Merry Holidays!

What a year, huh? The world is getting healthier, but at the expense of it getting crazier, it seems. I’m gonna do my part to spread the joy, for what it’s worth, so I made a Cheese Ball Tree with my takoyaki maker. Cute or nah? Ha-ha.

All I did was make the batter, drop the cheese in and wait for it to cook so I could start flipping them into cheese balls. Here’s the batter recipe:
2 eggs (lightly whisked)
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
Combine the dry ingredients first, add the eggs and blend together. Add the water bit by bit while whisking to prevent lumps, until it gets to a runny consistency. That’s it!

Set your Gourmet Sizzler® fairly low because it cooks fast. Add whatever cheese you want—I used mozzarella and cheddar.

Summon up your takoyaki skills and start rollling. Sorry, I can’t help you here—you just have to practice. But if you oiled your pan it won’t stick at all, and you’ll soon have some golden cheese balls.

Dress it up with your favorite pizza sauce and sprinkle some herbs on it and you’re done. You guys might want to add bits of meat or veggies inside for a pizza flavor; I just wanted a simple cheese ball today. The sauce had plenty enough flavor for me.

Since we are celebrating the holidays, I challenged myself with a Panettone Bread, seeing as how there was conveniently one available on the Zojirushi site. I had to halve all my ingredients because I own the 1 lb. breadmaker and the recipe uses the 2 lb. Zojirushi model; but I think it translated correctly.

I wish it rose taller, but I suppose it’s about right for being only half of what the recipe calls for.

Plenty of dried fruit inside that I laced with cognac (he-he). Note that you take the dough out of the breadmaker and fold the fruit into it for this recipe (it’s easy). Overall the dough was a bit stodgy and overbaked, but the flavor was spot on. We’ve been watching a lot of the Great British Bake Off®—can you tell? If you’ve not seen this popular baking show on TV, I recommend it. They don’t compete for money like most shows; it’s strictly for the love of baking, which is why the contestants are such good sports and supportive of each other. Maybe also because they’re English and not American??

When you’ve had enough of your panettone and it’s gotten stale, turn it into bread pudding with sweetened milk. We had eggnog handy so that worked very well.

Bake it in your toaster oven.

And have it with ice cream! The perfect leftover holiday dessert.

So eariler I mentioned how we’ve had a pretty tough year this year, but we had a couple of family events that carried us through. At the top of our list was my daughter’s 21st birthday. We celebrated with balloons.

And cake.

And also crispy rice balls. (click to see how this was done with the takoyaki pan too)

And we all took a trip to Portland, Oregon.

By the way, I can say now that we’ve actually been to both Portlands in the U.S.; Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine. How about that?

How was your year? I hope you had a good one!
Products used in this post: Micom Toaster Oven ET-ZLC30, Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker BB-SSC10, Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle EA-BDC10, Takoyaki Plate EA-YBC01

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

All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2022

This entry was posted in From Bert-san by Bert Tanimoto. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

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