Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Sometimes cooking something new doesn't go as planned.  Especially when you use your experiences from previous recipes and try coming up with your own creation.

A recipe that you followed and turned out excellent will inspire you to use similar methods to try making something different.  If it worked then, if should work now, right?  Not always.  And sometimes when things don't go as we thought it would, our natural reaction a lot of the time is to throw in the towel.

But just because your original idea didn't work, it doesn't mean that you were not on to something.

Sure, there are times when you substituted an ingredient for something similar and it turned out to be a disaster.  In the early stages of when I started taking my cooking a lot more seriously, I had made a homemade pasta sauce from a recipe I found and it turned out great.  It turned out so great that the following week I decided to make it again.  Unfortunately, none of the supermarkets near me had fresh basil, which the recipe called for.  So I turned to dried basil that you get in your typical spice aisle.  BIG mistake!  The sauce was ruined.

But there are also times when a dish is still salvageable.  You just need to change the game plan.

Previously made Pesto Pasta.  Perfection.

Last year, I had an idea to make a pesto dish using broccoli and cauliflower instead of pasta.  A pesto pasta recipe I made a few months prior turned out great and I figured replacing the pasta with broccoli and cauliflower would be simple enough.

I went back to the pasta recipe to remind myself of the ingredients I needed to make the pesto sauce and the basic instructions to make it.  The sauce called for cashews soaked for a few hours, some basil, garlic, lemon juice, grated Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.

I bought the ingredients and started with soaking the cashews first.  I used more cashews than the pasta recipe called for, thinking I was going to make a large batch of pesto broccoli and cauliflower and therefore needed lots of sauce.

Once the cashews had soaked for a few hours to soften them up, It was time to put them in my food processor and periodically add everything else.  Unfortunately, the mixture was not creating any kind of smooth consistency.  It was becoming more like a ball of dough than anything else.  Adding a little extra olive oil wasn't helping.  I had made the mistake of using too many cashews, and if I wanted to get the mixture smooth, it would have meant adding a lot more olive oil which I didn't want to do.

When my attempt at a Pesto sauce for a Broccoli & Cauliflower dish didn't work, I came up
with Plan B: Operation Salvage.

I stopped the food processor and looked for a minute at what I had.  It looked more like a stuffing you would have with turkey than any kind of sauce.  I decided to give it a taste and it tasted excellent!

I decided that I needed to change my game plan as I had stumbled on to something.  I still had the broccoli and cauliflower, but I also had some grape tomatoes, half a brick of mozzarella and an extra red pepper leftover from the previous days' creation.

I roasted the red pepper, cut the grape tomatoes in half and grated the mozzarella.  I kept some grated mozzarella to the side and put everything else into a large bowl with the cauliflower, broccoli and cashew mixture.  Mixed it all up, put it in a baking tray, topped with the remaining mozzarella and some pepper.  Baked at about 400 degrees for 15 minutes and out came my Cheesy Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli with Pesto Stuffing!

Greatness by accident!



4 cups of raw natural cashews.
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil.
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped.
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice.
2 Tbsp grated parmesan.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
4 cups broccoli florets.
4 cups cauliflower florets.
1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes (about 20 of them), sliced in half.
1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped.
4 cups grated mozzarella.  Put aside 1 cup for topping.
1 tsp ground black pepper.


1.  Soak cashews in water for about 3 hours.
2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees after the cashews are done soaking.
3.  Mix cashews, basil, chopped garlic, lemon juice and parmesan in a food proccessor while slowly adding the olive oil during the mixing process.  Continue mixing until it has a stuffing texture throughout.  Process will take close to 10 minutes depending on how powerful your proccessor is.
4.  Put stuffing mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, only THREE cups of the mozzarella and the ground pepper.  Mix and combine in the bowl.
5.  Put the entire mixture into a baking pan line with non-stick cooking spray.  Top with the remaining mozzarella.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Serve.

Chef Nairby

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