West Virginia: The Ramp-eroni sandwich

West Virginia

760px-Flag_of_West_Virginia.svg

Population: 1,854,304
Capital: Charleston
Admission to the Union: June 20, 1863
Source: Wikipedia

I’ve visited West Virginia twice. The first time I was a kid and don’t remember much, but this past October I had the opportunity to visit again. My dear friend Mandy lives in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio; a town close to the Pennsylvania and West Virginia borders. In fact the closest city to Mandy’s Ohio home town in Wheeling, WV. So, when I visited her in the fall, of course that meant a visit to Wheeling.

Wheeling, WV

Wheeling, WV

When asked what my impressions were of Wheeling, the word that most often comes to mind is heartbreaking.

As you can see from my photos, it’s quite pretty.

Wheeling, WV

Wheeling, WV

Oglebay Park, WV

Oglebay Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wheeling also has some of the most fantastic Victorian architecture you’ll see in this country and it’s filled with cute little shops like the bookstore and wine shop you see pictured below. Wheeling is a city that has a lot of character and the people there are really trying to revitalize their city, but, like so many places in America, there is a lack of good job opportunities. There is just so much potential there.

I had dinner with some friends this past weekend and we were discussing the precarious state of the Huy Fong Sriracha plant in California. My friend’s mentioned that Huy Fong should just close the California factory and move some place where jobs were desperately needed. My vote was the Wheeling, WV area so Huy Fong Sriracha owner, if you’re reading this (and of course you are!) you heard it hear first: go open a plant in West Virginia.

Quirky bookstore in Wheeling

Quirky bookstore in Wheeling

Wine shop insider a Victorian t row house in Wheeling

Wine shop inside a Victorian row house in Wheeling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, off the soapbox and on to the food.

Inspired by the fact that I had the most amazing margherita sandwich of my life at Avenue Eats, a farm to table restaurant in Wheeling, I really wanted to make a sandwich for my West Virginia recipe.

Also some of the best fries I've ever had

Also some of the best fries I’ve ever had

Two foods heavily associated with West Virginia are ramps and pepperoni rolls. Whereas NYC snobs like me eagerly await the arrival of one of the currently trendiest ingredients, ramps, at our farmer’s markets; ramps are so ubiquitous in WV that any and every Average Joe, go foraging for them and enjoy them in all kinds of recipes. Pepperoni rolls are a regional specialty that basically consists of a stick of pepperoni wrapped in dough. Hence the idea for The Ramp-eroni sandwich was born. I made it for Chris and I on Saturday and I gotta tell ya, it turned out kind of delicious.

Ramp-eroni Sandwich

  • Roasted ramps, leaves separated from bulbs to make it easier to stack on your sandwich*
  • Sliced pepperoni (preferred brand: Applegate Farms Organic Pepperoni)
  • Fontina cheese, sliced
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crusty rolls or bread, such as ciabatta, lightly toasted

PicMonkey Collage

The method here would be: Assemble! I mean really, if I have to tell you how to make a sandwich than you really shouldn’t be reading this blog. One tip, make sure that the ramp leaves get nice and crispy which will add some nice crunch to your sandwich.

6

The finished, and kind of delish, product.

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50 Nifty

I know, I know; I am the worst!

I promised to commit to blogging again and then, clearly, I didn’t. Do you hate me? I don’t blame you. In my defense it’s been a really fantastic, but really busy few months. Now I’m back though with brand new kitchen and a brand new project.

First up, the new kitchen. Well I’ve just moved in with my boyfriend so I’m still cooking for two, but now I’m cooking in new digs. His kitchen, I guess I should say “our” kitchen now, is bigger than my old one, but still tiny because that’s life in a New York City pre-war apartment. The thing that makes me happiest about the kitchen though is… wait for it… wait for it… I now have a dishwasher! Did you hear that people, I have a dishwasher. I just teared up a little thinking about that.

Ok on to the project. Introducing the 50 States project! If you can’t figure it out from the title, I’ll be cooking a recipe that represents each state in this glorious nation of ours.

This project will differ from the original 26 Dishes project in that I’m not striving for authenticity here. For the international recipes I really tried to only change things if I was allergic to an ingredient or it was impossible to get in this country. Sometimes I’ll make a recipe so synonymous with a state that I may try and make it authentic, but in many cases, the state recipes will be more interpretive. I have no timeline for this project either. It might take 2 years or 10; I’m in no rush.

I’ve enlisted some friends to suggest foods and dishes from their home states, but would love to hear from all of you out there. What foods/dishes are synonymous with your home state? Is there some kind of specialty at one of your area restaurants that’s a hit with locals? What are your great food memories in other states you’ve visited?

Who else remembers this song from elementary school?