Mini Panini’s On The Grill

TheFoodAss | General, Grill, Recipes | Monday, July 31st, 2006

Panini and Salad

Visit Italy and order a Panini. Chances are what you will get in return for your 4 euro won’t be anything like what your used to back home. The Panini, actually just Italian for “sandwich”, is another one of those foods molded and perfected in the U.S and given a more exotic name to make all of us feel just a bit more worldly. What you will be served from a cart or any neighborhood Roman bar will amount to what we in the states call a “Ham and Cheese”, In Italian the Speck de Formaggio sandwich.. Or, something like that. They will probably ask if you want it warmed though, and chances are, it will be pressed on a hot griddle. Albeit, not _quite_ the same. The Panini to Italians is an on-the-go food, a sort of sophisticated BigMac. They seem quite appropriate wrapped in their paper in the hands of sexy Italian women, strolling the cobblestone streets arm in arm.

Of course the world Panini back home conjors up images of crusty artisan breads filled with tasty greens, melted cheese and whatever other yuppie hipster ingredient is the new hotness that month. You can find them in almost all coffee houses, deli’s and stylish bistros around the country. Here is my take on the American by way of Italy panini.

This is the kind of meal that literally fits any scenario. You can press together a panini, post bar nite with whatever meats and cheese you have left in the refrigerator. Or you can go ahead and do it up for the hot ladies (or dudes) with fine ingredients and proper side dishes. For this example, the girlfriend and I made a nice saturday evening dinner out of it. Total cost was like $14 for both of us (but we could have fed 4-5, we had lots left over). The foodass loves looking good for cheap. (Click more for long article with photo’s)

Crappy Coolers Icing My Love Of Picnics

TheFoodAss | Gear Reviews, General | Saturday, July 29th, 2006

For the past year, I have been casually looking for a new cooler. I have a small “lunch” size cooler I use when we hit the beach for picnics, and an old larger cooler for longer trips. I have been looking for a larger cooler, about 35 quarts that will hold my stuff COLD for a good chunk of time, lets say 5 days. Something that can be my primary picnic and camping cooler. Coleman offers one. A 36qt 5 day extreme cooler, that has been at the top of my list. The thing that has prevented me from taking the plunge, and dropping my hard earned 40 bucks, is the fact that the cooler, in general. Sucks.

You see, every fricken cooler is the same giant ugly plastic box. We’ve borrowed my girlfriends moms old-school cooler, it’s no problem because it is exactly the same as modern coolers. Big. Ugly. Plastic. Box.

I am assuming the reason coolers are so often measured in “Can” size is due to the fact that the only thing you can actually picture putting in one, is 30 cans of Busch Lite.

In fact, Coleman lists this cooler as “Attractive New Design” on their corporate website…. hmmm.

Coleman Cooler

It seems that adding a drain in the whenever 80’s was innovation enough for the next 20 years. Oh my bad. Coleman did introduce that bangin’ stainless steel cooler not too long ago…. wait thats retro..

Um.. Oh yea, both Coleman and Igloo have newer 5 day and 9 day coolers. That is kinda cool, except they are giant ugly behemoths.

I guess what I am getting at is. How come, even for a premium price, I can’t find a cooler with neat, modern features? Or a little design put into it? Personally, I’d like to see a cooler with the following goodies:

  • A Latch (!!!) Holy crap.
  • A refrigerator like gasket on the lid to prevent air swapping.
  • Drains on 2 sides
  • A neat little coiled drain hose, so I can drain it from my backseat.
  • More internal organization. You know, with configurable racks and dividers. There is NOTHING worse than wet, luke-warm cheese.. Jesus, gag me with a fricken’ spoon.
  • A cool reflective carry bag to keep it in. 1 more level of insulation when I’m not actively using it.
  • More high-tech insulation, does it NEED to be 2 inches thick to keep cold for 5 days? (if so, fine. Hey N.A.S.A, whats the story with that?!)
  • A little style and color. You take these things to the beach, to picnics, to the park when lookin’ for hotties. Why do they all look like Wal-Mart chose the color pallette. Barf.

Man, I think I might need to brush up on my cooler-construction skills. I havent been able to find ANYTHING like that on the market, and I pretty much rule at the internet. Until then, I guess I will just suffer with ruined sandwiches and wet cheese.

Or… be on the lookout for the new cooler.. It just might be the new hotness.

Brick Oven Pizza at Home (For Cheap!)

TheFoodAss | General, Grill | Friday, July 28th, 2006

tasty pizza
Everyone loves the smoky flavor, the crispy/chewy flat crust and authentic aroma of a traditional brick oven fired pizza. Fired pizza’s have that old world natural flavor that a really good pizza should always possess. A world apart from your traditional factory pizzeria style conveyor-cooked pizza.

Although most cities now have traditional old-school pizzeria’s and hipster Italian joints that cook pizzas the hot hot way, it is something that can also easily be done at home. You probably already have all the stuff you need, and this cooking method handily transforms homeade pizza.. and even crappy frozen pizza’s!

The key to a tasty crust, darkened just the right amount on the bottom, with a tender inside, is heat. Lots and lots of heat. Good pizza’s cook fast. If you’ve ever watched the pizza-man at a good italian joint, the pizza goes in, gets turned twice, and comes out. 6-8 minuntes. Home ovens dont offer up the kind of heat needed for proper pizza, with most struggling for 500 degrees, we need 800 (fahrenheit of course).

(Long article and photo’s) (more…)

Yellow mustard is disgusting. Ok?

TheFoodAss | Grocery Reviews | Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Seriously. How standard, gross, yellow mustard became the de-facto mustard in the U.S, I’ll never know. Probably because it is cheap, and for some reason, Americans think cheap = good enough.

I refused to eat mustard (it was on my banned condiments list, along with ketchup) for most of my youth, simply because yellow mustard tastes like total ass. That’s unfortunate, because it is the variety forced on all of us in our youth, via happy meals, crappy family reunions and squeeze packets (unless maybe you live in Wisconsin). I wonder how many people grow up like me, not appreciating mustard? Simply because they’ve only tasted the crap yellow stuff.
Koops Spicy Brown Mustard

If your going to be eating, it should be something good. Especially a condiment like Mustard, with the sole purpose of adding additional post cooking flavor to your meal. If you cant afford an extra $1 for a good bottle of mustard, you need a better job.

My reccomendation for BASIC good mustard?

Koops Spicy Brown (Or any Koops really)

I was in Wisconsin once, a couple years back. If you know Wisconsin, you know they take their bratwursts pretty seriously. They dont dick around with sausauge. They also dont screw around with the mustard they top them with. Koops was always available at the bratwurst dining table. Now I buy it, It’s cheap, it’s good on TONS of stuff besides brats, it’s available anywhere you’d want to buy food, and it is lightyears ahead of the tumeric filled yellow crap bottle.

Free stir fry

TheFoodAss | Deals | Thursday, July 27th, 2006

I’ve got a bangin way of making super wild stir fry at home, but if you want a smoking deal on free create your own stir fry from BD’s Mongolian BBQ, all you have to do is the following:

1: Visit:

2: Sign up for the Mongo club. Of course they are going to harass you with e-mail, but it isnt that bad.

3: Within 24 hours of signing up, you will get a buy one, get one free stir fry coupon. That saved you $13.99. 14 bucks is nothing to shake a stick at, certainly better than a free fast food crappy fry, or small scoop at Baskin Robbins. You can even make your meal reasonably healthy. MINT.

4: You will get another coupon on your “Birthday”

Sign up today (thursday), and eat tommorow for free.

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