Follow me through the adventures that take place in my kitchen, in restaurants or in other kitchens. Cooking and food are my passions and I want to share my experiences of cooking, baking and eating with you.
I'm a Greek self-taught cook who lives in Chicago. I learned a lot about cooking from both of my grandmothers, my mom and dad, family and friends. Passing on timeless traditions through food is one thing I strive to do in life.
These are my journeys through culinary exploration...
clraptis (at) gmail (dot) com
Prosciutto, Caramelized Onion, Sun-Dried Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza
When mom got in town last night - I pulled my fresh, homemade pizza dough out of the fridge and we topped our pizza together. I used The Pioneer Woman’spizza dough recipe. I used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose. It was REALLY easy to make and super tasty… I might not ever get pizza delivered ever again! (thanks to emmysnacks for the advice!!)
I also used Ree’s pizza recipe and just added some other toppings: sun-dried tomatoes and drizzled the oil from the tomatoes over the crust. I’ll probably make this pizza again with figs or dates in place of the tomatoes.
If you’re looking for a tasty pizza recipe - try this one out. I guarantee your mouth will water when you start caramelizing the onion! :)
This pizza was going to be a fancy white pizza… but it turned into more of a gourmet supreme pizza!
Leeks, shallots, crimini mushrooms, sweet orange peppers, crispy prosciutto, white truffle oil and mozzarella cheese
I like the way this turned out. My new favorite pizza topping is prosciutto. It’s a somewhat healthier alternative to pepperoni or sausage, while incorporating the saltiness that pork brings to a pizza. I slice the prosciutto and crisp it under the broiler to render most of the fat out - then there won’t be a lot of excess grease floating on top of my pizza.
A friend of mine had been dying to take me to his friend’s bar, Lockdown Bar & Grill, to try some of the “best burgers in Chicago” (as he put it). I was skeptical because nothing compares to a Five Guys burger in my opinion.
2 weeks ago, he finally convinced me to meet him there - and I have to be honest, I went back again one week later! The burgers are THAT amazing.
Pictured here are the two burgers we ordered during our first visit:
Cruelty to Animals(left) - 10 oz. Angus burger topped with bacon, porkbelly and prosciutto
Punk Bitch(right) - 10 oz. Angus burger topped with crispy prosciutto, gruyere cheese and a garlic mustard cream sauce
These burgers were cooked to perfection, super juicy - not at all greasy. The array of different toppings and burger options exceeded my expectations! Did I mention that these two burgers in particular were served on PRETZEL rolls?? Pretzel rolls = key ingredient to a successful burger (IMO). This is the definition of an amped up burger.
My choice was the punk bitch and I was more than pleased. The prosciutto was so crispy and added that perfect pork-generated saltiness that I live for (especially on a burger). The gruyere and garlic mustard cream sauce combination added a flavorful touch. It was DIVINE!
I got the chance to talk with PJ Zonis, one of the owners. His vision for this place is such a great idea. The atmosphere is rockin’ - they play live concert DVDs of all kinds of rock bands (think ACDC, Guns and Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc.) on their flat screens mounted all over the bar walls. He and his partners wanted this to be a bar that serves delicious food. I think they hit the nail on the head with this place. Even though it is a bar with exceptional food, the focus they put on the food/menu is top priority. Their kitchen is open until the place closes and we’re talking bar food that does NOT disappoint!
If you live in Chicago or just visiting and burgers are your thing, I suggest you make trip to Lockdown at some point. No matter what burger you order, you will be satisfied!
Straight from the Grecian Kitchen… a tasty, quick meal.
Spicy Garlic Rice with crispy prosciutto and sauteed cremini mushrooms
I sauteed some garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in olive oil and then cooked the rice in with it. Meanwhile, I sauteed the shrooms and crisped up the prosciutto in a skillet. When it was all finished I combined it all together and topped it with freshly grated parm. It was the perfect combination of salty, spicy and earthy.
Post-church brunch at Toast with my good friend Grisel.
Eggs Benedict with Crispy Prosciutto and a side of House Potatoes
My favorite breakfast/brunch meal is a good eggs benedict. I liked this version because it replaced the Canadian bacon (which I’m not a huge fan of) with crispy prosciutto. Now I prefer my benedict to come with prosciutto because it was the BEST combination of salty pork, rich egg yolks from the poached eggs, tangy hollandaise and buttery, crusty english muffin. The potatoes were mediocre, but assisted in cleaning up the remaining egg yolk and sauce.