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We continue our focus on Japanese cuisine this month with a taste of more cooking methods. Our dishes in the last issue were robustly broiled, perfect for the cold winter months. This issue we switch to boiling and steaming, a method for more delicate dishes that can be precisely controlled with our Zojirushi appliances.

We will be using our NEW Thermal Vacuum Cooking Pot to boil some seasonal summer vegetables and our versatile Gourmet d'Expert® Electric Skillet to steam a traditional Japanese custard dish called Chawanmushi.

Nimono are simmered vegetable dishes that are easy to make and can be varied with multiple ingredients. Summer vegetables can be used seasonally and the recipes can be customized to include tofu or even meats if you prefer. The light taste of this dish makes it perfect for summer, when appetites decrease and your body starts to need energy. Chawanmushi is a 200-year old dish which originated in the Osaka area of Japan. A savory egg custard, Chawanmushi can have a variety of ingredients and is mainly served as an appetizer. Our recipe is a chilled version which is ideal for a summer menu. And unlike most traditional Japanese dishes, Chawanmushi is eaten, of course, with a spoon.
See recipe for Nimono
See recipe for Hiyashi Chawanmushi

Remember the Ichiju-Sansai serving concept from last month? These recipes are side dishes, or okazu in the traditional Japanese table setting, so you would serve them as foods to enhance the flavor of your rice, which is essentially your main dish.

Kanji Lesson: literally, "one family, all together", which in the world of cooking means to sit around the dining table for a family meal together. Many Japanese families eat in this way, which is reflected in many Japanese recipes. The "hot pot" style of dish, like sukiyaki, is probably the most well-known, but broiling over an open griddle in the center of the dining table is also common. Our Teriyaki Yellowtail from our last issue is a prime example.

Many Zojirushi products promote Ikka-Danran, which is based on the ideology of a "happy family" and of a healthy atmosphere at home. The family that eats together, stays together, and so on. Tabletop appliances allow everyone to cook at the table, eat together and have family conversations about the day's events.

Before you eat: "Itadaki masu!"
"I humbly receive." Huh? What you're really saying is, "Let's eat!"

After you eat: "Gochisou sama!"
"Thanks for the food!"

Try these stewed and simmered dishes from other parts of the world with your Zojirushi appliances. It's a chance for your whole family to be adventurous and experience gourmet dining without leaving the comfort of home.

Known as one of the three great soups of the world, borscht is a traditional Ukranian stew that uses table beets as its main ingredient, which gives it a deep red color. Popular in Central and Eastern Europe, there are many varieties of this soup, including ones which use tomato paste and hot or cold versions. Our Zojirushi Borscht is Russian style and very easy to make. Highly popular in Europe, especially in France and Belgium, mussels are a traditional favorite. In any Belgian restaurant, you can see diners skillfully taking out the succulent flesh, sipping the wine broth and drinking a beer. Frites (fried potatoes) are the favored side dish, and many Belgians claim to have invented the "French" fry potato.
See recipe for Russian Borscht
See recipe for Moules au Vin Blanc

Stainless Steel Thermal Vacuum Cooking Pot
Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet
As promised in our last issue, here we are with the second dish to fill our Shokado Bento box. With the dog days of summer, everyone seems to lose their appetites as they battle the heat and humidity, but proper nutrition is needed more than ever during this time to get your body's energy levels up.

Simmered or boiled dishes tend to be lighter tasting and easier to digest, perfect for those hot summer months. Our Nimono dish has a delicate taste, but still full of satisfying flavor. You don't really eat it hot as much as you do at room temperature, which makes it ideal in a bento box.

Summers can be long and brutal in Japan, when the heat makes everyone flee into air-conditioned buildings. But it also brings out the signs of traditional customs, sounds, sights and foods that are unique to the Japanese culture.

Summer is fireworks season in Japan. On the grandest of scales a typical fireworks display can easily go on for more than an hour, exploding into colors and shapes you're not likely to have ever seen anywhere else. On the smallest, a family will gather in their backyard and privately enjoy watching handheld sparklers sizzle into the night.

Even in cosmopolitan and fashion conscious Tokyo, summer brings out the traditional yukata, a lightweight and airy kimono style garment that both the young and old wear to festivals, or even around town.

Foods change in Japan when summer comes around. Cold noodles are delicious ways to beat the heat, and slurping somen (cold dipping noodles) or zaru-soba (cold buckwheat noodles) is a popular lunchtime activity, especially during the middle of a work day.

A major holiday in Japan second only to New Year's Day, is the summer Obon festival, which honors the spirits of the dead who return annually to their families. It is highlighted by the Bon Odori, a circular group dance held in open community areas.

The traditional Japanese folding fan, or sensu, is an elegant instrument that can be an expression of fine art as well as a way to get a cool breeze. Many colorful sensu can be seen fluttering away on hot summer days in Japan.