As most Armenians, I grew up watching my family make Bourek all the time. Bourek is a traditional Armenian pastry made with phyllo dough or puff pastry sheets and stuffed cheese. You can also include many other fillings like jalapeños, veggies, herbs, etc. but I like to keep my recipe pretty simple with just cheese!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Total time: 25-30 Minutes
Sarma is one of my favorite dishes ever! It’s something I can eat all year round, any time of day. This is a very common dish, derived from many cultures around, at Armenian restaurants & homes. My mom typically likes to make this around the Holidays, I believe for several reasons. During the Holidays, Armenians visit each other’s homes for days and all you do is eat; sarma can last for days in the fridge and it’s always ready for the table. It’s filled with rice and vegetables, very flavorful and super delicious! It is, however, tedious; so I n general, you want to make a big pot of it. This dish is not to be confused with Dolma, this looks exactly the same: Dolma is filled with meat.
Below is a recipe my mom has been using for decades (who learned from her mom) and I absolutely love it! There are several different recipes, as there is to any dish, but I have to say my moms is my favorite! Every year she makes it, I tell her I need to learn so that I can carry on the tradition and I never get a chance. This year, I was able to finally make it with her and write down every ingredient with the correct measurements. Otherwise, it would be a “pinch of this” and “approximately that” haha! Yes, it is a long list of ingredients and yes it is a long process - but oh so delicious! I promise it’s worth it.
Serving: 40 pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1 big can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp red pepper paste
6oz. can of tomato paste
4 peppers (green, red, orange, yellow)
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch green onion
1 bunch dill
1 bunch basil
1 bunch mint (you can use dried. 2tbsp)
2 cups rice
1 jar grape leaves
1. Chop onions finely and sauté with cup olive oil (don’t make red)
2. Add crushed tomatoes
3. Add red pepper paste
4. Add 1 tomato paste
5. Let boil for about 5 minutes
6. Separately, chop & blend the colored peppers and add to pot. Let boil for 5 minutes.
7. Squeeze lemons into pot
8. Season with red pepper, black pepper and salt to taste
cilantro, parsley, green onion, dill, basil, mint
9. Add Chopped greens to the pot and mix all together
10. Add the washed rice and mix all together (do not cook)
11. Separately, drain in clean water and strain grape leaves to get rid of the salt (open and leave in clean water)
12. Let mixture cool before and begin to wrap and roll in grape leaves
13. Layer sarma in pot and add one cup water
14. Cook on low approx 45 min until water is absorbed
15. Eat as is or refrigerate. Enjoy!
What in the world is The Golden Milk? I kept asking myself as I've been seeing it everywhere! Well if you are as lost as I was, keep reading. Although now trending, The Golden Milk has been used in Asia for centuries. It is a nutrition packed, anti-oxidant drink that also helps with inflammation in the body. This milk will help improve your immunity & digestive system. As most of you know, I am pregnant and very limited to what I can take. I have had the cold for a few days now and that is how I came across this healthy remedy; not so much a remedy, but a yummy drink you can take daily. So perfect for winter, too!
1 cup warmed up almond milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon manuka honey
Dash of cinnamon
Coconut milk instead of almond
Dash of vanilla extract
1. Add all ingredients to pot, stir and bring to boil.
2. Reduce to a simmer and simmer 2-4 minutes
4. Pour into mug and garnish with cinnamon
One of my favorite and easy dishes to make is Rice Pudding, also known as “Katnov” in Armenian. Its texture is soft and creamy and the sweet taste just tops it all off! The recipe is super simple! All it takes is a few ingredients and about 30 minutes of your time.
Cook time: 30 minutes
This recipe has evolved from my grandma, to my mom, to my sister, who changed it up a bit ;) Not that it wasn’t already super delicious, she just modernized it a bit by making it a tad bit healthier with added veggies and nutrients. I was sick for a few days, so I wanted something super easy to make that was delicious, healthy and energizing! Lentils are full of fiber, protein, iron and so much more!
Before you start cooking this up, just make a note to chop up everything very small. This is a somewhat creamy soup, so you want to make sure there are no big chunks in there. In general, I chop up everything small in soups because you get a full flavor of everything in one spoon and also, it’s easier for Kat to eat!
1/2 cup of dry lentils
1 carton of chicken broth
1 espresso cup of round rice
1 large potatoe
salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, ginger powder (to taste)
1 tsp red pepper paste
1/2 yellow onion
1. Boil the lentils in the Chicken Broth (I add water for plenty of soup)
2. Once the lentils have cooked only halfway through, add washed rice
3. Add carrots, celery & potatoes
4. Add seasonings to taste
5. Add red pepper paste and mix until dissolved
6. While you let the soup cook, chop and satay onions in a seperare pan with some oil until soft
7. One soup is completely cooked through, add onions
8. Pour half the soup in a blender and blend until creamy (let it cool a bit first)
9. Add the creamy soup back into the pot with the remaining
10. Add cilantro for garnish and serve
Both delicious, both easy to do and both nicely served together for appetizing or a grazing table. Make it super pretty by filling it up in the shell of the avocado and a fresh red pepper cut in half. It also looks beautiful in a red and green cabbage cut in half. Serve it with chips and/or veggies, depending on how healthy you want the setup to be. Here I have it in plain white bowls because, well...its just a Thursday! Lol. My peppers and avocados were going bad, so this was the perfect dish to savor the foods & you can store it in your fridge for several days! Buy mini tupperware and take them to work with you for snacks. It's a perfect snack for toddlers too (except my toddler is weird about texture, ugh!). Anyways, I hope you guys find this helpful and enjoyable!
Although my husband and I love trying new places to eat, we have a Top 5 that neither of us will ever say no to on a given night. These are the places we usually go for "date night" because they're special to us and we've been going since we've been dating (over 5 years). As much as I am a makeup lover, I am a food lover. I can't say Im an "eater" or "experimenter" because I am kind of particular with my food, so we will cancel out the word: foodie. However, my husband? He will eat and try anything that crawls, fly's or swims. With that said, we like to go to restaurants that offer versatility.
1. Mr. Chow
This place was one of our first dates (I think the 2nd if I am not mistaken). Till this day, I had never eaten Chinese food like that, ever. So the story is, Mr. Chow was the son of a very famous Oprah singer back in the days. He came from a wealthy family with very high end personal chefs. After the war, they fled the country and were left with nothing. When he came to America, he realized, they didn't have food like the food he used to it. Lo-behold, he decided to bring that flavor in himself. Not to bore you, but after hearing that, all made sense about his food. It really is the most gourmet Chinese food you've ever eaten. Its not cheap, but well worth the money. Its a small place with community seating, but so beautiful! Seriously, this place is a treat. If you haven't been, it's a must!
2. The Bazaar at the SLS
This restaurant is EVERYTHING! And when I say everything, I mean food, service & decor! The SLS itself has one of my favorite decors and this restaurant is a VIBE. It's really big and they have several seating areas with different decors. When you are done with dinner, you can walk over to the other side of the restaurant which is their dessert room. Finish off your night with some wine and delicious desserts. But let's not skip ahead, the food is one of the best foods, hands down. Once you've tried a Jose Andres restaurant, you know. Deliciousness aside, the presentation of the food is just beautiful. They have an open kitchen and you can see them creating the food and its just entertaining and so admirable. One of the managers of the restaurant had heard recently that my husband and I were huge fans and invited us over for a special night. We had a 22 course dinner! I mean, I got till 19 believe it or not. The experience, the service, everything is just perfection. If you haven't been, you are missing out.
This restaurant used to be a liquor store, believe it or not. Now, you walk in on an average night and it is completely packed. David and I love this place for several reasons. 1. It is actually one of the very few restaurants that are open till 2am in LA. 2. We love the outdoor seating 3. The food is delicious. 4. Great ambiance! Sometimes, even if were not hungry, we will just head over there for some wine & cheese; our favorite thing to do. If you are a wine & cheese lover, this is your jam!
Katana is a robata grill, Japanese cuisine. We love the food here and how they have small portions so you get to have a little bit of everything and never leave a dish full. As most of you already know, I am not a seafood lover, so there is plenty bbq options for me. You will love this place if you want good food and a night out to just hang out and enjoy. Again, outdoors is our favorite, of course when the weather is good. Katana has been around for a long time and the fact that it still stands in LA, where restaurants are opening and closing left and right, you know its good!
5. Osteria Mamma
Our friend George introduced us to this place back and David and I were dating and we fell in love. Unlike the above four restaurants, this place is super homey and feels like you are at a restaurant in Italy. Delicious authentic Italian food, great service, great wine options and very family friendly. This is the type of restaurant we go to when were having Date Night wit Kat lol.
Bonus: Gracias Madre
Ok I decided to include this one in there for the Vegan food lovers. A friend of mine has celiac disease and is completely gluten free/vegan. On a night out, she suggested this Mexican restaurants and we didn't just love the place, but we were in shock. Not only is the food delicious, you cannot believe its vegan. The cauliflower tacos actually taste like chicken! The cashew dressing tastes like ranch! I mean ,it's insane what they do with vegan food these days. Healthy & delicious!
This salad is not only delicious & healthy, but super easy! I made it for the first time a few weeks ago for a dinner party at my house and it was a hit. Since then, I’ve made it twice more, including tonight! It’s one of those salads you can prep and leave it in the fridge and either snack on it or use it as a side dish for days. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! Recipe below:
4 Cups Broccoli
1/2 Cup Carrots
1/4 Red Onion
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Mayo (replace with Greek Yogurt if on diet)
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Sugar
Pinch of Pepper
This is one of my favorite desserts in the world and I had no idea how easy it was to make! I’m a sweet lover and I can have it for breakfast, lunch & dinner (I don’t), ok fine - I do. I’ve made this dish twice already because it’s big enough to last a week in your fridge if you have it every day. OR, I guess you can share. These images are from the first time I made it, and although I have to work on making it prettier, the taste was perfection! I know there’s a few different recipes to make this, but see below for what I used:
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tbsp orange blossom water
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Start boiling water, sugar and lemon juice, let boil for a few minutes, add the Rosewater and Orange Blossom, let boil for a few more minutes and set aside to cool for a little bit.
Toasted bread you can buy in store or toast sandwhich bread and make sure it’s crispy.
Layer the rusk in your pan until your pan is covered and pour half your syrup over all the breads. Layer your second set of risk and pour the rest of the syrup on the second layer of bread.
1 can condensed milk (400grams)
300ml whipping cream
1 tbsp Rosewater
1 tbsp Orange Blossom water
5 tbsp cornstarch
Mix 1/2 the milk with the cornstarch until melted. Combine the cornstarch mix with the remainder of milk, condensed milk and whipping cream in a heavy bottom pan on the stovetop and start mixing on medium heat until it thickens. Once it thickens, add the Rosewater and Orange Blossom water and keep mixing until it has a pudding consistency.
Pour custard all over rusk. Top with chooped pistachios and refrigerate 5-6 hours. I prefer overnight with toasted bread because it soaks up and softens the bread. Enjoy!
I’ve been to fancy dinners. Not because I like fancy dinners (although I do) but hubby and I love the experience of dressing up every now and then, going to a nice place, enjoying not only the food, but the ambiance. We are borderline foodies; however, were happy with simple dinners or cheese and wine, so we don’t pass for one! We equally love cooking at home together and enjoy our time in the kitchen. Our current favorite TV show is “Chef’s Table” on Netflix and on the downlow, it’s what we watch on the daily lol. We love the story behind these successful Michelin rated restaurants, the owners and how they came about, what dishes made them world famous and really just the art of the food. It’s pure genius what some chefs are capable of sometimes. One of our favorite restaurants ever is the Bazaar by Jose Andres. The Bazaar has an open kitchen concept and you can watch them cook and how they create and decorate food with tweezers. I promise you that’s my career in my next lifetime. But hey! I am looking to do some cooking classes with David, so let me know if you know any good ones!
Anyways, my friend Shushan of Ladybugz, Inc. is an amazing chef herself and owns her own catering company. I ALWAYS use Shushan’s services when I have a big party because her food is so good, so nicely presented and she never disappoints! Plus, I need an excuse to order from her every now and then because I miss it lol. So anyways, she had told me about this restaurant in Las Vegas called Joel Robuchon at the MGM. Trusting her taste, last time David and I were there, we booked next door at the Joel Robuchon Atelier. The Atelier is basically the more casual version of their formal dining restaurant (they are next to each other). We had a 13 course dinner at the bar of the restaurant. Seeing the small portions that come out, you think you’re never going to get full. By course 6, we were dying! We were so full we couldn’t breathe but the food kept coming out and it was so good, we forced ourselves to keep eating! Let me tell you...the flavor of every single item that came out was something we had never eaten before and the presentation? Exquisite.
We went to Vegas this week because David had some work to do, so I tagged along because it was Valentines and we wanted to be together. We decided to book Joel Robuchon at the fine dining this time, next to the Atelier. You walk in the restaurant and you think you just stepped into France. First of all, everyone has a French accent, the decor was rich, sexy and beautiful and the service was nothing like we had ever experienced before. The restaurant is also a Celebrity hot spot; there were many photos of celebrities framed all over the place and I also heard its a Celin Dion favorite. Anyway, we felt like we just walked into a Chef’s Table episode. We decided to do the 5 course dinner this time. They first bring out a cart with 12 different types of freshly baked bread that takes you straight to France. We chose our items from the course and it began. The presentation of each dish was so beautiful, you don’t want to touch it; but every dish was beyond. Every spoonful had so much flavor that you can’t even understand what you’re eating. Seeing each others reaction to every flavor of every dish was the best part lol. The 5 course dinner is spread out to 2.5 hours, so the whole dinner is meant to be an actual experience.
I can go into detail with each dish but I’ll let the photos do the explaining, although it was dim and I couldn't get great photos. At the end of our dinner, the Chef came out, introduced himself and wanted to make sure we were all happy with our food. They even gave me a “goodie bag” with desert and a box of chocolates. Joel Robuchon has a 3 Star Michelin rating and truly deserves every star. We knew the restaurant came with a price & boy did it lol. Our bill was $1500! In all fairness, if you remove the alcohol, it will be about $1000 for 2. Crazy? Perhaps. But heck, it was Valentine’s Day and we felt we deserved it! Lol. If you’re not a foodie or into the art of food and you’re the type of person who eats just to eat, DONT go there; it will be a waste of your money and you will not enjoy it. But if you’re one who appreciates such things, it’s an experience you won’t forget!
What are your thoughts on fancy dinners?