Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ramps

I stocked up on ramps when I was in West Virginia.  I freeze them and use them all year long.  Every part of the ramp is edible.
 Most often, this is the way you see them for sale.

 Cars like these line the highways with bags of ramps for sale.

 I don't think these guys are employing sustainable harvesting techniques. We bought ours at a nursery and I am guessing they were harvested the same way.

 I picked up my CSA the next day and it had a bag of ramps in it. I can't wait to turn these into all kinds of good things.

My husband cleaned all of them for me, he got big points for doing this! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Feeding the Kids

 This is what I made for the kids to eat yesterday after school.    Queso, salsa and cowboy caviar....it  was a big hit.  These kids are teenagers and they sure can eat.  I have a real dilemma though.

 The program ends next week.  There is no program for 5 weeks and then the summer program begins.  However, the summer program has four times the number of kids in it which makes it prohibitive for me to provide food.  Cooking for these kids is entirely different than cooking for the shelter.  The shelter had a kitchen, so when I took large quantities of food to them, they were able to keep it warm.  The food for the kids has to be ready to serve when it arrives.

Yesterday, one of the kids told one of the adults that no matter how bad his day is going, he looks forward to coming to the center to have something good and healthy to eat.  What am I going to do?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ramp Dogs

 Before we left West Virginia, we stopped at one of our favorite places.

 Bob's Dogs. If you ever need a 6:00 am hot dog, this is the place for you.

 And you can get them any way you want them.


 Bob has other things too and a sense of humor.

But the best thing about Bob's is that he has a special ramp menu during ramp season.
 So, you can get a ramp burger...

 or ramp homefries....

 a loaded ramp dog....

or The Blog Tech's favorite....a ramp milkshake!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum


As usual, we took back roads as we headed home from the ramp festival.  As we were driving along, I suddenly spotted this place.  I almost wrecked the car.  This is the Weston State Hospital which was originally named the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.  The shear size of this place stopped me in my tracks.

This place opened in 1864 and closed as recently as 1994.

It is the second largest hand-cut sandstone building in the world, the first one being the Kremlin.

Though it is one of the scariest places I have ever seen, it is also haunting in it's beauty.

It was originally supposed to house 250 patients.

It ended up holding over 2400.

It was built to be self-sufficient and had it's own farm where many of the patients worked.

Check out the outdoor areas on this building, they are all screened in.

Uncontrollable patients were kept in cages.

It was forcibly closed due to deplorable conditions and overcrowding.

The greenhouse.

Can you just imagine the stories this place holds?

A road next to it is called Asylum Drive, another is called Watch Tower Rd..
Construction was halted for a while due to the Civil War.

I pulled over so The Blog Tech could take pics of this sign. Look closely at the front entrance!

That is a patient leaving the building.  The Blog Tech was like.....let's get the hell out of here. I was like...I want a closer look.

If you enlarge this pic you can see a person standing inside.  It is a nurse dressed in 1940's nurse attire.  Apparently, they give tours.  We are going back.  You can google this place to learn lots more about it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rampfest 2015

 We took off early yesterday to drive through the snow to go to the only Rampfest within driving distance to us.

The weather eventually cleared and it was nice to see all of the Spring colors in the mountains. 

 We arrived just as the festival began so not much was happening.  Ramp chili for sale at this both. Click any of the pics for a closer look.

 Local honey, baskets and maple syrup for sale.

 This local guy was selling hippie bracelets and the booth in the background was selling all things bees.  Everything from their own honey to bee keeping necessities.

 Ramp risotto with or without shrimp.

It was so cold that this guy was warming his hands over the rampburgers.
 Last year we skipped this booth but not this time.  We headed straight to this Colombian street food vendor.  They were selling cachapas.

 These were simply one of the best things I have ever tasted and now I will be on a journey to duplicate them.  The Blog Tech holds a pulled pork and cheese cachapa with ramp sauce.

 These are made with cornmeal and fresh corn and are similar to a very flavorful pancake.  They are fried on a griddle, topped with cheese, the filling of your choice and a heaping pile of fried ramps.  Then they are folded over and served with this fantastic ramp sauce which I also need to duplicate. I can't wait to add these to our food repertoire.

 I bought some local honey.

 Ramp jelly.

 Ramp salsa.

 And some ramp seasoning.  This industrious seller harvests ramps, dries them and then sells ramp flakes and her own personal seasoning mixes.  Now that I have my own ramps growing, I will be making these on my own.

 I like the Ball jars she puts them in too.

It is a fun event.  Everyone stands around chatting, eating all things ramp and telling you where you can find ramps.  I'll show more of our trip tomorrow.  We found something extremely interesting and very scary!