You can’t deny that Nadia G. gets creative in the kitchen with food. Follow her new series, Sick Kitchens, as she brings her creative touch to kitchen makeovers.
Nadia G. is the stiletto-strutting chef who serves up her dishes with a hearty side of humor on the Cooking Channel’s Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen.
However, Nadia’s creative touch isn’t limited to culinary concoctions (check out her recipe below for vegan dark chocolate and caramelized banana pie). Now she’s taking on kitchen makeovers for those that need a pinch of something extra.
Nadia’s new original series, Sick Kitchens, is on Ulive, an online destination for fresh original video series in food, home, travel and more. In the series, you’ll find Nadia completely rebuilding kitchens in need of a signature Nadia G. makeover. Along the way, she shares tips on how viewers can make their own kitchens “sick.” I caught up with Nadia to talk a bit about Sick Kitchens and then some.
SheKnows: How bad — in other words, boring — were some of the kitchens that you worked on in the Sick Kitchens series?
Nadia G.: I wish the kitchens were boring! They were terrifying! I’m talking bile-yellow cabinetry, plastic fold out chairs; empty beer bottle “décor.” These kitchens needed some serious help. From complete rebuilds to non-destructive rental makeovers, we did it all. And the best part: we did it with big, bitchin’ style! So many kitchen makeovers are generic. Our makeovers are wild! Think Pimp My Ride minus the 50 useless LCD screens. We teach people to have some fun with their space, and express themselves both in and out of the kitchen.
SK: What is one of your favorite ways to easily (and on the cheap) perk up a kitchen that needs a little something?
NG: Upcycling! We created a stunning blackboard fridge out of an old hospital green, 70’s monstrosity. We also took a nasty old “country style” table and turned it into a collage masterpiece using the participant’s most meaningful photos. These ideas are creative, beautiful, and cost very little. All it takes is some passion and elbow grease.
SK: Do you think you’d ever switch careers to home design?
NG: Sure. Design has always been a huge passion of mine. I helped design the Bitchin’ Kitchen set, all our branding, our merch. It was a natural transition for me. I’m really excited about the newest tee shirt I designed. It’s a 50’s pinup that says “I’ll make you a sandwich honey! Wheat, rye, or Go F@ck Yourself.” They’re selling like hot cakes on my site, Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Boutique.
SK: What was the most interesting thing you ate this year?
NG: Let’s go with a vegan dish: a smoked coconut BLT. Smoky, spicy, salty. Coconut is an amazing replacement for bacon.
SK: What’s your favorite cocktail?
NG: I have to give myself props for this one: grapefruit cilantro mojito. So good. The ingredients:
- 1-1/2 ounces Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka?
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice?
- 1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh cilantro?
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
In a shaker, combine all the ingredients. Shake vigorously with ice, then strain into a martini glass rimmed with maple flakes. Drop in 2 cilantro leaves, and garnish the glass with a pink grapefruit rind twist.
SK: Is there something (food) you used to detest but now enjoy?
NG: I used to detest sweetbreads, (a nice way of referencing the thymus gland of a calf). They can be quite tasty. . . if they’re deep fried and smothered in a spicy Thai chili glaze so that you don’t know what the hell you’re ingesting.
SK: Who or what inspired you to cook?
NG: Hunger. It’s the mother of all invention.
SK: What are your favorite types of meals to cook?
NG: Simple meals where a few fresh ingredients do the talking: Puttanesca pasta, grilled bread with truffle salt and premium jarred tuna, burrata drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel.
SK: Do you cook a lot of vegan dishes?
NG: I do! I believe meat should be enjoyed on occasion, like cheesecake or blackouts. ?
SK: What sorts of misconceptions do you think people have about cooking and/or eating vegan?
NG: That it isn’t delicious, or doesn’t have enough protein. Vegan cuisine is both scrumptious and healthy, although like any type of cuisine it takes patience to get to know the ingredient vocabulary. ?
SK: What culinary nuggets of gold would you share with people who don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen? Any tips for what they can do to easily (and quickly) put a good meal together?
NG: Don’t be afraid to make a mess! Cooking is easier than you think, you just have to persevere and get back on that horse if you ever wanna make tartare out of it. . . Uh-oh! that may have been a bad example!
Try this recipe from Nadia G:
Vegan dark chocolate and caramelized banana pie
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup pulverized almonds
- 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon cocoa butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
- 1 cup silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons soy milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 bananas, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- Raw sugar
- 2 large mixing bowls
- 9-inch springform pan
- Double boiler
- Electric hand mixer
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
For the coconut almond crust
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the sweetened coconut, almonds, 1/4 cup of melted cocoa butter, vanilla extract, and sea salt, and mix until combined and crumbly.
- Grease a springform pan with 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter. Mold the crust mixture into it, pushing it up along the sides.
- Bake it for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the coconut is lightly browned.
- Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
For the dark chocolate filling
- Melt the dark chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler over medium heat, stirring until creamy. Once it has melted, remove it from the heat and let it cool down for about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine the silken tofu, soy milk, maple syrup, and the cooled melted dark chocolate, and blend with a hand mixer on high speed for 10 minutes, or until completely smooth. This mixture should have a pudding-like texture.
For the caramelized bananas
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Generously coat the sliced bananas in raw sugar. Place them in an even layer on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until caramelized.
- Let cool.
Shkiaffing it together
- Pour the dark chocolate filling in to the pie crust and chill for 2 hours.
- Top the pie with a layer of caramelized bananas, starting from the middle and working your way outwards in a spiral.
- Chill it for another 30 minutes to set.