Instant Upgrades For Instant Coffee

Granita di Caffè
I’m not as much of a coffee snob as I used to be, when I lived in Japan and everyone around me treated Blue Mountain coffee as the Holy Grail—but I did make fun of my mother when she would take out her jar of Folgers? instant. “Why would anyone drink instant coffee at all?” is what I always thought. But those freeze dried pebbles of brew are making a comeback, doncha know…you’ve heard of Dalgona by now, right?

Turns out instant coffee is pretty handy…for certain things. This coffee granita is a frozen Italian dessert that came out fantastic! The easy part was making the espresso out of instant coffee. Our water boiler did that for me quick. Pro tip: the Zojirushi has temp settings that can be set for different types of tea. We usually have ours at 195°F for green tea, but I raised it to 208° so I could dissolve the instant coffee fast. The hot water was ready in a matter of minutes.

After mixing sugar into the hot coffee, I poured it into a flat pan.

Now the tricky part. After freezing for about 30 minutes, the coffee has to be taken out and stirred a little to break up the ice crystals. If you do this a few times—freeze, scrape the coffee, re-freeze, you’ll get a nice slushy coffee before it has a chance to freeze solid.

Add whipped cream and this Granita di Caffè is done! A frozen treat perfect for summer, that starts with hot instant coffee! Don’t be afraid to make the coffee strong—I used 1-1/2 teaspoons of powder to make 1 cup of “espresso”.

I got on a roll with the instant coffee, so here’s my Coffee Gelatin, made with Zojirushi’s recipe. My tip for this recipe: use a little more gelatin powder or a little less water. I prefer my Jello to be a little firmer.
Classic Coffee Gelatin

And here’s my Nutella? Iced Latte. This is super easy—blend Nutella? into hot instant coffee and refrigerate to cool. Then pour over ice with some milk for a delicious hazelnut latte. Be generous with the Nutella?; it’s good stuff!
Iced Hazelnut Latte

Speaking of Dalgona, this Korean iced coffee drink went viral everywhere a few months ago and it’s pretty much old news now, but if you’re interested in making one yourself, look it up. It’s fun to make and it’s photogenic.
Dalgona Coffee

Just For Fun
I’ve got 2 videos this month. First, if you’re feeling claustrophobic, enjoy the sunset with me for a few seconds. Sound on! If you don’t live near a beach, this is for you!

Next, one of my favorite things to do. Go through a carwash with me—so much fun for cheap! LOL. Sound on again!

 

All images by Bert Tanimoto
Coffee Granita recipe by The Italian Chef

 

 

B-kyu Gurume: Morioka Reimen from Morioka City, Iwate

Happy July, Zo fans!? We’re so surprised by how fast this year has gone by already.? We hope that you all are continuing to stay safe and healthy!

One of our favorite ways to plan any trip is to research the food that each destination is famous for. We love traveling to try new cuisine!? Do you do this, too?? If so, when planning your trip to Morioka in Iwate, you’ll quickly learn the city is famous for their noodles.

In fact, they are actually known for not one type of noodle, but rather for the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka.” These noodles are Wanko Soba, Morioka Jajamen, and Morioka Reimen.

photo link: https://img.japankuru.com/prg_img/img/img2020042016423097652000.jpg

When you order Wanko Soba in Iwate, you are given a small bowl of soba with toppings like sesame seeds or green onions. But don’t worry about the size of the dish, because you get to eat as much as you want! It’s such a novel experience, really. Each time you finish your bowl, a server that’s standing right next to you will say “hai, janjan” and refills your dish. This repeats until you cover the bowl with a lid, to signal you have eaten to your heart’s content. Establishments even hold contests to see who can eat the most, with records as high as 500 bowls consumed!? Would you be up for this challenge, Zo fans?

Next up is Morioka Jajamen.? Morioka Jajamen is an udon dish topped with ground meat, or Nikumiso. This topping is prepared with ginger and other spices, and stewed in miso and sugar. After the noodles are consumed, most customers mix the remaining meat with the broth and an egg to transform the remainder into a second-course soup dish.? It’s so filling and delicious.

The final of the three great noodles is Morioka Reimen. Fun fact: rei means cold, and men means noodles.

Morioka’s cold noodles are served in a spicy soup, generally topped with Kimchi, watermelon, hard-boiled eggs, sesame seeds, beef, and fresh vegetables. The unique combination of ingredients with the cold broth makes it perfect for eating during warm summer days.

You might be wondering “Kimchi? Am I in the right country?” You absolutely are! This dish actually originated in Korea, and was made popular by a Korean-born resident of the city who opened a restaurant featuring the flavors from his childhood. This origin story and spice-level makes the cold noodle dish unique from the reimen consumed in other parts of Japan (which are not known for their spice).

Most Morioka Reimen restaurants offer 5 or more levels of kimchi spiciness for your order. If you’d like more control of the spice of the reimen at your own discretion, you are able to order the betsu-kara option, which provides the kimchi on the side. The cold soup dish is said to taste even better if you add a dash of vinegar to it before consuming.

There are over 30 noodle eateries located just in the city of Morioka. Some of the most popular destinations for where you can try this Reimen (and other noodle dishes mentioned) are:

Seirokaku, a famous noodle restaurant ranked amongst the top restaurants in the area.? Seirokaku is located across the JP Morioka Station, which makes it easy to access!

Another popular restaurant we recommend is Pyonpyonsha, Morioka Ekimae.? This restaurant is one of the most popular places to try these dishes, but space is limited so reservations are recommended!

Photo link: http://japanold.com/2018/05/16/1705/

And if you’re in the mood to learn how to make your own reimen from scratch, you can visit Morioka Handi Works Square to take a traditional cooking class to making your very own version of this regional delicacy.

Let us know if you try (or make) any of these dishes by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Meet the Newest Members of the Zojirushi Family and July’s Product of the Month: Hello Kitty Rice Cooker and Stainless Mug

We are so excited to announce our collaboration with Sanrio to launch our two new Hello Kitty housewares, the Hello Kitty Rice Cooker and the Hello Kitty Stainless Mug.

This partnership marks Zojirushi’s first-ever licensed collection and coincides with Sanrio’s 60th anniversary, celebrating the heritage of two iconic Japanese brands and their milestones through these fun limited-edition products.

Let’s take a closer look at the two products and their features:

The Hello Kitty Rice Cooker (NS-RPC10KT)

The Hello Kitty Rice Cooker is a gorgeous white exterior with one-of-a-kind Hello Kitty illustrations in 360 gold print. It’s a necessity for all Hello Kitty fans – so kawaii!

Along with the ability to cook up to 5.5 cups of rice, this rice cooker will feature many Zojirushi standards, such as:

Easy one-touch operation with an automatic system that keeps the rice warm once it’s done cooking,

A patented triple heater system that works intuitively to always generate the ideal temperature for the best tasting rice,

 

A detachable and washable inner lid,

Easy-to-clean nonstick coated inner pan,

A hinged lid with easy-to-open handle, as well as a lock tight lid with push button release and a removable dew collector.? The rice cooker also comes with a measuring cup, spatula, and a spatula holder as accessories, which are BPA-free

The rice cooker is adorable and also thoughtfully constructed to not only make the cooking part easy, but also the clean-up. For example, during the boiling process, starchy foam may adhere to the inner lid and become dirty. The inner lid is designed so it can be removed and washed thoroughly. Especially if you add any ingredients other than rice (such as condiments) when cooking, wash thoroughly to prevent odors. The inner pan is nonstick coated for easy cleaning, because we all know how time consuming it is to clean off sticky rice!? When cleaning or washing, we advise not putting forks, knives or other cooking utensils in the inner pan to avoid scratches. Please only use the rice spatula that came with your rice cooker to keep the pan from scratching and deteriorating.

The Hello Kitty Stainless Mug (SM-TA48KT)

While the Hello Kitty rice cooker will only be sold in white, the Hello Kitty Stainless Mug will be offered in two colors – black and white – both featuring the same unique-to-Zojirushi gold print.

If you own, used, or have encountered any of our vacuum insulated stainless products, you know how they EXCEL at keeping beverages hot or cold…we’re not exaggerating. Enjoy the temperature retention for up to 6 hours for all of your liquids!

In addition to powerful temperature retention and a lovely design, they also offer everything you love about Zojirushi’s vacuum insulated stainless products, such as 6 oz capacity made of high-quality 18/8 stainless steel , a 2-step lid release process , which prevents excess condensation, a stopper that completely disassembles for thorough cleaning , Easy-to-clean double layer nonstick coated interior , nonstick coated

interior for enhanced durability, An air vent so drinks flow smoothly ,

and a safety lock to prevent the lid from opening accidentally.

Look at that beautiful 360 gold Hello Kitty design!

Zojirushi has other products that also have floral or other designs on our products. We take care in using materials and application methods that prevent the designs from coming off, but don’t rub or scrub hard when washing. Please be gentle. This tip works to keep both the rice cooker and stainless mug’s exterior design in pristine condition.

Are you as excited as we are?

The Hello Kitty Limited Edition Collection is exclusive to the U.S. and Canada, and features a never-before-seen Hello Kitty pattern. This pattern was designed specifically for Zojirushi, and the items will only be available through select retailers in North America, beginning in early July 2020 with plans on restocking the collection in early September.

Missed out on the release?? Make sure to sign up for our Zojirushi 101 newsletter for the month of July, and take our survey for a chance to win a product from the collection!

Don’t forget to also try out these delicious Hello Kitty recipes from this month’s Zojirushi 101.? The perfect meals to make with your new Hello Kitty rice cooker!? We feature 2 delicious Japanese dish-inspired meals with the iconic mascot, such as Hayashi Rice.

Be sure to show off your Zojirushi x Hello Kitty housewares with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZojirushixHelloKitty #ZoFan

July Is National Blueberry Month!

Blueberry Bread
This is an official month declared by the USDA! Did you know that blueberries are native to North America and we grow them in 35 out of the 50 states? That means we supply about 95% of the world’s crop. It’s known as a superfood, because they’re rich in fiber, low in calories and full of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s also one of the few foods found in nature that are blue, so there’s always that.

I wanted to try Blueberry Bread with my breakmaker, so I found a recipe on the Fleischmann’s site, the people who produce the instant yeast in bottles and packets. The experts at Zojirushi advised me to use dried blueberries because using fresh ones would make the dough soggy. This also gave me a chance to use the dispensing attachment that comes with the breadmaker—it drops whatever dry ingredient you want into the dough for you, so you don’t have to interrupt the cycle or even take the dough out. Worked like a charm. This is all I needed according to the recipe. (The black container is the auto ingredient dispenser.)

Ready to go.

This was the best looking bread I’ve been able to bake with my breadmaker. I mean, look how perfectly shaped it is! And the texture and color of it was amazing. Then when I sliced it open and saw the swirly blueberry, I was totally impressed. And yeah, it tasted as good as it looked, so I rated this one an “A” and patted myself on the back.

Blueberry Jam
Now for some fresh (ok, frozen fresh) blueberries and my Blueberry Jam using a Zojirushi recipe for the breadmaker! This also turned out amazingly good, and I think the credit goes to using fresh ingredients.

The frozen blueberries worked out great, and I made up for the freshness factor by using lemons from our garden!

I mean, this jam only requires blueberries, sugar and lemon juice—add it to the pan and the machine does the rest. Be sure to mash up the berries first.

Cook for an hour and twenty minutes with the Jam Course and ta-dah! Fresh blueberry jam!

Pour the jam into a glass jar and refrigerate to thicken it a bit. The homemade jam recipes online suggest adding pectin to the jam to add firmness, which I did—you can buy that at the supermarket.

This was a very tasty jam—not too sweet like the kind you get at the store. And it felt good knowing there weren’t any preservatives in it; but of course that means you can’t keep it that long in your fridge. Next up for jams—strawberry!

Just For Fun
What do you do when the twist-off cap on your soda won’t open? You use your slipper of course! (Don’t worry—I cleaned the bottle before drinking!)

 

All images by Bert Tanimoto

 

 

 

B-kyu gurume: Turkish Rice from Nagasaki!

For this month’s (virtual) Japan tour, we are bringing all of you along with us to Nagasaki and introducing you all to one of our favorite indulgences from the region: Turkish Rice.

This dish features three staple components: Neapolitan spaghetti, rice, and meat cutlets. Turkish Rice can typically be customized to satisfy and meet each individual customer’s ideal comfort food order. For example, instead of spaghetti, you can have meat sauce or cream; the rice might be curried pilaf, chicken rice, or even dry; and the cutlets can be pork, chicken, steak, or even hamburger patties (to name a few options).

With so many options available, no wonder it’s considered a “must-eat” when visiting Nagasaki!

At first introduction, it might seem like this recipe would have some roots associated with Turkey, but a closer look into this dish’s origin (and ingredients) confirms that the meal is a total Nagasaki original. In fact, where the name comes from is a mystery to this day, but here are some fun theories we found about its naming.? One theory that attributes the name to historical roots is during Japan’s sakoku period of isolation.? During this time period, the people of Nagasaki were only allowed to trade from Europe through the Dutch. This theory suggested that elements of the dish were brought over during this time period and misattributed to Turkey, which no one has corrected since.? Another theory suggests the three ingredients and their three colors brings the tri-color lunch together to resemble the flag of Turkey, giving the dish its name, as well.? The last theory suggests the root is in geography: with the pilaf origination in India and the Neapolitan in Italy, Turkey’s location in the middle bridges the ingredients together and creates the namesake dish beloved by the region.? How interesting, right?

Whatever the origin, it’s a dish that’s certainly one of our favorite b-kyu gurume recommendations, and one that we hope you definitely indulge in on your next trip to Japan.

If you’re in the middle of planning a trip to Nagasaki right now and want recommendations on where you can try some yourself, here are some places you might want to stop by to order some Turkish Rice for yourself:

The first is Kyushu’s oldest café, Tsuruchan.? Opened in 1925, bask in the historically rich ambience of Tsuruchan and enjoy a plate of Turkish Rice!

What’s your favorite way to eat Turkish Rice? Let us know by sharing your story on social by tagging #Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!