Behind Brown Eyes

21st century flogger. That's food-blogger, fyi. Now if it were the 17th century...
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Posts tagged "chef"

I love the blogosphere. Helloooo blanket Gen-Y statement. But really. It’s amazing. It’s such a great way to share anything and everything—food, friends, fitness, thoughts, ideas, passion, ambition, motivation, inspiration, innovation, interests, anecdotes…you name it!

Oh, and how could I forget, RECIPES! :) I’m enthused when I hear back from my followers, or see people liking and re-blogging my kitchen creations. The truth is, we can all learn from and teach one another when it comes to culinary. And the great thing about it? There’s always more than one way to do something. Yes, baking is the science, cooking is the art. Yes, yes, I know. But can you not substitute Buttermilk with skim milk and distilled white vinegar? You can! See what I mean? Always more than one way. And that’s a wonderful thing. So, as I teach you—my wonderful followers—I hope you’ll be inspired to teach me, too. Be it food or fitness, tidbit or technique. Let’s share it all.

With that being said, Trainer Jack was loving my home-made Ratatouille pictures, so I promised I’d share the recipe. Another great thing about this recipe in particular, is that veggies are versatile. You don’t have to only use squash and zucchini. If you like broccoli, or cauliflower—dare to dabble ‘em! Think about colors, taste and textures, and let it guide your veggie variety. That’s why I chose to add cauliflower this time; different color, different texture. And I loved the turnout!

Remember, no veg is a bad veg—except mushrooms or eggplant. They may change the taste and I would advise to proceed with caution if you decide to go there. But again, be adventurous. I advocate creative cooking!

For my most recent variation, follow the recipe below. If you try other combinations, please let me know how it turns out! Jack—this is for you! :)

Ingredients

  • EVOO
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 5 zucchini, sliced
  • Cauliflower (about 1/2 head, chopped into florets)
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Pastene Chunky Kitchen Ready Tomatoes*
  • 1/2 package Polly-O Part-Skim Mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • Seasonings: Oregano, crushed black pepper, Kosher salt (to taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a non-stick electric frying pan to 350 degrees. Pour enough EVOO to coat the bottom of the pan (a few tablespoons). Add sliced onion and pressed garlic; sauté until onions are wilted and aromatic.
  3. Add all vegetables to pan; season generously with oregano, crushed black pepper, and a little bit of Kosher salt. Add a bit more EVOO if all liquid is absorbed. Cover and steam the vegetables until al dente. (You do not want to cook them completely because the dish will ultimately bake in the oven). Stir often to blend the flavors.
  4. Add sauce to pan. Rinse can with a little cold water to extract the rest of the sauce and add to vegetable/sauce mixture; cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Stir several times to avoid burning. Season as needed.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large Pyrex baking dish. Top with a single layer of thinly sliced mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle top with oregano.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and slightly burnt. (Like the best part of pizza!) For an extra bit of crisp, broil on high for a few minutes at the very end.

I prefer to serve it with 1/2c steel cut oats, but we also enjoy it with whole grain pasta! Or, insert your whole grain of choice here. :)

*This was the first time I made my Ratatouille using this new, chunky tomato variety. I loved the chunky-ness of the dish, but wish I had a bit more liquid/tomato. Next time I would use 1 can chunky, plus 1/2 to 1 can of Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes.

Note: Normally, we use just 1 can of the Kitchen Ready Tomatoes—and if you have a fair amount of vegetables (typically we use 4-5 medium zucchini and 4-5 yellow squash), the 1 can of Kitchen Ready works great!

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Making Ratatouille in Maw Maw’s homey, Texas kitchen. (1/21/2010)

Watch me work it. What a fabulous, and versatile, appliance. Naturally, I had to make a video to chronicle my first immersion blender moment.

That moment when you catch yourself having a baking montage in the kitchen. I’m a cake batter lovin’ kid at heart. What can I say? #guilty (Taken with Instagram)

Life’s too short to be anything but happy. Believe it. And do whatever it takes to #betteryou. Live with passion, let it drive you. The kitchen allows me to be—me. It’s an outlet for creativity, and a place of comfort and joy. Focus, experiment, dream. I’m so excited for my home-made carrot cake. Losing 20 pounds calls for a celebratory cake!! Today I’m happy with who I am and how far I’ve come. Mmm mm mm does Krystina Lynne’s kitchen smell good tonight!!

Me and Joanna with @FetchRestaurant’s Executive Chef Adam Powers! Advice when we asked him about opening our own restaurant: “Don’t do it!…start small.” Fun brunch, delicious (cornbread) pancakes, and great concept—treating everyone as “man’s best friend” and giving back to the community by hosting pet adoption/benefit events. Love the “dog house” table idea—where 20% of your bill goes directly to the SPCA. Friendly staff, and a warm, comforting, vibrant atmosphere. What a lovely day in Warwick, NY with friends and family! (Taken with Instagram)

(Wo)manning the grill. Feeling empowered with these tongs and our mini hibachi table. Don’t really know if we’re supposed to cook the meat ourselves—but as two lone white girls among a crowd of Asian regulars, I’d say we’re pretty much past caring about what anyone else thinks. #Yolo…and Korean BBQ, I will be seeing a whole lot more of you in this lifetime.

Saturday, June 9, 2012 - My second chronicled tweet from Geoffrey Zakarian. I mean, I just don’t think there’s any question about this being one of the most memorable days of my life. When making my online reservation via Open Table, I told them under “special requests” that I was celebrating my 24th birthday with some friends. And, with GZ being my fave chef, I asked if I could take a picture with him. The waiter asked whose birthday it was when we sat down at our table, and told me that they unfortunately couldn’t fulfill my request because GZ was out of town. Not but a few minutes later…buzzzz…my phone vibrates in my bag. AN INSTANTANEOUS REPLY FROM THE IRON CHEF HIMSELF!! I love the 21st century, technology, social media, Twitter, life. I am so beyond blessed for a wonderful weekend, and thankful for everyone who shared it with me.

Saturday, June 9, 2012 - My second chronicled tweet from Geoffrey Zakarian. I mean, I just don’t think there’s any question about this being one of the most memorable days of my life. When making my online reservation via Open Table, I told them under “special requests” that I was celebrating my 24th birthday with some friends. And, with GZ being my fave chef, I asked if I could take a picture with him. The waiter asked whose birthday it was when we sat down at our table, and told me that they unfortunately couldn’t fulfill my request because GZ was out of town. Not but a few minutes later…buzzzz…my phone vibrates in my bag. AN INSTANTANEOUS REPLY FROM THE IRON CHEF HIMSELF!! I love the 21st century, technology, social media, Twitter, life. I am so beyond blessed for a wonderful weekend, and thankful for everyone who shared it with me.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. And out they come! Boy do they look (chicken) tender! I am already loving the “crunch” the ‘zels will add to my poultry. I am just a happy little chef right now. (Taken with instagram)

I’m a baller. #success (Taken with instagram)

So serious as I “ball” baby red potatoes for my classy Cuisine appetizer. I love hosting, cooking, prepping, baking, and managing the kitchen. I am the Apron Matron (copyrighting that). And I’m going to be the best mommy and wife ever (#justsayin!) Aka I’m not preggo…or married. That’s my single-mingle, Mother’s Day epiphany. Just go with it. (Taken with instagram)