able to steam the rice and the fish at the same time, all in the rice cooker. Fantastic all-in-one convenience right? The total cooking time was 30 minutes, which was perfect for the fish. For the salmon I made a mistake and cooked 3 cups of rice, which immediately set the cooking time to 49 minutes. Duh! The cooker is smart enough to recognize it needs the extra time to cook 3 cups vs. 2 cups. I wasn’t smart enough to realize that until I switched it on! That was too long; I didn’t want a tough piece of salmon.

No big deal—I still wanted 3 cups of rice so I made it separately and still used the steamer function to do the fish. 30 minutes and it came out perfect.

foil salmon all cooked

Steaming in foil is a great way to prepare fish and it’s easy as heck. Think about it—you’ve already got the rice cooker out anyway. Less things to wash.

foil salmon with rice cooker, two bowls of rice with peasLooks like Spring? If you want to try more foil packet recipes here’s a Mushroom and Tofu one from Zojirushi for you.

Hey, before i go, just in case you missed my Shamrock Bread from last year, check it out! It’s easy and fun and you can pair it with the Irish Coffee.

green shamrock embedded in slice of white bread

Products used in this post: Umami® Micom Rice Cooker NL-GAC10/18, Dome Brew Programmable Coffee Maker EC-ESC120, Stainless Steel Food Jars SW-KA40 and SW-KA52H

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

All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2024

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