Happy Halloween

I love halloween. Well, let me clarify. I don't like the scary demon-like halloween, I like the fun side of halloween.

I like the kids in costumes. Especially the creative costumes and the homemade costumes — those are the best.

I like handing out candy to all the trick-or-treaters.

I like the mums, scarecrows and the glowing jack-o-lanterns.

I like the roasted pumpkin seeds that are so hot you burn your tongue right out of the oven. Well not the burn your tongue part...but you get it.

I like the smell of pumpkin pie candles burning.

I like the piping hot cider.

I like the crisp cool air and the sound of the excited children walking up and down the street.

I like watching an old-fashioned, black and white scary movie after all the trick-or-treating is over.

And this year, well I like my little dog in a costume. I know, I know! I always said I would never dress my dog up, but here it is...my dog...dressed up...as a halloween bat:

I'm so excited for tomorrow! Happy Halloween all.


Two weeks ago, I posted this photo on instagram, of my ratatouille in the making:

Following the post, people emailed, facebooked and commented, clamoring for the recipe. So dear readers, your wish is my command. This dish is delicious, has a beautiful presentation, yet is super simple to make.

So maybe this isn't the true traditional French version. But it is my version. Before we get to the recipe, let me introduce you to my sous chef, Braxton:

Okay, okay...so maybe he isn't the best kitchen help, other than quickly catching dropped veggies or sitting on my feet to keep them warm, but I think I'll keep him around...

Now that you've met the kitchen help, onto the recipe!

2 cups marinara sauce — I like Classico brand — Tomato & Basil flavor
1 japanese eggplant — I like to use the japanese eggplant because the circumference is similar in size to a zucchini which you'll understand why this is important later
1 bell pepper — whatever color your heart desires
1 zucchini
1/2 red onion
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
olive oil
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pour marinara sauce into the bottom of a round 2 quart baking dish.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini, onion and core the bell pepper. On a mandoline, cut the veggies into very thin slices. If you don't have a mandoline, you can use a knife to carefully and very thinly slice.

Arrange the slices of veggies from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, alternating vegetables. Pack the slices in tight so that they stand up. Once all the vegetables are assembled in the dish, squeeze the thin garlic slices sporadically between veggie slices.

Drizzle a little olive oil overtop the veggies and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover the dish and bake for about 45 minutes, until the vegetables are clearly cooked, though you don't want the veggies to be mush — they should still hold their structure and the marinara sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve alone or with pasta or even a beautiful fresh loaf of bakery bread. Or with quinoa or Israeli couscous...The options are endless.

To stay afloat of what is going on in the Passionate Parsley's kitchen and to see items that may not appear on the blog, follow me on instagram @passionateparsley

Roasted Tomato & Garlic Black Bean Soup

As promised, here's my roasted tomato & garlic black bean soup recipe:

  • 10 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 cups veggies stock
  • 4 cups black beans, cooked
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Quarter tomatoes, place cut side up on a baking sheet, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.

Add garlic cloves to the roasting tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the garlic cloves have softened and the tomatoes have started to collapsed, about 15 minutes.

In a dutch oven or stock pan, heat a little olive oil and saute onion, cumin and chili powder until the onions are translucent.

Add veggie stock, beans, roasted tomatoes and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Salt and pepper to taste.

You may serve with cilantro or avocado as a yummy garnish.

Let me just say...nothing is ever bad when made with roasted red tomatoes and plump garlic cloves.

Happiness is the delicate balance between what one is and what one has. Balance it and be happy. Enjoy your Saturday!