Tag Archives: cooking az

Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Temperature Gun – Item of the Day

tempgun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember you can always find 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.

 

STX-3000 Turboforce Meat Grinder – 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 STX-3000 Turboforce Meat Grinder.  I spent a lot of time in 2017 deciding on what meat grinder I wanted to buy.  I was pretty much in love with the Cabela’s Carnivore but had a real hard time paying 400-500 dollars for a grinder.  Specifically since I use on heavily 2-3 times a year during hunting season, then only about 1-2 times a month for small amounts throughout the year.

So I looked at a lot of options but came down on the STX-3000 Turboforce Meat Grinder because I firmly believe it is the best value under 300 dollars on the market.  First it is a size 12, in other words big, it has great capacity.  It also has two speeds and a reverse setting, which at times can be important.

It comes with three blades, most only come with one and while such blades are a standard product in all grinders they usually cost 12-20 bucks a piece to replace.  It is powerful, I put 20lbs of deer and pork though it in about 15 minutes and it worked flawlessly.  This weekend I had a beef roast that I wasn’t thrilled with as a roast, so I picked up some pork an ground both with the wagon wheel for chili meat.  It took longer to take it out than it did to put 6 lbs of meat though it.

After months of research, using several different grinders and finally buying and using this one I have found THE GRINDER I recommend.  I can promise you that you will not be disappointed with this one.

On another note we made about 20 lbs of sausage with this grinder using the sausage stuffer attachment.  Dorothy and I ended up getting pretty good at it, but it will be the last time I use a grinder, any grinder to stuff sausage.  I will be adding a LEM 5 pound stuffer to our pantry soon.  The grinder worked fine but likely it took 2-4 times as long as using a dedicated stuffer.

But for grinding you just can’t beat the STX-3000 Turboforce Meat Grinder unless you spend hundreds of dollars more, and then, you don’t beat it by that much.  So if you need a grinder in your kitchen, I can’t recommend this highly neough.

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 online you help support TSP and the work we do here.

 P.S.  – Here are a few videos I posted to facebook using this grinder.

Even though these videos are on facebook, you should be able to see them even if you don’t have a facebook account as they are publicly posted.

Spicy World Black Tellicherry Peppercorns Item of the Day

pepperEvery 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 Spicy World Black Tellicherry Peppercorns and I recommend it based on a philosophy I have about all things.

“Whenever possible pay less and get better quality”

In this case you may wonder how that applies to something like pepper.  Well lets look at it this way, pepper is a go to spice, if you cook likely you use salt and pepper daily.  Any good cook knows that fresh ground pepper is the only way to go.  Why?  Well black pepper’s real magic is in the oils, if you buy preground most of that wonderful taste and aroma is gone by the time you use it.

If you have ever wondered why pepper smells so amazing when you grind it, it is those oils being released.  And aroma and taste are incredibly linked.  This is why food tastes so bland when you are sick and congested and can’t smell.

So what most people buy is a small jar of peppercorns at the market, usually malabar, which is fine but about as base model as you can get.  They will end up with 2-4 ounces of pepper and pay 4-5 bucks for it.  If we do the math you are now paying 20-40 dollars a pound for a low quality product.

Conversely this one pound bag of Tellicherry peppercorns is 13.49 on Amazon with free shipping on prime.  What is a Tellicherry Peppercorn?

Tellicherry peppercorns are like San Marzano tomatoes: they need to come from Tellicherry, a city on the Malabar coast of Kerala in India. They’re considered some of the finest peppercorns in the world, and one of the few “names” in pepper that people are familiar with.

As black pepper goes it is especially sweet, and has aromas from fruity to grassy to citrus and pine—but most of all, a certain bright freshness. The sweet, balanced flavor and complex aroma and really hard hitting spiciness makes it my go to pepper.

And that one pound bag will fill about 4 jelly canning jars, the 4th will be about 3/4th full.  I just pop them into my vaccucanner and seal them up, you can do the same with a Foodsaver and the jar attachment.  When I get down to 2 jars I order more, I never run out, hey we are preppers right.  Key is if you use pepper daily and most of us do, you don’t really need to vac seal them, just put them in a jar.  Don’t ask me to explain why, but the price per ounce goes up if you order a two pack, so if you want more than one, get the one pack and change the quantity in your cart.

This is a small savings I admit but if you do this with many of the spices, herbs and seasonings you use regularly it adds up over a year and you build up a storage, and you cook with top vs. mediocre quality.  As to quality this item has had 988 reviews on Amazon, it averages 5 stars and only 2% of reviewers rated it two stars or lower.  That is stellar performance, give them a try and you will see why.

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 online you help support TSP and the work we do here.

 

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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Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition – Item of the Day

worksharp

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 Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition.  Recently I was asked my opinion of electric knife sharpeners on the air.  My opinion in short was NOT GOOD, having examined many, they all have one thing in common, well two, first they don’t really work, second they damage knives.  I also said if anyone finds a good one, let me know and I will evaluate it.

Then someone called in who had just bought Work Sharp he was quite satisfied with it and asked me to evaluate it.  The Work Sharp comes in two models

The chief difference between the two being that the Ken Onion edition handles knife angles from 15-30 degrees and is 100% integrated.  It also has some added features like a blade guide and I prefer the way the belts are removed.  So while the caller bought the base model I opted to buy the upgraded model.

The unit arrived Saturday, considering Patrick Roherman’s comments on the Work Sharp that you can read here, I decided to start our with a “junk knife”, a discolored old plastic handled Mora in the back of the drawer seemed to suffice.  It did have a faint remainder of an edge but had been well abused.  I started with the coarsest (sharpening belt), chose a 20 degree angle and went to work, 5 minutes including two belt switches to finer grain belts and my knife was arm hair shaving sharp.

From there I touched up a few of my everyday kitchen knives using the fine belt, very quick a pass or two and nice and sharp.  Time for a real test I thought.  We have a small cheap Santoku Knife that was not just dull, the edge was gone.  My wife kept abusing it and I just never fixed it.  So I dropped down the the coarsest belt they give you, one for “sharpening tools and fixing knives”.  There was literally no edge at all, and lots of dings and nicks in the steel.  Figured a 18 degree angle would work, dialed it in, and went to work.

Total job took me about 15 minutes (going really slow to learn the tool) but in the end, once again I had a bare patch of skin on my forearm as proof the tool works and works well.

Again I invite you to read Patrick’s comments on this tool both pro and con.  I will point out one of his cons that the belts are “proprietary and expensive”, should be taken with a lump of salt.  Patrick is a pro who sharpens thousands upon thousands of knives, the belts are 10 bucks a set on prime and would sharpen a LOT of knives for the homesteader before needing replacement.  And I think Patrick’s final comment sums it up perfectly, “If I didn’t have the equipment I have I would probably consider purchasing one myself.”

I do want to point out that my fast results may be partly because I both do know how to manually sharpen and do have some machining experience.  You may want to pick up some true crappy junk to practice on.  One thing Patrick said about it is that the short belts can over heat faster.  I agree but you get the hang of it pretty fast and it is variable speed so that helps you learn slowly as well.

My advice is if you want sharp knives and don’t want to rely on a pro to sharpen them for you, get one of these and learn to use it.   I know a guy that sharpens knives at a Farmers Market for 5 bucks a knife for small knives and 10 for larger ones.  When you do the math it doesn’t take long for a tool like this to pay for itself.

And personally I see the extra money for the Ken Onion Edition (Ken is an award winning custom knife maker by the way), well worth the extra cost.  No extra parts to loose, easier belt changes, more flexibility, and sharpens more tools than the base model.  That said if you just want something for your kitchen and carry knives, the Basic One will likely make you happy too and not stretch your budget.

Again though, I do want to caution PLEASE if you get one, spend some time using cheapo practice knives with it before putting your expensive blades into it.   And I would go ahead and pick up a second set of belts right away too.  The cheapest practice knives I can recommend to practice with are something I think everyone should have a bunch of anyway, and you should not get these on Amazon, get them from a dirt cheap company called BudK.

The knife is a mora clone called the wahoo killer, these are used by every fishing guide I know in South Florida.  To these guys time is money so when one gets to dull to cut bait they toss it out and buy a new one.  At 3 bucks a piece they are a good value and frankly you won’t care if you screw one up.

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. – Since I ran this item the first time in 2016 over 100 members of this audience purchased one of these tools.  I have heard back from ONE and only ONE who had a problem, where a part broke.

They contacted Work Sharp who promptly apologized about the part, said just throw it away and immediately sent them a brand new one.  I am now absolutely sold on this product and more so the company that stands behind it.

 

Weber 8835 Hinged Cooking Grate – 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 Weber 8835 Hinged Cooking Grate.  I did a great deal of research and thought about finding the most cost effective upgrade for the Weber Kettle when it came to a better grill top.  This was my choice for quite a few reasons.

Cost – This was a big consideration here.  Most of the higher quality cast iron upgrades available would cost close to or over 100 dollars which is 2/3rds the cost of a Weber Premium Kettle Grill itself.

Material Quality – At first I thought this was just a stock weber grill grate with a hole in the middle that you could remove an insert from.  Upon reading reviews though I found it was almost twice the weight of a standard grate.  Coming in at 8.2 vs. 4.5 lbs.  Heavier material equals more thermal mass for more even cooking and heat retention and stability.

Flexibility – To be blunt I wanted a grate that had a center panel you could remove, this had that but it also retained the side hinged panels so you could use it with a hot zone center or on both sides or on one side.  You can also cook something like a beer can chicken in the center on the bottom grate so you can close the lid, you can run a Vortex with it, you can cook something like potatoes under a low and slow pork shoulder.  The flexibility is almost unending.

Additional Accessories – In addition to the base flexibility above this grate is designed to work with a variety of additional accessories including a cast iron center searing grate, a plancha/griddle, a pizza stone,  a Wok, along with some other items and Weber seems committed to expanding these options.  This has me thinking of really seeing just how much this simple grill can do.  Not to mention the cast iron insert gives you a cast iron surface at 1/3rd the price of most other options!

Personally I find this to be the most cost effective upgrade you can give your Weber Kettle, so check out the Weber 8835 Hinged Cooking Grate today.  At only 35 bucks with free same day shipping for Prime Members, in most markets it is a hell of a deal!

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. – Check out the short video below of this new grate installed on my Weber Premium Kettle Grill.

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Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit – 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 Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit.  Previously I reviewed a product called FermentEm Mason Jar Lids.   But, I have been asked for alternatives and I have researched a lot of them and found another great one to recommend.  I want to point out here while I am reviewing the full kit, you can get…

You can also get these in regular vs. wide mouth jars but I personally prefer wide mouth for most fermenting.   Anyway I am very happy with this product.  The pebbles do a great job keeping stuff under the brine, everything cleans up in seconds with just hot water and they just fricken work, and like the FermentEm lids they are waterless so they can’t dry out, they are about as fool proof as it gets.

For more info see the video below where I give an over view and show a few of the ferments I have going right now.  And consider the Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit or specific components of it for your fermenting needs.

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. – The endorsement of this product should not be seen as a negative to my previous endorsement of the FermentEm product, both of these items are stellar, that said, so far I would give a very slight edge to the Mason Tops Pickle Pipes, they are just fantastic and store in such a small amount of space.

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.

The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss – 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 Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss.  Erica of course is a one of the most popular members of our expert council so her book is what you’d expect from Erica, fing fantastic!

Erica designed this book to be the ultimate guide on the DIY home.  There are over 100 recipes, tips, and inspirational ideas in this great book.  It covers everything from cooking, canning and preserving to making your own nontoxic home and personal care products.

Over half of the book focuses on the kitchen with a wealth of information about how to organize and stock your kitchen to more effortlessly prepare delicious meals.  Erica is a former professional chef who knows how to build flavor into simple and delicious home-cooked meals.

She also includes details on Basic Food Preservation techniques such as water-bath canning, pressure canning, and lacto-fermentation along with a handy year-long food preservation calendar of what to put up when.

You guys know Erica from her appearances on the air, she is extremely knowledgeable and always super prepared.  So you just know her book has got to be awesome, how awesome, one review on Amazon is titled,

“The mayo recipe alone is worth it…but really, this book is amaze-balls.”

I am not sure what that actually means but if you read the full review by  N. Stoddard you will see that she was very excited about it.  In fact you won’t find a bad review on this book, not one, 109 reviews with 4.8 stars overall.  But what else would we expect from Erica.  So check out The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss and if you have not done so yet add it to your kindle or your book shelf.

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.

 

Maldon Sea Salt – Item of the Day

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

Today’s TSP Item of the day is Maladon Sea Salt.  I just discovered this stuff and wonder where the hell it has been all my life!  What does it taste like, it tastes like salt, nothing more.

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

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

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

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

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

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