Fighting the Heat this July!

It is looking like the theme for this month is heat! We have looked into the Japanese tradition of fighting heat by eating eel as well as the practice of wearing lightweight yukata in the hot summer months. It’s fitting that this be the focus as this might be the hottest July ever here in the states! As we gear up for what may be an El Niño fall, we are still facing severe droughts and record highs in most of the country. Crops are drying up in California and people are being asked to conserve here and there when they can and we are just trying to keep cool in this crazy weather!

From our stainless steel vacuum products that will keep your cold drinks cool for hours, to our energy efficient electric appliances, we are so proud to offer items that are reusable, energy efficient or good for the planet. Plus, we know that you’d rather cut back from firing up that gas oven during the fiery month of July.

Like all things, this heat wave will eventually pass and the heavy rains of fall will soon be here. Until then, keep cool, enjoy home-brewed iced tea and cold rice salads! As always, we wish you a great month full of fun times and great food! Cheers!

 

Doyo No Ushi No Hi: A Day for Eating

Doyo No Ushi No Hi is a day devoted to one of our favorite pastimes—eating!  Eating what, you ask? This is a day dedicated to eating eel. Each year, the day falls in late July when the hot summer months leave people feeling drained and fatigued. In Japanese we call this feeling natsubate. It is believed that the nutritious and vitamin E rich eel can provide strength and stamina in getting through the heat wave.

Most commonly the eel is prepared in a style called kabayaki. This means the fish is split in half, dipped in a sweet soy sauce or tare and broiled or grilled. The custom of eating eel in this style during the hot summer months dates all the way back to the Edo period (1608-1868). Typically, kabayaki style eel is served on a bed of rice or as part of a bento box. You might also see this style of eel torn up and served in a mixed rice salad. However it’s served, it is sure to be delicious!

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Doyo No Ushi No Hi is one of our favorite holidays in Japan because it is all about eating! Even though we will be in our offices in Gardena, CA this year, that won’t stop us from celebrating  by preparing eel and rice in the traditional kabayaki style. Thanks to great markets, wonderful recipes and the wealth of information on the Internet, anyone can throw a Doyo No Ushi No Hi party this year, from anywhere in the world. You can purchase eel already prepared,  how convenient! We hope that you enjoy this special day with a dinner of eel to offer you strength during the scorching heat waves of summer. Happy cooking and happy eating!

 

Yukata: The Coolest Threads for Summer

Japanese summers are hot! They are sticky & humid, and a simple walk to the train can leave you soaking in sweat before you reach your destination. While it can be tough to get through the day in that kind of heat, there is a nice breezy way to help men and women stay cool when things heat up come July – the yukata.

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The yukata is a lightweight, unlined kimono made of cotton or synthetic fabric. A yukata can be worn by both women and men and are traditionally designed with floral patterns for women, and geometric patterns for men. Much like the silk kimono, young women and children will wear the brightest colors, and older women will stick to darker colors and simpler patterns. Even though yukata literally means bath or bathing garments, it is not uncommon to see men and women dressed in yukata during the hot summer months, and although the yukata dates back to the year 800, it has remained incredibly modern over the centuries.

Thanks to the web, yukata are now widely available around the world! If you can’t find one at your local Japanese village, check online shops. There are plenty of colors and patterns out there. These beautiful and airy robes can be worn around the house on a hot day or out into the world! Why not! If you do decide to don a yukata, be sure to let us know! We would love to see you dressed up in the summer’s greatest styles!

Jyanken (the game of paper, stone and scissors.)

You might be surprised to learn that one of the most popular exports from Asia is a game called Jyan Ken, otherwise known as Rock-Paper-Scissors. All over Japan you will find people young and old making decisions based on this ancient game.

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In Japan it can be taken to a whole new level with different variations of this fun activity. A Jyan Ken match between friends can have a quick resolution or they can spend a great deal of time due to various versions of the rules. If you would like to learn more here is a great link that explains the intricacies between the versions of the game in Japan.

http://www.tofugu.com/2012/07/06/japans-most-dangerous-game-rock-paper-scissors/

 

Product of The Month: The Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-GBC05)

For July we would like to highlight a fabulous rice cooker that has gotten a new look!

NP-GBC05XT

The Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-GBC05 has the same great functionality but now in a new color. This rice cooker is powered with IH + Micom technology which combines a unique heating feature that allows for precise temperature control. If you are looking for a rice cooker made with superior quality this one is it! This machine can do much more than cook rice. You will also enjoy all of the various recipes you can create with this luxurious appliance.

http://zojirushi.com/products/npgbc

Zojirushi Gets Invited To My Daughter’s 13th Birthday

So recently we threw a13thB_day sleepover party for my daughter with 6 of her friends, to celebrate her becoming a “real teenager”. Wow, that’s a scary thought, right? Wait–are we talking about the party, or the fact that she’s now a teenager?

Anyway, we decided to have all of her favorite foods—chicken kara-age, Japanese style finger sandwiches, edamame, fresh strawberries, “Cuties” (the tiny tangerines) and…instant udon! And what I realized is that we take for granted that we have hot water at our disposal anytime with our water boiler. It obviously becomes very important in situations like this, and I wondered what we used to do before we got one. We don’t have to worry about boiling the water for the girls, and they can serve themselves to hot udon or ramen even in the middle of the night! What a concept!

Our family drinks a lot of green tea, so I have our boiler set at 195°F so that it’s just hot enough to brew the tea without scorching the leaves. That’s still hot enough for instant noodles anytime of the day, and my kids use the hot water to make hot chocolate during wintertime. Since I’m picky about my coffee, I like to use boiled water right off the stove and drip brew. But my wife, who likes to drink those instant cappuccino mixes, uses our water boiler to stir up a steaming cup of café au lait without even having to put on the kettle in the morning. I am a firm believer in the importance of readily available hot water.

Just so you know, the sleepover was for exactly 13 hours because it was her 13th birthday. We played a game where the girls had to answer 13 questions about our daughter, and we gave away 13 prizes. It was a fairly manageable night for us parents. Girls aren’t as noisy as boys. When my son was 12 years old, we made the mistake of inviting 12 of his friends to a sleepover. That night was a horror story that I’ll save for another day—we did not have hot water available for a bunch of 12-year-old boys.

Summer is Finally Here!

Dear friends, it is a pleasure to be celebrating yet another summer with you! School is nearly out and the season for grilling, long hikes and beach BBQs is upon us. We have had such a wonderful time packing up our stainless mugs and stainless lunch jars to enjoy lunch outdoors, on the beach or in the mountains. This is a great time of year for fun in the sun.

While we do hope you will have plenty of time to eat, drink and be merry, we also hope you’ll find some time to rest and relax this season. There’s nothing quite like warm June sunshine to get one in the mood to sit by a pool and do absolutely nothing, eh? And that’s where we come in — our line of rice cookers and gourmet products is here to simplify your life. We hope that by being able to throw meat and veggies on our gourmet grills and roasters, dinner might be that much simpler.

Between Zojirushi products and all of the fresh, seasonal produce available this time of year, we have no doubt that you will be eating well all summer long! As always, we encourage you to shop local and shop fresh. Local and seasonal ingredients are the secret to tasty & healthy food. Whether you plan to spend your summer traveling, hiking or doing nothing on the beach, we will be there with you every step of the way. Here’s to a long and happy summer filled with good food, family and great friends! Cheers!

The Traditional Japanese Wedding

Anyone here ever been to a traditional style Japanese wedding? Don’t expect white dresses, white cake and bouquets! A traditional Japanese wedding is a magical and beautiful ceremony that is nothing like its western counterpart. The traditions involved with a traditional Japanese wedding are what make this a beautiful event to participate in.

Meiji-jingu_wedding_procession-cropped

For starters, you can trade in your white gown for a beautiful kimono. That’s right, Japanese brides often don layers of fine silk in the form of a traditional kimono that’s tied so tight, a trip to the bathroom would not be an easy feat! Brides are given a tsuno-kakushi which is a white headdress to wear. Their faces are painted white like a geisha to signify their maiden status and their feet will be elegantly covered in white tabis that are a kind of fancier sock!

Japanese weddings can take hours upon hours between the traditional Shinto ceremony to a long kaiseki style dinner, and then of course dancing and singing. A drinking game of rock, paper scissor might also serve as a way to bring families together. If you happen to catch the groom drinking from a small cup he’s sipping sake to ‘seal’ the marriage vows.

While the traditional style weddings have been the norm in Japan for thousands of years, more and more couples are opting for western style weddings – some even have both!  With the western idea of what a “perfect” wedding should be, what do you think about the traditional style wedding? Would you like one? Let us know!

 

Origami: An Ancient Art Form

The word origami means paper folding in Japanese, and that is exactly what it is. The ancient art of paper folding or origami has been around since the 17th century. In the mid 1900s, origami popularized outside of Japan, and it has been picking up steam ever since. Today American book and craft shops are filled with how-to books on origami with themes like flowers, dinosaurs and even dolls! Just remember that for it to really be origami, it must be sculpted through folds and nothing else. No cutting or gluing accepted!

There are certain folding techniques that make up most sculptures. The most basic figures will all start out in almost the same way. While you can fold any square sheet of paper in the style of origami, traditionally origami is made out of origami paper. Origami paper is usually small in size, high in quality with beautiful designs on ether side. Some origami paper is as beautiful as a silk kimono.

June 2014 Blog

As origami moves into the 21st century, it has acquired a modern edge.
From classic origami such as a bird that flies or a balloon that can be blown up, to modular origami that must be connecting with other origami to be complete, there is no end to what you can create.

In this modern day “renaissance” of origami, the possibilities are truly endless. These days you can find paper that sparkles and technique books on almost anything you can imagine. For the still hand and the quiet mind, origami will provide hours of fun. If precision is not your strong suit, origami can still be a great time. So get out there and try! Happy folding!

 

Product of The Month: Indoor Electric Grill (EB-DLC10)

Don’t let unpredictable summer weather squash your outdoor cookout. If you need to bring the grill indoors then this will become your MVP (Most Valuable Product)

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A perfect gift for Dad on Father’s Day or for any grill master in the house, this stylish Indoor Electric Grill features a 1,500-watt, high powered heating element and a 14-7/8″ x 10-5/8″ extra large grilling surface. You can grill steaks, burgers and veggies all at the same time! The grill plate is protected with maximum coverage and operation is dependent on proper setup and installation, making it safe and easy to clean!

 http://www.zojirushi.com/products/ebdlc

May is the Month for Celebrations

We are thrilled to welcome the month of May! The weather is great, the days are long and summer is so close, we can almost taste it! Most of all, May is the month of Golden Week, a wonderful holiday anticipated and celebrated each year in Japan.

golden-week-Shibazakura
From the end of April through the first week of May, there are 5 National Holidays that we celebrate in Japan. During this week, most Japanese people have paid time off and companies will close completely. It is the longest vacation period of the year for most Japanese people, a time for rest, and great celebration!

This is a popular time for local as well as international travel, and train stations and airports are often busier than ever during this week. If you don’t make plans well in advance, it can be difficult to make reservations during Golden Week. While May is a beautiful time to visit Japan, we do not recommend visiting during Golden Week. Things are very busy and crowded.

Golden week ends with a bang – the final holiday of the week is called, Kodomono-hi or children’s day. It is a day to celebrate children and respect their wishes. It wasn’t until 1948 that the government declared Kodomono-hi a national holiday and insisted that we take this day to express gratitude toward children. Will you be celebrating this year?

Flying with Giants at the Yokaichi Kite Festival

Remember the old days of homemade boxcar races? The Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival is the Japanese equivalent to a classic American boxcar race. Imagine a perfectly clear spring day in Japan. The sun is shining; the bright blue sky is water colored with a few soft white clouds, there’s a band, a BBQ and kites. Giant kites!

Each year on the fourth Sunday of every May, the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival is held in Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan. It’s festival that dates all the way back to the Edo period, when new parents would fly kites for their children’s health. Today, the Kite Festival is treated as a competition between different teams. Each kite, called Oodako, is a work of art. Teams design, create and decorate their kite with local bamboo, rice paper, silk and paint. Much like you might do to your precious boxcar! The only difference is that these kites are HUGE! The smaller ones measure in at about 40 feet wide and 50 feet tall. Can you imagine handling such a thing?

The competition is among teams because it takes so much manpower to get one of these things off the ground. If you get the opportunity to attend a kite festival in Japan, you will be amazed by the art, craftsmanship and teamwork filling the skies.

KITE-1369727085-60476While competitors work together to get their creations off the ground, amateurs and onlookers will experiment with smaller creations of their own. A perfect blue sky filled with color and art will be quite the spectacle for all.

Kites have been around in Japan for thousands of years, but it’s only fairly recent that they have been used recreationally. Traditionally, kites were flown for religious festivals, military use and even fishing. Today, there are over 500 different kinds of kites in Japan and over 50 different kite festivals.

Like most things in Japan, kite making and kite flying has become an art form. It’s also an excuse to get outside and get together with friends and family. Flying a kite of this size, or any for that matter requires focus and attention, and is always lots of fun! This spring and summer, experiment with your own kite projects. Try making your own, or just enjoy a nice day outdoors with a store bought kite. What a great way to spend an afternoon! Enjoy!

Tonkatsu: An Easy Japanese Dinner

Walk through any underground train station in Japan and you are destined to see as many Tonkatsu restaurants as there are ramen shops. Glittering in each window is a plastic version of each meal set, or “setto” as it might be called in Japanese. Pork cutlet, Pork Cutlet with Salad, Pork Cutlet with Salad and Soup and so on…

40_1Tonkatsu is simply a pork cutlet breaded with panko and deep-fried to a rich golden brown. It’s often served over a bed of shredded cabbage with a sweet dark sauce for dipping. Most lunch sets will include rice, soup, pickles and a little slice of lemon. It’s a popular dish to grab after a long day’s work or enjoy as a working lunch. In the states, you might be able to find some version of Tonkatsu at your local Japanese market or in the form of “chicken katsu” at your neighborhood sushi joint.

Better yet, you can always try making your own! There are many recipes and video tutorials for this classic dish online. We have highlighted one from The Food Network http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/japanese-style-crispy-pork-recipe.html – Happy cooking!

Product of The Month: Stainless Mug (SM-SA36/48/60) 

128.2For the Zojirushi Product of The Month for May we would like to feature our Stainless Mug SM-SA. This is a great product for anyone who plans to be on the go this summer. Our proprietary technology works effortlessly to keep your cold beverages cold. Perfect for a simple way to enjoy your chilled beverages wherever you happen to be. This new product features a more compact design while maximizing the holding capacity. The lid is built with a safety lock that helps prevents accidental leaks and spills. It also comes in four stylish colors!

http://www.zojirushi.com/products/smsa

Zojirushi Goes to Calico

Recently I went on a camping trip with my son and a bunch of Boy Scouts to Calico Ghost Town. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Calico is a Historical Landmark located near the Mojave Desert in California. Nestled against the mountains, Calico was a silver mining town in the 1880s during the Gold Rush days. Today the old town has been restored as a tourist attraction, and visitors can go to see what an old western town used to look like. If you’ve ever driven the route to Las Vegas on Interstate 15, you’ve probably seen the signs pointing to Calico Ghost Town.

We went to visit Calico too, but we also went to fire off model rockets at a nearby dry lake bed–and I took my Zojirushi Stainless Mug with me. I just thought it would be fun to get the bottle into the shot–doesn’t it look like it could be on another planet?

BlastOff

It was typical desert weather; cool and crystal clear when we got there, and warming up a lot by the time the first rockets took off. The ice water that I brought in the bottle helped–a lot.

At camp, it was more of the same–sleeping on rockscampgrounds by the side of the mountain! But it was fun; the food was great, the boys all had a good time visiting the ghost town and learning about the history of the mine, and we all fulfilled our scout camping requirements. I have to confess though, I got zero sleep…

To see the rocket video, click this link.

Teppanyaki: Iron Plate Cooking

okonomiyaki1

Griddle cooking usually brings up images of a short order cook frying hamburgers, right? Teppanyaki is Japanese griddle cooking and it’s a lot more than hamburgers. Characterized by fresh ingredients in bite sized portions, teppanyaki is a communal way of dining with friends and family because you eat while everyone cooks their own portion on a centrally placed hot griddle.

Even at a restaurant where the chef is doing the cooking and doing tricks with his spatulas and building “volcanoes” with a tower of onions, guests are seated with complete strangers and everyone has a good time. Diners wait while the teppanyaki chef juggles pepper shakers, flips shrimp pieces into the air, and deftly slices cubes of steak with astonishing speed.

Typical ingredients are cabbage, bean sprouts, onions, bell peppers, shrimp, chicken, steak meat and sausage. Dipping sauces are used for flavoring sometimes, but these little mouthfuls can also be enjoyed with very light seasoning that serve to enhance the original flavors of the ingredients.

In the home environment, your electric griddle can replicate the teppanyaki experience. You don’t need to juggle knives to entertain your guests. They will entertain themselves just by being able to cook their own dinners on the tabletop griddle. Other typical dishes cooked on the griddle are okonomiyaki and yakisoba, two classic favorites that everyone enjoys making because there really is no wrong way to cook them.

Okonomiyaki is a mix of meat, vegetables and batter, in a savory pancake meets pizza kind of dish; while yakisoba is a distinctively Japanese chow mein. Both dishes require the cook to personalize his/her cooking method by the choice of ingredients, order of frying, and use of cooking utensils. No wonder it’s more fun than frying a hamburger! If you ever get the chance, try “iron plate cooking” at home–you’ll feel like an iron chef.

Welcoming April with Zojirushi

 

SW-GA Minestrone (1)

It seems as though we were just gearing up for cold weather and holiday parties, and suddenly spring has sprung as if overnight. Time seems to be flying by faster and faster with heavy homework at school, busy days at work and weekends that pass by in a flash of sports games and grocery shopping. It’s amazing we even find time to eat!

Much like the New Year, spring is a time for new beginnings and new life. It’s a time to shed the habits and clutter that spent the winter in our homes and make way for the new. If you are anything like us, then you must enjoy a good deep clean this time of year. Amidst the busy days of modern life and spring-cleaning, don’t forget to slow down and share a nice meal with family and friends.

At Zojirushi, we understand how hectic life can get. That’s why we spend years developing products that will simplify your life. Our hope is that if you can worry less about what’s going on in the kitchen, you can focus more on what’s happening at the table. At the end of the day, the table is where we all come together; it’s where for an hour or so, we can forget the pressures of the day and enjoy each other’s company. So please, eat! Please, drink! Please, enjoy this spring with loved ones! There is always something worth celebrating! Cheers, Zojirushi.

Japanese Toys: Where Art and Craft come Together

Have you ever noticed a Japanese toy at a museum or at your local Japanese store? Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether it’s folk art, high art or serious craft. Some toys in Japan have been around for centuries and stand the test of time. Their design is built to last and their simplicity is built for the imagination. Something we rarely get to use in this age of social media and video games!

Takeuma (竹馬), pronounced ta-keh-ou-ma, for example are Japanese bamboo stilts! They are simple to make, and most variations are strong enough to hold a 6-foot, 200-pound person! They are made simply by binding take(竹) (bamboo) together. Children would play by tying a string to the roots and mounting this as if on an uma(馬) (horse). Making your own toys! Now there’s an idea.

Taketombo

Another classic Japanese toy that has found many incarnations in the states is taketombo(竹とんぼ), pronounced ta-keh-tom-boh, or bamboo-copter. This is a bamboo toy helicopter that flies when its shaft is spun. It functions like a spinning top, but in the air. The taketombo originated in China in the year 400 B.C., and is still commonly found in most American toy stores! Can you think of anything else in a toy store that’s been around since the year 400B.C.?

Just like takeuma, making bamboo-copter is fairly easy, but it might be simpler to just buy one. In any case, you should check this ancient idea out. Surprise the children around you with the gift of simplicity and imagination! Happy playing!

Japanese Children Welcome School in April

In Japan, April is the time for a new school year to begin. That’s right, warm spring weather and fragrant cherry blossoms mark the new academic year. It’s hard to imagine going “back to school” without crisp fall apples and leaves on the ground eh?

Going back to school is more than just packing a brown bag and strapping on a backpack in Japan. In fact, each April, schools hold an “Entrance Ceremony” for new students. The entrance ceremony is a time for new students to contemplate the year ahead. It also gives shy or young new students a chance to be welcomed by their older schoolmates.

This ceremony is often held in a gym or an auditorium where older students and parents sit to welcome the incoming class as they march in for applause. The principal will usually speak along with the homeroom teachers and older student, as well as an incoming student. New students are then led back to their homerooms where they receive textbooks and more information on the year to come.

Sounds a bit different than the all-American way of starting school? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Product of The Month: Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle (EA-DCC10)

EA-DCC10We would like to highlight the Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle (EA-DCC10). This is a very versatile appliance that can make cooking easy and interactive. It features an extra large cooking surface and it’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This product is ideal for tabletop cooking. Given the extra large cooking surface and a large lid, sautéing or cooking for large groups can be done quickly with no mess.
http://www.zojirushi.com/products/eadcc

Curious to see what you could make with this appliance? Check out all the amazing recipes we have for our electric griddles.

http://www.zojirushi.com/user/scripts/user/prod_recipe_list.php?prod_category_id=4

March: The Month for Inspiration from the Garden

PansiesAt Zojirushi, welcoming March means welcoming spring. It is a time for new life, fresh produce and original ideas in the kitchen. After a long winter, the time is right to open the doors and windows, and allow new dishes onto our tables and into our hearts. Local markets are abundant with fresh peas, baby lettuce, carrots and a variety of sweet fruit. Things like mandarin oranges, fresh pears, pineapples and mangoes make fixings for delicious breakfast sides, sweet salad toppings and healthy desserts. This is a great time to play with local produce and creativity in the kitchen.

As you know, we always test our products and recipes to ensure the best quality and function for our customers. That being said, don’t feel tied to our recipes. Use them as a guide, or as a map to get you started, and then remake your own. Use produce that are available to you, and never worry too much about getting it just right. The most important ingredient you’ll need is your confidence and creativity.

Have a wonderful March, filled with delicious food and happy memories. We love hearing from you and want to see how you utilize our products and recipes in your daily life. Please share ideas, pictures and stories on our Facebook page. There’s nothing we love more than hearing from you! Cheers!

Hinamatsuriひな祭り): A Day for Celebrating the Girls in your Life

It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for Hinamatsuri again. It seems it was just yesterday that we were celebrating last year’s holiday. Hinamatsuri, also called Doll’s Day or Girl’s Day, is a special day in Japan. Each year, on March 3rd, families get together and celebrate the girls in their lives wishing them health, happiness and all the best wishes.

For this special day, ornamental dolls called Hina ningyo (ひな人形) are displayed over a platform covered with red felt at homes. These dolls represent the emperor, empress, attendants and musicians in traditional court attire during the Heian period (794 – 1192). The number of dolls and steps vary, but the emperor and the empress is always placed at the top tier.

Colorful foods and drinks are also a significant part of this celebration. Hina-arare (colorful bite-sized rice crackers coated with sugar) and hishi-mochi (diamond shaped rice cake in a layer of 3 colors: pink for peach flowers, white for snow and green for new growth) are placed with the dolls. Chirashizushi, also known as Gomoku sushi (a “scattered” sushi), ushiojiru (a salt based soup with clams), and shiro-zake (white fermented rice wine) are other common items served during this celebration.

Zojirushi Gomoku Sushi Recipe: http://zojirushi.com/recipes/-i-gomoku-sushi-i-

Takikomi-Gohan copy

Ohagi – The Perfect Treat for Spring!

Ohagi (pronounced oh-hah-ghee) is a delicious, traditional Japanese dessert. It consists of a ball of coarse sweet rice covered with a layer of adzuki bean paste or kinako, roasted soybean flour. Typically rice is soaked for 6-12 hours prior to cooking and is prepared similar to mochi. They are commonly eaten during higan periods which are around the spring and autumn equinox. Another type of ohagi is inverted, with the rice on the outside and beans on the inside; these are often coated with a layer of kinako.ohagi

This traditional dessert has been around in Japan for centuries. Ohagi is fun to make with your children and even more fun to eat! If you have not made a Japanese dessert before, this is a great dessert to try!

Product of the Month: Stainless Steel Food Jar (SW-GA36)

SW-GA36

The Zojirushi Product of the Month for March is the NEW Stainless Steel Food Jar SW-GA36. This product features a new design that looks great and is easy to use! The new tapered shape with flat interior design makes eating and drinking easy, but also easy to clean. It also comes with a removable mouth ring to make it easier to eat and drink from!

Ideal for holding hot or cold meals for hours, th

The new shape with three new colors, Avocado Green, Coral Orange, and Café Brown, this is one stylish way to take a delicious meal on the go.e vacuum insulation can keep temperature of the food for up to 6 hours. A durable SlickSteel® stainless steel interior resists corrosion and repels stains. Like all Zojirushi vacuum insulated products we back the Stainless Steel Food Jar with a 5 year warranty on heat retention.

http://zojirushi.com/products/swga

 

Good Vibes and Chocolates for February

February is a great time to be in the kitchen. Spring hasn’t quite sprung and chicories and root vegetables are still widely available. Fennel is everywhere and winter citrus brightens up crispy salads at home. The weather is still crisp too this time of year and we find ourselves wearing winter coats out to the market while dreaming of warm spring days. February is winter’s last run before new life arrives in March.

Chocolate Hearts and Pink RosesFebruary is also the month of one of our favorite holidays – Valentine’s Day! We love Valentine’s Day because it is a day to sit down and share a delicious meal with someone you love. We also love Valentine’s Day because it is an excuse to buy, exchange and eat boxes of chocolates! Whether you are celebrating romantically, with kids, or with close friends, we all have something to celebrate this year. And with an abundance of fresh produce in season, why not celebrate at home for a change? Create a celebratory 3-course meal for your loved ones featuring all this season has to offer. From fresh strawberries to roasted cauliflower and homemade pickled turnips, the possibilities are endless. We look forward to seeing what you create!

Setsubun 節分

In Japan, we celebrate Setsubun or “Seasonal Division” in February. It marks the day before the beginning of spring in the lunar calendar and is usually held on the 3rd or 4th day of the month.

Spring Setsubun can be thought of as a kind of New Year’s Eve. It is the time to ward away evil spirits and make room for spring. The day is celebrated by throwing roasted beans around our homes and at temples and shrines while shouting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” meaning “Demons out! Luck in!” This ritual symbolizes driving off negative energy as well as an invitation to happiness. The timing is perfect as it is also a time to bid farewell to the cold dark of winter and welcome the new life of spring. We are wishing everyone a very happy Setsubun and a new season filled with happiness and good energy!

Ayatoriあやとり

Ayatori is a game of making string figures by using your fingers and weaving the strings together to create the shapes. It can be played by two or alone. A string about 120 cm (47 inches) long is tied at the ends to form a loop. This loop of string is intertwined to form shapes like broom, flower, airplane and frog.

One of the basic shapes to construct is a broom. Take a sting and give it a try.
http://web-japan.org/nipponia/nipponia26/en/topic/index02.html

Here are the steps:

  1. Take your string and pull it all the way down.
  2. With your other hand make a big loop from the inside and hook it with your index finger through the small loop.
  3. Next pull the small loops through the big ones.
  4. Now flip the loops over and release your hand.
  5.  Flip the string marked with the star, flip it over your finger and pull it towards you…There’s your broom!

Cacao, Chocolate’s Sophisticated Sister

Everyone is talking about Cacao! You see it on chocolate bars, in cookies and even in breakfast smoothies. It is claimed to be a super food packed with health benefits, but what is it? Is it just a fancy name for chocolate? The answer is yes and no.

Cacao or cocoa beans are the dried and fully fermented beans that give us cocoa butter and cocoa solids, and yes, also the base for chocolate. They are native to the Americas and may have originated in the Amazon, although we can’t be sure. Today more than 3 million tons of cocoa are processed globally each year.  Most of the cocoa or cacao processed today is turned into chocolate. Some however, are sold as cacao nibs.

Cacao nibs are pure cocoa beans that have been roasted and broken up into bits resembling chocolate chunks. They are similar to coffee beans in flavor and a bit crunchier in texture. Can you imagine tasting pure chocolate without sugar? That’s a cacao nib. It’s slightly bitter, but nutty with a little spice and a nice crunch. These little bites are rich and will leave you far more satisfied than a sugary chocolate bar.

You can do all kind of things with cacao nibs. Throw them in your next batch of cookies alongside mini chocolate chips, sprinkle them on top of your ice cream sundae for a nutty crunch or even try them at breakfast with yogurt to get you going in the morning. Cacao nibs are easy to find online and in some specialty stores. They will be sure to send your Valentine’s Day dessert over the edge of decadence.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and get some pure cacao nibs today. Taste something new and find creative ways to incorporate this super food into your kitchen. We look forward to seeing all of your bold and crunchy new creations! Happy Cooking!

Product of The Month: Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer (NL-AAC10/18)

NL-AAC10_18There is a distinct line of amazing rice cookers in the Zojirushi family. Each one has something unique that it offers to each owner. This month we would like to spotlight the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-AAC. If you’re looking for a home appliance that gives you some amazing versatility you’ll love this machine! It serves both as a rice cooker and a steamer. One machine that can prepare an entire meal! Offering the fuzzy logic technology this rice cooker includes multiple cooking settings to allow you to make perfect rice along with a side!

http://zojirushi.com/products/nlaac

A Fresh Start To A New Year!

Getting Healthy this New Year

Happy January! Can you believe how New Year - MP900309596the time flies? And here we are in 2014! The New Year is a great time to welcome change and new beginnings. It is the month to clear out what’s not needed in one’s life in order to make room for new things. If you have been putting off cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, this is the month to do it! January is also a great month to get back in shape! After indulging throughout the holiday season, most people are looking to cut back and trim down in January. By cleaning and reorganizing your kitchen space, you will be able to start fresh this January with seasonal farm to table fare. We’ll stand by you every step of the way. With our time tested recipes and state of the art equipment, Zojirushi is the perfect companion for creating new habits in the kitchen this January!

We’re enthused to empower and inspire you in the kitchen. Our idea is simple: fresh and seasonal ingredients create delicious and healthy food. We believe that food is meant to be enjoyed and that putting dinner together should be a joyful and simple task. Start the year off right with the 31 Days of Farm Fare challenge. Find a seasonal produce at your local market this month, get creative and try out something new each day. From roasting, to grilling, sautéing and boiling, the options with Zojirushi are never ending. Show us how you’re using fresh produce this January by using the hash tag #FarmFare. We can’t wait to see what you create! Happy cooking and happy New Year!

Japanese Games

福笑い – (Fukuwarai)
This is a traditional game played by children in Japan around New Years. The concept is similar to “Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey” where children are blindfolded and take facial elements and place them creatively on a blank face.

羽根つき – (Hanetuki)
Hanetuki, also referred to “Feather Ball”, is a game that is very similar to badminton, but uses no net. It can be played alone or by a group of people. Traditionally on New Year’s Day this is a game played by girls. Players use a wooden paddle called 羽子板(hagoita) to hit a feather shuttlecock high into the air. The player who misses the shuttlecock gets marked on the face with sumi ink.

Quince: January’s Most Mysterious Fruit

In scouring your local farmers’ markets this January, you might come across a number of unusual things. We have seen everything from purple tomatillos to red endive to jujubes in California! The most mysterious and mystical of varieties, however, is without a doubt the Quince. The rock hard and golden yellow fruit looks something like a lemon crossed with a pear. Just try biting into one and you will be met with a hard texture and bitter flavor.

The truth is that quince is inedible when raw. It must be cooked to be enjoyed. When cooked or poached, their yellow green color softens to a warm and rosy pink. Their bitter edge is transformed into a sweet and floral essence, and they are unlike anything you have ever tasted before. Quince is commonly found in jams and pastes because of its high pectin content. You might find such concentrates in Middle Eastern cooking or on the cheese plate at your local Italian restaurant. In Iran, you might even find quince in regional soups and stews.

While widely unknown and rarely used in the west, quince is one of the oldest fruits around. Native to South Asia, Iran and Turkey, the quince’s history dates back at least 5,000 years. In Greek mythology, it was considered a favorite of Aphrodite and has been accepted as an aphrodisiac ever since.

Keep an eye out for quince at your local market this month. You might be surprised by what you discover. Try poaching it and enjoying with breakfast or even as dessert. You will be spellbound by its beautiful color and rich perfume. As always, let us know what you discover by sharing pictures on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to following your journey! Happy hunting and happy cooking!

Product of The Month: Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle (EA-DCC10)

EA-DCC10If you are looking for a kitchen product that simplifies the process of preparing a great home cooked meal then this is it! Our Product of The Month is the Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle that is easy to clean and comes with an extra large cooking surface that you can prepare an entire meal on! If you’re in a rush but need to cook up a meal for your family then drop the lid for a quicker cooking time. Also enjoy a worry-free tabletop cooking. This griddle is designed with safety in mind – it has a low profile design with a cooking plate that sits inside the body guard to protect against scalding.

http://www.zojirushi.com/products/eadcc