Tag Archives: cooking az

Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker.  I have talked about Sous Vide Cooking a lot on the show and this is my third cooker to purchase before settling on which to recommend.  One worked great until it crapped out in six months and a value model proved to be of little value for consistency.

There are two versions of the Anova to consider, they are,

The difference is you can control the Bluetooth only version with your smart phone when in bluetooth range.  But the WiFi becomes a device on your network attached to an account (that is free) with Anova.  This means you can control your cooker from anywhere you have signal to your phone.  Like the parking lot at your office when you leave work.  More on why you may want this in the PS below.

Here is my thoughts on this though, when I buy anything I think about its disposal value.  If I need to sell or barter it, will the cost of the additional option make it more valuable at hat point, in this case for 10 extra bucks, I say yes it will.  So with no further thought I got the WiFi model.

The Anova on the other hand is what I always look for, it JUST WORKS, always works and also always works.  Sous Vide is a method of cooking that I describe as a dry poaching.  Poaching of course is holding a food item in a liquid until it is cooked to your liking.  This keeps foods moist and prevents over cooking.  It is also simmering in water when you get right to it, for some stuff that is fine.

There are a few primary differences with Sous Vide.  First it uses a precision cooker, meaning if you want 137 degrees you get exactly that, if you want 165, and you might, say for chicken, you get EXACTLY THAT.  Not 162, not 166, not 163, you get precisely the temperature you want.  Most poaching is a best effort process.  It also in general uses higher temps say 180 for instance for eggs.

Next Sous Vide is dry, well not exactly dry but the food doesn’t contact the heated liquid, it is instead held inside a food safe bag.  This can be done with a quality zip top bag but I prefer to use a vacuum sealed bag.  The meat or other item is seasoned as you choose, then cooked to the exact temp you want.  After that it is finished with a quick sear, about one minute per side or less.

For steak the results are a perfect cook to your preferred temp, we are talking end to end pink or red or what ever you want.  Not perfect in the center and darkening to the outside. We just did up some steaks with this tool in Episode 5 of Biltong For Breakfast.

There are other uses too though.  Like today I am thinking a new riff on jerk chicken.  Part out chicken and marinate in Walkerswood  Jerk Seasoning.  Vac seal and sous vide to 165.  At this point the chicken is perfectly cooked, no cool spots, not over cooked spots.  Now just crisp the skin on the grill and done, perfect.  How about fried chicken, imagine just being able to fry to a perfect golden brown and never worry about the chicken being “done”.

There are tons of things you can do with Sous Vide cooking, tune in today to learn some more and check out Episode Five – Dead Cow Flesh of Biltong for Breakfast to see this cooker in action.   Above all if you have been considering a Sous Vide cooker, I truly recommend the Anova for consistency, value and longevity.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – So why would you want to be able to control your cooker from miles away.  Imagine you want to come home and have steak for dinner.  Well in the morning you take your vac sealed steak and put it in a pot of cold water and fill it with ice. Your trusty Anova goes in to the pot too.

A one inch steak takes about an hour to cook but still mostly frozen it will take 90-120 minutes.  So as you get in your car, you push start.  When you get home say 45 minutes later, the steak has about 45 minutes to go.  You start your side dish and salad, open the bag when ready, sear and eat.  Oh and while you can run Sous Vide too long for a cut of meat, it will NEVER over cook because it can’t, 135 is 135 period.  More on this in today’s show.

 

King Kooker 12-Slot Leg and Wing Grill Rack – Item of the Day

wingrackEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the King Kooker 12-Slot Leg and Wing Grill Rack.  Oh you out door cooking types are going to love this, though it works quite well in the oven too!  Since I first reviewed this item the price has gone up to 16 bucks but the good news is it is no longer an “add on item” so you can buy one alone if you want to.

There is so much I love about these things, first they hold either 12 wings or 12 legs and they do it in about 1/4th of the space that you’d normally need.  Next is that they end up with perfectly crisped and seasoned skin.  Since they never touch the grill rack and you never have to turn them.

I generally cook my chicken on a low temperature on indirect or very low direct heat until almost done.  Then bring up the temp at the end to crisp up the skin.  It also makes sense to set these in a small pan or toss away aluminum pan to minimize flare ups when cooking over direct coals or flame.

Again they work great in the oven as well, cook until almost done at say 350 then pop up to 425 for a bit to crisp up the skin, want a recipe, tune into today’s show for one!  You cans see in the above photo how the wings are hung from the rack by the tips and in the photo below how the legs hang and are held by the knuckle.

Let me tell you try the King Kooker 12-Slot Leg and Wing Grill Rack and you will never loose that crispy skin off a drum stick ever again.

legrack

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Here is a cook I did with these was indoors and let me give you the skinny.  I coated the wings in my famous “chili garlic pepper oil” and then dusted them with a mix of chili powder, smoked salt, garlic, cumin, paprika, onion and black pepper, all about equal amounts ground in a Mr. Coffee Grinder. (FYI this is my everything seasoning mix)

I used the “convection roast” setting in my oven, ran them at 425 for 45 minutes, they were beyond fantastic.

To do this without creating a grease fire or lots of smoke take a large aluminum foil ban like for baking a turkey, put this rack inside it and put about 3 inches of water in it.  This will catch dripping fat and the water won’t let it scorch on the pan when it gets caught.  The extra humidity will be good for keeping them juicy.

On this latest run I got 15 wings on the rack with a bit of fiddling, which is 30 pieces.  The only down side is you can only fit one of these in a standard oven.

P.S.S. – We also featured this item on Episode Three of Biltong For Breakfast – Jerk Bird Salad.  I did some wings on the grill using it that were rubbed with Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning.   These are my new favorite wings though I recommend the mild version of Walkerswood for them.

Microplane Classic Zester/Grater – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Microplane Classic Zester/Grater.  I love this tool and use it often in my cooking.  The way I ended up with this is a friend who has helped with some of our workshops brought one to us as a gift.

My response was, I have always just used a small grater for zesting, her response was simply try this and you won’t use anything else.

Well she was dead on!  The three primary things I use this for are grating hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, zesting rinds of citrus like limes, lemons and oranges and finely grating large spices like nutmeg.

These are all almost like cheat codes in the kitchen.  Here are two examples…

  • Slice up some peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and carrots and slice a big handful of green onion on the bias (that just means slanted) now add olive oil to a pan, season your veg with salt and pepper.  Saute the carrots for a minute or two, then add peppers and mushrooms and saute for about 3 more minutes, then toss in zucchini for about one minute.  Then shut off heat and add most of the green onions and stir in and serve.  Most would be happy, here comes the cheat codes!
    `
    When you start out also grate up finely some ginger and garlic and lime zest.  Add these when you add the peppers and mush rooms.  Then when you serve the dish, top with the reserved green onion and grate a small amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.  The first dish is good, the second is great and it only takes about 2 minutes of extra time to make it happen.
    `
  • Next one, take a whole chicken and cut the back bone out of it with something like these shears.  While you are at it cut the wing tips off and reserve those.  Flatten the chicken out and rub with oil, then season both sides with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary.  Par boil some potatoes, build a bed in a roasting pan with the potatoes, an onion chopped coarse, some carrots and celery.  Place bird on veggies and roast in oven at 425 till chicken is done.
    `
    While roasting boil chicken back, wing tips, neck, heart and liver with salt, pepper, celery and carrots to make a stock.  Do this in about 4 cups of water and add about 1-2 tsp of Better than Bullion Chicken base to it.  Strain stock and make it into a gravy with a flour and butter roux.  Serve chicken and veggies with gravy and enjoy a great meal!
    `
    Cheat codes, use zester when you are getting the chicken ready, and zest 2 lemons and 4 cloves of garlic, rough chop some fresh basil and parsley, mix thyme and rosemary with basil, parsley garlic and lemon to make a paste.  Gently separate the skin and stuff this paste in between the skin and meat under the breast and thy skin use about 75% of the paste this way.  Oil and season chicken as before, but rub remaining past on it along with the oil.  Place on veggie bed and squeeze lemons on top of chicken and veg.  With a little fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and proper use of this tool, you have gone from good meal to gourmet dinner.

There are so many ways to use this tool, just adding lime zest to your stir fry in addition to the customary ginger, garlic and chili is big boost in flavor for instance.  Zest a bunch of lemons, put in jar with vodka and allow to soak for bout a week, then strain out the zest and mix with 50% of the volume of simple syrup (equal amounts of sugar and water), you have high proof Limoncello at a fraction of the cost at a store.

Heck take some dark chocolate and zest it over that desert you are so proud of and take it to another level in appearance alone, not to mention taste.

One big thing is how well this tool shines at zesting citrus.  The key with citrus zest is you want all color and no white pith.  The colored part is teaming with flavor and amazing oils, the white pith is bitter.  This tool does an amazing job of taking off the part you want and leaving the rest behind.  So check out the the Microplane Classic Zester/Grater and for under 9 bucks you can take your cooking to another level!  For more ideas on using this tool, tune in to today’s show.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

 

Nutri Ninja Pro – Item of the Day

nutriEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Nutri Ninja Pro.  Like many of you guys I also own Vitamix but my kitchen is small so it mostly stays off the counter and put a away.  Hence for small batch stuff, it is a pain in the ass to take out, use, clean and put away.

So when Dorothy said she wanted a small compact tool like this I went to work on research.  After a lot of reading and youtube reviews it came down to the Nutri Ninja or the NutriBullet.  In the end the Ninja had better reviews, more power and simply better designed blades.  And it is small enough that it lives on our counter top and doesn’t take up much space at all.

Dorothy uses this for smoothies but that really isn’t my thing.  Here is a great paleo drink though that I use mine for, get this Strawberry Limeade.  Oh don’t worry, forget that crap from Sonic with all the syrup and goop in it.  Try this.

Per gallon

  • Juice of 8 limes, about 8 ounces
  • 2.5 cups of slice strawberry (fills the Nutri Ninja to max fill on the big cup)
  • Water to fill
  • Stevia to sweeten to taste

How I make it.

I take a 1 gallon jug and squeeze 8 limes into it.  I then fill the Nutri Ninja big cup to the max fill line with sliced strawberries.  Frozen or fresh but if you use frozen make sure no sugar is added and let them thaw first or you will make a slurpie!   Fill the cup to the max fill line with water to help with extraction.  Process until all berries are destroyed.

Now the important part, take a metal strainer and put it over your jug.  Stain the berries though to get out all seeds and pulp, this takes about 2 minutes and you need to stir it a bit but it is totally worth it.  Fill the one gallon jug to the top with cool water and mix.

Serve over ice and sweeten by the glass to the taste of the drinker with liquid stevia drops.  For those counting carbs, here is the break down.

  • 8 ounces of lime juice have about 20 carbs
  • 2.5 cups of sliced strawberries have about 25 carbs
  • Total carb count is 45 carbs to the GALLON
  • That makes you ten, 12 ounce servings
  • Each 12 ounce serving has a total of 4.5 carbs
  • This drink is loaded with vitamins by the way
  • A 12 ounce can of coke has 42 carbs to the 12 ounce can
  • Translation you can drink a gallon of this or a single disgusting cola

Yes you can make this with lemons or other berries.  Just as you change berries check your carb count if you care.  Strawberry is about the biggest bang for the low carb buck.  But some others are just as good or close!

1 cup of Blackberry or Raspberry juice has about 45 carbs and that is plenty to the gallon of lemon or limeade.  Not as low carb as strawberry but still pretty low, you get 65 carbs to the gallon with that and that is 6.5 carbs per 12 ounces.

To go uber low carb, just leave out the Nutri Ninja and go with just lemon or lime aide, that gives you 20 grams to the gallon and only 2 grams to the glass!

Anyway guys I hope you have noticed that in my Amazon Item of the Day posts, I am trying to give you more than just an item, but some ideas that you can use if you already own it or use other things to acomplish the same thing with it as well.  That said if you are in the market for a high speed, bad ass, blending machine, give the Nutri Ninja a shot and you won’t regret it.  The price on these is now down to 60 bucks unless you want to make a fashion statement with a red one or something like that, it is a hell of a deal at 60 bucks.

PS – Yes this makes a damn fine margarita with a bit of good tequila in it.  You don’t even need to blend it frozen, just an ounce of tequila to about 10 ounces over ice, go EASY on it though!  Seriously.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

French Press Coffee & Tea Maker Complete Bundle – Item of the Day

pressEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is my favorite French Press on Amazon.  It is marketed as the French Press Coffee & Tea Maker Complete Bundle, but I will be honest I am far more interested in the press itself rather than the spoons that come with it.

The thing I love most about this press is it comes with FOUR screens.  I run mine with all 4 installed.  A few times a week I unscrew the filter holder and wash them all out, that is all the maintenance I do and that takes about 1 minute flat.

I will also admit we have come to like the little metal spoon with the s-turn in the handle.  We keep it on our kitchen island hung on the inside of a small glass, we use it to stir drinks and any drips go in the glass.

Previously I featured our favorite tea infuser, and it is what I reach for when I want to make a single cup, but almost every morning we fire up our French Press.  It makes 34 ounces in one go, or two of our really big cups.  If you use the recipe from that article, this is the way to use it with a full sized French Press.

Put in 3 tablespoons of tea.  Make your first batch, for each additional batch just add one additional tablespoon and do another run.  I do up to 6 runs a day like this, (we drink a lot of tea) and always sweeten with liquid stevia.  Since I always try to do a value add with these posts I will give away another of my tea blends today, do not let the simplicity of this one fool you.

Jack’s Three Mints Tea (yep lemon balm and bee balm are actually mints)

This is a great sipping and contemplation tea.  It also is my favorite tea to make for iced tea.  Done that way with a bit of lemon and stevia or honey it is quite amazing, just pre sweeten with honey if you are going that route while it is still hot.

This brings up an interesting issue.  While I grow a lot of herbs, I drink a ton of tea and like to buy high quality bulk herbs for ease and convenience.  Guess what, far as I can tell it is all but impossible to find bulk (think by the pound) Bee Balm, (AKA monarda or “wild bergamot”) anywhere. If you ever do let me know the source of it please.

And I have tried, big time.  Anyway if you are in the market for a French Press again this is the absolute best value for the money I have found.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – I first reviewed this item in June of 2016 well over a year ago.  Since then I have formulated many teas, here is a new one I am really enjoying.

Folks that have made other teas of mine in the past will recognize it as a modified version of Jack’s Morning Blend, doing away with the Lemon Balm and doubling the Lemon Grass.  This small change pays a big dividend in flavor.  In short you get a lot more lemon hit from Lemon Grass than Lemon Balm.

I also cut back the Chamomile and let the Lemon Grass and Mint become the stars of this blend.  I like it even better than the original, and that is what is so rewarding about blending your own teas, discovering things like this over time.

Jacks Morning Blend – Nine Mile Farms Tea

Thai Whole Dried Chiles by Asia-Trendy – Item of the Day

chilipeps

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day one of my favorite cooking ingredients, Thai Whole Dried Chiles by Asia-Trendy.  First let me say I don’t even understand how they are able to provide these we free shipping at this price.  These things ship right from Thailand, it is on the fricken package when you get it.  This means you know you are getting the real thing.

Next they do bring some heat to the party but they are not a blow your brains out of your ears type of heat, just a nice warming heat that makes you know yea, that is a chile pepper in there!  Lost of people use them re-hydrated in stir fry and the like, that way if you actually eat them whole they pack a big punch but if you just use them to flavor the dish again we are back to a nice warming heat.

You can also take them for a spin in your coffee grinder to make a pretty impressive chili powder, or cut it with some dehydrated garlic for a bit more mellow heat and a nice addition in flavor from the garlic.

Yet my favorite use and the entire reason I tracked these down years ago is my famous chile, garlic, pepper oil.  My god this stuff makes the best chicken wings you will ever eat.  Here is what you need and how you make it.

Jack’s Famous Chile Garlic Pepper Oil

  • About 1-2 dozen dried chile peppers
  • About a half a hand full (about 3 TBS) black pepper corns (Tellicherry is best)
  • One whole garlic bulb or about 10 cloves
  • 2 cups of peanut oil

Crumble the peppers into a sauce pan, add in the black pepper corns, peal the garlic cloves and throw them in whole.  Add the 2 cups of oil and put on the stove, heat over low heat stirring often until you see the first signs of the peppers and garlic starting to fry.  DO NOT FRY THEM, what I mean is when  you see the first signs of bubbles forming, kill the heat.  It is best to use a thermometer and heat to at least 275 degrees. 

Set a towel on the counter and put the pot on it, cover it with a lid.  Fold the towel around the pot to hold the heat in, let it sit for at least 2 hours until oil is cool.  Now put everything into a blender, VitaMix, Nutri Ninja, what ever you have.  Blend the crap out of it until everything is pulverized.

Now strain into a ball jar, it should make right about one pint of oil.  This is great oil for cooking anything you want garlic and heat added to and again the heat really is not that intense, it is mostly incredible flavor.  Trust me you can’t buy anything like this, most chile oil in stores and restaurants is crap, you have to make it yourself if you want something this good and fresh.

My favorite use is on chicken wings.  Put your wings in a bowl and add enough to coat them all, toss them well to evenly coat.  You can roast or gill them strait away or add on a dry rub of your choice, if you want my dry rub for this tune in to today’s episode of TSP which will be Episode 1908.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – This stuff is one of those things that makes a great gift for people who like to cook.  Put it in a nice bottle or jar, with nice label or what have you.

P.P.S. For best results while it can be left out for a time, store it in the fridge.  There is no real risk of botulism if not refrigerated because even though we use moist garlic, by heating to 275 degrees we are 25 degrees above the temps needed to kill all botulism spores. Additionally almost anything you cook with it will have a surface temp above 250.  But it will simply keep fresh longer in the fridge, so you know what to do!

SweetDrops Liquid Stevia – Item of the Day

steviaEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is SweetDrops Liquid Stevia and I recommend the 4oz bottle because it lasts a hell of a lot longer, though you can get it in a 2oz bottle or go the other way and get a twin pack of 4oz bottles.  This is one of those cases though were the more you buy the better the price.

I took a bit of time to come to love stevia, it is sweet, but no it doesn’t taste exactly like sugar.  It does taste a lot better than every single other calorie free sweetener I have ever tried including sucralose.  What I learned worked was to use just one drop say in tea, taste it, then add one more, until I found my perfect amount for a given cup.  After about a week of using it, you realize it doesn’t taste that different from sugar after all.

The deal is your body is highly tuned to sugar, it knows exactly what it is supposed to taste like, one reason those of us who grew up in the 70s know those of you who are younger have no idea what Coke is supposed to taste like!  Corn sugar is not cane sugar!

It is kind of the same with Stevia, it just takes some getting used to.  Once you do though you may very well prefer it to sugar.  The liquid alone means you can sweeten cold drinks and it will actually dissolve.  I use this all the time in my morning tea and in our amazing low carb strawberry limeade.

If you are looking for stevia on Amazon, SweetDrops Liquid Stevia is your best option.  It is on prime, a 4oz bottle is only about 20 bucks with free shipping, I paid 8 bucks for a one ounce bottle at a store recently because we needed it.  I have tried other vendors on Amazon, with poor shipping times and damaged and returned by the shipper orders due to shitty packaging.  While it may seem expensive I drink 8-10 cups of tea most days and a bottle lasts me about 3 months.

If you check SweetDrops Liquid Stevia has 561 reviews and 4.5 stars and if you actually read the one star reviews it will hurt your faith in humanity!  Seriously.  My favorite negative review is, “I don’t like this one either”. sigh.

The only valid criticism is that the dropper is a bit short so you end up with some at the bottom that is hard to get out.  This is a non issue to me, when I get close to running out, I simply order more.  Then, when it gets difficult to get the last bit out, I open the new bottle and use it about two weeks, by then you have some head space and just pour what is left in the old bottle into the new one.  Also frankly if you tilt the fricken bottle, you can get most of it out easily.  Again some negative reviews on Amazon make my faith in humanity fall further than it already is.

In the end guys being serious, excess sugar consumption is the number one cause of lifestyle disease in the modern world.  Yes this site is The Survival Podcast, and man this is a survival topic, getting off sugar could save your life.

Here is a simple low end break down, say you drink 4 cups of coffee or tea a day, with one tsp of sugar per cup, and 4 “soft drinks” or similar at 12 ounces each a day.  We will go low and say those have about 2 tsp of sugar per drink.  Well that is 12 tsp a day, 84 tsp a week.  That is almost 310 carbohydrates a week, in pure sugar form, jacking up your insulin resistance.

From a purely caloric standpoint, that is 1344 calories, if you are on a 1500-2000 calorie a day level, well that is almost an extra day of eating per week, 52 times a year.  And this is if sugar is your only vice and you only consume it in drinks!  And here we are talking self sweetened ones, look at what happens with say 4 cokes a day.

We toss out the tea, one coke has 39 carbs, x 4 is 156 x 7 = 1092 grams of carbs a week!  Cut that in half down to two a day, you are now at 546 carbs a week.  Can you even begin to know what that does to insulin resistance.  Calorically 2 cokes a day is almost 2000 calories a week!  If we go back to 4 a day, 8000 that adds up to four full days of eating to every week.  With no nutrition at all.

If you are thinking, but I don’t do that, what about your kids?  Kids seem to be able to eat this crap, and they can but if they do by adulthood they are addicts, and that amazing insulin resistance always goes away in the end.  Just something to think about.

Why not give SweetDrops Liquid Stevia a shot in your coffee or tea.  Try whipping up some of my special morning tea blend or my amazing strawberry limeade.  Trust me folks kids love the limeade, so do big kids.  Sugar isn’t evil but read a label it is in almost everything any more.  All it is doing now is creating lifelong customers for the medical industry and drug companies.  Take your health back and this is just one simple way to start doing that!

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Mr. Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder – Spice Grinder – Item of the Day

coffeeEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Mr. Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder.  And yes it does a bang up job grinding coffee and occasionally I grind up some Mai Thai Coffee and drop it in my french press, but that is not my primary use for this tool.

To me this is the greatest ever dried vegetables and spice/herb grinder you can get your hands on for under 20 bucks.  In fact for Prime members this awesome tool is just 18.56 with free shipping.

I use this grinder to make hot pepper powders.  Garlic and onion powder from a store?  Never I buy dried onions and dried minced garlic in large quantities, I then make up powders as I need them in small quantities.  Just smell fresh made garlic or onion powder and you will see why.

I whip up my own spice mixes like this one which is a great go to rub for almost any meat but especially chicken on the grill.

  • About a table spoon of each
    • Thyme
    • Dried garlic
    • Dried onion
    • Mustard Seed
    • Fennel Seed
    • Chili Powder
    • Dehydrated Celery (yea that is a secret)
    • Cumin
    • Tellicherry Black Pepper Corns (another secret)
    • Kosher or Sea Salt
  • Then about 3 table spoons of paprika
  • About 2 table spoons of parsley

This is all done by estimate by the way, not with spoons but you can do that if you want to.  This is a go to rub for poultry and fast grilled pork.  I just whipped up some for my buddy David to go on quail.  You can see that here.  The best thing with small pieces like quail, cut up chicken etc, is to put it in a large bowl and toss till well coated then grill.

Anyway it is unlimited what you can do, did you see the celery above, we always have it on hand, grinding it gives you the same type of punch as celery seed but it sure costs less and it is more versatile.  You guys that grow 15 different hot peppers can go mad scientist with pepper blends.

The Mr. Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder is also equipped with what they call a “Chamber Maid Cleaning System”.  This little device you spin with your finger and it helps get out all the stuff hiding on the edges.  For actual cleaning though, the bowl is water tight!  Fill it just below the max fill line with water (don’t get the base wet), put the lid on, pulse for a few moments, dump it out, set it upside down to dry, DONE!

Lastly I bought my first one of these before I even started TSP, it lasted until this year, when I stupidly tried to grind oyster shell with it!  So I got a new one, and I have found its limits, no rocks or shells, LOL.  Trust me no kitchen specifically no prepper kitchen should be without this tool.

This item has 1900 plus reviews and 76% are 4 or 5 star.  If you read the negative reviews they seem to be either coffee snobs that want a 18 dollar grinder to grind with the precision of a 500 dollar tool, or people to dim to get the cord out of the storage space on the bottom.  Friends you can’t fix stupid but you can fix up some amazing rubs and powders with this fool proof tool

Remember you can always see the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here.

 

Fletchers’ Federal Pepper Mill – Item of the Day

mill

Special Note – The hand finished walnut version of this item I review here is what I paid 50 bucks for 11 years ago, when I first did this posting it was selling still for almost that much on Amazon.  I brought it back around because it is currently on sale for 35.48, which is now less then the painted one mentioned in the PS below.  This is a fantastic price, again I have owned mine now for 11 years, it is still just as good as they day I bought it.

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Fletchers’ Federal Pepper Mill. Now I know there are some that might ask why in the world anyone would pay about 50 dollars for a pepper mill?  The answer is because 9 years ago at a store, I found this mill, there was a promotional tag on it that said, “the last pepper mill you will ever buy”.

I snorted with condescension, but I also didn’t put it down.  Just that day I had thrown away yet another piece of junk pepper mill that crapped out.  My philosophy is always get the best value to performance ratio you can.  Another way of saying this is “always be frugal never be cheap”.

Frugal looks at total cost, cheap looks at cost today only.  Throwing out 5 or more 15 – 20 dollar pepper grinders over 5 years, costs 75-100 dollars and you get shitty performance during those years.

With skepticism I took the mill to the counter, mumbling under my breath “for this price it had better be” once again reading the propaganda saying, “the last pepper mill you will ever buy”.  Did it live up to the hype.

Well “last ever” is a bold claim!  I can’t say yet if that is true, even making allowances for buying a second one, or one as a gift.  Will this thing ever die?  I don’t know, I do know I have had it for 11 years, a year longer than I have been doing TSP.  With that in mind, last night, I made a Foraged Bloody Mary and when I did I grabbed this very mill, and it worked as good as the day I bought it.

The one bit of maintenance I do is every time I empty it, before refilling it I take the top off, turn it upside down, depress the bottom a few times and clean out the dust, then refill and rock on.  Is there anything better than the Fletchers’ Federal Pepper Mill I don’t really know, but if it costs more, I would not see the need to pay more.

A final note, when you cook with pepper or use it on food, please use it fresh ground.  Pepper has a lot of oils in it, that is where all the aroma and flavor come from.  This is why preground smells like, well nothing and fresh cracked smells, amazing.

As to the best deal on premium quality pepper corns, check out my write up on Tellicherry Peppercorns, or just get them at amazon, they are, Spicy World Tellicherry Peppercorns.  In any event no matter what pepper you prefer you should pick up the Fletchers’ Federal Pepper Mill to grind it in.  If not now, perhaps the next time you bang a cheap mill on the counter, curse under your breath and hold it up and look at the underside as though as it is an old Chevy in need of suspension work.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

PS – I have linked to the “Walnut” finished model.  Please note there are other finishes, some painted, some of smaller size.  The internals of all the PEPPER MILLS are the same, and there is some pricing variation.  For instance if you want one painted a sort of cinnamon color, you can get it for half the price.   This makes sense as hand finishing wood is more labor intensive than a simple lacquered paint finish.

And that is great, do use some care in your selection as some of the models you can select on the page are actually salt mills, like this one.  I am sure they work just fine, but the grinders are different as they are designed for a different purpose.

 

Demitri’s Bacon RimShot for Bloody Mary’s – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Demitri’s Bacon RimShot for that perfect rimmed glass for that perfect Bloody Mary.  Right up front is there any way this is a preparedness item?  No, but it is a lifestyle item and much of what we focus on here is lifestyle.  Let me tell you the story of how this stuff came into my life.

I have this friend David, my partner in crime at Biltong for Breakfast.  One of his things is mixology and the guy makes some stellar drinks, like the artwork above, a Bloody Mary he recently made at our second filming.   Now I am not sure what a proper Bloody Mary Glass is, apparently it is simply a High Ball Glass but I was checking into some on Amazon and this stuff popped up as a related item.

I almost bought some but then I thought, hmm, bet I can get David to buy this.  So I shot a text over to him, “hey have you seen this” and less than ten minutes later a return text with, “you know I had to order that right” came back.

Hook, line and sinker!  And I knew it would get better, I knew that the next time he came over he’d bring it and make me a Bloody.  The only thing better than a perfect weekend morning with a Bloody you made, is a perfect weekend morning with a Bloody someone made for you.

Okay this stuff was the bomb, it took an already fantastic drink and made it better.  Yes that is actual bacon in those drinks, along with cilantro, an onion, a gerkin, colored carrot, celery, olives, peppers and I think part of the kitchen sink is in there too.  It is literally a breakfast you can drink.   We have also discovered celery bitters and using them in our drinks now as well, got to say they take the bloody to another level as well.

This is where the story gets better, David noticed you actually get two packs of the bacon salt with the tin.  So being the good friend he is, he gave me one to experiment with.  Then in packing up his drink kit he forgot to take his celery bitters and his bloody mix with him.  Did I say the best bloody is one someone makes for you?  May be, but one you make on a Sunday from the found spoils of a friend who forgot them, well that is a strong runner up.

So Sunday morning we had the family coming for the day, like the entire family.  Prior to their arrival I concocted the bloody you see below.  Not quite the art work that David did, but I didn’t have the time really.  See that mini pepper though, yea stuffed that thing with garlic and jalapeno yogurt cheese I made myself, then capped it with some of that bacon salt.  Holy crap I could eat 100 of those things.

This has me wondering what else we might do with this ingredient.  Yes rimming a Bloody Mary glass with it is fantastic, but the flavor is basically pepper, salt and bacon, I mean there has to be a multitude of uses for this stuff.  So give Demitri’s Bacon RimShot a try and add it to your personal favorite way to make a Bloody and see what other uses you can come up for with it.   I will tell you, as I sat on my new back porch with the dogs, milking that drink for a full 45 minutes of the pre crowd peace I had left, I realized that there is a strong possibility that Bloody Mary Sundays may become a ritual around here.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – I have not tried these yet but they intrigue me, the same company makes some pretty interesting mixer concentrates.  Keeps the shipping down as they are bases that you add your own tomato juice to.  And this may be over the top, if that is possible in the Bloody Mary World, but they even make pepperoni meat straws, yea really.  Ya, gotta love the innovation of the free market!