Smoked Salmon Over Crispy Hash Browns

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  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flower
  • 1 gold potato
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp diced dill
  • 1 tbsp diced tomato
  • 1 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tbsp diced radish 
  • 5-8 oz. smoked salmon
  • Salt for taste


  • Frying pan
  • Whisk
  • Sharp knife
  • Peeler
  • Zester
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • (food) Shredder
  • Bowls
  • Strainer
  • Large plate


Hash browns

  • Clean, peel and shred one gold potato
  • Place the shredded potato into a bowl and pour cold water over it until covered (this takes away some starch and keeps the potato from browning)
  • In a large plate mix in the flower, black pepper, paprika and garlic salt until combined
  • Dump the shredded potato into a strainer to remove excess water then add the potato into the flower mixture and combine until the potato absorbs the flower
  • In a non-stick frying pan add the olive oil over medium heat - drop one piece of the shredded potato to see if it sizzles, once it does you're ready to add the flowered shredded potato, spreading it out evenly (note: if you do not wait for the pan to become hot enough for a sizzle, the hash browns will come out soggy and greasy)
  • After 6-7 mins on one side, carefully flip the hash browns and let it cook for another 6-7 mins - if it breaks apart, it's totally fine


  • In a small bowl add the sour cream, zest and juice of one lemon, dijon mustard, capers and diced dill, and whisk to combine
  • Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper for taste
  • Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate (you can do this ahead of time, even a day or two before)


  • Carefully cut the hash brown into 5-6 pieces (they do not need to be symmetrical)
  • On your serving plate, loosely stack the hash brown pieces to form a base
  • Sprinkle on 2-3 tsp of the sour cream sauce on the hash browns
  • Gently remove slices of smoked salmon and loosely stack them on top of the hash browns
  • Sprinkle in the rest of the sauce
  • Add diced tomato, onion and radish
  • To make it "fancy" add on a handful of micro-greens (I prefer arugula)
  • Serve with lemon wedge if you'd like
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Stuffed Grape Leaves


Variations of stuffed grape leaves can be found throughout the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean areas, and of course Armenia. This recipe comes to my family from centuries of grandmothers and mothers teaching their daughters and daughter in-laws. You would commonly see this dish on the dining table, especially at formal dinners, including Thanksgiving. This tradition is what we add to the commercialized version of a Thanksgiving dinner. 

It's inexpensive, healthy and vegan. The only portion that takes up your time is when you're wrapping the leaves - why not call on your friends and family to help out?

The Recipe 

Serves 8

  • 1.5 cups olive oil
  • 2 finely diced yellow onions
  • 1.5 cups of Calrose rice (not long grained rice)
  • 4 table spoons tomato paste
  • 4 table spoons of red pepper paste (can be found in Armenian or Middle Eastern markets)
  • 4 table spoons of pomegranate molasses (I recommend Sadaf brand from Lebanon)
  • 1 table spoon salt
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes (product of Aleppo)
  • ¼ tsp of sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Bunch of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Jar of grape leaves (product of Fresno or Armenia)

The Directions

  • In large pot, sauté diced onions in olive oil
  • Add rice and stir together
  • Add tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, red pepper paste, salt, and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine
  • Check for taste
  • Add lemon juice
  • Over medium-low heat, cook for 15 mins, stirring every few mins
  • Turn off the heat and add chopped parsley and stir to combine
  • Let it cool

  • Rinse grape leaves under cold water
  • Gently open the leaf  placing shiny portion face down
  • Remove small stem
  • Add tea spoon of filling
  • Fold the tail in first, then the sides and gently roll secure
  • Line unrolled grape leaves at the bottom of a pot until fully covered
  • Gently place the wrapped grape leaves into the pot tightly next to each other
  • Add thinly slices of lemon on top and add another layer of unwrapped grape leaves
  • Add a plate on top, and atop the plate, add a weight to weigh down the plate
  • Slowly pour in room temperature water to the pot until it barely reaches the surface
  • Cook for 10 mins on medium-low heat
  • Taste and if  you prefer more tang, squeeze juice of one more lemon
  • Cook for another 10 mins

This dish is normally served as an appetizer, and is great at room temperate or cold.




Hot Cocoa

My Ultimate Hot Cocoa (aka hot chocolate) Recipe

Serving: 2


  • Milk (whatever mug you will serve with is your measuring cup)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 hand fulls (about 90 chips) of dark chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp of confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream


Hot Cocoa

  • In a large pot, begin to simmer 2 cups of milk in medium low heat
  • Carefully add the chocolate chips 
  • Add the sugar, raw cocoa and vanilla
  • Whisk to incorporate
  • Let it simmer for another minute and turn off the burner

Whipped Cream

  • In a glass bowl, add the heavy whipping cream and confectioners sugar
  • Mix with hand-held mixer until awesomeness of white whipped peaks appear (about 2 mins or so of mixing)

Carefully pour the yummy goodness of hot cocoa into the mugs and let them chill out for two minutes. Then dollop on the whipped cream. And for the extra kick of chocolate amazingness, sprinkle on some chocolate shavings. Here is where you can also sprinkle in shavings of white chocolate. If you want to go wild, sprinkle a pinch of ground nutmeg or cinnamon.