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Autumn is officially under way and so is the season of potluck parties. Let's face it, between school functions and office holiday events, you're going to have to come up with your potluck contribution sooner or later. Instead of buying a generic cheese platter at the market, why not try to surprise the gang this year with a homemade, imaginative dish? Check out these thoughtful recipes and bring out your inner chef!
A cheesy crescent shaped bread stuffed with broccoli and salmon! Doesn't that tell you all you need to know? Bake this signature dish and use it as your centerpiece. It's like a hot pocket overload, for a squad of hungry guests!
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Here's the signature dessert piece for your table. Thai style kabocha pie, lightly accented with coconut in the Thai tradition. How can you possibly settle for cookies or jello when you can make this?
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The perfect bite-sized appetizer, these juicy mushrooms are stuffed with succulent crab meat and cooked on a skillet until tender. If you use our Zojirushi electric griddle, you can keep them warm until ready to eat and serve them right off the griddle!
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Are there rules of conduct for a potluck dinner? If it's a family get together, chances are all of the relatives have pretty much fallen into a routine. There's the aunt who isn't much of a cook, so she's allowed to bring the Deviled Eggs, which is the easiest and hard-to-mess-up dish ever. The bachelor uncle or cousin gets to handle the drinks--not only because everyone in the family wants to give him a break, but because he really knows his wine! And so on, and so on.
But if you're invited to a friend's house, what do you do? Panic and go to the big box store for pinwheel sandwiches, or bring out your sure-fire chili recipe and grin as you graciously accept the accolades? Either is fine--just don't be that potluck putz. Here are some common sense rules of etiquette that you can keep in mind, the next time you either host a potluck, or get invited to one.
1. DO always bring a dish. This might seem like a given, but many people think this is optional. A dinner party is optional--although it's polite to bring a bottle of wine or a small dish anyway. By definition, a potluck is a gathering where everyone must bring a dish. Of course, in Asian cultures, visiting someone's house for any reason requires us not to go empty handed.
2. DON'T bring a dish that's not already prepped. Your host's kitchen is already crowded enough--she doesn't need yet another cook in it slicing vegetables on her cutting board. Come prepared to serve your own dish--bring a trivet if it needs one, serving tongs if you brought the salad. And don't assume you can use the oven. Hopefully your dish can be served at room temperature or be kept warm on the ride over.
By the way, as much as you may love that garlicky spicy recipe, be aware of who your fellow guests are. You don't want your dish to overpower the others. Unless the theme of the party is ethnic, of course.
3. DO try to help out as much as you can. Your hosts have donated their house and time and money to make it a fun event for everybody. The least you can do is pitch in with set up, serving if necessary, clean up if necessary, or even grilling the burgers if necessary.
4. DON'T be the guest that makes excuses not to help, like "I'm too drunk," or "I didn't sign up for that duty." Even if you happen to be vegetarian and don't want to smell like BBQ chicken, if the host needs you, she needs you. And if the host has it covered help-wise, please don't treat the helpers like hired help, because they aren't.
5. DO be an organized host if this is your brainchild. Sometimes dividing the menu ahead of time, especially for a large gathering, is a good idea if you don't want 5 pasta dishes, 6 desserts and no vegetables to show up. You could make a sign up sheet or simply tell everyone what to bring, if you know your guests well enough.
6. DON'T be the host who asks for too much or takes advantage of your guests. You're already having everyone bring a dish--don't be asking for 2 bottles of wine on top of that. And when the food starts coming in, remember that it's for all to share. Don't cherry pick your favorites for yourself for the next day, or stash a dish for later. Believe it or not, these things happen.
7. DO remember to get all the bowls, food containers, serving tools and platters back to their rightful owners. Many times these are forgotten after all your guests have left, so it's a good idea to do some housekeeping before the party breaks up.
And finally, a word on leftovers. Guests: don't be greedy when you're invited to bring some home. Hosts: don't hoard any dishes for tomorrow's lunch!
The cooking surfaces of most Zojirushi rice cookers, breadmakers, and other electric products are treated with fluorine nonstick coating. Nonstick coating makes cooking and cleaning easy.
  The nonstick coating of most Zojirushi rice cookers’ inner cooking pans allow for rice to be washed directly inside the pan.   The nonstick surfaces of Zojirushi electric griddles are diamond patterned to protect against scraping.   The nonstick surfaces of Zojirushi electric skillets are titanium and ceramic enhanced for durability.  
  Keep it scratch-free by not using metal or sharp-edged utensils (except those that come with the product).   Do not heat empty.   Do not leave products soiled; clean immediately after use.  
Our next issue will help you to get some recipe idea for the holiday season. Also we will help you choose the perfect gifts.