chicagolovespanini

Going panini and beyond in the Windy City – and loving it!


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Easter Sunday meal: We are having chicken!

I had a long talk with my mom this morning on the topic of eating lamb on Easter. This is a long-standing tradition in my religion, yet it is one that my family has hardly ever followed. I remember when I was little my mom would scramble to put meat on the Easter dinner table. Back then, meat was elusive, and any kind of meat was much appreciated. Usually my dad would use his “connections” to get us a chicken, which my mom would skillfully butcher to make a variety of dishes: chicken soup, baked chicken, even chicken aspic.

As a child growing up in the countryside, my mom would eat lamb on Easter every year. Things changed, however, as soon as she moved to the city: her family departed from this tradition, and lamb was used less and less in their cooking. I know for certain that my dad didn’t like lamb. As for me, I remember trying a lamb shank once as a child, and not being particularly impressed with its taste.
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Our Easter Sunday salad: Half Greek, half… radishy

I just love the vibrant symphony of colors in this salad! The mini peppers bring in a delicate touch of sweetness, while the olives give it a firm flavor and an exotic twist. The feta cheese holds the salad together and adds an undisputed creamy wholesomeness. I love the flavor of the feta cheese, and whenever I eat it my mind wanders off to the bucolic pastures of the Greek islands.  Continue reading


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Vegetarian stuffed potatoes: Going back to the basics during the Holy Week

This is the first dish that comes to my mind whenever someone asks me for Lent recipes. It is so simple, yet so satisfying! I found the recipe about 15 years ago in a magazine, and I’ve been making it ever since with great success. Nothing beats a few unassuming ingredients, which come together and create a genuine flavor experience. I like this dish so much that while writing about it I had to go to the kitchen and get myself a second helping. It’s so tasty! :-)

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Tradition and innovation come together to create meaty deliciousness: A review of TÊTE Charcuterie

Succulent crispy pork belly. Flavorful mortadella, hams and pâtés. An array of fresh and smoked sausages, served with house-made pickles and mustard. They were fresh, made from local ingredients, and seasoned to perfection. I tried them all last Saturday, when myself and other Chicago Food Bloggers were invited to attend the grand opening of TÊTE Charcuterie, which is located in Chicago’s historic meatpacking district. Continue reading


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Roasted vegetable panini: Quick and light spring food, that makes me happy

My mom asked me the other day whether I’d made this panino lately, and I said I hadn’t. I don’t know why, but I seemed to have forgotten about this deliciously light panino, good for vegetarians and lent observers, and perfect to savor on warm spring days. Sadly, the panini I’ve been making recently have been all but sophisticated: a few slices of ham and cheese, some pickles, on the grill – done! With Easter approaching, I’ll be away from work and school for a few days, and I’ve decided to use this spare time to do more cooking and to remake a few of my family’s favorite dishes. I think this panino is a good way to start my culinary spring break. :-)

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Great food and great fun in the heart of the city: My Mexican dining experience at Mezcalina

Getting the chance to experience a variety of cuisines is one of the many advantages of living in a cosmopolitan city like Chicago. At every street corner, from the noisy downtown to the peaceful suburbs, different cultures and experiences compete for your attention, allegiance and love. I am glad to live in such a “melting pot,” and I consistently strive to gain a deeper understanding of its various cultures through their cooking traditions and techniques. Last week I had a one of a kind encounter with Mexican cuisine, when myself and a few other Chicago Food Bloggers were invited to sample the menu at Mezcalina, an upscale Mexican restaurant located in Lakeshore East. The event was hosted by Daniela and Ricardo, of 2Views1Life.  Continue reading


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The sweetest chocolate kiss: A night of chocolate and crêpes at Beijo de Chocolat

I drove to Beijo de Chocolat on a cold and rainy evening, after a busy day at work and very little sleep the previous few nights. I was upset with the weather which had long been testing my patience, and secretly wanted to be home, under a warm cosy blanket and cuddling a hot cup of cocoa. The allure of unique and well crafted chocolate flavors was hard to resist though, so I decided to honor Beijo de Chocolat’s invitation to “a night of chocolate and crêpes.” I wanted to experience their renowned chocolate craftsmanship first-hand – and I’m glad I made this decision. Continue reading

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