What’s a stranded traveler to do? Shop. Eat. Cook.

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Family, Food, Health, Recipes, Vegan/vegetarian
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(I know you probably think the title should say, “Shop.  Cook.  Eat.”  But it shouldn’t.  It’s correct as is. Trust me; you’ll see.)   I’d planned on being in Costa Rica today, planning what to do during the week with my daughter and her friends.  Plans change and these changed drastically when our initial flight was canceled.  So the question (at least one of them) became…what to do today?

We decided our agenda would include:

Sleeping in…one of us much longer than the other

Tea…a delicious jade oolong from Adagio

Homemade pancakes…yup, those same ones from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner (found under “recipes)

Shopping…budget fashionista shopping at Clothes Mentor (great luck today!)

Tapas for lunch…at Meson Sebika in Naperville, Illinois, http://mesonsabika.com/

A nap and/or cooking…the former for my daughter; the latter for me

OK, it’s not lying on a beach, climbing a mountain or visiting a volcano, but it was enjoyable time with people we love.   And a pasta sauce we love,not that we were planning to eat this or would have been able to after the tapas lunch.   This was stock-up cooking.

I picked up Jack Bishop’s Pasta e Verdura: 140 Vegetable Sauces for Spaghetti, Fusilli, Rigatoni, and All Other Noodles at Half Price Books one day because I love both pasta and vegetables and would like the twain to meet more often.  The first recipe I tried was a winner! Our younger daughter, not a tomato-lover, loved it, even though there are plenty of tomato pieces in it.  My husband loved it, even though he didn’t remember when I mentioned today that I would be making it.  If it were a computer-related something, though, he’d be all over it.  And our older daughter loved it when I topped some of Ohio City Pasta’s (http://www.ohiocitypasta.com/) Roasted Red Pepper pasta with it for Easter dinner.  That’s why making a double batch so that she could take some back with her was our after-dinner plan.  The plan altered; she took the nap.  But I did make the sauce.

The sauce is a bit time-consuming, hence the idea of doubling it, especially as I had a giant head of cauliflower.  My plan is to freeze the sauce.  My husband’s idea is that I put it on pasta and freeze the pasta and sauce for an easy meal.  Since it’s not an all-enveloping sauce the way a cheese sauce would be, I’m not sure how that will work.  But I believe I’ll find out.

Without further ado, here’s the sauce.  And keep your eyes open for a copy of Jack’s book at a used bookstore near you.  Or get it from the library. Then make plans.  Cook.  Eat.  Enjoy.

Golden Cauliflower in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Pasta e Verdura, 140 Vegetable Sauces, Jack Bishop

(4)  55 min., spaghetti or other long, thin pasta

1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)

¼ c. olive oil

1 T. unsalted butter

2 med. cloves garlic, peeled

1 large onion, peeled and sliced thin

2 c. drained canned whole tomatoes, juice reserved

1 t. salt

½ t. hot red pepper flakes or to taste

2 T. minced fresh parsley leaves

1 pound pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

1. Bring 4 qts. of salted water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta.

2.  Discard leaves from cauliflower.  Remove core and stalks and break into small florets. Slice florets into small, bite-sized pieces.  There should be about 4 cups of florets.

3.  Heat 2 T. oil and butter in a large sauté pan.  Add cauliflower and whole garlic cloves.  Saute over med. heat, turning several times until cauliflower is golden, 15-20 min.  Remove cauliflower from pan and set it aside.

4.  Add remaining oil to pan with garlic.  Add onion and cook over med. heat until slices have wilted and turned golden brown, about 12 min.  Remove and discard garlic cloves.

5.  Coarsely chop tomatoes and add to pan along with ½ cup or juice, salt and hot red pepper flakes.  Simmer gently, using spoon to break apart tomatoes, until sauce thickens, 10-15 min.

6.  Return cauliflower to pan.  Simmer until heated through and flavors well combined, about 5 min.  Stir in parsley.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

7.  While preparing sauce, cook and drain the pasta.  Toss hot pasta with cauliflower sauce.  Mix well and serve immediately with grated cheese passed separately.


I didn’t use cheese and it tasted great without any. I used some diced tomatoes this time and just chopped them a bit smaller.  That saves some time.

  1. Rachel says:

    As an eater of said Easter dinner, I can vouch for the absolute fantabulousness of this sauce. This is a word I do not use lightly and only pull out when neither fabulous nor fantastic seem sufficient. #wishingiwasinnapervillethisweekend 😉

    • Thanks, Rachel. I wasn’t planning on being in Naperville this weekend myself. 🙂 Shannon and I did have a good but slightly weird day yesterday and a quite nice one today. I found lots of cardigans at Clothes Mentor but when shopping with Shannon, what would one expect??

  2. […] night we had a friend over for dinner.  The main course was pasta with the cauliflower sauce, (https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/whats-a-stranded-traveler-to-do-shop-eat-cook/), and for side dishes, rounds of crisp cucumber and strips of red and yellow pepper.  It was […]