Meet Nikki

I am a chef, TV host, blogger, radio host, recipe developer, professional voice over artist and terrace gardener. I cook mostly "Meat on the Side" which focuses on veggies, making them unique and the star of the plate. 

More about Nikki...

        

Food Network Star

Nikki Dinki is going to be on Food Network Star! Premiering June 2nd at 9pm on the Food Network. Click here for pics, clips and more from the show

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    Monday
    Mar302015

    Announcing: Meat On The Side Cookbook!

     

     

    The Meat On The Side Cookbook is coming!!!!!!


    I am beyond excited to announce that my first cookbook will be hitting the shelves in early 2016!!!!! For almost a year now, I have been cooking up a storm testing and retesting (and retesting again) recipes for this book. I have been creating meals that are simple, healthy, come out perfect every time, and are just plain yummy!

     

     

    Recipe testing photos

     

     

    The book will contain over 100 Meat On The Side meals, which means that these recipes will not have more than 4oz of meat and the vegetable will always be the star of the plate. Meat On The Side is all about vegetable-focused dishes that bend and twist veggies in unique ways to create meals that will make even the pickiest of eaters love their veggies.

     

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Mar262015

    Bunnies in Blankets

     

     

    Bunnies are adorable, they are soft, their ears are far too big for their little heads, and they hop! Let’s face it, they are cute; that is as long as we are talking about a small furry animal and not the random guy hopping up and down behind me on the street. He’s not cute, he’s just creepy.

     

     

     

     

    I tend to make the appetizers for Easter dinner and leave the heavy lifting for my father in-law. It’s hard to help him as I barley have a free hand (no, I cannot put the Sauvignon Blanc down. And what about my other hand?  Well, it’s usually helping me taste test the cheese, a very important job).

     

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Mar242015

    Chard Sandwich with Sundried Tomato Smear

     

     

    I recently found myself in Kentucky with my good friend Damaris Phillips. To go along with the bourbon that you know is always on her table, she made me a sandwich with her signature tomato aioli.

     

     

      

     

     

    Back home in NYC I found myself seriously craving her aioli, I needed more (but not more bourbon, I’m done with bourbon for a while). It was so rich, so meaty and so deep in flavor that I would not be forgetting it anytime soon.

     

     

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Mar112015

    Getting to know: Rice

     

     

    1. Almost all rice is categorized as "long", "short", or "med";  which simply refers to their length.  Long grain rice is about 4 to 5 times long as they are wide, while short grain rice is almost round.  Let’s imagine rice as people. Let’s say long grain rice would be played by someone like Cindy Crawford;  while Mr.Short Grain would be played by Danny Devito.  How’s that for a visual?!

    2. The shorter the grain the starchier the rice.

     

     

     

     

    3. When making dishes like Risotto, high starch content is essential. The starch released from the rice is what gives risotto its signature creaminess.

    4. In general, short grain rice can be used in place of any other short grain rice in recipes, and the same goes for long grains. So feel free to sub Jasmine for Basmatti and Arborio for Calasparra, everyone will get along just fine.

     

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Apr142014

    Willa's Lemonade Cheesecakes

     

     

    “Where have you been?”

    “What have you been doing?”

    “Why haven't you posted a new recipe?”

     

    These are frequent questions from my readers. And I’d love to tell you all that I've been busy filming my own show, or that I couldn't come to the computer because I was elbow deep in tomato sauce, but the truth is sadly something very different.

     

     

     

     

    At 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant my husband and I lost our little girl. Her heart just stopped, and we don't know why. We never got to hear her voice, or see her smile, or know what she looks like when she first wakes up. We never got to have all those “firsts” that we had excitedly anticipated.

     

     

     

     

    We were ready for her: diapers unpacked, tiny clothes in her dresser and a place for her to rest her head right next to mommy. It was supposed to be the week we brought her home, the week we stumbled our way through parenthood, laughing as we put diapers on backwards and figuring out the difference between a “boppy” and a “breast-friend”.

     

    But that's just not what happened.

     

     

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Apr012014

    Broccoli Tacos

     

     

    A Horror Story:

    Written by: Nikki Dinki


    Sue and her date go to a local restaurant for a nice meal out. Sue orders the salmon, her date the steak and each meal comes with a side of vegetables. They chatter, flirt and then...the meal comes...all they can do is stare in horror at their plates.

     

     

     

     

    It’s not the salmon or the steak that get their attention but that sad, mushy, flavorless, over-steamed broccoli thrown haphazardly on the plate. It’s blatantly obvious that no one at this restaurant cares about broccoli. And being advocates for Broccoli’s rights (ABRs they call themselves) they get up and march out of the restaurant.


    For they know, as I do, that broccoli should NEVER be treated this way...

     

    The end.

     


     

     

    You see, I didn’t always love broccoli, I’ll admit it. The green tree-like vegetable and me had a bumpy relationship at first. But how can anyone fall in love with this green goddess when she is so often treated and dressed, so poorly?!

     

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Mar282014

    Poblano Pizza

     

     

    There are not often tears shed in my kitchen, but the event has taken place before. It actually became a frequent occurence years ago when I really got on a pizza making kick.

     


     

     

     

    I had acquired the ESSENTIAL pizza making tool- the pizza stone. The magical stone that when pizza is cooked upon- the crust is crisp on the outside but remains chewy on the inside. It had changed my pizza making experience. There was only one problem, transferring the perfectly topped raw pizza onto the stone that had to be preheated in the oven...

     

    And this is where the tears came in...

     

     

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Feb132014

    Cheddar Cauliflower + Squash Soup

     

     

     

    I'm convinced that the reason Broccoli Cheddar soup is so popular is because parents like that they can sneak a vegetable into a kids' bowl and disguise it as Cheese soup.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And let's face it! There are times when all of us would rather cozy up to a hot and cheesy bowl of soup rather than a bowl of steamy veggies.

    And so we pat ourselves on the back for choosing such a healthy option while still feeding that inner child who is craving comfort food in a bowl.

     

     

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Oct172013

    Roasted Acorn Squash

     

     

    The squirrels in NYC can get a little close... too close for my liking.

     

     

     

     

    Through years of experiencing that getting close to humans results in the receiving of french fries, pretzels and maybe if they're lucky a classic NYC hot dog (probably better that they eat it than us), these little guys have no fear.

     

     

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Aug272013

    Zucchini + Tomato Pasta

     

     

    I was reminiscing yesterday, remembering that very first cooking video I shot in my kitchen. The lighting wasn't great, the sound was a little off, and as I felt the need to explain everything in utmost detail, it was entirely too long.

     

     

     

     

    But people started watching. And since I was featuring “Zucchini Noodles” a fairly new and exciting concept no one seemed to mind the low budget quality or rambling host.

     

    That first video is what started everything...

     

     

    Click to read more ...