Tag Archives: cooking az

Maldon Sea Salt – 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 Maladon Sea Salt.  I just discovered this stuff and wonder where the hell it has been all my life!  What does it taste like, it tastes like salt, nothing more.

It is pure sea salt which many of us consider more healthy that typical table salt but that is not the magic either.  No it is all about the texture!  I am not sure how they do it but these salt flakes are in like little flaky pyramid like shapes.

I like them so much I am adding a second salt box to our counter top!  Why, this stuff is expensive compared to say typical sea salt or kosher salt which I use for most cooking.  Again the magic is the texture not the taste.

So I use this as a finishing salt which so happens to be the way most chefs use it.  On the top of a steak is pretty great and it is really good on something like sauteed vegetables or on a salad.  In addition to great salty flavor it adds an amazing crunch in such a cool way.

My links go to a twin pack, as I see it as the best value at 11.80 with free shipping on prime.  If you want you can order a single box for only 4.95 but that is considered an “add on order” by Amazon because it is such a small order, but if you are going to be ordering at least 25 dollars that is also and option.

Also I have not tried it yet, but I also now found out that they have a smoked version of this salt and I will be trying it on my next order.  So give Maladon Sea Salt a try and I think you will be pleased with your results.

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.

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 that I just came up with today.

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

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.

 

Camp Chef Ranger II Table Top Stove – Item of the Day

stove

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 Camp Chef Ranger II Table Top Stove.  I break down the value of this stove into four distinct areas.

First if you are on electric for your stove and the power goes out you do not want to try to run your range with your generator, unless you have a huge one.  Running a coffee maker puts a hit on a small gen set let alone a stove.  So it is back up cooking for those of you with electric.

Second is for the camper that “truck camps”.  I mean this is no back packing stove but mostly when I camp now I have my truck with me.  So between this stove and my Steven Harris battery system in my truck box, I feel like I am on grid.

Third is for you folks with electric stoves even when you do have power.  Look cooking on gas is just a hell of a lot more fun then electric.  This little thing has as much power as my gas range in my kitchen.  Many home cooks would love to have a gas range but just don’t have gas service and a big propane pig is not practical.  This is the next best thing.

Fourth is what I consider life style enhancement for all of us.  Let’s say it is a beautiful morning on a non work day.  You and your family want a nice breakfast.  Well go out on the porch or the deck and cook outside.  Just set this guy up on a table and get to work.  Get yourself a nice French Press and boil some water and make coffee or hot tea to go with it.

adapterA quick note, this stove comes with a hose and is designed to run on 20 gallon grill sized propane tanks.  If you want to run small one pound cans (which is really convenient for this stove) you need to add the small bottle adapter to your order.

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the value of the Camp Chef Ranger II Table Top Stove.  It really blows me away that you can get a portable two burner stove that cooks as nice as my 1200 dollar range in my kitchen does for under 100 bucks.  And like everything I recommend it is very highly rated on Amazon with 4.5 star with over 130 reviews.

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.

Frontier Organic Lemon Pepper – Amazon 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 Frontier Organic Lemon Pepper.  As always I recommend buying herbs/spices by the pound, buying by the ounce is a suckers game.  Also while I don’t eat 100% organic, I feel in this case you really should. 

Lemon pepper is made with lemon zest (the yellow part of the peel).  The citrus industry is one of the most heavy users of pesticides in the world.  When you think about these things being sprayed and the out side of the peel being removed and eaten, well, if you want a conventional product go for it.

Okay so as you might imagine this one is going to come with a recipe, but not just any recipe, the best lemon pepper herb chicken you will ever and I mean ever eat.  If you are making a lot just double the recipe, and it will work with any chicken but I formulated this for either boneless skinless thy or breast.  If you are doing breast cut it into thinner and smaller slices before starting.

Jack’s Lemon Pepper Herbed Chicken

  • 1/3rd cup of olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon and the zest
  • 2 oz of white wine
  • 2 tsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp of lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (if it is large needles crush it with your fingers a bit)
  • 1/2 tsp of basil
  • About 1 teaspoon of dry mustard – or as much as you need to emulsify.
  • Skinless boneless chicken (as much as you want to make, the above will do about 4 breast halves or about 8-10 thy cutlets.

Wait?  What the heck is emulsify?  Okay this marinade is made of oil, lemon juice, wine and rice vinegar.  Do you know what happens when they are put together, well in short they don’t get together.

The wine, vinegar and lemon juice all blend and the oil floats on top.  How can we get a good uniform marinade like that?  Well we can’t!  So we need an emulsifier, this lets us blend an oil and a water based liquid and keep them together.  For instance mayonnaise is an emulsification.  Made mostly of eggs and oil.  This emulsification is much easier though.  The dry mustard will allow us to mix oil and the other liquids and suspend them while keeping the mustard flavor very low compared to “prepared mustard”.

So take a ball jar and put all the ingredients except the chicken into it.  Put the lid on and shake the hell out of it.  Like for a good 45 seconds to a minute.  Stop shaking and let it sit for about a minute, take a look and see if the liquids stay mixed.  It is normal for the herbs to settle some but the liquids should not separate.  If all is well continue, if it is separating give it another bit of dry mustard and repeat.

Put all your chicken into a large zip lock bag, shake the marinade one more time to get the herbs all suspended again and dump it into the bag.  Push most of the air out of the bag, massage the bag and work the marinade all over everything.  Put in a bowl (in case it leaks, which would suck without the bowl) and put it in the fridge.  Leave it over night, a few times during this period massage up the bag and flip it over.

The next day remove the chicken and put it on a few paper towels for about 30 minutes at room temp.  This is important or you will be frying in a pool of oil and it will be hard to get  good brown.  Then fry in a pan of your choice or grill until done.  Don’t over cook it!  Cook to 145 if you use an instant read thermometer, but I can just tell when it is done by feel.

You can make this with any lemon pepper and it will be very good, you may find yourself addicted to it.  But if you want a superior organic product consider adding Frontier Organic Lemon Pepper to your pantry today.

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.

 

Mae Ploy Curry Paste – Item of the Day

UPDATE – Since I first posted this review I have removed the small cans and sampler from it along with any recommendation that you buy the cans.  I specifically selected Mae Ploy curry paste because it was made with nothing but herbs and peppers, NO MSG!  Apparently the small cans have MSG. I can’t think of any reason a manufacturer would change the ingredients with package size but apparently they do.  Curry doesn’t require MSG, I recommend only the larger tubs now.  If you are okay with MSG fine, then you can buy the cans but I don’t formally recommend them at this time.

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 Mae Ploy Curry Paste and there are quite a few different options.  They include

I have had a lot of people tell me “I don’t like curry” and it usually means they have had at one time a heavy Indian curry and have decided that is curry.  I will say one thing most curries have in common is spice, so if you don’t like spice you may not find one you like or may have to use less than most people would in a recipe.

The thing is though, in Asia, the term “curry” is sorta kinda like saying BBQ Sauce in America.  Odds are you have had BBQ sauce you like, are okay with and frankly hate with bloody vengeance on who ever made it.  Why?  There are many versions of this, some are regional, some are family secrets, some are nothing but souped up Heinz ketchup, etc.

Curry is the same way, there are some common components and there are some regional adaptations but in say Thailand, every Thai mom thinks her curry is the best and likely has a secret thing or two she will never tell you about her version.  Translation is if you don’t like curry perhaps you have not tried enough variety yet.

I love cooking with curry paste, huge flavors and super easy and Mae Ploy Curry Paste is by far my absolute favorite brand.   Here is a dish I made last night.  As is typical there was no hard recipe it was just something I did on the fly.

Green Thai Curry Fish Soup.
(you can honestly use any fish or seafood you want in this)

What Went in it?

  • Pacific Rockfish (about 6 ounces)
  • Shrimp (4 split lengthwise)
  • Scallops (4 cut into fourths)
  • Peppers (sweet and jalapeño from my aquaponics system)
  • Sweet Potato Greens (from my aquaponics system)
  • Thai Water Spinach Stem and Leaf (from the timber frame pond system)
  • Swiss Chard Stem and Leave (from my aquaponics system)
  • Green Onion
  • Garlic
  • Coconut Milk
  • Lemon Grass
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Green Curry Paste
  • Better Than Bouillon Fish Base
  • Saki.
  • Garnished with Basil, Watercress and more Green Onion (all from my aquaponics system)

Long list of ingredients but dead simple technique.  I cut the fish into bite size chucks and cut the scallops and shrimp as described.  Sliced up the peppers and set them aside with sliced water spinach stems.  Cut up all the greens and set them aside separately.  Also thin sliced up a full bunch of green onion and set it aside separately.

Added about 1/4 can of coconut milk to a pot and cooked it down by about 50% which is getting down to being more coconut oil than milk.  Added three heaping tablespoons of Green Curry Paste (next time it will be one) and cooked the curry paste down into the milk.  Then added a bunch of green onion, some ginger, garlic and lemon grass.  Cooked it down a bit more and added a bit of Saki.

Dumped in the rest of the coconut milk and a few cans of water bring up to hot and stir in a few teaspoons fish base to taste.  Add peppers and water spinach stems and simmer until tender.  Add all sea food and poach it till almost done, now throw in all the greens and more of the green onion.  Stir till greens wilt but are still bright green and kill heat.

Garnish each bowl with some thin sliced basil, green onion, red chili and water cress.  Man oh man this was good and it is just one way to use curry paste.  So consider trying one or several of these options and expanding your culinary horizon a bit. Again here are some of the options…

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. – Unopened this stuff stores really well and even when open it has a very long life in the fridge, so as  prepper, I’m just sayin…..

However a 14oz tub of this stuff is a LOT of curry paste, it will make a LOT of food.  Most times you only need a spoon or two to make a whole meal.  Oh and if I had to pick my personal favorite curry paste, it would be the green.

Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator – 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 the Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator.   There are a lot of options from Excalibur but I am going to confine my recommendations to just two models.  Those are the…

So what is the difference between the two.  Mainly that the heater, the thermostat and the fan are all a bit more beefed up in the 3900 and the 3900 comes with a 10 year warranty vs. the 2900s 5 year warranty.  Given the two are only about 60 bucks apart in price, you might think I would just say “buy the better one” but it isn’t so simple with this decision.

Personally I do own a 3900 but something changed in it since I bought mine.  The temp range of the 2900 is 95-155 degrees and the 3900 is now 105-165 degrees.  My older model 3900 ran 95-165, I am not sure why they made this change.  But here is my rule on dehydration, dehydrate as LOW as you can to get the job done.

So I now tend toward recommending the 2900 and saving the money but let me tell you the difference so you can make up your own mind.  Basically in addition to the warranty being 5 years longer, the main differences are as follows…

The 3900 has a “better”…

  • Heating element
  • Fan
  • Thermostat

Better in that they are higher rated and have a longer MTBF specification.  What is MTBF you ask?  Well, that is “mean time between failures”, meaning if you run them non stop the ones with higher MTBFs will last longer on average over time.  Here is the deal though, how often does the average person use a dehydrator?

Some people use them every week or multiple times a week, if this is you, I would recommend the 3900.  Most people, such as myself use them say 10-15 times a year, if that is you, I recommend pocketing the 60 bucks, getting the lower cost model and having the ability to dehydrate at 95 degrees.

What about the fact that the 3900 can go up to 165 degrees you say?  This point is irrelevant in my opinion, as there is NEVER any reason EVER to dehydrate anything at 165 degrees, EVER and yes that includes jerky.  Dehydration is dehydration, not cooking!  I recommend making jerky at about 130-140 degrees.

Again dehydration is dehydration, not cooking.

So here is my logic on this with the lower cost item.  First for the next 5 years, if anything does break Excalibur will replace it anyway.  All these parts are easy to swap out, if you can work a screw driver you can do it.  And if say in year six, your thermostat takes a dump, you can buy one for 30 bucks and replace it and still be 30 dollars ahead, IF it even fails.  Again if you use your dehydrator 10-20 times a year, it likely won’t.

In the end though if you are someone who is going to say, run a small business making beef jerky from your home, well, I would go with the unit with the 10 year warranty.  Personally though I do prefer to dehydrate vegetables at as low a temperature as possible.  So if I didn’t own one already and was buying for the first time today, I would buy the lower cost item.

Regardless though of which you buy, let me say this, in dehydrators at the consumer level, there is Excalibur and there is everyone else!  In my honest opinion frankly no one else even comes close!

I tend to be far away from being a “brand snob” I mean everyone knows I love Dewalt tools for instance but I will still recommend brands like Rigid and Porter Cable in some instances.  However when it comes to Excalibur they are so much better than any competitor there is simply no good reason to buy anything else.

Lastly, I know some will ask about some of the higher priced Excaliburs, my answer is buy what you want but I would not go above the 3900B for any reason.  Yea it is cute that for instance you can get a clear door, but I am not paying for that, it doesn’t do anything useful at all, if you want to see inside take the damn door off.  Watching a tomato dry isn’t actually exciting enough to gaze at for more than 30 seconds.

As for the model with a timer, no way in hell I am shelling out more than 90 dollars over the 2900ECB for a timer when I can get a Century 12 Hour Mechanical Countdown Timer for fricken 12 bucks!  A timer which can be used for other things by the way, then just my dehydrator.

A final word on dehydration for the homesteader.  Dehydration is a great way to go over say canning for a lot of gardeners.  Lets look at say tomatoes for instance.  How do you dehydrate a tomato?  Slice it, put it on a tray, stick it in the dehydrator for 6-12 hours and you are done.  Now many home gardeners end up with say a dozen or so extra tomatoes a week or every 2-3 weeks, are you going to can 12 tomatoes?  Does that make any sense?

As to longevity, I have not canned a jalapeno in over 6 years, why you ask.  Well because 6 years ago we had pepper harvest like this one, several of them.  Dorothy and I spent the better part of a week slicing and drying jalapenos, and we still have several jars of them left!  They seem just as good as the day I put them in the jar.

So if you are in the market for a dehydrator, I recommend choosing between these two based on your needs and either way you will not be let down…

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. – Many vegetables like peppers and tomatoes can simply be sliced and put into your dehydrator, others require blanching which is a short duration steaming them or boiling them.  If you are new to dehydrating I recommend Tammy Gangloff’s YouTube channel called Dehydrate2Store.  She stopped posting videos about 3 years ago but it is still the best how to dehydrate resource on the internet in my view, akin to a free ecourse in it.  Tammy also appeared on TSP all the way back in 2010 on Episode 367, so you may want to give that a listen.

P.S.S. – Want a great use for your dehydrated veggies, take some like say tomato, sweet pepper, a bit of hot pepper and spinach, toss them in your trusty Coffee/Spice grinder, make up some Yogurt Cheese with this powder mixed in, it is amazing and a tip I picked up from my buddy David last year.  And hey for a final note you can actually use your dehydrator to make yogurt!

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

perfcook

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 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.

Yamasho Brass Fish Scaler – 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 Yamasho Brass Fish Scaler.  Jason from PA was kind enough to ask for a recommendation for a fish scaler.  This is the one I recommend hands down.

It really comes down to something simple by the way, if you want to know about preparing fish, turn to Japan.  Just how much fish do the Japaneses consume, well by some estimates about one in every ten fish consumed in the world, is consumed in Japan.  Yea you read that right, Japan is about 1.6% of total global population but they consume 10% of the worlds fish.

So the Japanese know just a bit about consuming and hence preparing fish.  This scaler is a perfect blend of simplicity, functionality and value.  It comes in at just under 10 bucks with free shipping and 4.8 out of 5 stars with well over 100 reviews.

Gaming the Amazon review system has become something of a hobby for companies selling there, so of course I checked fakespot on this item, The Product itself gets an A Grade on Fakespot, while the company itself, Yamasho also gets an A Grade.   Additionally the third party seller who is actually shipping the item, Japan Tokyo Shop has 100% positive feedback on Amazon for the last 12 months.

In addition to the fact that it just freaking works, the other thing I love about this scaler is the look and feel.  It is flatly a quality tool that feels right in the hand.  To really make it great rub a bit of stain into the unfinished handle and seal it with some wax or oil.  You then have a tool that looks like it has been around for a century and frankly the form of the tool itself is likely older than that.

To make scaling most effective (read that not messy) fill a sink or a tub with water and scale under water, this will keep scales from flying all around and making a mess.  Which it will do otherwise.  If you are scaling on the side of a lake, no big deal but if you are doing it in your kitchen, trust me and use the water trick.

In America we seem to have become obsessed with skinless and boneless EVERYTHING, we really need to get away from that, but especially with fish.  Japanese and many other Asian cultures seem to mostly prefer to cook fish on the bone, with the skin, because they simply know it gives better flavor, and man if you crisp the skin, you won’t even miss that deep fried breading we also seem obsessed coating everything with.

Here is a VERY simple recipie for seared fish, it works well with any fish but it is outstanding with smaller pan fish like bluegill and perch.  To prepare the fish, scale it, then gut it, you can leave the head on, or cut it off the choice is yours.  Then take a very sharp knife and score into the skin on both sides three to for small cuts, try to only cut as much into the flesh as necessary.

Now make a rub, here is what you need for it.  Scale up or down based on how much you need.

  • 2 Tbs Korean Fermented Chili Paste (Gochujang) –  Link
  • 1 Tbs Ginger Paste (or minced fresh ginger) – Link
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Grass Paste – Link – (Check the produce section of your grocery on this one and save money)
  • 1 Tbs Garlic Paste – Link
  • 1 Tbs Your Choice of Oil – (I like peanut oil for this)
  • 1 Tbs Fish Sauce – (This is my favorite brand, I won’t buy anything else) – Link
  • Black Pepper (a few grinds – I prefer pure Tellicherry) – Link

Mix the wet ingredients, don’t sweat the quantity too much, to tell the truth I do it by eye.  Rub the fish inside and out with this oil paste until fully coated and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge, for best results rub your fish in the morning before you go to work and cook it that night for dinner.

Cook the fish in hot oil, a cast iron skillet or a carbon steel pan is best.  Cook until the fish flakes easy and the skin is crisp.  The scoring marks will expand and let the oil inside.  I like enough oil that about 30% of the thickness of the fish is in the oil.  But go by eye.  Serve this with stir fry vegetables and a bit of rice.  You can thin the left over paste with some saki and soy sauce and add it to the veggies right at the end, this is called reinforcing the flavors.  Garnish with thinly sliced chili peppers, cilantro, Thai basil and green onions.  Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds for a nice effect.

The best part?  The fins!  The tail fins and dorsal (part without bones) are like little crispy fish potato chips!  The dorsal fin will pull right out and the meat will come off the bones so easy you will wonder why you ever bother filleting fish at all.  You won’t have much waste either, the bones will look like an old cartoon of Tom the cat getting fish bones out of the trash when you are done.

This makes eating smaller fish like perch and pan fish a lot more practical than filleting them as well.  So check out the Yamasho Brass Fish Scaler today and hit that little pond down the road and make a meal you can’t even buy in a restaurant out of some of your local panfish.

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.

 

 

 

RedYetiWare Kitchen Shears – Item of the Day

sheers

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 one of my favorite kitchen tools, RedYetiWare Kitchen Shears.  I kid you not that I went though almost a half dozen different shears to find the ultimate pair.  What I believe I have found is once again the best value to price ratio.

In this case though it is balanced to the value side, as these are better quality than items costing 2-4 times more.  Frankly I don’t even understand how an item this good sells for only 12.75.  They only have 8 reviews on Amazon but 100% are 5 stars.

There are a few things I require of shears if they are to be used in my kitchen.  They are power, quality steel, micro serrated and you must be able to take them apart.  Oh and as they must be able to come apart, they should also stay the hell together when being used.

Here is a break down of each area of concern…

  • Power – I want something that will remove the back bone of a large chicken or duck without working hard, these do that brilliantly.
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  • Quality Steel – These are made of 2CR14 stainless steel.  This is not something a custom knife maker is going to use but for the application it is great steel.  I judge them on performance and so far they get an A+.  I have been using them a long time, they hold sharpness well, and 2CR14 seem to be a good quality steel for this level of tool.
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  • Micro Serration – One blade of these is a strait edge the other has micro serrations.  This is why they are good at cutting though bones, joints, cartridge.
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  • Take Apart – This is critical, if I am going to take apart raw chicken one day and cut salad vegetables the next, you must be able to 100% clean every part of it.  Take down shears are also easier to sharpen.  And critically these don’t accidentally come apart while using them, which I have seen very expensive shears do.

One great thing about the take apart feature, is that the part that retains the blades can be adjusted.  It simply has a small “acorn nut” on it, that can be loosened and reset then re-tightened.  I have never had to do this, but it is clear that you can.

They are also great for butchering quail.  Though I have gone to a new method I call “the dove hunter method” that requires no tools at all.  That said for those of you that butcher quail with shears, you will love the job these do.

Kitchen shears are a great tool, they are great for cutting herbs in the garden as well.  Here is the biggest endorsement I can give them, since I featured them in my “Pepper Kitchen Tools” episode, several hundred of you guys have purchased them, and none of you, not a single one has sent me a single complaint.

Once you get a good set of shears in your kitchen you will find they make a lot of tasks faster and quicker.  If you are in the market for some, check out, RedYetiWare Kitchen Shears and I promise you will not be disappointed.

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. – Yes these have a bottle opener and a fish scaler on them and it says they can crack nuts.  Don’t buy them for that, such things are best done with tools specifically designed for the task.  I really don’t like “all in one” tools because they never excel at all their tasks.  However, these excel at being shears, so that is what I recommend them for.