Brown Butter Ramps and Oyster Mushrooms on Ricotta Crostini

Brown Butter Ramps and Oyster Mushrooms on Ricotta Crostini

Ramps (wild leeks) have a sweet, garlicky flavor that pairs beautifully with brown butter and caramelized oyster mushrooms. We pile this on top of toast that has been slathered with creamy ricotta cheese, making a delicious, simple appetizer.  

[2018 update: we’re reposting this article originally published on the blog several years ago because firstly, we actually have ramps growing in our garden for the first time (!!!) and secondly, it’s a damn delicious recipe which for us, celebrates the foraging that starts in our area in Spring.]

If you have no idea what ramps are, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s some kind of disease that turns people into drooling, seasonal zombies. Because like Walkers, we (the afflicted) wander the countryside, arms outstretched, moaning “Raaaaamps. Raaaaaaaaaaamps.”

Come spring we wistfully scan shady hillsides for tell-tale green shoots. We travel great distances to far-flung farmers markets. We meet dodgy ramp dealers* in back alleys, taking our very lives in our hands, all in hope of scoring some of that delicious, garlicky goodness.

*Note: I have never actually met a dodgy ramp dealer but I bet they exist. I can just picture some bearded hippy dude standing on the corner whispering, “Pssst. Ramps. Meet me behind the compost bin in 5. Namaste.”

Ramps (wild garlic)
Ramps. Beautiful, glorious ramps.
Brown Butter Ramps and Oyster Mushrooms on Ricotta Crostini

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Homemade Pita Bread

Perfect homemade pita pockets served fresh out of the oven, using a combination of white and wholewheat flour to create just the right chewy texture. Use them in a Greek sandwich, or tear them up for dipping.

When putting together recipes for falafels and tahini sauce, we realized that using store-bought pita as an accompaniment would be a bit of a cheat. Certainly when the process for making it at home is as easy as David Tanis makes it in this New York Times recipe, it’s almost more effort to actually go to the store. Pita is leavened, so it does need a rising stage, but it’s nowhere near as time-consuming as for more substantial breads. In fact, the whole process of making homemade pita can be completed in less than two hours. And it’s a lot of fun!

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How to put together a perfect charcuterie board

We put the must in mustard, the cute in charcuterie, and the jam in …er … jam, with this spectacular picnic spread. Ham! Cheese! Pâté! Salami! Pickles! Our festive charcuterie board is topped off with fresh, tangy home-made Maple Mustard and sweet Red Onion Jam.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Les Trois Petits Cochons. Thank you for supporting Nerds with Knives’ partners!

There’s something about a picnic that pulls at the heartstrings. As a concept, it’s hard to beat – put tasty snacks into a bag? Carry the bag into a field, perhaps by a lake? Lie down on a blanket and eat the snacks and look at the view and drink wine? WHAT IS BETTER THAN THAT. (Nothing. Nothing is better than that.) And its alliterative name, like odds and sods, and bits and bobs, suggests that really, you can take any collection of tasty foods and a cold bottle of something delicious, and you can’t go too far wrong. (Just make sure you have home-made Scotch eggs on your charcuterie board. Seriously.) Then, a few years ago, we had a holiday in France, and realized that the French really have this whole picnic idea down

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Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka

Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka

Chocolate babka: a sweet bread treat made with enriched dough and layered with chocolate – a weekend project you’ll be glad you made.

Greetings, Easter (and Passover***) bunnies!

***This babka is leavened and therefore not suitable for Passover, if your family, unlike ours, cares about such things. Read Matt’s full, sincere and amusing apology at the bottom of the post.

It may have slipped out in the course of this blog that one of us is Jewish, and the other of us is English. These are not, frankly, genres that strike awe into the hearts of home chefs (although Nigella Lawson does pretty well for herself) . When our best friends in town got married, they catered the reception with dishes from Italy (his family heritage), and soul food from New Orleans (hers). It was awesome. A Jewish-British catered wedding? Maybe not so much.

An Easter/(not)Passover*** dessert option, though? Now you’re talking.

Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka
This Babka is filled with rich, dark chocolate with just a hint of cinnamon.

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Ramp and Cheddar Biscuits (Redux)

Ramp and Cheddar Biscuits

Ramp and cheddar biscuits are a great savory vacation on the classic biscuit – you’ll wish you had your own secret ramp patch!

Hello, friends. If you’ve been following this blog from the very beginning (and if not, WHY) you might remember a recipe for ramp and fontina biscuits from a couple of years ago. Here it is. We were not tricking you, it was indeed a fine recipe and made good-tasting biscuits. However, the consistency of the final product was more like that of a scone, and did not have the rise nor the flakiness of a really excellent biscuit. I thought we could improve on that with a new technique.

Ramp and Cheddar Biscuits

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Ramp and Fontina Biscuits

IMG_0365

I know ramps are a little out of season by now (their season is crazy short) but these biscuits were really good so I wanted to post the recipe. Ramps are also irritatingly trendy right now but even though it’s such a jerk move to say so, I’m going to declare it anyway: I’ve been obsessed with ramps for years. Starting around 1995, I used to go to the Union Square Green Market when it was pretty much the only one in town and I would try to get whatever was just in season, whether I was familiar with it or not. In very early Spring, that meant asparagus, fiddlehead ferns (which I just never got a taste for), and ramps.

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