Thursday, February 17, 2011

Proud Mama: Little Locathor in Chicago Magazine


If you've gotten your copy of this month's Chicago Magazine, you might have read a little article about kid foodies. And if you did, you probably recognized a name in the first paragaph.

The lead of "No Kidding" is as follows:

"Sepia and Longman and Eagle are some of my favorite places to eat," says Thor Graham, a Roscoe Village resident whom servers know by name and chefs invite on kitchen tours. "One of my favorite dishes is the cassoulet from Kiki's Bistro; it's something made with duck, and it takes great when it's cold out." When he's not dining around town or discussing sustainable food, Graham likes playing kickball during recess."

This has been a proud week for me as a parent. Not so much because Little Locathor was recognized by as a "koodie" in a glossy magazine, but because of his development as a conscious eater.

Valentine's Day is one of those dreaded holidays. While a number of parents supply their kids with paper valentines to pass out to their classmates, an equal amount enhance their paper ditties with candy. Two years ago, Thor came home with the loot, we inspected it as we do on Halloween, kept the sweets made with real ingredients, and traded in the junk for delicious truffles from our favorite chocolatier. Last year, we read the labels together - an interesting discussion ensued about wax and food after reading the gummie worm ingredients. This year, when I opened his valentine box, there was no candy. Surprised, I asked what happened. His response?

"I knew that they had bad stuff in it, so I got rid of it." Wow.

To reward his discipline and conscious choices, I gave him an extra big piece of the cake pictured above - his birthday cake. Ganache covered chocolate cake layered with freshly ground hazelnut butter. Soo much better than some artificially flavored, high fructose corn syrup sweetened gummies.

Hazelnut-Chocolate Cake
Serves 12-15
Adapted from Death by Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers

1 pound hazelnuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
3/4 sour cream
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes until fragrant and only slighted browner. Wrap the nuts in a clean dish towel and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rub off the off as much as possible by rubbing them together in the towel. Discard the flaky skins and dump the nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Grind them until they form a paste. Add butter and grind until it's the consistency of natural peanut butter.

Grease a 9-inch round baking pan with 4 tablespoons butter and dust with cake flour. Set aside.

Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler. Cool slightly. Sift together dry ingredients. Combine the softened butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer. Beat on low until loosely mixed. Increase to medium high and beat for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after the addition of each one. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Heat the 1/2 cup water to boiling. While heating, measure in vanilla and mix for a few seconds. Scrape the melted chocolate into batter and mix. Alternate adding dry ingredients and sour cream mixing for a few seconds after the addition of each one. Pour in the boiling water and beat for 2 minutes on high. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out carefully onto a cardboard circle.

When the cake is fully cool, slice into three equal layers. (Dental floss is a good tool for this purpose).

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour over the chopped chocolate and butter in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Set the top layer of the cake on a round platter. Spread half of the hazelnut butter on top. Place the middle layer on top of the butter. Spread remaining hazelnut butter on top and place the bottom layer, flat side down on top. Pour ganache over the cake and spread evenly over the top and the sides. Chill for an hour before serving. Serve in small or large slices depending on how good the guest of honor was.

Posted as part of Fight Back Friday


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. awww, you don't like the truth. Again, let your kid be a kid.

  3. To Anonymous:

    I assure you, Thor is more of a kid than most. I also don't appreciate your use of such a derogatory word in reference to a 7-year old. If you have a problem with this, don't hide behind an Anonymous profile. Be an adult and send an email directly to the blogger to assert your issues.

  4. Really? I don't know many kids that throw out candy when directed by their yuppie parents. Then again, I don't know any kids named Thor either.....

  5. Anonymous:

    I'm confused. First, your continued commenting under an Anonymous profile must mean that you (i) lack confidence in what you state; (ii) are afraid that outing your identity will show that you have some evil motive towards the blogger (as I cannot imagine that a reasonable adult would have an evil motive towards an innocent 7-year old); and/or (iii) your an insecure person who must flame others (including 7 year olds) with insults to make yourself feel better. That being said, to respond with facts, I'm Norwegian, and Thor is a pretty standard Norwegian name (sorry you must not know any Scandinavians). Also, Thor doesn't like crappy candy. He should be praised, not flamed. If you don't approve of kids who ON THEIR OWN ACCOUNT choose to throw out crappy candy, then you must be the CEO of McDonalds or just a misinformed Tea Partier. In any event, if you'd like to comment further, please out yourself so I can make a determination of which of the above applies.

  6. Dear Anonymous, I have met Thor in several occasions and I can assure you he is a very smart, normal kid, who has the luck of living with parents who give him the choice to develop his taste buds. If you give me the choice between candy and a garden fresh carrot, I will take the carrot. Purely based on taste. It tastes better. Why is a seven year old not entitled to taste? Does every kid has to be a victim of advertising claiming that happiness comes from a piece of sweet, lifeless, sticky candy? Should you have children of your own I recommend you give it a try and have your kid eat an apple. You will be surprised to see that, yes, kids will eat - and enjoy - apples w/o chocolate coating.

    Lee Greene

  7. Lee, You're the best. Thor and I are both glad that you have our back. Apparently, "anonymous" has gone away since I changed the settings on comments to disallow anonymous comments. I don't have a problem with someone disagreeing with me, but to call a 7-year old names is reprehensible and it's unsurprising that "anonymous" refused to reveal his or her identity.




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