Food Feedback: TMI on the brownies? And do we need more witloof?

March 8, 2012 8:34 am
  • The offending/entertaining brownie, made with Oreos
    The offending/entertaining brownie, made with Oreos
  • One reader loves witloof, or endive, so much he wants to start "Friends of Witloof."
    One reader loves witloof, or endive, so much he wants to start "Friends of Witloof."
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We were stunned when we first saw witloof in the stores here -- three or four small, pinkish pieces in a tiny shrink-wrapped package for a price approaching $5 or even more! Witloof in season in Belgium fills big bin after big bin in the supermarket with vegetables 8 or more inches long. They are inexpensive and a very common vegetable there. (There are two classes of witloof in Belgium, aqua cultured and "volle grond." Both are good but the volle grond is grown in the soil and is tastier.)

One of our favorite recipes is Witloof en Hesp or Endive and Ham. The ham is wrapped around the partially cooked witloof, the whole covered with a carefully prepared gruyere sauce and baked to completion with the last 30 or 40 seconds under the grill to brown up the cheese.

We highly recommend Ruth Van Waerebeek's book -- it is a treasure trove of great recipes from one of the Western world's most under-appreciated cuisines! Thanks so much for your essay -- you will doubtlessly receive thanks from many after they try your included recipes! (But we do need mass production of witloof to bring it into more frequent use!)


Oreo Cookie Cake

"See if anyone can guess before you tell them what this cake is," writes Maida Heatter. "No one could when I served it. It is similar to a pound cake but more moist, it has a divine flavor, a delicious crust -- and Oreo cookies.

  • 14 or 15 Oreo sandwich cookies
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Optional: confectioners' sugar

Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You need a tube pan with a 10- to 12-cup capacity, preferably one with a rounded bottom and a fancy design. Butter the pan well (even if it has a nonstick finish) and dust all over with fine dry bread crumbs, invert it over paper, and tap out excess crumbs. Set the pan aside.

Break up the chocolate and place it in the top of a small double boiler over warm water on low heat. Cover with a folded paper towel (to absorb steam) and with the pot cover and let cook until barely melted. Then remove the top of the double boiler and stir the chocolate until completely smooth.

Put the endives in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the endives are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid for the sauce.

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First Published 2012-03-07 23:14:58

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