Winter Comfort Foods

The crisp golden skin of roast chicken, the aroma of freshly baked bread, a hearty beef stew bubbling on the stove, the nostalgic taste of holiday cookies—comfort foods engage our senses and our emotions in a deeply satisfying way. Check out our 9 ways to bring comfort to your Winter Kitchen.

1) One pot meals 

Seems like every regional cuisine has a one-pot meal that just gets better the longer it simmers on the stove. In the Southwest, it’s chili; in Louisiana, gumbo–while New England has baked beans and chicken and dumplings. For convenience, cook in advance and reheat the next day. Mix canned baked beans with any Kikkoman Teriyaki Takumi sauce, top with minced bacon and bake until the bacon is browned. A dash of soy sauce helps the flavors in hearty Tex-Mex chili blend perfectly.

Try this one pot Jambalaya recipe:  http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/recipes/recipedetail.php?rd=13082#.UO3-QeSx9I4

2) Casseroles

Casseroles top the charts among comfort food classics, from mac ’n’ cheese and potpie to tuna noodle casserole and lasagna. They can be prepared in advance and even frozen so that they’re ready to pop in the oven anytime—and they’re a great way to stretch fish and meat. Sprinkle Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs on top of your favorite casserole (and, if you like, dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil) for a crunchy topping. Add a touch of soy sauce to the tomato sauce for your next lasagna, baked ziti or eggplant Parmesan.

Check out this Turkey Rice Curry Casserole: http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/recipes/recipedetail.php?rd=2290#.UO3-0OSx9I4

3) Soups

What mom made us, from a can or from scratch, is what brings back warm memories of childhood—soups like split pea, matzo ball, vegetable-beef, cream of chicken, French onion, chicken noodle and minestrone. For French onion soup with rich, deep flavor, caramelize sliced onions, stir in Kikkoman Roasted Garlic Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce, then add beef broth and simmer. Use Kikkoman Pearl® Organic Soymilk in place of dairy milk in cream of chicken or mushroom soup. Add a dash of Kikkoman Soy Sauce to virtually any soup, canned or homemade. Start with just a bit, increasing the quantity and tasting as you go. You’ll add umami richness and depth without a pronounced Asian flavor, much as you would by adding a little Worcestershire sauce or bouillon.

Try this Tuscan Chicken & White Bean Soup recipe: http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/recipes/recipedetail.php?rd=1150#.UO3_F-Sx9I4


4) Roasts

Oven-roasting creates the mouth-watering flavors and aromas that make roast chicken, turkey and meatloaf some of our favorite foods. Brush the top of meatloaf with Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste & Glaze just before it comes out of the oven.

We know you’ll love this Teriyaki Meatloaf: http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/recipes/recipedetail.php?rd=1625#.UO3_R-Sx9I4

5) Baked goods

Nothing says comfort like the smell of something baking in the oven—holiday quick-breads, chocolate chip cookies, fruit-laden pies and cobblers or flaky biscuits. Substitute Kikkoman Pearl® Organic Creamy Vanilla Soymilk for dairy milk in your favorite muffin or scone recipe.

6) Desserts

When it comes to comfort, rich and creamy is the name of the game! Bread pudding, chocolate pudding, lemon meringue pie and chocolate cream pie are all creamy comfort classics. Use Kikkoman Pearl® Organic Coffee, Chocolate or even Green Tea Soymilk to make a luscious pudding or cream pie filling.

Missing those holiday flavors? Whip up this Peppermint Chocolate Mousse: http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/recipes/recipedetail.php?rd=2203#.UO3_guSx9I4

7) Breakfast dishes

Lots of people find breakfast such a comforting meal that they indulge in their favorite breakfast dishes for dinner as well. Pancakes, popovers, French toast and quiche are just a few of the comforting options.

Before frying, dip French toast in Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs for extra crunch. Use Kikkoman Pearl® Organic  Original or Creamy Vanilla Soymilk to prepare your favorite pancake and waffle recipes.

Try our Crispy Baked French Toast recipe: http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/recipes/recipedetail.php?rd=2135

8) Holiday food all year-round

A turkey dinner in June? Pecan pie in July? Why not? Toss baked sweet potatoes with Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste & Glaze.

9) Vegetables

Whether they’re crispy or soft and succulent, when it comes to comforting vegetables—from fried or roasted potatoes to roasted root vegetables, potato salad and creamed spinach—it’s all about texture. Toss roasted or steamed root vegetables with butter and teriyaki sauce. For an updated potato salad, toss boiled, quartered new potatoes and scallions with mayonnaise mixed with a touch of Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce. Use Kikkoman Pearl® Organic Original Soymilk to add richness to creamed spinach. Finish roasted veggies with a drizzle of Kikkoman Ponzu Sauce right after they come out of the oven, just as you would use balsamic vinegar.

Next week: A look at Comfort Foods Around  The World

 

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Kikkoman Celebrates Over 300 Years of Tradition with New Documentary

Isogaba maware is a Japanese axiom that translates into “Make Haste Slowly.” It means to advance and grow, but to do so with tremendous thought and care. From its meticulous six-month natural brewing process to a heritage dating back to feudal Japan, Kikkoman has exemplified this philosophy since its humble beginnings in the seventeenth century. Academy Award nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker brings the story of Kikkoman’s rich family heritage to life. Click here to watch Make Haste Slowly: The Kikkoman Creed.

Next week: Full Steam Ahead: Healthy Cooking for the New Year        

 

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Brining for the Holidays

More and more cooks are incorporating brining into their holiday recipes. And once you’ve tasted a brined turkey, you’ll know why. Brining adds an irresistible succulent and savory flavor that will have your family asking for second helpings—in fact, you may need to get a bigger bird if you want turkey for sandwiches the next day!

(Recipe for a 16-24 pound turkey)

Ingredients

2 gallons cold water
10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried celery seed
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Instructions

The night before roasting, remove giblets and turkey neck; rinse turkey inside and out. In a large stock pot or 5 gallon bucket mix water with remaining ingredients. Stir well until all the salt is dissolved. Place turkey in the pot cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Remove turkey from the brine, rinsing well. Follow your regular cooking instructions.

Next week: Kikkoman Celebrates Over 300 Years of Tradition with New Documentary

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Small Bites from Around the World

China is famous for dim sum, but the notion of where people gather to nibble, sip and socialize. Often, a selection of small plates is served as a first course before a meal, but an assortment of tastes from around the globe can make a meal on their own, or accompany drinks at your next cocktail or holiday party.

Antipasto means “”before the meal”" and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Traditional antipasti include cured meats, cheeses, olives, roasted garlic, peperoncini, anchovies, marinated artichoke hearts, toasted bread crostini topped with spreads or pâtés, and arancini (deepfried rice balls). Since so many of the elements of an antipasto table can be purchased at an Italian deli, it’s a great stress-free entertaining option. To make arancini, form small balls from leftover risotto, dip in beaten egg and roll in Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs. Deep-fry until golden and crisp. For variety, tuck small cubes of mozzarella cheese into the 4 center of the balls before you bread them.

In Spain, a popular evening pastime is going from bar to bar, drinking sherry and nibbling on tapas. Thinly sliced ham, squares of tortilla española (potato omelet), albondigas (meatballs), olives, small sausages, grilled vegetables and fish with garlicky aioli sauce are just a few of the tapas you might find—all served in small portions, so it’s easy to sample a variety of tastes. Boil small potatoes, cut in half and grill. Serve with garlic mayonnaise enlivened with Kikkoman Ponzu.

Cicchetti are small snacks or side dishes served in wine bars in Venice, Italy. Popular cicchetti include tiny sandwiches, olives, marinated vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and small portions of seafood, meat and vegetables on soft polenta.

Top soft polenta (in Venice, white polenta is most commonly used, but yellow polenta is just as good) with mushrooms sautéed with garlic and rosemary. Add a splash of Kikkoman Soy Sauce to bump up the natural umami of the mushrooms.

Russians wash down snacks called zakuski with shots of vodka. On a well-stocked zakuski table, you’ll find seafood like herring, smoked salmon or smoked whitefish; caviar accompanied by black bread, onions, and hard-cooked eggs; purées of spinach, beets or eggplant to spread on lavosh; and a variety of salads and pickled vegetables. Peel and grate carrots and apples and toss with a dressing made from Kikkoman Seasoned Rice Vinegar, olive oil, horseradish and sugar. Garnish with walnuts.

The food served at Japanese izakaya—sake bars that serve food—could be described as pub food, but that doesn’t begin to convey the range of dishes you’ll encounter at these lively gathering places. With everything from yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and kara-age (fried chicken nuggets) to sashimi and agedashi tofu (fried tofu in broth) on offer, there’s something for every taste on the izakaya menu.

Thread cubes of boneless chicken breast or thigh meat on skewers and grill, basting frequently with your favorite variety of Kikkoman Teriyaki Takumi Collection Sauce.

The Spanish word antojo, or craving, is the root of antojitos—Mexican street foods that satisfy that sudden urge to snack. The category encompasses tacos, tostadas, enchiladas and a variety of toppings, like beans, meat, cabbage and salsa, on a masa (cornmeal) base. Though they’re often considered casual, inexpensive street fare, many restaurants in Mexico serve antojitos as appetizers, accompanied by beans,guacamole and totopos (crispy corn chips). Mix diced mango and jicama with chopped green onion, jalapeño

and cilantro. Add a dressing made with Kikkoman Lime Ponzu, lime juice and brown sugar for a refreshing salsa to accompany your favorite antojitos. OR: Add a splash of Kikkoman Lime Ponzu to guacamole instead of lime juice and salt. You’ll get richer, deeper, beautifully rounded flavor.

Mezes are small dishes served all over the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East as an appetizer course or with drinks. Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, the Balkans, Israel, Jordan and Syria have all contributed to the long list of dishes served as mezes. Highlights include fattoush, a salad made from vegetables and toasted pita bread; tabbouleh, bulgur salad with parsley, mint, tomato and cucumbers; dips made with chickpeas or eggplant; and feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and served with kalamata olives. If you like your dips extra spicy, spike or garnish store-bought hummus with Kikkoman Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce to your taste, and serve with toasted pita triangles.

Next Week: Brining for the Holidays

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Dim Sum for Holiday Parties

Looking for an easy way to “cater” a cocktail party or casual gathering with tasty nibbles? If your city has a Chinatown or a Chinese restaurant, bakery or deli that features dim sum items, you’re in luck. Drop by or call ahead and order a selection of baked, fried and steamed items, figuring about six pieces per person per hour. If you like, you can round out the menu with some “filler” items, like fried rice or noodles. Reheat baked and fried items in a 250˚F oven and serve on platters, trays or a chafing dish. Reheat and serve steamed items in bamboo steamer baskets. Serve Kikkoman Soy Sauce, Ponzu, Plum Sauce and other sauces on the side for dipping. Or, try our recipe for Finger-Licking Ribs. Pork ribs are a great dim sum dish, but they’re just as good at a cocktail party or on a buffet table. A slow simmer with soy sauce, sherry and sugar makes this version extra-scrumptious!

Finger-Licking Ribs

4 pounds baby back pork ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

Toss ribs with 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Heat oil in Dutch oven or casserole. In 2

batches, brown ribs. Drain fat from pan; return ribs to pan and add ½ cup water,

remaining garlic powder, soy sauce, sherry and sugar. Cover and simmer, stirring

occasionally, about 1 hour or until ribs are tender.

Makes 8 servings

Next week: Small Bites from Around the World

 

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Dim Sum and then Some

The Canton region in the south of China perfected the art of dim sum, which was then transplanted around the world by Cantonese emigrants. Originally a midafternoon snack to accompany tea, dim sum is now often eaten at breakfast or lunch. Noodle dishes, steamed buns, fried or steamed dumplings, vegetables, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves, soups and even sweets all have a place on the dim sum menu. Though dim sum originated in China, the small-plate concept is popular across a wide span of global cuisines. Spanish tapas, Middle Eastern mezes, Russian zakuski all express the convivial spirit of dim sum in another language. And it’s a great idea for home entertaining—so why not offer some dim sum selections at your next cocktail or holiday party?

There are countless varieties of dim sum, with new ones invented every day. In fact, there’s a teahouse in the Canton region of China that offers two thousand different dim sum on a rotating basis! Here’s a sampling of some of the more common ones you might enjoy:

Dumplings: Savory pork, seafood or vegetable filling wrapped in tender wheat or rice flour wrappers, then steamed, boiled or pan-fried—however they’re made, dumplings are ubiquitous on the dim sum cart. Pork-stuffed pot stickers are pan-fried, then boiled or steamed until tender. Delicate steamed shrimp shumai are wrapped in a thin skin that lets the pink filling show through. Chinese chives often add flavor and color to shrimp or pork-based fillings.

Breads: Bread dough is another favorite way to enclose fillings. The stuffed dough is then baked, pan-fried or steamed. Bao (buns), made from a raised dough filled with savory char siu pork or sweet bean or lotus seed paste, are steamed until light and fluffy. Baked bao are brushed with egg glaze to make a golden crust. Pan-fried scallion pancakes are chewy and satisfying with a flaky, layered texture.

Rice Dishes: Rice and rice flour figure in many dim sum dishes. Sheets of rice flour batter are steamed and wrapped around meat or vegetable fillings, or simply rolled and topped with sweetened soy sauce. Packets of sticky rice mixed with mushrooms, chicken, shrimp and Chinese sausage, wrapped in lotus leaves and then steamed, are fun to unfold, as well as to eat. Thick congee (rice porridge) makes a satisfying breakfast.

Deep-fried Dishes: Deep-frying adds satisfying crunch to breaded shrimp paste wrapped around crab claws. The same mixture, spread on toast triangles and deep-fried, is transformed into the ever-popular shrimp toast. And who doesn’t love deep-fried spring rolls—crisp flour wrappers enclosing savory meat or vegetable fillings?

Meat: Char siu, or hoisin-marinated roast pork, fills pork bao and rice noodle sheets, enlivens sticky rice and is delicious thinly sliced on its own. Pork spareribs seasoned with soy sauce, hot chilies, garlic and fermented black beans before steaming are rich and tender. Though pork is the meat found most often in dim sum dishes, roast duck and foil-wrapped chicken are also favorites. The more adventurous diner can sample tripe, chicken feet and even duck tongues!

Next Week: Dim Sum for Holiday Parties          

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