Tag Archives: food az

Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk 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 item of the day is Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, I prefer the Hot and Spicy but you can also get it in Mild or in a Pack with One Each.  I like heat, but I don’t like mental crazy heat and to me anyway, the hot and spicy is fairly mild.

This is another one of my “cooking cheat codes” building on Friday’s review of Doenjang Paste.  I have always loved Jamaican food, especially the star of the show, jerk chicken.  So long ago I taught myself to make it from scratch.  When I met my former business partner and fellow foodie Neil Franklin, he told me about this stuff, and said, “just try it mate, you’ll never do it from scratch again“.

Neil was spot on, and a look at the ingredients shows you why, no junk and the core of solid jerk seasoning, scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, black pepper, all spice, nutmeg, citric acid, cane sugar, thyme leaves.

Not far off what I used to make from scratch.  And a hell of a lot easier and faster!

It is so easy to use, rub it all over chicken, put chicken in a zip top bag and let it sit over night in the fridge.  You can then bake at 350 till done, kick the broiler on and crisp the skin.  Oh and save that juice, add that to a bit of rice and it is hard to not eat until you think you are going to explode.

My favorite way to use it though is grilled, low and slow over indirect heat.  If you want the juice put a drip pan under it, then give the drippings a quick simmer over direct heat to be safe.  And guess what I just found out, you can buy pimiento wood chips.  In Jamaica real jerk chicken is cooked over pimento wood.  So just make up a foil pouch of chips and poke some holes in it and bring that final bit of flavor to the party.

So that is main reason why this stuff exists, making jerk chicken and if that was all it did, it would be enough.  Remember though, this is a Spirko cheat code, so you know I have more to add.  Rub large shrimp with it, dust them with a bit of lime zest, bacon wrap and grill on skewers.  The shrimp, the bacon grease, the lime, the jerk, yes it is all very, very good.  Make a sauce from rum with pineapple for these and you may think you died and went food heaven.

Spirko Hack – When bacon wrapping shrimp it is hard to get bacon crisp without over cooking the shrimp.  Step one, par cook the bacon, to where it renders about 1/3rd of the fat but will still wrap easily.  Step two, put a cast iron skillet on the grill or a side burner, put each skewer on the cast iron for 15-20 seconds per side at finish.

How about jerked baby back ribs, really easy ones that are almost no work!  Rub your ribs well and marinate over night.  Sacrifice a beer into your pressure cooker, put in steaming rack, then add ribs, pressure cook for 40-50 minutes.  Take out ribs and make a base from the stuff in the bottom of the cooker 50-50 with your favorite BBQ sauce.  To do this simmer it to reduce by half and blend in about the same amount of BBQ sauce, after the reduction.  Baste top of ribs and finish on grill or under broiler.  Save some of the baste for dipping.  Just cook long enough to dry out the baste and firm up the ribs, about 10-15 minutes.

Jamaican meat balls, there is no such thing.  Oh but there can be!  Finely chop one 12-16 ounce pack of bacon (oh you thought I was just going to mix this and hamburger didn’t you?), now add one pound of ground beef and one pound of pork and the bacon to a bowl.  Chop up a bunch of green onions and a few cloves of garlic.  Use about 1-2 tablespoons of Walkerswood seasoning, I do this by eye.  Add one egg and half a cup of panko bread crumbs to bind.

Mix well and this is important, let it sit for an hour at least, over night is better.  Bake in a 400-425 degree oven until done.  I like to bake them on a rack so the drippings fall away and they crisp a bit with the convection roast setting, save those drippings though, use foil for easy cleaning.  Why does it have to sit before cooking, those wonderful panko crumbs suck up all that seasoning and hold onto it, that is why.

Frankly you can jerk up just about any meat and even some veggies with this stuff, so give Walkerswood Hot and Spicy, Mild or Variety Pack a try today.  It doesn’t just make great chicken, it makes great everything.

One last hack you say?  Okay, next time you are hungry for burgers, mix some into your meat.  Also coat one side of some bacon with it, grill your burgers and bacon, also slice an apple into about 1/4 inch slices, (trust me), grill the apple till just done and grill some chili peppers, seeded jalapeno is good.  Now assemble the burger with peppers and apple where say lettuce and tomato would normally go.  Of course cheese is optional but highly encouraged on this, pepper jack is my preference.  Toast your bun of course with a brushing of garlic butter.  So now you are hungry right?  So you know what to do, get some Walkerswood Today.

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

P.S. – It seems that this seasoning and chicken thighs will be featured on a new episode of Biltong for Breakfast soon, something about a salad with jerk chicken or something like that!

P.S.S.  – The mild version is the exact same ingredients, just less scotch bonnet peppers.

Matiz Gallego Sardines – Item of the Day

sardines

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 Matiz Gallego Sardines and you can get them in  a 2 count pack or if you want the best value get a 12 count pack for only 33.99 which is only 2.83 a can.  Oh dear friends the reasons these items are being featured are many, let us take a look at a few.

First I try to feature items not just of good quality but stuff I use, and I eat these a few times a week.  Due to the fact that I like them and that they are a good source of Omega 3 fats, which the average person is largely deficient in.  I eat them strait from the can, wrapped in lettuce with yogurt cheese, on Flax Crackers or as part of a lunch time salad.

Secondly lets talk about those Omega 3s.  Sardines and herring are about the best source of them on the planet.  Because these small fish are very low in the food chain.  So while fish like mackerel, tuna and salmon are great for Omega 3, they also carry a fair load of mercury and other toxins.   Not enough to never eat, you body can deal with some exposure to toxins, it it couldn’t’ we would all be dead.  But you need to eat something like this about 3-4 times a week for a good omega 3 vs 6 balance and you should not rely on large ocean predator fish that often.

Third is quality.  I am a sardine connoisseur, I love the little guys!  So I scoured the net for others reviewing sardines and one name constantly was at the top of most lists, Matiz.  When I tried them I found out why.  These are not your cheapo sardines that would be better as cat food.  There are only 3 to a can, because they are beautiful plump little guys!  Yes gutted and deheaded but skin and bones on as good sardines have.  Mild smelling compared to other sardines, caught in the waters off northern Spain and Portugal, where the best of the best come from.

Fourth, no junk!  No extra preservatives, no garbage, Here is the entire list of ingredients, sardines, olive oil, sea salt.  Fantastic.  Never and I mean never buy sardines with mustard sauce, soy bean oil, etc.  Packed in their own oils and olive oil is best, just like these guys.

Fifth this is a perfect prepper storage product!  Think about where preppers struggle to keep a good storage up.  That would be high quality fats and meats, with nutrient dense caloric yield.  Well the ones that just came in have an expiration date of 2023!  You know I say eat what you store and store what you eat, well with this even if you only eat them a few times a month, that is no problem.  In each can you get 228 calories, 130 in high quality fats and 98 from one of the best sources of protein on the planet.

So why not give Matiz Gallego Sardines a shot?  Pick up a 2 count pack to give them a try or if you know you like sardines get the 12 count pack and save a bunch of money.

Do let me caution, these are the best sardines I have ever eaten but they are still canned sardines.  They are not magical, they don’t taste like chicken, they taste like small ocean fish.  So if you in general do not like sardines at all, you likely will not like these either.  However if you “sort of like them”, this may change your entire sardine world.  Far less fishy tasting, more clean smelling, nice firm flesh and man they go good with a bit of avocado.

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

P.S. – I brought these around again today because of one of my favorite new YouTube personalities.  His name is Alex the French Guy and Patrick of MT Knives introduced me to him.  I was binging his channel and found these two videos on cooking with sardines.

You guys know me I love to cook so I am now playing with variations of his ideas and I am even playing with doing an eel style sushi with sardines, it was kind of like a duh moment for me as I saw some of the other stuff he was doing.

And can you even imagine frying a sardine out of a can!  I thought the guy was nuts until I saw what he did with it.  Again as prepper one thing we struggle to store in quantity in high quality is fat and protein and especially in long term shelf stable things that fit store what you eat and eat what you store.

Well, the French Guy just blew up the options for using sardines for that purpose, so check it out and give it a try.  You can do it with any sardine of course but again Matiz has become my go to with a quality that nothing else touches.

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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.

 

 

 

Johnny’s Garlic Spread & 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 Johnny’s Garlic Spread & Seasoning or as Dorothy calls it “crack”.  Well actually it is the main ingredient in “crack bread” which is kind of a funny story.  Each year when we do our workshops we bring in a couple as our head kitchen staff named Mike and Teresa.  Mike is a former professional chef and over the years has taught us a trick or two.

While we personally don’t use a lot of bread in our home we do feed it to the bread eaters at our workshop and use it as an excuse to imbibe ourselves.  Well say 4 years ago Mike whipped this stuff out and made garlic bread, just this stuff and butter on bread toasted in the oven.  Yes that simple.

Well, Dorothy took one bite and dubbed it “crack bread” as in addictive as crack cocaine.  Now a ton of shit is going on during these workshops and I make a one legged man in an ass kicking contest look like a lazy fool during them.  So I don’t always take everything in.  So I hear “cracked bread” and heck there is some cracked black pepper on there too.  It took me a while to understand what was actually going on, that said I agree with my wife’s opinion here.

But this stuff is for so much more than garlic bread, if cheese and garlic will work with something, you will be able to use this on it and friends, cheese and garlic work with most things.  Here are some ways we use this stuff.

Anytime we make seafood that you’d dip in drawn butter we simply add some of this to the butter.  Stuff like scallops, lobster, shrimp, crab etc.  Simply add a teaspoon of this to your drawn butter and take it to a new level.

How about a simple shrimp scampi that will blow you away.  Saute your shrimp in butter and fresh garlic, toss it around until the shrimp is almost done, sprinkle with Johnny’s and deglaze with a little white wine.   Kill heat and let carry over finish the shrimp to not over cook.  Serve over angel hair pasta or zoodles to keep carbs to zero.

Next time you do corn on the cob, soak the corn husk on in water for 20-30 minutes, then toss them on the grill, again husk and all, zero work.  Melt a bit of butter in the microwave with some Johnny’s in it.  When the corn is done, shuck it then, and brush it with some of the butter, add some fresh black pepper and serve.

Anything potato works with this.  Add it to mashed and it is awesome or put it out with them and let guests add it to taste.  French fries with this stuff are fricken more addictive than crack!  Baked potatoes including our low glycemic index Japanese Sweet Purples are just awesome.

This really improves any grilled vegetables too.  Asparagus, broccoli, green beans, squash, anything like that.  Simple too, just put the veggies into a foil pouch, add butter or olive oil, then sprinkle with Johnny’s and some cracked black pepper.  Toss on the grill and cook until done for the way you like that particular veggie.

Again you are limited only by your imagination if garlic and cheese work with something, this will work with it.  If Johnny’s Garlic Spread & Seasoning only made Garlic Bread (aka Dorothy’s Crack Bread) it would be worth having in your pantry.  It lasts a long time at two 18 ounce bottle for 24 bucks and will damn near store infinitely.  So give it a try today, but be warned, it is habit forming.

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.

 

 

Flackers Flax Crackers – Item of the day

flackEvery 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 something I am very excited about.  It is Flackers Flax Crackers.  A couple years ago I let my paleo diet go for a bit, got to lax and put a lot of weight back on.  No where near all of it but too much.  Along the way I have gone back to Protein Power as the core of my Paleo Diet.

Thanks to all that I am once again in pretty good shape.  One thing I always hated giving up was a crunchy cracker.  With Flackers I have found my low carb crunchy muse.  You will notice in my link, I go to an exact match search for flackers, with a setting to pull up free shipping options.

These are being sold by a few vendors, pricing for volume is all over the map, so I leave it to you to pick and choose what works best for you.  Many are “add on items” meaning your total order has to be over 25 bucks but then shipping is free, so combine them with another item if you just want to try a bag or three.

I am going to suggest though that your first purchase be a just two or three packs, because not everyone will like them.  I LOVE them.  We got Rosemary and Savory to try them out.  Dorothy hated the Rosemary (funny because she like the herb) and said she could, “get used to the Savory ones”.  She is not in love with the texture though.

Me I am happy as a pig with a bowl of corn soaked in beer!  I did some of these with sardines, very nice.  I also did some up with yogurt cheese (mixed with cracked pepper, garlic and jalapeno) topped wtih some good quality sliced ham.  To quote Emeril Lagasse BAM!

Here are the stats, a serving has the following…

  • Carbs 8 grams
  • Fiber 7 grams
  • Net Carbs 1 (yes, fing one, woo hoo)
  • Protein 5 grams
  • Fat 8 grams (but zero Saturated or Trans fats and about 5 Grams of it is Omega 3s, most of the rest is ALA which many take as a supplement)
  • Calories 110 (but unless you get stupid you don’t count calories on low carb)
  • Seven grams of fiber

Okay so you have a crunchy snack, with one net carb a serving, a good amount of protein, loaded with Omega 3s, ALA and fiber.  This can’t get better can it?  Oh yea, these things are sprouted and raw.  If you read the write up on the makers website, they are soaked until just sprouted, then seasoned, pressed and dried to a crisp.  Yes sprouted!

Again my only caution is you may not like them, or you might, a whole lot.  But if you are low carb give Flackers a try and see if they work for you.  Frankly this is a super food, something you can eat a bit of every day and never feel bad about it, ever.   Below is a short video to give you an idea of what they look like.

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

 

Mo’s Bacon Chocolate Bar – 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 Mo’s Bacon Chocolate Bar made by Vosges Haut Chocolate.  Guys and gals this isn’t a joke, these things are flipping fantastic.

First I don’t eat much candy it is why I have gone from wearing a size XXL to a size L so when I do have a bit I want top quality stuff.  Vosges is an awesome chocolate maker and they use a 41% milk chocolate in this bar.  Just awesome stuff.

Next there are a lot of bacon chocolate bars out there, most though are basically a Nestle’s Crunch bar made with bacon bits as in imitation bacon bits.  Not this bar, it is made with real apple wood smoked bacon.

The way I even found out about these bars predates TSP.  I had a girl who worked for me and she knew I was a bacon fiend.  As a joke she happened to find one of these and brought it to work.  We both had a good laugh and I said well I will have it after lunch and didn’t really think it would be very good. Boy was I wrong.  And as soon as I took a bite I realized why, bacon and chocolate are a natural fit.

One of the most indulgent things on the planet that can send you strait into Type II diabetes is chocolate covered pretzels.  Before I reformed my ways I could shove down dozens of those things in one sitting.  Salt, crunch and chocolate seem to work together.  So when you combine very high end chocolate, smoked sea salt and apple wood bacon, well, man it just works.

This isn’t a survival item, it won’t store well long term because you are going to eat it, and it is a bit expensive.  But it is fun, it is enjoyable and it makes a great gift, which brings me to why I am featuring it today.  All this week we are running the “Travis the Vegan Troll” bacon sale for MSB.   You can read all about it here, but here is the upshot.

This week (which is almost over) you can get MSB for only 25 dollars a year with discount code bacon.  But you must agree to eat an extra pound of bacon in the coming week and celebrate bacon by giving a gift of bacon to a friend.  I do highly suggest this bar and I recommend getting at least one for yourself.  So give Mo’s Bacon Chocolate Bar made by Vosges Haut Chocolate and I think you will agree, everything really is better with bacon.

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.

 

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 all of our reviews at TspAz.com

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!

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 all of our reviews at TspAz.com

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!

 

Sempio Doenjang – Fermented Soybean Paste – 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 item of the day is the Sempio Doenjang – Fermented Soybean Paste.  Doenjang along with some other stuff like Gochujang, Curry Pastes, etc. makes up a group of stuff I call my “cooking cheat codes”, hey that sounds like it should be a show some day.

In any event what I mean by cheat codes is sure you can use them in the classic dishes they are intended for, and I do.  However, where they come into a world all their own is in incorporating them into places you’d not expect to find them.

Here is an example, many times when making up a basting sauce to finish things on the grill with, especially chicken and pork, I will include this stuff.  A couple three teaspoons depending on how much I am making.  Make up a baste for instance with your favorite BBQ sauce, some soy, some beer, some copped chilopolte in adobo (another cheat code), a splash of really top shelf fish sauce (another cheat code) and enough Doenjang to thicken it.

Baste this onto any chicken or pork dish where you want a bit of “heat and sweet” and it will just blow your mind.  If no one told you what was in there unless you’d had it before you could never put your finger on it.  It adds depth and that funky umami flavor that is just awesome with a bit of heat and sweet along side it. When I made this to baste pork for Biltong for Breakfast, my buddy David kept eating it like fricken salsa on corn chips!  Okay I will admit it, I did too.

Here is another use, I have been told tilapia are bland fish, oh really?  Clean the tilapia head on and just gutted.  Get them very dried off, cut a few slits in the skin on both sides.   Now take Doenjang and Gochujang in about equal amounts and mix them together.  Chop up about one clove of garlic and an equal size piece of ginger very fine, or you can use garlic ginger paste (another cheat code) and mix it into the paste.

Now this is the critical part, if you slather this paste on as it, it will BURN and that in the words of Alton Brown, “is not good eats”.  Using a high temp cooking oil like peanut oil or similar, drizzle it onto the paste and mix until you end up with a “thick oil” something that is paste like but thin enough to just pour.

Rub the outside and inside of the fish with this oil/paste, really work it into the slits in the skin, into the flesh.  Slice up a few stems of green onion and ginger like big match stick size and put them in the fishes belly.  Add some kefir lime leaf or lime zest inside the belly too.  Keep the coating on the outer skin light, go heavy again in the slits and in the body cavity.

Grill these fish over high heat until just done and skin is crisp, translation don’t close your grill down, or you will over cook your fish.  Enjoy and DO NOT discard that skin, it is the best part.  And if you think this fish is “bland” you need a tongue transplant or something.

You can also pan fry these fish in enough oil to cover about 50% of their thickness, if you do that the tail is so crisp it is like a delicacy with all that flavor.

I have also used this alone and mixed with other pastes to rub down red meat (beef and venison) and let it sit in the fridge at least 24 hours.  Wipe off the excess and add some S&P and just grill.  It can be that simple, the fermented components help tenderize the meat and that unique flavor finds its way in.  Again wipe off the excess, if you apply heat to a layer of this paste it quickly burns, so does Gochujang.

So give this stuff a try, you will find yourself mixing it into marinades, bastes and doing all kinds of stuff with it, hmm, I wonder what it would do on a Sous Vide steak?  I am not sure, but I am gonna find out!

On my brand of choice, I have tried many and Sempio Doenjang – Fermented Soybean Paste is simply the best I have found.  First it is supposed to be “fermented soy bean paste” and crazy as it sounds that pretty much means just soy and salt and some starter.  Well here is the full list of ingredients for Sempio Doenjang, (soybean, salt, distilled alcohol, water, koji starter).  Next notice the ingredient is “soybean” not “soybean powder”.

The big thing is there is no wheat, other grains, MSG, etc.  Every other version I have check out is full of wheat and other ingredients with no business being in this stuff.  In Korea this stuff is made by many still in their homes, they just add some koji, salt and water to soybeans and ferment it.  They don’t use soy powder, it is supposed to be chunky.  I feel Sempio is closest thing to Korean House Wife Made Doenjang you are going to find for sale in the US.

It is important to me that we are actually talking about FERMENTED soybeans here.  I am personally not a huge fan of soy from a health aspect, way to high in phyto estrogen, however all things in moderation.  A two pound tub of this stuff will last for months on end, it is used to flavor things not to be eaten on a spoon and a little goes a long way, so don’t worry it won’t turn you into a soy boy or anything like that.

Anyway give Sempio Doenjang – Fermented Soybean Paste and I think you will be adding it permanently to your list of cooking cheat codes.

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