#SimonSays Cinnamon Rolls!!

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Who wouldn't love these sticky, gooey, deliciously fluffy cinnamon rolls?
I honestly don't think I cared for them much growing up, but maybe i've never had a good one? They were always limited on icing and hard/kinda crusty. lol. Not my jam. 

For those of you following my life, things have been a bit crazy this year! My career has definitely had a lot of activity.. Where should I start? 

Well, since this is my blog, and I can say whatever the hell I want on it, I can say freely that I got to be Simon Cowell's Private Chef. Pretty crazy, don't you think? I caught them on the tail end of their visit this season, and was with them for a few weeks before they left back for London, but they'll be back and hopefully so will I. I still can't believe it, honestly. Simon Cowell?

For those of you wondering- he's incredibly nice. The house is amazing to work in, and the staff (yes, staff.. about 15 of them per day) are wonderfully supportive and loved my food!  A Huge shout out to my girl Diora, for introducing me, and giving me the opportunity to work with this family. I owe you big time!

Anyways- back to the cinnamon rolls. I recently had the pleasure of catering my dear friend Josh and his beautiful wife Stephanie's wedding! What a dreamy wedding to say the least! I've never met more genuine people in my life. Congratulations to both of you- Thank you for allowing me to feed your friends and family. My heart was full as I witnessed so much love and unity. Josh asked for a cinnamon roll wedding cake! Say WHAAAAT.  Now, y'all know I'm not a baker. I think we discussed this in a previous post. I am trying tho! luckily Josh handled the cake situation, and his wonderful mom, who's an incredible wedding cake designer back in Kentucky (Shout out to you, Mama! Move your little self to LA!! we need you!) stacked and iced the cake and sent it my way only for finishing touched (ie.. putting roses and succulents on each tier to decorate lol! now THAT I can do) 

The cake was delicious.. My first experience with a tasty cinnamon roll. Anyways- That next week at the Cowell residence I had some free time to recipe test and explore. There was always desserts to be laying around, so I figured i'd try (for the first time) to make some cinnamon rolls! Well… they were amazing. Ill be honest, Simon didn't touch them, I don't think he even looked at them, but I was okay with that because the staff and I demolished them within an hour of them coming out the oven. Maybe we were hungry? or maybe they were just that finger-licking good.  When i say soft and gooey, I mean they were pillowy-cinnamony-airy-sticky-sweet little tasty dessert bombs!!!! ohhh my God.

Ill stop here and just tell you the recipe. Enjoy them, share them, and worry about going to the gym later

From my hungry belly to yours
<3 Beetz

#SimonSays Cinnamon Rolls:
2 C warm milk
1/2 C melted butter
1/2 C sugar
1 pack active dry yeast
*mix together in large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes

Add 4 Cups AP Flour
*Mix and let sit covered for 1 hour

1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup AP Flour
*Mix
*Pull dough out of mixing bowl and place on clean counter. Dust with more flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough out to a rectangle shape, about 1/2 inch thick.

Spread 3/4 C Softened butter to cover the entire surface of dough, then sprinkle evenly 3/4C brown sugar and 2 Tbl Cinnamon to cover butter. DONT SKIMP! This is the best part. If you feel like you need more, then hell.. add more.  

*Roll the dough lengthwise, starting closest to you moving away. Take your time with this step, making sure it's a relatively tight roll and that both ends are rolling evenly. 
*Once you;re all rolled up, take a sharp knife and cut the log in half. Then each half in half again! Then again. This will make sure you have even little sections for even baking!

You can get anywhere from 14-16 pieces depending how thick you want the rolls. I cut mine into 14. 

Grease a baking dish (i used some softened butter, because why not) The dish can be any shape: round, square or rectangle. I used 2 round baking dishes for mine, 7 rolls in each. Place the rolls spiral side up in the dish, giving them space to bake and puff up. Don't let them touch, once they bake they fill in the gaps themselves. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Ill be honest, I took mine out of the oven at 20 minutes. Thats what I suggest, but I was using a top-tier convection oven. Baking time will vary depending on your oven at home, so use your own judgment.
HOWEVER! keep in mind that these little suckers will continue to cook as they are cooling on the counter top. Taking them out at 20 minutes I though "ehh.. they could still be a little underdone" but I think that's the trick! Pull them out when you're still slightly questioning… because once they cool they'll bake to PERFECTION!

Don't forget the Icing:
4 oz soft cream cheese (whipped cream cheese is best)
2 tbl melted butter
2 tbl milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1 C powder sugar
*Whisk together and pour over the hot cinnamon rolls once they come out the oven. 
I won't tell anyone if you lick the whisk.

Until next time! Enjoy

 

 

Life in Oklahoma – Sweet Potato tortellini, Chuck roast, sage brown butter & toasted walnuts

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Talk about eating my face off this holiday season!! If there’s one thing everyone knows I’m good at, it’s eating! I’ve been in Oklahoma since before Christmas and have indulged in all things comfort food, to say the least..

My parents think I live this “Gypsy Chef Life”. I couldn’t imagine a better career, to be honest. It’s been 5 years since building “BeetzEats”. I’m independently contracted with other chefs and caterers while building my brand, and drop it all to cook for Simon when he’s back in town. I travel a LOT. Maybe too much… but I’m always being exposed to new things: New events, new menus, new styles and techniques. Being exposed to a different perspective gives you such a leg up in this rapidly-evolving, fire-breathing, monstrous industry. 

Sure i’ll settle down eventually, but for now I feel (selfishly) I have the best job(s) out there. This last contract has me posted in Oklahoma for almost 2 weeks! I’m so used to the crazy hustle in LA, the rat race that surrounds me. It’s been a couple years now that this contracts binds me to Oklahoma over the Christmas holidays. People truly live in a different world out here. Life just slowssss downn, and i’m kinda starting to like it

I’m in a small town just outside of Tulsa, with a population of maybe 4 thousand? There are 3 restaurants, 3 fast-food chains, 2 pizza parlors and a Wal-Mart. I often imagine what it would be like to leave the crazy world I’m in and set up shop out here. Imagine opening a restaurant out here? Where there’s literally NO competition? This is a “Meat and Potato” kind of place.. no crazy infusions, no one’s inventing anything new.. They’re just looking for good quality, fresh food. There’s NOTHING out here…

 

I’m sure you’ve all watched Food Network’s “The Pioneer Woman” . Ree Drummond, she lives in Pawhuska, about an hour away from where I am. I was here a few weeks ago just after Thanksgiving and went to her new restaurant “The Mercantile” to check it out. Great spot! Reminds me of Cracker barrel only in the fact that it’s bottom floor is more than half gift shop. Full of trinkets, kitchen-ware and her cookbooks. The upstairs in a cute little coffee shop, with a glass-walled bakery towards the back where you can watch the Bakers hard at work making cheesecakes, buttery croissants and everything else old-school fudge and pecan pie related!

The food was good. Simple… nothing crazy or fancy. Just tasty food. Nothing I can’t do? Right…? Makes you think. They say she always has a line out the door! They say she feeds over six thousand people a day! What??! Pawhuska has only three thousand people living in it! Smh….

Errrr!!!! Hault. Sorry. Lets get back to this recipe:

This recipe has a few parts to it. Make things easy on yourself and break it up. Make your pasta dough and fill tortellini ahead of time. Roast the chuck and shred it the night before! That way you can whip it together in a snap. OR you can be like me and spend 4 hours lazy-ing around the kitchen getting it all done on your own time.

Sweet Potato tortellini, Chuck roast, sage brown butter & toasted walnuts
Chuck roast:
3 lbs chuck roast
1 quart beef broth
1 head garlic

Beef Chuck is a cheaper cut of meat. It’s perfect for this recipe and for anytime you want a Roast. You’ll get that shredded fall apart in your mouth that you’re looking for as long as you braise it in the oven for a good few hours to let it breakdown.

Poke 8-10 deep holes with a knife and shove whole cloves of garlic into the meat. Season the roast with salt and pepper and sear it in a pan. Browning all sides of the meat to develop a nice golden crust.

Place the roast in a baking dish (I used a bread loaf) and cover with 1 quart beef broth. Cover with foil, and braise in the oven at 375 for about 2 hours. When the roast shreds apart with a fork, its done! Shred meat and let it sit back in it’s liquid until you’re ready to use it.

Sweet Potato Tortellini:
Fresh pasta:
5 whole eggs
3 cups AP flour
2 tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt

Put flour and salt in the mixing bowl of a kitchen-aid standing mixer using the dough hook, add eggs one at a time mixing until fully incorporated. Drizzle in olive oil, mix until ball forms then turn out onto floured surface and kneed the dough with some additional flour until its shiny, soft, and elastic. About 5-8 minutes. Wrap with plastic and let rest in the fridge for 30mins – 2 hours.
Cut dough into even portions, working in smaller batcher to roll out paper-thin. Using the kitchen-aid pasta attachment makes life easy, i’d roll it out until a 5, but you can old school roll-it-out with a rolling pin too. Use a ring cutter to cut circles about 2.5 inches in diameter. Dollop a quarter size drop of filling in the center and wrap tortellini (seal with 1 beaten egg). I would try to explain “How to: tortellini” but YouTube already does a great job on step-by step for the shape.

Cheat Tip #1: I cheat on recipes all the time!! Don’t feel bad.. I actually found “sweet potato and carrot puree with brown sugar” in the frozen section at Wal-mart! So I used this for the filling. It was a great product! So tasty

Cheat Tip #2: If you’re not into the “made from scratch” life, you can just buy pre-made tortellini. Lol But there’s something to be said when sitting in your kitchen for hours rolling, filling, and twisting fresh hand-made pasta.

Garnish and finish:
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 bunch fresh sage
½ cup unsalted butter

Alright- so we have our shredded chuck roast sitting in juice, and we have our cutie tortellini’s ready to go! I drained the juice from the roast into a pan, seasoned it with salt, pepper, dried sage, and garlic powder. Made a slurry (2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp COLD water) and poured that in. Bring the sauce to a boil and let reduce/thicken until it becomes gravy-like consistency.

In another pan I made some Sage brown-butter. Heat ½ cup unsalted butter with fresh sage leaves in a pan until it browns and turns caramel colored. It will develop a nutty, buttery flavor and the safe leaves with crisp up. Remove Sage leaves and reserve for garnish in the end.

Ready to serve:
1.To the gravy, add some shredded chuck and the chopped walnuts.
2.Boil tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water. Strain pasta and toss into saucepan with gravy/chuck/walnuts. Toss to coat & plate. Drizzle with brown-butter and garnish with crispy Sage.

This was a long one, Sorry. Sometimes Oklahoma gives you nothing but time

From my hungry belly to yours, Until we eat again.

Beetz

Shiitake garlic noodles *Insert drooling emoji here*

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Ohhh my gosh, you guys. I truly believe I was asian in my past life. I’m addicted to anything Asian-garlicy-dumpling-noodle, you name it! I was first introduced to the “World Famous Garlic noodles” an AnQi,  a wonderful Asian inspired Crustacean House in Costa Mesa, California. They are SO garlicy and buttery… oh my!! I get them ever time. It’s hard to justify because literally it looks like just a small bowl of garlic, butter, and spaghetti… but somehow it just sticks to your ribs!

This past year I’ve been having late-night Yard House dates with my darling SuperStar Gojko! He’s a Serbian Prince to say the least. He’s Survived 2 wars, 76 days of bombing, moved to America with 2 suitcases and $200 in his pocket. He always tells me “Bibi, (that’s what he calls me, lol) If i can survive THAT! I can survive anything!!!” And he’s right! I always think of that when my day feels rough. Is this really anything i should be worked up about?

IG: Gojko.lojpur
Spotify & Soundcloud search for “Sex on the ceiling” & “Luxury”
http://www.gojko-official.com

Anyways- the extra pounds i’ve gained is thanks to him! We stop at Yard-House for one Old43 cocktail, and happy hour appetizers after our shift (this happens like 2-3 times a week smh). Low and behold… the garlic noodles reappear. But this time “SHIITAKE GARLIC NOODLES” Even better!!! its like crack in a bowl, swimming in a delicious buttery sauce and covered with shiitake mushrooms, Gojko’s favorite!!

I have an obsession with things i love to eat, the thought of not being able to recreate it kills me! So, here you have it, my trial and errors lead to your happy bellies.

Shiitake Garlic Noodles:

8oz dry spaghetti
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (split)
8-10 oz mushrooms (You can use any mushroom, A combo would be perfect! 4 oz shiitake, cleaned and sliced thin, and 4 oz beech mushrooms, cleaned and cut from base)

Garlic butter sauce:
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minced shallot
2-3 garlic gloves (I use 3 because i literally have garlic running through my veins lol but cut back if you’re not as bold)
1/4 cup Mirin
1/2 cup Chicken or beef broth
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan & Chives as garnish. 

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. SALTED water, y’all… salt it.
2. Cook spaghetti according to package, about 6-7 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
3.Place a skillet over medium heat and heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Once skillet is hot add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper and continue cooking for a few minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside for later.
4. In the same pan, saute shallots and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil until fragrant, don’t let them burn! deglaze pan with Mirin and cook until the pan is almost dry.
5. Add broth and soy sauce, and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced by 1/2
6. Turn the heat off, Stir in butter one tablespoon at a time, add mushrooms and add spaghetti. Toss to coat, garnish with parmesan cheese and chives..

let the drooling begin

From my hungry belly to yours, until we eat again.