Saturday, August 21, 2021

Pepperoni Rolls-the Official Food of West Virginia


It's been almost 100 years since Fairmont baker Joseph "Guiseppe" Argiro created the pepperoni roll. This year our West Virginia legislature declared the humble pepperoni roll the official food of West Virginia. 

Guiseppe created the portable immigrant lunch in 1927 when he ran a pop bottling business and the Peoples Bakery. He'd immigrated from Italy to work in a Clarksburg area coal mine. The miners needed shelf stable and portable foods to carry in their lunch buckets.  At the bakery, Guiseppe made the rolls, tested in beer halls, then supermarkets.  These days pepperoni rolls are found in restaurants, gas stations, festivals, weddings and stores throughout the state.

Here's mine made with one of my no fail yeast doughs. The dough can be mixed and refrigerated until time to shape. I ground the pepperoni before placing inside the dough and baking.

Egg Dough

(Makes 12 rolls)

Combine whole wheat flour, dry yeast (active dry or bread machine) and sugar in bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
Slowly add warm milk to the bowl and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
1 cup skim milk, heated to 125F.

Add flours, oil, egg and salt to bowl.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl down.
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup olive oil
1 egg (warmed to room temperature)
2 teaspoon salt

Gradually add additional flour to the mix, beating on low speed after each addition until the dough forms a ball and leaves the side of the mixer.  Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula throughout the process to combine the flour.
1 cup all-purpose flour

Mist a large bowl (twice the size of the dough bowl) with an olive oil spray.  Turn the dough ball so that all sides are greased.  Cover.  At this point, I refrigerated the dough until ½ hour before shaping.

(For Pepperoni Rolls) 

Punch egg dough down.  Divide into 12 pieces (I used a 1/4 cup scoop).  Form each piece into a ball.
On floured surface, pat dough into flat round. 
Center 1 tablespoon pepperoni filling on the dough round.
Pull up the sides around the filling.
Pinch the two sides closed.
Flip and gently roll into an oval.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush with egg, mixed with milk.
1 egg
1 teaspoon evaporated skim milk
Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021


The Black Amber Plums may just be my favorite fruit, and they're only in season for a few weeks. When we make the 160 mile trip to Thurmont, Maryland in August to buy the fresh picked fruit, I buy the biggest size basket. That means I can enjoy as much whole fruit as I desire, with plenty more for desserts and smoothies. First, let me share my go to recipe for fruit sauce:

Fruit Sauce

(1 1/2 cups) 

Combine fruit, sugar and juice in saucepan and cook over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes.
2 cups diced fruit or berries
2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Off heat, combine cornstarch and cold water.
2 tablespoon non-GMO cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Slowly add to saucepan and cook only until thickened. 
I've used this sauce many times as a pie filling when I make my sourdough starter crust. 

Fruit Smoothie

(1 serving)

Combine all ingredients in blender and pulse until mixed.
1/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 plum, diced
1/4 cup fruit sauce
1/2 banana

I try to limit the total added sugar I eat daily, and keep it at the American Heart Association's limit of 24 grams (for women-it's more for men and less for children). Thus I aim to keep my desserts and snack foods to 2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving (that's about 8 grams of added sugar). That's a little tart for some. Added sugar includes granulated, brown, confectioners, honey, maple syrup and any syrups (like molasses, agave, rice syrup).

Plum Ricotta Cake

(Serves 12)

Mix flour and sugar.
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup sugar
Heat milk, zest, spices and butter to 180 F. 
2 cup 1 1/2 tablespoon skim milk
4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 teaspoon butter
Off heat, slowly stir in semolina sugar mixture. Return to heat for 3-5 minutes.
Beat eggs. Add cheese, juice, vanilla and beat.
1 cup 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese, part skim
3 eggs
4 teaspoon orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Add 1/3 semolina milk mixture and mix until incorporated. Add remaining semolina milk mix in 2 additions and mix until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
Pour batter into greased 9 inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 F for 50-60 minutes. Leave the pan on the sheet and cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of springform pan. Unlock pan and cool 1 1/2 hours. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove from pan. Serve with fruit sauce.