[Rice Cooked with Only Broccoli]

The other day I posted an article on rice cooked with broccoli, which was well received, so I suddenly decided to test how it would taste if I cooked it with only broccoli, without consommé and butter.

I was amazed. The sweetness and umami of the broccoli itself soaked into the rice, and I was deeply impressed by the natural taste. I didn't even need to add salt, but a small amount of salted kelp went well with it to change the flavor.

The broccoli rice here is simply cooked with 2 cups of rice with the stem part cut off, but today I also shaved off some of the hard part around the broccoli stem and cut it into appropriate sizes before using it all as a garnish for miso soup. This is the part that I usually save for stir-fry dishes such as fried rice. If cooked slowly while the rice is cooking, it softens enough to be eaten with broccoli rice, and I could use whole broccoli, which is rich in nutrients.

At the end of the meal, the hard parts of the okoge are slightly difficult to remove with a ladle, so add enough hot water to soak it and let it simmer for a bit. Once the hard parts are removed cleanly with the rice scoop, a little salted kelp is added and the dish is made into a zosui (rice porridge) and eaten. It was a simple supper with the main ingredients of broccoli, rice, and salted kelp. We hope this was helpful to you.

Suzuki's Hagama Rice Pot
Rice Cooked with Broccoli





[Valentine's Day]

Today is St. Valentine's Day. It is said that Valentine's Day is a day to commemorate the martyrdom of St. Valentine, who was martyred in the 3rd century under the persecution of the Roman emperor. During the time when soldiers were forbidden to marry for fear of demoralizing the warriors, St. Valentine was executed for defying this prohibition and performing a wedding ceremony for lovers. It is now celebrated with great reverence as the patron saint of lovers.

The custom of giving chocolates on Valentine's Day began in the late 19th century, when the long-established British chocolate company Cadbury sold beautifully painted chocolate boxes for gift-giving. In Japan, there are various theories, but it seems to have started with corporate advertisements and campaigns. There was no sales strategy specifically targeting women, but since many of the chocolate buyers were women, the uniquely Japanese custom of "women confessing their love and giving chocolates as gifts" on "Love Day" became firmly established.

Now, chocolate is made from cacao nuts that have undergone fermentation, roasting, and grinding. The first people to use cacao beans from the cacao fruit were most likely the indigenous Olmec people of "Mesoamerica," the oldest civilization in the Americas. Cacao was first cultivated and was prized not only for beverages, but also as divine offerings and paper money. In Mesoamerica, cacao paste, made by grinding cacao into a powder and adding spices and flavorings such as cornmeal, chili pepper, and vanilla to counteract the bitterness of chocolate, was consumed mainly as a luxury item, for medicinal and tonic purposes.

When cacao was introduced to Europe in the 16th century, people added sugar and milk to eliminate the bitter taste of cacao and substituted easily available flavors such as pepper, cinnamon, and rose oil for chili peppers. From a bitter to a sweet drink, chocolate became a luxury item among European royalty and aristocracy around the 17th century.

Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love with lovers and family members in many countries. According to a survey, there are more and more people who prepare various kinds of chocolates for others, such as "self chocolate," "friend chocolate," "care chocolate," "obligation chocolate," and "true feeling chocolate," but "family chocolate" eaten with family members is the most common, at 42% of the total. Let's all enjoy our own Valentine's Day and chocolate.



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