Wow! Did 2021 go by in the blink of an eye for you? It did for me; if it weren’t for this blog to keep me regularly contributing each month, I’d probably spin into a vacuum. What the heck did I do all year? Now that I think about it—a lot.
Even though we weren’t very sociable because of COVID, we did our share of hot pots at home just because it’s good for cold weather and we love it. There’s a Taiwanese hot pot restaurant near us that’s always crowded because people love to hang out, spend money and take pictures of what they eat. We’ve been there and it’s alright, but I prefer my hot pots to be simpler than the Taiwanese kind. Japanese nabe style hot pots let you taste all the ingredients without all the heat, in my opinion.
But being that we’re a Japanese/Korean household, and democratic, we can’t have one kind of cooking without the other. I like this army stew because it combines both Korean and Hawaiian cultures into one down-to-earth dish that isn’t just about pretty ingredients or food writers’ taste buds. I mean, the stars of this hot pot are hot dogs and SPAM®! Yeah, it’s basically glorified spicy instant ramen, but it’s good!
If you own a Zojirushi Electric Griddle, one of the most fun and worth it optional accessories you can buy for it is the Takoyaki Plate. Host a “tako-pa” or takoyaki party at your house and everybody can take turns rolling octopus dough balls in the plate. Super fun activity and you get to eat hot takoyaki right off the griddle.
What’s brilliant about this accessory is all the other creative things you can cook on it by rolling them into ball shapes. A search online was eye-opening, seeing all the appetizers and desserts people figured out how to make, like Nutella® Pancake Balls.
For college kids, classes were still taught online this spring, which meant our daughter was living with us at home. As much as I’m sure it frustrated her because she lost her independence, I loved having her around. I know we’re not going to have her that much longer if she moves out permanently one day, so I cherish these days until she graduates and moves on. We were still able to do the local things as a family though, like hike near our home near the bluffs of Palos Verdes. I feel lucky we live near the coast.
If you own the BIG Zojirushi Electric Griddle, you can spend all morning doing pancake art, like I did with mine on Japanese Children’s Day. I was so into creating the pancakes, I really didn’t get a chance to eat them; and I don’t have the little kids anymore who would have appreciated it. Too bad! If you do, try this and I guarantee they’ll love it. I’ve seen guys do this using food coloring in the batter, so they can really go all out with their “art”. But then they’re no longer pancakes, and who wants to eat them anymore?
This summer our local Korean restaurants still weren’t open completely, so we had to do Korean BBQ at home. Not quite the same, but not bad if you have the equipment to do it right. I mean, it’s still all-you-can-eat, right? I have a Zojirushi Electric Grill that did the job so well, that it satisfied our cravings until all the restaurants were able to open again.
But it got old really fast when he got so nervy he was regularly invading the house.
And even though I managed to trap one, I was never convinced I had caught the right one—the one that came into our house in the first place. So I kept setting the trap and kept on catching squirrels! Every time I caught one, the very next day I would see the first squirrel come right up to the screen again, ready to sneak in. Do you think he told his friends where the best food was?
My Zojirushi Electric Skillet, the one that I used to do hot pots this year, also comes with a shallower pan. This is what I used to make my Pepper Rice for National Rice Month. Of all my Zojirushi appliances, this is the one I use most often because it can cook almost anything—and the two pans make it even more useful. A couple weeks ago we went back to the restaurant that specializes in this, now that everything is back for dining again. They do theirs on personal cast iron skillets and serve them to you like that.
Aaand if you missed my latest review, I tested the Zojirushi NL-GAC10/18 Rice Cooker for its “umami”, “steam” and “sweet rice” settings, just to see how they would do with my limited cooking skills. My big takeaways? UMAMI really does exist, steaming in a rice cooker is brilliant if you can cook your rice at the same time, and for a medium price cooker, this model will do a great job.
So how was your year? Restaurants are opening, traffic is back with a vengeance and we’re gradually going back to work. Let’s go!!
Please note that these recipes were not tested by Zojirushi America.
All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2021