Meet Nikki

I am a chef, TV host, cookbook author, blogger, radio host, professional voice over artist and terrace gardener. I cook mostly "Meat on the Side" which makes veggies the star of the plate. 

More about Nikki...



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    Junk Food Flip

    Friday's 12pmET on Cooking Channel

    Meat On The Side Cookbook

    Food Network Star

    Nikki Dinki on Food Network Star Season 9!! Click here for pics, clips and more from the show


    Brussels Sprouts + Wild Rice Salad with Sliced Pork 


    I’m a huge cabbage fan...I’m also a huge Buffalo Bills fan, but for now let’s just focus on the cabbage. There is no need to get into a heated football debate until at least August.





    Once you start looking at cabbage as more than just a main ingredient in sauerkraut or coleslaw, you will start to see how versatile it can really be.


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    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).


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    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.



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    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.


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    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 ...


    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?!


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    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...



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    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.



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    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.



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    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...



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