Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Travelers Cuisine - Panache Fruit Salad with Honey Ancho Goat Milk Yogurt

This article was edited and updated 5-22-2013.  Since the summer vacation season is here, this article received a nice face lift!  

A healthy fruit salad with panache!
     When traveling, a meal that is made in a motel room or at a picnic table at a roadside park is often the best option.  In recent years, fast food joints have saturated small remote rural towns along highways.  Fast food corporations intentionally oversaturate small towns in an effort to drive small locally owned restaurants out of business.  Corporate investment capital enables this unchecked monopolization strategy.
     Fast food monopolization along major highways leaves travelers with far less healthy dining choices.  Fast food corporation monopolization strategies are designed to force the traveling public to dine on high saturated fat fast food.  There is only one factor that greedy fast food corporations overlooked.  The traveling public is smarter than what fast food corporations give them credit for.  Resistance is not futile!
     Healthy cuisine is essential for making a long distance drive across the country a success.  There is nothing to be gained by eating junk food during a 1,500 mile long drive.  A diet of high saturated fats and complex carbohydrates while driving will result in feeling too tired and wiped out to enjoy the experience once the destination is reached.
     Nutrition.  So many false nutritional claims are made in the media each day.  I am not a television actor that makes false nutrition related dietary claims.  I am not selling a product or a diet plan.  I happen to be a Le Cordon Bleu President's Scholastic Achievement Award winner who has a perfect straight A grade point average and I completed a restaurant operations associates degree level nutrition class program.  The nutrition class was an intense condensed study program and I am happy to share the information I learned with readers of this food site.
     When traveling by car on a long road trip, there are a few nutritional needs that must exceed the USDA minimum daily requirements.  Food that contains a high percentage of vitamins, minerals, fibrous long acting carbohydrates and low saturated fat proteins is the very best food to eat while driving long distances in a car.  Another nutritional key is to consume food that has a high degree of antioxidant properties.  When traveling, the body is constantly exposed to exhaust fumes, bacteria, pathogens and viral threats.  The choice of food eaten by person during a long distance drive can make a difference in the state of mental and physical health upon arrival.  
     What is the best food to eat when driving long distances, from a nutrition standpoint?  Fruit!  Berries of any kind have good antioxidant properties.  Fruit is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Fruit rids the body of toxins while relieving fatigue and stress.  Fruit boosts immune system capabilities.  Fruit is the ultimate food to eat while driving long distances.
     Carambola is the featured fruit in this salad.  Carambola is also called star fruit.  Carambola may not be available at farm country fruit stands, but it is marketed seasonally in grocery stores.  When traveling, any fruit is a good thing, so choose fruits that you like.  Any fruit is good for making today's recipe.   Berries are a key antioxidant item in this recipe, so choose a nice variety.
     The yogurt sauce is made with goat milk yogurt and it is naturally fat free.  Goat milk yogurt has a sharp zesty flavor that is perfect with fruit.  Goat milk yogurt is sold as Greek Yogurt in grocery stores.  Ancho chile is dried ripe red chile poblano.  Ancho chile is almost as mild tasting as a common bell pepper.  Ancho chile has a very nice deep fruity raison and savory mild chile pepper flavor.  Honey adds a natural sweetness to the yogurt sauce.
     When traveling, stopping at a roadside farm stand or food market to buy some fruit, goat milk yogurt and salad ingredients is a far better option than settling for a junk food meal.  Designing a nice looking salad that tastes great, while being stuck in a motel in the middle of nowhere, can relieve travel related stress and the effort provides satisfaction.  Healthy nutritious food makes the difference in whether a traveler feels like an exhausted mule or a lively energetic person when the destination is reached.  
     Honey Ancho Goat Milk Yogurt:
     Place 4 ounces of plain goat milk yogurt (Greek Yogurt) in a small bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chile powder.
     Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Set the sauce aside for 10 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Panache Fruit Salad with Honey Ancho Goat Milk Yogurt:
     Any fresh fruit can be used to make this salad.  Carambola is very refreshing, so it was my personal choice.  The key fruit item is berries, because they have strong antioxidant properties.
     Place a bed of red tipped leaf lettuce on a plate.
     Place a thin layer of alfalfa sprouts on the lettuce leaves.
     Cut a ripe carambola fruit into thin slices.
     Overlap the carambola slices around the border of the plate.
     Arrange a mound of these fruits on the plate so they look nice:
     - Strawberry halves
     - Blueberries
     - Raspberries
     - White grapes
     - Red grapes
     - Blackberries
     - Bite size pieces of watermelon
     - Bite size pieces of pineapple
     - Bite size pieces of honeydew melon
     - Bite size pieces of cantaloupe
     (When placing the fruits on the pate, try to expose one or two pieces of each different fruit, so they can be seen.)
     Drizzle the ancho honey yogurt sauce over the fruit.
     No garnish is necessary.
     The ancho honey yogurt creates an interesting warm flavor contrast when it is eaten with fruit.  The flavor combination is addictive!  It is very hard to stop eating this fruit salad once the first bite is taken.    
     This fruits salad entree for travelers will keep long distance driving fatigue to a minimum.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Butcher Block, Las Vegas!

A great old fashioned butcher shop that features specialty meats!

     When readers cook recipes in this food site, it helps to know where to find the ingredients, especially if some of the recipe ingredients are specialty items.  Posting reviews of specialty markets and butcher shops in the Las Vegas valley does help the local residents.  For readers outside of Las Vegas, the description of these stores may help to find a similar kind of market in their own region.
     The Butcher Block is a high quality butcher shop that has a lot of great products to offer.  Both USDA prime grade beef cuts and USDA choice grade beef cuts are stocked in the display case.  Steaks are trimmed and cut perfectly and all popular beef steak cuts, like tri tip, filet mignon, ribeye, porterhouse, NY strip sirloin and T-Bone are offered.  USDA prime dry aged beef is also available.  
     Nice looking deep red ground beef is offered and that is an item that often is of questionable quality at corporate grocery stores that purchase cheap ground beef from remote sources.  Often the grocery store beef turns a grayish brown color the day after it is purchased.  This means that the ground beef was not fresh to begin with.  Butcher shop ground beef is always higher in quality, because a butcher shop's reputation is at stake with every purchase.
     Wagayu beef and kobe beef are stocked at this butcher shop!  If you ever wanted to try cooking the two highest rated marbled beef products that modern chefs feature on menus, then now you know where to find the goods.  Wagayu is an Australian kobe beef that has a little less fat marbling than Japanese kobe and the price is a little more expensive than USDA prime grade.  Japanese kobe has the highest amount of fat marbling and a slice of this kind of beef literally melts in the mouth.  The US Department of agriculture has developed a rating system for kobe beef that is based upon the current prime grade rating.  Kobe or wagayu prime +2 has much more visible marbling than standard prime grade beef.  Kobe or wagayu prime +5 almost looks like cheese, because there is so much fat marbling.
     A full line of Italian, German, Louisiana and Spanish sausage is stocked at The Butcher Block.  Black Boudin is stocked as a frozen product and this specialty sausage can be difficult to obtain, so now readers know where to find this gourmet sausage.  Wild game sausages and summer sausages are also in stock.
     Speaking of wild game and free range farmed wild game, this is the reason that I visited The Butcher Block.  The Butcher Block stocks a wide variety of popular wild game meat.  I got a very nice price on pheasant and wild boar tenderloin at this butcher shop.  Elk, kangaroo, quail, duck, ostrich, buffalo, rabbit and a few other specialty meats were stocked as frozen products.  I have built up a collection of wild game meat to use for food site recipes over the last few weeks and my freezer is starting to look like a zoo!
     I picked up some ground wagayu to make some new slider recipes while shopping.  Some great looking smoked pork chops were stocked and I could not resist.  It has been a long time since I have seen real smoked pork chops for sale.  Most grocery stores and cheap restaurants only offer artificial smoke flavored pork chops that have a questionable color.  Artificial smoke flavor and color added to a pork chop does not make a real smoked pork chop.  Old fashioned smoked pork chops, like those at The Butcher Block are the real deal and the difference in quality is easily noticed.  
     The Butcher Block also stocks fish.  Walleye pike is not easy the come by outside of the Great Lakes region.  This butcher shop stocks some nice looking walleye filets.  If any readers have been craving a taste of this sustainable fine northern lake fish, The Butcher Block is the place to go!
     The Butcher Block is located at 7625 south Rainbow Boulevard in a plaza near the intersection of Robindale.  The Butcher Block shop is spotlessly clean and well organized.  The service is friendly and any questions are answered with an informative response.  This is a well managed, clean, butcher shop that is not cluttered with slow selling gimmick products.  The Butcher Block is a butcher shop that any old fashioned butcher or quality oriented customer likes to see.  
     I highly recommend The Butcher Block for Las Vegas locals and visitors!  This is the place to go for high quality beef and specialty meat!  Yum!  ...  Shawna