ZOJIRUSHI
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The practice of smoking food has been around for thousands of years as a means of preserving foods when there was no refrigeration. It was then used as a means of enhancing flavor when it was discovered that meats and fish tasted better when it was smoked and not just dried. There's something about that smokey taste that everyone seems to like. This month's recipes all use an ingredient that's been smoked--try them all, they're smokin' good!
Smoked meat, fish and cheese are the most popular kinds of smoked foods used in cooking. Here are our Zojirushi recipes that use all three--enjoy!
No one can resist a cheese and potato combination. If you add smoked cheese to this savory little appetizer, now you've got that extra depth that can start you on a blockbuster meal. Or maybe just promote it to a side dish--and see if your guests devour the potatoes first!
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Cute snacks that are tasty will never go out of style, especially to a hungry family, and no matter what time of day. Using smoked sausages will elevate these baked treats to a party worthy delicacy, especially when the bread is homemade.
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This sushi recipe is based on the Hako-zushi (box sushi), also known as Oshizushi (pressed sushi), from Osaka, Japan. Traditionally only cured or cooked fish, not raw, is used to make this type of sushi. Our Zojirushi version is made with the added flavor of smoked salmon.
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Whoa! Lots of flavor in this one...sundried tomatoes, capers, anchovies, olives--oh my! We've substituted rice for the pasta usually used in this classic Italian dish, but it's every bit as delizioso. The name is derived from alla puttanesca, which literally means "prostitute style"; talk about a colorful history!
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One of the most popular trends this year seems to be the growing demand for smoked delicacies in restaurants, supermarket shelves and home recipes. And this process isn't just for meat either. Fans are experimenting with non-meat ingredients like vegetables, butter and drinks. Fire roasted tomatoes are just one example of the desire for non-traditional, straight from the grill experience.
It's easy to understand the appeal--you can practically smoke anything with the right technique, the right tools and some wood chips. Trendy restaurants have taken up the challenge with innovative items on their menus. There is cedar wood infused tequila, smoked butter sorbet on a seasoned halibut, chocolate ice cream flavored with smoked sea salt, BBQ chicken dressed with a smoked tomato sauce, etc. etc. It's fun to see how a chef's creativity can lead smoked ingredients to new heights.
And even though the practice of home curing and smoking is centuries of years old, the gourmet aspect of smoked foods has introduced the process to hobbyists for much more than just preserving their meat. These days outdoor smokers that can look like metal drums to something like file cabinets, can be found at BBQ specialty stores or places like Home Depot for anywhere from less than $50 to upwards of $1000.
If you want to try it for yourself, there are numerous resources you can look up on how to do it, but the most important factors are good wood to produce a steady smoke, and a lot of patience. The patience is needed to keep you from constantly opening up your grill and letting out all that smoke build-up, just to say, "Is it done yet?"
One of the recipes this month is easier to make if you have a special tool called an oshibako to make the oshizushi. Usually made of wood or plastic, this open-sided rectangular box comes with a plunger which is used to press and stamp the rice into perfect blocks of rice. One of the advantages of making "pressed sushi" in this way is that different ingredients can be layered into the sushi, for extra flavor and a super presentation.
Of all the types of sushi, oshizushi might actually be the easiest and most fun. No special skills needed--just press into shape and push out the sushi blocks. They also arrange themselves neatly on a plate and fit well into any bento box--a plus when you want to take them for lunch! And because oshizushi uses only cooked or cured ingredients like smoked salmon, vinegared mackeral, or seared beef, it might be the ideal type of sushi for novices who may be fearful of raw fish.
The microcomputer chip (micom) in MICOM rice cooker is pre-programmed with cooking "flows" to automate the rice cooking process. Here are some of the things a MICOM rice cooker will do, compare to a CONVENTIONAL rice cooker that only turns on and then off.
Soaking and steaming the rice is essential in cooking delicious rice. Soaking and steaming must be done manually when using CONVENTIONAL rice cookers, but MICOM rice cookers do this automatically. All you have to do is measure and wash the rice, and turn the rice cooker on. The rice is ready to eat when the rice cooker turns off!
Instead of cooking rice in vigorously boiling water (the way CONVENTIONAL rice cookers do), MICOM rice cookers make small adjustments to water temperatures while cooking, ensuring the outside of the rice does not get overcooked while cooking through the core of the rice.
MICOM rice cookers come with different cooking "flows" for different types of rice and menus to cook them accordingly.
To cook through the tough outer bran and to the core, it cooks the rice longer at a slightly lower temperature compared to white rice. Ensures that the rice does not burn with the addition of seasonings. Cooks the rice slightly firmer for easier handling when forming sushi. Soaks brown rice for 3 hours at 104˚F to increase GABA before cooking.
Rice Cookers:
Safety lock locks the lid to prevent accidental spilling
Flip-open lid covers the sip area to maintain cleanliness
Wide opening makes it easy to fill and clean
SlickSteel® polished stainless steel interior repels odors and stains
Zojirushi America Corporation warrants only the thermal insulation of certain vacuum insulated products against defects for a period of five years from the date of original retail purchase
The lid is designed to release and hold, then flip open. This 2 step lid release allows condensation on the lid gasket to fall back into the mug instead of splattering.
Zojirushi Travel Mug / SM-YAE48:
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We use fresh summer veggies to make a roasted kushiyaki, kabobs Japanese style.

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Congratulations to Pam G. from Wahiawa, HI for winning a Zojirushi Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-HCC10) last month!