Tag Archives: kitchen tools az

Lodge Carbon Steel Seasoned Skillet – Item of the Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.
    .
  • 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.

Chard/Cary 9.5 quart Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker – Item of the Day

cannerEvery day I will 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 Chard/Cary 9.5 quart Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker

In the past I have recommended the PowerPressure Cooker XL, as it was the only electric canner guaranteed to be safe for pressure canning by the manufacture.

The Chard is better in so many ways, while also being guaranteed safe by the manufacturer for pressure canning, it has several additional features that make me want to exchange my PowerPressure Cooker, they are…

  1. The Chard allows you to can quart vs. pint jars.  In fact with it you have the ability to can, four quart jars, six pint jars, eight jelly jars or ten half-pint jars in one batch
  2. It also does a separate water bath or steam function for water bath canning
  3. It uses true petcocks and hence can be used at higher altitudes then the PowerPressure Cooker
  4. It has twenty built in safety features to ensure your safety.

Additionally while I brought this product to you first almost a year ago it was constantly sold out and would go up in price as quantity dropped.  Cary now seems to have supply side worked out and they are readily available for under 120 dollars with free shipping.

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.

P.S. – The PowerPressure Cooker XL is available in sizes like 6 and 10 quart but that is all about capacity, none of them are tall enough for the lid to go on with quart sized jars inside of them.  I really don’t recommend it.

P.P.S. – I  have changed the item name here to the “Chard/Cary 9.5 quart Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker – Item of the Day” because the same product has been marketed under both names.  This is because Chard was founded Richard Carey, or as the brand came from riCHARD Carey, you can read about that here on the chard website.  Just know if the product says Carey or Chard it is the exact same product, I have verified this with the manufacturer.

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.