Tag Archives: kitchen tools az

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!

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.
    .
  • 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.
    .
  • 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.
    .
  • 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.

 

 

Lodge 14″ Cast Iron Wok – 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 14″ Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Wok.  I have been in the market for a new wok for a while.  Our current wok is a huge wok with one of those “stick free surfaces”.  It works okay but it is really too big (like 20 inches) and it just doesn’t really hold heat the way I would like, so it is going off to Goodwill.

In my quest for the new Spirko wok I examined two main options, the first was carbon steel and the second cast iron.  Basically I came down to the conclusion that the chief advantage to carbon steel is it is lighter and better for “tossing” stir fry.  Where as the heavy cast iron does better with great heat distribution.  However, given it comes in at 11 lbs, you are going to be “stirring” that stir fry, not tossing it.

The other advantage to the thinner carbon steel is it heats up faster, where the cast iron wok will hold the heat longer.  In the end I sat down in my kitchen and asked myself, which one is more likely to be still being used and in better shape then the day I bought it, long after I am dead.  On that thought I considered my grandmother’s old cast iron griddle that my father still has.  It was her mother’s and it was one of the few things though brought to the US from the Ukraine in the 1890s.

Well, that was that!  So I started looking at brands and I looked at thinner cast iron woks that weighed a bit less, but the reviews were abysmal and some were not actually cast iron.  Once again I thought about my own kitchen, all the cast iron I own is either old school stuff like Griswold found at flea markets and antique malls and almost all the new stuff comes from Lodge.

I have a Lodge Dutch Oven, a Lodge Griddle and quite a few other Lodge items.  So I checked out the Lodge Wok and realized it was always going to be my choice in the end.  No matter how many other ones I looked at there was one that you knew exactly what you were going to get when  you ordered it.

Lodge has been making cast iron for over 100 years right here in America, of the current manufactures they are simply the best at it.  Now I do dearly love old school “milled” cast iron, which is why I am always sniffing around antique malls, frankly it is about the only reason Dorothy can drag me into one.  But in 45 years of living I have yet to see and old school milled cast iron wok.

Buying the Lodge was a solid choice and with all the stir frying we are doing since discovering new vegetables like Thai Water Spinach which is growing far faster than we can eat it all, it was time for a new wok.  The Lodge is simply fantastic, this thing gets screaming hot, it stays that way.  I power the burner up heavy to get it pre heated but after that a low flame keeps it cooking hot and fast the way wok cooking is supposed to be.

Frankly if I had a larger kitchen I would like have this wok and a hand hammered Japanese made carbon steel wok as well, but my kitchen is rather small and any time I buy a new pan, frankly an old one has to go.  And funny enough cast iron seems to be taking over my kitchen.

So if you are in the market for a wok, and want something your great grandchildren can be using long after you are gone, check out the Lodge 14″ Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Wok today.  There are not many things left in our modern world that you can buy for under 50 dollars and yet know they will outlast you and your children, this is one of them.

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.

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 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.

Lot’s of people like these because they are lint free and dry dishes nicely, etc.  Some people use them for embroidery.  I don’t really care about that with them, I use them rather than cheesecloth and think they make a much better alternative when making yogurt cheese.

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 delicous 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 for 2017 give Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels a shot.

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.

Regency Soup Sock – 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 Regency Soup Sock.  When I showed this to my son, his exact words were, “that thing is genius”.  Now my son didn’t quite learn everything I know about the kitchen but he seems to have paid attention to stuff that lets you stretch a dollar!  He is now 27 with two kids of his own, so that makes sense. 

So one thing we have always done in the Spirko house hold is make at least two meals from a chicken, some times we freeze the left over parts and do two or three frames into soup at one time.  More often than not though, it goes like this.  Make whole roaster chicken, have dinner, next day toss remains into a pot, boil and make a pot of chicken soup for dinner the next day.

This process is really easy and I will give my basic method in the PS below, but there is one issue.  When you simmer that birds frame long enough to make a good stock it sort of falls apart.  This leaves you to strain out tons of tiny bones and gristle and skin from everything else.

Enter the soup sock, put bird in sock, simmer till meat falls off the bones, remove sock, set aside, add veggies, let bird cool, pick off meat and add back to pot.  It saves a lot of time and one sock is plenty big enough for one bird, even if it isn’t a left over.  I have used these for duck stock as well, and making quail stock.  Real time saver there.

When I process quail I cut out the back bone with kitchen shears.  Sometimes we process 40 quail, one time we did 80, that is a lot of back bones!  Man those things when they come apart are tiny but they have tons of flavor so why toss them.  We put them in bags until we want to make up some quail stock or simply add them to chicken stock.  Into the sock they go, you just pull those things out and discard, the tiny amount of meat on them isn’t worth the effort.

One thing I really believe in is developing skills that make your life more cost effective.  When you an take a roaster chicken and feed four people twice with it, all of the sudden you can afford organic, pastured, etc, what ever the best you can get is in your area anyway.  So consider adding the Regency Soup Sock to your pantry today.

Note that the link I provided goes to a 9 pack of them, (three packs of three), at 9.37 with free shipping it makes them about a dollar a piece and the most cost effective way to buy them I have found so far.

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. – Jack’s Left Over Chicken Soup

  • One left over chicken frame (more if you want more soup)
  • About one bunch of celery
  • About one pound of carrots (tops on if available)
  • One large or two small onions
  • Dehydrated Onions
  • Handful of Garlic Cloves (coarsely chopped)
  • One Bunch Fresh Parsley (coarsely chopped) (use dried if you have to about one big hand full)
  • Two Bay Leaves
  • One Lemon (shh, this is a secrete)
  • Salt to Taste
  • Pepper to Taste
  • Keith Snows Northern Italian (if you don’t have it use equal parts Thyme, Oregano, Basil and Rosemary, it is different than Keith’s seasoning but just as good)  I do either or by eye, a big pinch or two of both.
  • Better Than Bullion Organic Chicken Base

Procedure

First – cut bottom off celery, carrot tops off (if you have them) and cut onion into quarters.  Cut lemon into quarters Put chicken in sock, add to pot cover with water.  Also cut the leafy tops off the parsley, tie the stems in a bundle.  Toss in celery bottom, carrot tops, quarter and toss in entire lemon, toss in parsley stems.  Add half the garlic, add bay leaves, about a table spoon of salt and a table spoon of black pepper bring to simmer.  When simmer starts dissolve about two teaspoons of Better Than Bullion Chicken base.  Simmer about two hours until meat will fall off chicken.

Second remove soup sock, and set in a bowl to cool.  Take out lemons, onions, carrot tops, celery bottom and discard.  Cut celery and carrots into bite sized peaces and add to pot.  Add dehydrated onions, I use about as many as fill a cap on a standard mason jar two times, because that is how I store them.  If the jar is wide mouth I use one cap full.   This is the time to add the Keith Snow seasoning or blend of Thyme, Oregano, Basis and Rosemary.  Also now add your reserved garlic and all the parsley leaves, coarsely chopped.   Bring back to a simmer.

Third remove bird from soup sock, pick all meat off bird and add back to pot.  Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, soup is done.  You can add more salt and pepper to taste.

If you want to do noodle soup, I highly recommend you cook your noodles in salt water in a separate pot.  Then add them to your bowl and ladle soup over them.

For paleo noodle soup (and I think it tastes better) make up some zucchini noodles, just do the salt treatment and don’t even cook them, just ladle hot soup on them in the bowl.  To learn how to make zucchini noodles see this post.

Final note I don’t really use a recipe, this is all easier than it sounds and every time I make it it is a little different do not sweat it and omit or add as you see fit.  The method is the key, not the ingredients list.

 

Microplane Classic Zester/Grater – Item of the Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

2 Inch Ice Cubes Molds by Home Complete – 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 2 Inch Ice Cubes Molds by Home Complete.  I know this is a simple little item but I am excited about it.  It all stated when Bryan Black of ITS Tactical talked me into going to a cool Farm to Fork Place in Fort Worth called “The Bird Cafe”.  The food is good but the bar is what is amazing.

These bartenders are fricken chemists who do their work in adult beverages.  Anyway Bryan is like you have to get one of the “Old Fashioneds”.  I was like not really a fan, he insisted saying, look I am buying if you don’t like it order something else.

This is what I ended up with and I go back to the Bird Cafe every time we are downtown just to have one.  They don’t muddle fruit they use a combination of cherry branding, house made orange liquor, and a combination of three different bitters.  For bourbon they use Knobb Creek Rye.  Purists will scoff at this, but purists I don’t like your version, so suck on an orange peal!

Anyway I was like, I should try to cobble that together, still looking for the right brandy and can’t find some of the bitters, so for now using basic bitters but mine are damn tasty!

What I needed though was that massive 2 inch ice cube that didn’t melt fast and water down the drink.  So I went on Amazon and found the 2 Inch Ice Cubes Molds by Home Complete.  I didn’t do a ton of research on this product, I am not sure how one really could screw up  silicone ice tray but these were a good price, had a solid B on fakespot with 1300 plus reviews and 4.5 stars so that seemed good enough.

Man these things are great and not just for cocktails frankly any drink you want to chill but not water down.  Because they are silicone it is easy to push the cubes out.  I make up 16 at a time, pop them out and put them in a ziplock bag, refill and repeat.  Since they are so big you don’t use them up very fast.

There is another use for these guys too, stocks.  You know like chicken, beef, bone, etc. stock.  We had been using something like a silicone muffin mold for that but this is a LOT better, because it was designed for the purpose of making ice, translation you spill less.

I ordered the two pack for 9.99 but if you want a single one you can get that too.  Also if you want more for any reason, like they are bad ass gifts for instance they offer a discount.  Right in the item description you will see the following

Get 5% OFF When You Buy 2 (Coupon Code B3OR3JEH) -Get 10% OFF When You Buy 3 Or More (Coupon Code QHE8TC8V)

I didn’t notice that when I ordered mine but frankly again 16 of these cubes go a long way, still I will likely order some more, again what a great gift for any friends or family that enjoy making a good drink now and again.

So check out the 2 Inch Ice Cubes Molds by Home Complete and enjoy your next drink adult or otherwise without it being watered down, and hey get some of that stock put up as well.

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. – So were is the recipe for the drink?  Sorry guys and gals the above description is all I am giving until I get it down as good as they do it at the Bird Cafe, if you want one until then and you are near Fort Worth, go down and get one, you won’t regret it!

 

Taco Tenders – Item of the Day

Special Note – If you are MSB do not order here, I was so impressed with this little product I tracked down the owner and got an MSB discount, a BIG one percentage wise for members.  If you are MSB and want these, login to your MSB account for info on the discount before you order.

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 a cool product called Taco Tenders.  Wow do I and my family love these things!  We don’t eat a lot of tacos but we eat them say once every two weeks as a treat.  My problem has always been how soft tacos just fall apart and are a pain in the ass to make and eat.

We were at a restaurant one night and I got some Fish Tacos that were awesome.  The restaurant had a product similar to this (as most do) that held your tacos nicely for you.  I liked that they were held and didn’t fall apart, I liked even more that they let you put a part eaten taco down and have a sip of a drink or talk to someone without it totally falling to pieces.

I got to thinking, man I have seen these in restaurants forever, there must be a “civilian version”.  I browsed Amazon and found Taco Tenders in both Original (holds three) and Oven Safe (holds two).  Given I personally warm my tortillas in a hot cast iron pan (I like them a bit toasty) I went with original.  One big selling point to me was they were stackable and that means they take up very little space in the kitchen.

Well now I am hooked and so is every family member and guest who has used them!  They make tacos even better because you can easily fix them up with toppings and they don’t fall apart or get coated in your side dishes. So check out taco tenders in both Original (holds three) and Oven Safe and make your Taco Tuesday’s even better.  Check out the video below to see how great they are to use.

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

P.S. – I wanted to let you know that it turns our the owner is connected to the TSP community and actually had tried to reach out to me in the past but we never synced up.  When I posted about these on Facebook, Patrick Roehrman of M.T. Knives and our Expert Council said, hey I know that guy he lives a few miles away from me.  Patrick connected us and I worked this discount.  So by buying this product you are supporting an American run business by a good guy who is also a member of the TSP community.

Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler Item of the Day

kunEvery 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 Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler.  I covered this item in my episode Episode-1820- 15 Items for the Prepper Kitchen and How to Use Them.  But it is an great item especially for those of you on the low carb lifestyle.  But I can tell you anyone will love the dish I am going to tell you how to make today with this peeler.

First I think any kitchen should have a good Julienne Peeler in it.  From Asian dishes, to making salads look and taste awesome and more they are just a great tool.  They do so much and cost so little.

But when it comes to making zoodles, they really shine.  What is a zoodle, a made up word meaning zucchini noodle.  They are simple to make but there is a right and a wrong way to do it.  There are also cool machines like The Sprializer that making them a bit thicker and in long sprials.  Those machines are not expensive but they are one more big item in your kitchen and a Julienne Peeler fits in a knife drawer.

In the PS I now  have a video showing you how to make these.  It is really easy though, his is all you do, take a few zucchinis and just julienne them, turning them as you go.  As you get to the seedy part you are going to stop.  Toss that to the chickens, ducks or compost bin and go to the next one.  You can cut bit into the seeds it won’t hurt anything but you will notice a point that you have worn it out.

NOW COMES THE IMPORTANT PART, you Do NOT COOK THEM THIS WAY.  Put them into a strainer and sprinkle kosher salt on them.  How much?  Not a lot just enough to coat the top, toss them around, give them a bit more and leave them to drain into the sink or a bowl.  In about 10 minutes they should be very wet, if not add a tiny bit more salt.  After a few times you will know how much to add.  Over the next 30 minutes turn them by hand 2-3 times.  Make sure they drain at least 30 minutes.

Now put down a couple layers of paper towel and spread them out (don’t be all fussy about one layer, but just spread them out).  Let them sit that way, perhaps flip a few times.  This is less work to do than to read and write about.

I generally do this all when I start cooking, once they are on the paper towels they can sit there an hour if you need them too.  When everything else is about ready, heat up some olive oil (I like garlic infused for this) in a skillet, toss in your zoodles with any other seasonings (no salt though of course) toss them at medium heat for a minute or two.  Finish with some real butter melted in and serve.  This is a go to side dish for grilled steaks at my house.

The salt is the key, zucchini squash have a huge amount of water in them.  The salt draws it out and they taste like and have the texture of an actual noodle.  I won’t say they taste just like spaghetti, what I am saying is if you ate them blind folded you would swear they are a type of thin noodle.  Omit the salt treatment and they are fine but they taste like well zucchini rather than a noodle.

Pasta is one thing I really have missed going back to low carb living, until I found these.  Once I did it isn’t even an issue any more.  And here is a big bonus!  If you have a garden you likely grow zucchini and get a lot of them.  Miss a day of picking and you end up with big zucs, they start to get tough, way too seedy, etc.  Well when you julienne them, that issue is not a problem and you discard the big seeds anyway.  In fact we have found zucchini about twice the size you find in stores make the best zoodles.

So give zoodles and the Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler a shot.  If you already have a julienne peeler you are happy with by all means just try the zoodles.  But that being said if you need one or a new one, get the Kuhn.  It is the highest quality tool of its kind I can find.  Kuhn Rikon is a Swiss Based company, think Swiss Army Knives, they make some of the best cooking tools on the planet.  Besides with this tool being under 11 dollars, why wouldn’t you buy the best?

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.

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