Tag Archives: cooking az

The Ringer Cast Iron Scrubber – 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 Ringer Cast Iron Scrubber.  As a long time user of cast iron I was pretty interested when I first heard about this little gadget.  I picked one up figuring I would try it out and likely it would be like many gadgets, sure it sort of works but big honking deal and it would end up in the junk drawer.

Um, WRONG!  This thing is awesome, and it is one I am frankly late to the party on.  I have had a lot of folks over the house and if I used cast iron to cook for them, I always show them the ringer, most are like, yep got one of those.  Why?  Because it fricken works and it makes your cast iron better over time.

Here is what I do, I generally heat up my pan with what ever crud is in it to medium hot, I then dump in a cup of water or two, it deglazes the crud.  I take the hot pan over to the sink and dump out the water, add a bit more and give it a scrubbing with the ringer.  This with a well seasoned pan is all you really need, just heat dry and oil and you are good.

What I do a lot of times though, especially if there is a small amount of crud left is put in a big pinch of kosher salt, it acts like scouring powder and give it a bit more scrubbing with the ringer.  This not only cleans it perfectly but it is doing micro sanding of the iron and patina at the same time.

I have a lot of old school milled cast iron, but one thing I have never found is a dutch over like that, well one I didn’t need to sell a kidney to buy anyway.  So I have a modern Lodge Dutch Oven, and with this technique even it is almost as good as old school cast iron.

So if you cook with cast, either old or new, consider getting The Ringer Cast Iron Scrubber into your kitchen today.  At only 15 bucks it is a great deal, I have had mine about 2 years now and it is still as good as new.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle – Item of the Day

kettleEvery 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 the Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle.  This item gets used daily.  Now I paid a bit more for mine to get a red one.  Why?  Dorothy likes and wanted a red one.  Well, when a woman puts up with all the crap that a full time podcaster and part time farmers wife puts up with and asks for red, by God she is gonna get it from me anyway.  By the way since the first time I posted this item, the cost of the red one has dropped to only about 10 bucks difference in price.  And I got to admit while red is not really my color it does look good.

In the end though red or silver they function identically and the silver one is only $24.57 with free shipping on prime.  What do you do with it?  Well clearly you boil water with it but here are my big uses for mine…

  1.  Making mead as seen in this video
  2. I make 4 boiled eggs with no effort in it at a time (more on that below)
  3. I make my tea or coffee with my French Press with it every day
  4. I pre heat water with it for boiling when I am doing a lot of cooking

Okay about those eggs, want perfect eggs hard boiled to this, with any electric kettle by the way.  Put 1-4 eggs in the kettle, fill about half way with water, turn the kettle on, most will automatically stop when they boil, this one does.  When it shuts off, set a timer for 12 minutes, let it just sit for that long.  Pour off the water, rinse with cold water to cool things off and remove your eggs.

Why does this work so well.  Okay when you do the same thing with a pot the eggs sit on the bottom and get hotter on the bottom and get hotter than the 212 it takes to boil the water.  And electric kettle is efficient, heat comes from all sides evenly heating the water, which is why it boils faster.

Due to this your eggs are heated to the exact 212 range of the water and boil to hard perfectly.  Add a tsp of vinegar and they will even peal more easily.  Oh, also use eggs about 2 weeks old for boiling if you have fresh from your own yard eggs, they will peal easily compared to super fresh ones as well.

In any event a good Electric Kettle is something I just could not live without in my kitchen, and the Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle is the best value to price one I have yet found.  Consider that it has 4.5 stars over all with over 1200 reviews and it makes a lot of sense that it is a quality product.  In fact over two years I have sold several hundred of these and have never heard a word of complaint from the audience.  That says a lot.

My personal kettle is over 3 years old now.  I run an average of 3 batches of something a day in it.  3 x 365 x 3 = 3,285 mission this thing has run with my crappy hard water and it is still going strong.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com.

P.S. – While I have not yet reviewed it, I will soon review this awesome coffee carafe.  Teamed with this and the French Press I recommend this kettle makes the best coffee I have ever had.  I make up about three batches in the morning and with an initial pour of two cups it all fits in the carafe.

I do this with tea as well.  They are still piping hot hours later with no degrading of quality.  It has saved a lot of waste because one press makes about 3 big mugs of coffee or tea.  That third one was mostly being tossed out because it became tannic and nasty by the time we got to it.  So the way I look at it, the carafe pays for itself pretty quickly.

 

 

 

Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Temperature Gun – Item of the Day

tempgun

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 Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Temperature Gun.  This thing is cool it is basically a very accurate digital thermometer you use by just pointing it at a surface and pulling the trigger.  It emits a small red lazer dot, you put that dot where you want to know the temperature and just like that you know the temp.

So what can you do with that, oh so much.  Here are just a few things you can do with a temp gun.

The other day my buddy and I were working on my new aquaponics system and were wondering how much water the rain tanks were holding off of my barn.  Point this thing at it and look for where the temp falls off, there is your water line.

Cooking something that says to saute at say 220 degrees for your pan temp, how exactly do you get that info, well point, pull the trigger and done.  Same thing with your grill, find those cool and hotter spots on that grill for cooking and moving food to cooler safe spaces.

Want to know how much cooler that area under shade or shade cloth really is, not just the air temperature but the surface temps where say your live stock is living, point and pull and you know.

How about finding either warm or cool micro climates for planting trees, shrubs, etc on your property.  Or how about finding out how successful your micro climates you create on purpose are?  For instance the berms we put in our west pasture are on average 20 degrees cooler than the ground surface of the surrounding area, how do we know, with one of these.

What about finding hot or cold loss areas around your house so you can shore up energy losses.  As we all know the best ROI on energy isn’t solar panels, it is increasing efficiency of what ever system you have for energy.

Do you know how well your AC is working.  Try this take this and point it at your air intake and get a reading.  Let your AC run for a few minutes than take a look at the temps on your ACs output vents.  The difference in temps is the amount of cooling your AC is currently giving you.

Is your wood burning stove hitting a solid 400-600 degrees for a good efficient burn, are you sure, you could be sure you know.

So how many things in the world do this much for under 20 bucks?  Seriously?  One word of advice is measure temps at about 1 foot from the surface for best accuracy.  That is how the unit is calibrated to work best.

So check out the Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Temperature Gun today and let me know your thoughts on other things that it can do in the comments below.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Lodge Carbon Steel Seasoned Skillet – 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 Lodge Carbon Steel Seasoned Skillet.  These are my go to for searing and if you ever go to a professional restaurant where a lot of searing happens you will likely see dozens of these in use, and there is a reason, they work really damn good.

There are quite a few options from 8 inches up to a huge 15 inch one with double handles.  I currently own an 8 and 12 inch and they serve my needs very well.

I am a huge fan of old cast iron but it is heavy and it is not efficient when it comes to getting it hot, what it is good at is staying hot once you get it there.   Thinner carbon steel is efficient at getting hot quickly.  These come pre seasoned and if you use proper care they will stay stick free and last forever.

When I first got these pans I really used them the most for searing off meat in two ways.

One –  I will sear steaks and such BEFORE finishing on the grill or in the oven.  They provide the best sear I have ever gotten and if you are finishing in the oven they can go strait in.

Two – For searing after a sous vide cook.  Again they are just the best thing I have found.

But over this year that has changed.  First I found the factory seasoning on them to be very good, way better than I expected.  They are very low stick, note I didn’t say non stick.  I have pretty much given up on other cookware at this point and use Lodge along with old vintage Griswold Cast Iron (scavenged from antique malls) exclusively.

The primary advantage of the carbon skillets over the cast iron is they heat up a lot faster and are easier to get searing hot.  They also weigh less so they are easier to toss food around with when you don’t want to use a spatula and damage food by doing so.

After trying both expensive and low cost cookware over the years today I do almost 90% of my cooking with the following

My current plans are over time to add a Lodge Mini Cast Iron Wok, a Lodge 10 inch skillet and perhaps a second 8 inch skillet as they offer so much utility.  The mini wok seems like a great idea for stir frying sides of veggies for Dorothy and I when the big wok is a bit of over kill.  About the only other thing I am still in the market for is a great paella pan.  What is paella you say?  That will have to wait for another day.

Lastly as a prepper, when it comes to carbon steel pans, I love the efficiency here. If you are ever in a situation where fuel needs to be rationed you want a pan that heats up fast, cooks fast and finishes fast.  So check out Lodge’s Carbon Steel Skillets today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Bristle Free Grill Brush by Gven – 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 Bristle Free Grill Brush by Gven.  Guys and gals this one is important, it may actually save your life or at least from a painful trip to the ER and surgery to go along with it and no I am not kidding.

Finding this started a couple years ago for me, I went to get some stuff at a box store and needed a new cleaning brush for my grill.  There were no wire bristle ones, all were that poly plastic nylon crap!  I was dismayed, finding one of these had never been a problem.  Later that week Dorothy was watching a show called “Untold Stories of the ER” and I sat down to watch with her.

In this episode a kid was having a ton of abdominal pain.  They ended up doing an scan and found a tiny piece of metal had gotten into his intestines, it pierced the walls and had tangled the intestines together in a knot!  As soon as the father saw the scan he knew what it was, a bristle from a grilling brush.  It clicked, clearly this had become an issue and that is why none were in the store.

The problem for me was, nothing really works as good as a metal bristle brush for cleaning a grill.  As usual the free market really is a wonderful thing that responds to demand.  These types of spiral form brushes started to show up.  They have no bristles an the wire is thicker, running in one continuous piece.  Nothing to get left behind and end up in your burger or chop, that may later end up in you.

This one made by Gven is the best of them I have tried.  It is built solid with heavy materials.  It has almost 200 reviews with a 4.5 star rating and unlike many impostors it has a grade of an A at Fakespot.com.  The twin heads are staggered and do a great job cleaning off your grill.

My procedure is simple, as soon as I am done cooking while the grill is still  hot, I hit it with my brush until it is clean enough for me, done.  Rinse brush in hot water and hang up to dry.

So give the Gven Bristle Free Cleaning Brush a shot if you don’t have something like this already.  And if you have one of those old style brushes, frankly get rid of it.  Sure the risk is low but the risk is also real.  See the video below of one study from just one ER, over 18 months they had 6 injuries related to this.  Again that is one ER, so extrapolate that across the country.  Again the risk is real.

Now here is what I think happened, given we used these brushes for 40 years and this problem is kind of new.  Over the last 15 years the quality of all goods has slipped, when it slipped on this type of product, bad things happened.  That said why risk it, the brush in this article works fantastically, it is safe for all grill surfaces and you can be sure your family and friends won’t end up in the ER on what should have been a wonderful day.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – I noticed some reviews on Amazon that said this brush did not work well.  Well, some people really just don’t know how to take care of or clean a grill.  It is really quite simple, but I decided to add this video showing the brush in action with a few simple tips on grill maintenance.

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Additionally I wanted to include this video with Dr. Grand of Rhode Island Hospital and how many of these instances of this they have seen in only one hospital.

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Perfect Cook – Digital Instant Read Thermometer – Item of the Day

Special Notice – These have always cost 22 dollars, and I found them a great deal at that price.  They have been dropped down for now anyway, to 12.99, they are a steal at that price.  I also don’t know how long they will stay at this price.

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 the Perfect Cook – Digital Instant Read Thermometer.  This isn’t a hard item to figure out but there is a big misconception about the most valuable thing it does for you.

Many people feel that a meat thermometer is so you don’t under cook meat.  I refer to these people as “the people who ruin meat and are not worthy of a cows sacrifice to create a steak”.

Now don’t get me wrong there are minimum temps different meats should be cooked to, but very few people would actually eat and under cooked piece of chicken.  The problem tehre is you take the poor bird out before it is done, cut into it and ruin that wonderful roasting you had going as now it must go back in cut open.

So yes, a meat thermometer can help you make sure meat is done, but that is its second greatest use.  Its higher use is to ensure meat is not over cooked.  And that is why you need one of these.  I have gotten pretty good at doing steaks by eye, no matter how, frying pan, broiler, gas grill, charcoal, you name it I can nail it by eye and touch.

Well that is until I am trying to make 4 steaks and they have been requested to be 1 rare, 2 medium rare and 1 medium well (which I call almost ruined).  With a thermometer you remove each steak at just the right time, every time.   What you want your steak “well done”, okay you will have to do it yourself, I don’t ruin meat.  Perhaps I can interest you in say a pot roast

Seriously though, every good cook should have a good instant read meat thermometer.   And the Perfect Cook – Digital Instant Read Thermometer is the best one I have found under 25 bucks, hell it is the best one I have found under 50 bucks but it is only 22 dollars.  There are two things you need in a tool like this, first speed and the second is accuracy.

This one gives you a reading within one degree of accuracy in about 5 seconds or less.  It will change the way you look at your grill because now you will know you can nail the internal temp you are looking for every time.  It will also please your guest and in spite of my humor above, even the ones that insist on a “well done steak” even if you and I never understand their thinking.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – This item ships free on any order over 25 bucks, they likely did that since they knocked it down in price by 50%.  So if you don’t have a set of the Zicome Set of 4 Basting Brushes I recommend for 8.99, you may as well add them to your order.  They are simply the best BBQ brushes I have found, they can’t fail since they are molded from a single piece of Zicome.

At about 2.24 a piece they are cheap for something you will use often and that will last for years.  I have yet to wear one out.  But you know what, even with that you are still under 25 bucks, so add in a couple packs of my favorite Thai Dried Chilies which are stupid cheap considering they come strait from Thailand.

With that for under 28 bucks, you get the thermometer, the chilies, the basting brushes, all for not much more than the thermometer used to sell for alone.

Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels – 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 Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels.  I am going to tell you that really any quality flour sack towel I have used has been fine, these are just the best price per towel I can find and they are on prime.  The key word there though is quality.  Can you find them for less than about $2.20 a towel?  Yes, but when you do read the reviews.  The common theme will be “very thin” and “gets holes after a few uses”.  These don’t do that, they last a very long time and due to that, they pay for themselves.

Conversely Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels have over 2900 reviews with a perfect A grade on Fakespot.com.  In other words they are top quality.  Remember a key tenet of my philosophy is “always be frugal, never be cheap”.  To be blunt, something is only a “good deal” if it both works and lasts.

Lot’s of people like these because they are lint free and dry dishes nicely, etc.  Some people use them for embroidery.   Also some see them as the perfect cloth diaper.   That is all great but what I use them for is as an alternative to cheesecloth.  In that use they make a much better alternative when making yogurt cheese or separating say buttermilk from fresh made butter.

Cheese cloth wears out fast and doesn’t really offer any advantages for this use, where as flour sack towels last a very long time, you just wash and dry them and use them over and over again.  I am a huge fan of getting good bacteria like lactobacillus into your diet in many different ways and none are more awesome than yogurt cheese.  In fact it may be the easiest and most delicious way to up  your probiotic game.

All you need to do to make basic yogurt cheese is take one of these towels and dump plain yogurt with “live and active cultures” into it, stir in a bit of salt, put it in a metal strainer over a bowl and wait 12 to 24 hours.  You will than have something akin to tangy cream cheese.  But I have never made it so bland.

While your yogurt is still very soft is the time to stir in herbs and seasonings.  Here are a few of my favorite things to add to it.

  • Fresh Basil and Fresh Garlic – this is the universal one everyone likes
  • Chopped Jalapenos and Garlic
  • Cracked Black Pepper, Rosemary and Thyme
  • Cracked Black Pepper and Almond Slivers
  • Lemon Zest and Chopped Walnuts

Honestly if you think it might taste good with cheese it will likely work.  How much, well as in most things I do it by eye, just remember you can always add more but can never take it out.  Here is a save if you ever over do anything, make a plane batch and blend it.

Also if you want your yogurt cheese a bit firmer, try this, take a large heavy can of something, put it on top of the towel and it will help expel a bit more of the whey.  Oh the whey that stuff is probiotic gold.  You can drink it and you will also find that your animals will like it too.

So if getting more probiotics into your diet is in your plans, and it should be, give Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels a shot.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Chef Paul’s Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning – 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 Item of the day is Chef Paul’s Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning.  Seldom do I get this excited about a seasoning blend, but this one is amazing.  I remember Chef Paul on PBS as a kid, when PBS was one of only 4-6 channels that came in on our TV.  If everything was right you could get two more on the UHF dial you know.

I had forgotten all about him, but recently on a fishing trip with my guide buddy Omar Cotter and two good friends we really got into the striped bass, as the photo at the end shows.  I was talking to Patrick and Thad about how to make the striped bass fillets and Omar popped up with use Chef Paul’s Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning.  Now I have like 50 great ways to do fish but when a man that catches fish for a living says to try something, I have learned friken try it.

So I ordered up some of this stuff, when it came and I realized how big the 24 ounce can really was, I was like, “man I hope this as good as Omar says”.  I popped it open and was instantly impressed.  Most mass produced seasonings are powdered crap and lots of salt.  The second I opened this I knew it was different.  Two keys were appearance and smell.  It reminded me of something I would mix up myself.

Then I tasted it, look, seriously I could eat this stuff by the pinch out of the container.  No I ain’t kidding!  Omar had suggested grilling the fillets skin side down and just putting some butter or oil on top and coating with this, cook till almost done all the way though and flip to finish.  We do this with sand bass all the time with just say salt, pepper and garlic.  We call it “sand bass on the half shell”.

But I could not get out of my head that the creator of this spice mix, Paul Prudhomme had almost single handily taken Redfish from being considered a “trash fish” to damn near extinction by making “Blackened Redfish” so popular.  I realized for all my bad ass cooking I had literally never “blackened” anything, on purpose anyway.  So I looked up how to do it, stupid simple!  And you know that is almost always a recipe for awesome food.

The basics are coat the fish in butter, cover one side with seasoning and let it sit a bit.  Now heat up butter in a pan till it is just starting to smoke.  Lay the fish seasoning side down in the pan, coat the other side with butter and seasoning and cook until about 2/3rds done.  Flip it and spoon some of the butter over the top and cook until finished.

Being my first time I wanted to try two different fish.  So I took out one striper fillet and some snapper I had as well.   I cut the damn near steak sized striper fillet in half, one for Dorothy and one for me.  The snapper fillets were much smaller and thinner so I had one of those for each of us.  I followed the procedure for both.  Of course the snapper cooked much faster.

You know what, when we sat down to eat my world view of cooking fish changed just a little bit.  How much did we like it?  The next morning I took out some catfish fillets and blacked them that night.  Here is the verdict on all three species….

  1.  In the words of Dorothy, they are “effing delicious”!  And yes she used the real “f word”.
    ~
  2. It is best to cook this outside you get a lot of smoke but I did it both inside and outside and it wasn’t that bad, but it did smoke up the kitchen.  If you were cooking for a big group, I would not even consider doing it inside.  My Ranger II Blind Stove did a great job on it outside.
    ~
  3. I think this works for any fish but the  more “meaty” the better.  The striper and snapper were both perfection.  Amazing flavor but also perfectly moist, perfectly done and perfect texture.  The catfish was good but being a little more delicate it lost a bit of texture.

While I have not done it yet, I think the perfect fish for this stuff isn’t Redfish (which we all know is amazing).  No, I think Mahi Mahi is the perfect fish for this, and luckily it is available at most stores.  I am also going to give catfish another go, I am thinking whole skinned with cuts in the sides will do best.  I am definitely going to try supposedly “boring” tilapia”, skin on and scored with this.

Some other fish I know would do well with this method are cobia, as it is so steak like, swordfish and salmon.  I am sure ahi tuna would be amazing too, but I have a very hard time cooking tuna, knowing that its highest purpose involves simply proper slicing and some wasabi, soy and ginger.

I am hard pressed to say what this stuff would not season well!  The day it showed up all the fish was frozen and I made steak.  While I used some of my own seasoning for the steaks, I roasted baby carrots in the oven.  I hit them simply with olive oil and sprinkled this on them to give it a shot, amazing flavor.  I also can’t wait to try this on seared scallops and shrimp, both should be fantastic.

Yes this technique will be coming to Biltong for Breakfast soon, but again the technique is so simple.  Tune in today and I will give the low down on doing it right in audio in our closing segment.  But man if you love fish, give Chef Paul’s Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning a shot.  You can get the big 24 ounce can for the best value or get two 2 ounce bottles if you want to try a smaller amount first.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – If you are in the DFW Region give Luck O’ The Irish Fishing Guide Service a try.  Below is me with Captain Omar Cotter.  As you guys know fishing is a passion of mine, I have fished all over the country alone and with dozens of guides.  Omar is one of the best and I am grateful to have him in my own backyard.

Check out the results below, Omar took myself, Patrick of MT Knives and my buddy Thad out for a day.  We managed 12 stripers, 2 hybrid stripers, 48 white bass, a blue cat and a crappie.  We did this all before 10 AM.

P.S.S. – Thanks to an Amazon reviewer I do have the base recipe for Chef Paul’s redfish seasoning.  He apparently published it in a book from 1984.  I think it must be Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen because it is the only book by Chef Paul from that year.  I am going to pick up a copy because this guy was honestly way ahead of his time.

He was teaching young deer hunting red necks like myself how to cook in the days of rabbit ear television.  Long before all these non reality TV shows with competitions and fake drama built into them.  Anyway here is that recipe if you want to try rolling your own, thanks to Amazon reviewer  Kabol, Johnathan N. for posting it.

  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 3/4 tsp white pepper
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fennel — or seeds crushed

Tasting the current mix I think this is a good base to work from and work up your own version, though I am about 100% sure changes have been made since 84.  I may give it a try but honestly it will be hard to beat the pre packaged mix and I don’t think you can do it for less money.  Again 24 ounces is a LOT of this stuff.  Now what do I blacken next?  Perhaps chicken?

Sadly Chef Paul left us in 2015, but somewhere I think his spirit is smiling knowing that still today people are discovering or in my case rediscovering this awesome guy.  A man that made southern cooking into simply American cooking over many awesome decades of his life.  May we all leave such a legacy.

Sushi Sonic 100% Real Powdered Wasabi – 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 Sushi Sonic 100% Real Powdered Wasabi.  I love sushi and sashimi but to be honest on some levels the raw fish is really a “conveyance system for soy sauce and wasabi”.  While not totally true, I have spoken to many a fellow connoisseur of sashimi that shares the basic sentiment.  We love the fish, the pickled ginger, the saki, the seaweed salad, etc. but in the end, wasabi makes it sing.

Thing is most people, even those that frequent good sushi bars have either never had real wasabi.  Instead what they thought was wasabi was a mix of horseradish and mustard dyed green.  Or if they are lucky they may have had some real wasabi cut with horseradish.  Generally at 51% wasabi to 49% horseradish.

However those little tubes of “premixed wasabi” and most powders that you mix with water actually contain zero wasabi.  Yea really, read a few labels and check.

Here area few examples…

  • Premium Wasabi Powder – Even has cool Japaneses letters but ingredients are horseradish, mustard and fillers and artificial colors.
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  • Kikkoman, Wasabi Sauce – Kikkoman a name you can trust right? Well the second ingredient is soybean oil, the third is a “root blend” of wasabi and horse radish.  Please note they don’t say how much wasabi and it could be as little as 1%.  Also has high frutose corn syrup and yellow #5 and blue #1.  Well yellow and blue do make green right?
    ~
  • S&B Wasabi Powder – Contains horseradish, mustard, corn starch along with our new friends yellow #5 and blue #1 but zero actual wasabi.

So what is the deal, why is it so hard to find real wasabi?  Well wasabi is related to horse radish, but unlike horse radish which is simple to grow, wasabi is complicated to grow and needs a perfect semi aquatic environment to grow right. Because of this, it is mostly only grown in Japan or China, and this makes it quite expensive.

One of my projects next year will actually be trying to grow some wasabi in one of my aquatic systems.  But until then I will be happy to use Sushi Sonic 100% Real Powdered Wasabi.

There is a lot to like about this stuff, I recently did sashimi for three friends and they all loved it.  Let’s start with the ingredients, pretty simple, 100% wasabi.  So if we have 100% wasabi we have 0% everything else.  Next up it is freeze dried, so it will last for damn near ever and still taste wonderfully fresh when rehydrated.  I also consider it well priced, a 1.5 ounce jar is about 9 bucks and trust me a little goes a long way.

I was concerned a bit as this product is from China but it gets an A grade on Fakespot as does the company as a whole, so there is no deception going on with the review game.  The product does have some negative reviews, of course some China bashing as always.  One lady says it has no flavor and smells like green tea.  I think that woman needs to see a neurologist!

This is quite simply the best product I have found and it is easy as all get out to use.  Mix with about an equal amount of water and let it sit for about 4-5 minutes and you have a perfect paste.  There are a lot of ways to use wasabi but sushi and sashimi are the pinnacle as far as I am concerned.  If you’d like to give real wasabi a try, order up some Sushi Sonic 100% Real Powdered Wasabi today, and trust me it will make your taste buds dance.

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. – You will notice some complaining about a “root blend” with this brand including a misprint in the expanded description that seems to make it worse.  The explanation is abundantly simple.  The same company makes an “economy version” that is in fact a 49-51% blend.  You can see it here.  In any event the product that says 100% wasabi on the label is the one you want not the one that says 51% genuine wasabi.

 

 

 

Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker – Item of the Day

Special Notice – I am bringing this one around today because due to Prime Day it is on sale STUPID CHEAP.  How stupid cheap you ask?  The WiFi and BlueTooth Version is only $108 and the BlueTooth Only Version is insanely cheap at only 79.99.   This is a Prime Day only sale, so get it today if it has been on your wish list.  In other words this top of the line cooker is selling today for less than many low end cheap ones.

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.