All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an editor at Food Network, now living in New York City after being born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She likes her eggs runny, her pasta cheesy and has been known to throw back dozens of oysters at a time.

Relive the Eviliciousness of Camp Cutthroat and Join the Conversation with Alton Brown

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, September 3rd, 2015

Alton Brown on Camp CutthroatThe rock walls, the bouncy houses, the blindfolds and, of course, Bob the Bear — Camp Cutthroat isn’t short on eviliciousness, thanks in part to Camp counselor extraordinaire and host Alton Brown. Last night’s Round 4 battle — the last one until next Wednesday’s finale — was full of diabolical outdoor sabotages, including the now-infamous lookout tower from which one chef had to make a skillet breakfast high atop the campsite. While all of the drama played out on TV, Alton Brown took to Twitter @AltonBrown to offer you fans an insider’s look at the competition and answer a few of your most-pressing Camp questions. Read on below to see some of his best tweets.

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QUIZ: Which of The Kitchen Co-Hosts Is Your BFF (and Doesn’t Know It Yet)?

by in Shows, September 3rd, 2015

You’re fans of their recipes, you enjoy the stories about their families and you even compliment them (via social media) them on their latest outfits and accessories. So basically that means you’re already best friends with the co-hosts of The Kitchen in real life, right? Right. Take a quiz to find out whether you’re most likely destined to be the newest buddy of Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid or Sunny Anderson.

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A Cutthroat Kitchen First: Sympathy from a Judge — Alton’s Camp Cutthroat After-Show

by in Shows, September 2nd, 2015

Though the judges may not be privy to the evilicious extents of host Alton Brown‘s sabotages, what each chef has been forced to endure is ultimately illuminated when Alton breaks down the challenges on his After-Show. It took nine seasons and multiple special tournaments full of diabolical sabotages, including the likes of canned haggis, human rotisseries and warped pans, but for the first time tonight — after the fourth heat of the Camp Cutthroat tournament — one judge finally admitted to feeling sorry for a chef.

The challenge in question didn’t involve any oddball ingredient or over-the-top suit of armor. Instead, it was none other than Alton’s lookout tower, from which Chef DeMarco was forced to cook his skillet breakfast high above his cook station using extremely long utensils. “Any food had to be simply dropped into the pan,” Alton told Jet Tila, as the judge took his place on the tower to try his hand at landing chopped ingredients in the pan. “I officially, for the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen, I feel bad,” Jet admitted. Though Chef DeMarco may have earned Chef Jet’s sympathies, they were perhaps not needed; the competitor managed to not only survive the first-round battle, but also outcook Chef Trevor in the chili-and-cornbread test and score a place in next week’s finale.

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One-on-One with Curtis Stone

by in Food Network Chef, September 1st, 2015

Curtis StoneHe’s a no-nonsense mentor on All-Star America and a bona fide beach fanatic, as he shows off every week on Beach Eats USA (Wednesdays at 10:30|9:30c), but did you know that Curtis Stone also keeps hordes of hot sauces on hand and has been known to relax to Jack Johnson tunes? Recently FN Dish checked in with Curtis to find out the little-known details about this Australian-born chef, from his last-supper must-have to his favorite person to cook for. Read on below for his answers.

Who’s your favorite person to cook for?
Curtis Stone: My wife, Linds. She is my best bud, so it’s always nice after a hectic day, or hectic week, to just take a beat, pour ourselves a wine and cook, eat and talk about everything. She is an adventurous eater so she keeps me on my toes.

What’s the most-surprising thing we’d find in your fridge?
CS: Pickles upon pickles, and loads of hot sauces.

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A Stationary Spoon Makes for Heightened Stirring — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, August 30th, 2015

A risotto’s success greatly depends on frequent stirring. So when Alton Brown auctioned off a fixed spoon — one suspended several inches in the air — on tonight’s brand-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the eviliciousness was in full effect for the chef forced to stir his risotto using only that spoon.

The Cutthroat culinary crew attempted this challenge in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages, and while the team indeed found the sabotage to be doable, attaining that result was nothing short of surprising — or risky. Filling in for a prop to hold the stationary spoon, food stylist Abel Gonzalez was on hand to assist Jamie Peterson, another food stylist, who tried his hand at making shrimp-studded risotto with the spoon that Abel held. “It’s going to be really difficult, because as soon as I lift [the pan] up, I’m getting it off the heat,” Jamie said, explaining the drop in temperature every time he moved the pan to meet the spoon. As the rice continued to cook, Jamie managed to remedy that problem by increasing the heat, but in doing so, he nearly singed a few arm hairs off of Abel when a cloud of hot steam shot up from the pan. “I’m actually human, and you actually burned me,” Abel told Jamie, reminding his fellow food stylist that he’s indeed not a table prop without feelings.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, August 30th, 2015

Macaroni and CheeseCreamy, rich and, of course, cheesy, Ree Drummond’s easy-to-make dish is packed with the timeless comfort you crave in a hefty bowl of hearty macaroni and cheese. Ready to eat in less than an hour, Ree’s recipe, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, features a buttery cheese sauce made with tangy sharp cheddar, plus a pinch of dry mustard to round out the flavor. After tossing in the pasta, the stovetop-or-baked decision is in your hands: Either enjoy the dish as it is, or top it with cheese and bake for even gooier results.

For more of Ree’s top recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook With: The Pioneer Woman board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: The Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese

1 Base Salad Dressing: 3 Ways to Use It

by in Recipes, Shows, August 29th, 2015

Base VinaigretteWhile store-bought dressings and vinaigrettes are surely convenient, most are packed with sugar and sodium; the homemade stuff is quick to mix up, so stick with a recipe the next time you toss a salad. On this morning’s episode of The Kitchen, the cast introduced three bold — and fuss-free — salad dressings that can be ready in mere minutes. Start with Geoffrey Zakarian’s Base Vinaigrette (pictured above). Once you master that simple combination of red wine vinegar, shallots and oil, you can either serve that mixture on its own, like GZ does with arugula, or you can add more ingredients to create a brand-new dressing with rich tastes and textures.

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6 Best Ways to Get Your Enchilada On

by in Recipes, August 27th, 2015

Simple Perfect EnchiladasTacos may often be front and center when the menu turns to Mexican night at your house, but not to be forgotten is the enchilada, most often stuffed with a tender meat, rolled and then topped with a savory sauce and gooey cheese. For possibilities ranging from classic takes on this comforting pick to brand-new ideas, like a lasagna-inspired recipe and a healthy meal makeover, read on below to find six ways to transform Mexican night with satisfying enchiladas.

Simple Perfect Enchiladas: The name of The Pioneer Woman’s recipe is surely no exaggeration. Ree Drummond rolls her enchiladas with seasoned ground beef, green chiles and black olives for bold punches of flavor, then blankets the tortillas with her rich enchilada sauce and a layer of gooey cheddar.

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From Bouncing to Rock Climbing, Jet Takes His Turn at Camp Activities — Alton’s Camp Cutthroat After-Show

by in Shows, August 26th, 2015

By now fans know that no one is safe from the diabolical sabotages up for auction — not even the judges. After the third round of outdoor eviliciousness on Camp Cutthroat tonight, host Alton Brown caught up with the judge of the day, Jet Tila, and wasted no time in putting him to work in some of the most-trying challenges of the day. Up first: the bouncy-house obstacle course. “I have to go over this thing?” Jet yelled as he made his way through the course. “This totally sucks.” No matter his dislike of the sabotage, though, he indeed made it through unscathed, and in less than a minute.

But perhaps the real doozy of a sabotage came in the form of the rock wall, which, just like Chef Jessica did, Jet attempted. Not only was he snugly strapped into the harness, but he also pulled himself up the wall, only to meet his fate at the top when he attempted to concoct a sandwich. “I don’t care,” he admitted, after quickly giving in to the sabotage, stuffing a sandwich into his pocket and rappelling down the wall in the hopes of feeding Alton.

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“It’s an Angry Pan” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, August 23rd, 2015

For mobile eateries like food trucks as well as brick-and-mortar hot spots, social media is the name of the game in terms of guaranteeing success. When Alton Brown auctioned off a savvy @-shaped pan in Round 1’s breakfast sandwich battle, however, success seemed impossible for the chef competitors. But believe it or not, cooking up the classic morning meal on this metal contraption was indeed possible. Codii Lopez, a member of the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew, showed off her approach to this doozy of a challenge on tonight’s latest installment of Testing the Sabotages.

For Codii, perhaps the trickiest aspect of the pan proved to be its signature shape, as she explained, “My main concerns here is that it’s all just going to fall off, because I only have these little pieces of metal and the rest is fire.” That fire indeed caused a few flare-ups when Codii took to frying the bacon: “The flame is licking the fattiest part of this bacon,” she said. “It’s hissing at me. It’s an angry pan,” she noted, attempting to move the bacon just a smidge away from the open heat. No matter a few bright-red flames, though, she managed to turn out well-done bacon before facing her next hurdle: cooking a sunny-side-up egg using just the narrow edges of the pan. No sooner did she crack an egg onto the pan did the yolk flop into the burner, forcing her to resort to squeezing out a scrambled mixture instead.

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