All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an associate 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.

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Almond Tomato Sauce — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 28th, 2014

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Almond Tomato SauceHearty, quick to make and guaranteed to please the whole family, pasta’s a go-to dinner on even the busiest weeknights, and it’s a Meatless Monday mainstay on account of how simple it is to swap out the meat in most recipes. But when everyday marinara night has become a tired ritual at your table, look to dressed-up sauces to spruce up supper. Pesto, primavera and rich cream sauces are all tried-and-true picks, as are tomato-based sauces that become extra special when mixed with bold, fresh ingredients.

A top-rated fan favorite that is as easy to prepare as it is strikingly presentable, Food Network Magazine’s Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Almond Tomato Sauce (pictured above) is made with just a handful of ingredients. The secret to this sauce lies in the food processor, which will help in making the two-part sauce: After blending roasted almonds with garlic, add olive oil and basil to create a smooth pesto-like mixture, and later whirl tomatoes in the same food processor until they, too, are pureed. Tender broccoli adds a welcome hefty bite to the sauce, which is best served with long noodles.

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Initial Suspicions Confirmed — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, April 27th, 2014

Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are sequestered from the kitchen while the chefs are cooking, they’re not privy to the evilicious sabotages that unfold during each round. This means that when they first lay eyes on the dish before them, they have no information other than how it’s presented; then once they’ve tasted it, of course, they can take its flavor and texture into consideration.

Tonight’s judge, Simon Majumdar, explained what that feeling is like as he approaches the kitchen and sees contestants’ plates for the first time. “Sometimes as you come down the stairs,” he told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “and you look at the dishes as they’re laid, and you go, ‘Uh, I think I know the way this is going to go.’ And often I’m wrong because they taste great.” It turns out, however, that Simon’s worst suspicions were confirmed when it came to tonight’s Round-2 Reuben sandwich challenge.

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Spotlight On Snacks: What’s Your Favorite?

by in Shows, April 26th, 2014

Geoffrey Zakarian, Marcela Valladolid, Jeff Mauro, Katie LeeOn today’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts shifted the spotlight from meals to munchies as they revealed a few trendy bar snacks making appearances at local hot spots. While pretzels and peanuts may be the norm in most bars, picks like seafood cracklings and Scotch eggs have begun surfacing recently, and they’re surely a welcome addition alongside cocktails.

In addition to nibbling while out sipping drinks, most of us are familiar with indulging in a few bites at home to satisfy snack cravings. From good-for-you carrot sticks and cucumber slices to decadent treats like soft cookies, crunchy chips and salty popcorn, quick-fix munchies can take nearly any form. FN Dish wants to know, when you have a hankering for a snack, what do you grab? Do you have a sweet tooth that’s tempted by chocolate candies, or are you more likely to opt for crispy, cheesy, savory selections? Cast your vote below to tell us your favorite snack.

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Restaurant Revisited: Treading Water at Bryant’s Seafood World

by in Shows, April 23rd, 2014

Robert Irvine and Gail Cox“On a scale of one to 10 of disgusting, this is a 12,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Bryant’s Seafood World in Hueytown, Ala. The decades-old fish house is known for its deliciously authentic hushpuppies, but what Robert found was underseasoned food, a grimy interior and a kitchen with off-the-chart levels of bacteria — not to mention Gail Cox, the owner who had little will to continue in the business. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible staff overhauled the menu and design at Bryant’s, and taught both Gail and her employees the importance of dedication to the eatery. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Gail to find out how her restaurant is doing today.

“Comparing January 2014 versus February 2014, business increased 32.3 percent,” Gail said, adding that she and diners have been wowed by the updated interior at Bryant’s. “The top-three things working well for us include cutting down the cashier counter to give additional access to that area (which really helps the flow of the servers), adding a hostess stand (which gives us order to the customers waiting to be seated on those weekend busy dinner hours) and removing the carpet.”

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Best 5 Potato Salad Recipes

by in Recipes, April 22nd, 2014

Cold-Fashioned Potato SaladWhile potato salad may be a staple come summertime cookouts, it’s also a go-to way to round out any main dish — no matter what time of year you’re cooking. Think of potato salad as you do grilled chicken or a pizza: It’s a blank canvas that can be customized to your family’s tastes or whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. Plus, because every potato salad starts with — of course — the humble spud, most recipes are economical and can be stretched when you’re cooking for a large group. Check out Food Network’s top-five potato salads below to find classic and creative renditions from some of your favorite chefs: Melissa, Ree, Ina, Bobby and Alton.

5. Grilled Potato Salad — It’s not too early to roll out your barbecue and start grilling, especially when Melissa’s quick-fix potato salad is on the menu. After grilling both red and sweet potatoes, she tosses the spuds in a bold, indulgent dressing made with bacon renderings.

4. Perfect Potato Salad — Sweet pickles and pickle juice add a tart bite to Ree’s mashed potato salad, studded with hard-boiled eggs and laced with fresh dill.

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Inside the Impossible: All-New Restaurant: Impossible Special to Air for 100th Episode

by in Shows, April 22nd, 2014

Robert IrvineWeek after week, fans watch as Robert Irvine and his no-fail team of designers, construction managers and volunteers take over a struggling eatery on Restaurant: Impossible in the hopes of giving the business the second chance at success it deserves. But beyond demolition, recipe testing, painting and, of course, the reveal, what else goes on behind the scenes, and who’s there facilitating the transformation? It turns out that an entire crew is on hand to make Restaurant: Impossible what it is, and for the first time ever, the team will come together next month to celebrate the 100th episode of the show.

In the upcoming special Meet the Impossible, airing Wednesday, May 7 at 10|9c, Robert, Tom Bury and three designers will look back at some of the most-wow-worthy moments of the series and reflect on the most-unforgettable overhauls, as well as on some stubborn owners and dirty kitchens that have left their marks on the group. Hear from the team as they share their thoughts on the nearly eight seasons of the show, and see an insider interview with Marc Summers, the executive producer of Restaurant: Impossible.

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Rachael’s Greek Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 21st, 2014

Greek SaladFresh, simple and vibrant, salads are fuss-free meals that can come together in mere minutes, but if they’re not beefed up with plenty of ingredients and a rich, flavorful dressing, often they’re not satisfying for a main dish. The key to preparing a hearty salad is opting for hefty add-ins with bold tastes — but you don’t need meat to do that.

Rachael’s Greek Salad (pictured above) is a colorful take on the classic recipe that can be on the table in less than 15 minutes. Instead of relying on a bed of lettuce for the base of her salad, Rachael fills the plate with fresh vegetables, like juicy tomatoes, cool cucumber, and both crunchy bell and Cubanelle peppers. Traditional kalamata olives offer a salty bite to the salad, while parsley adds brightness. No Greek salad is compete without tangy feta cheese, and Rachael opts for slices of authentic Greek feta for a decadent topping before finishing the dish with a simple red wine vinaigrette. Serve warm pita bread as a hearty accompaniment, and use it to sop up the oregano-laced dressing.

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Chicken, or Something Like It — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, April 20th, 2014


Chicken has a storied past on Cutthroat Kitchen: Just last season when Giada De Laurentiis stopped by for a special episode, one rival was gifted a whole chicken in a can, which she was forced to turn into chicken and waffles for the guest judge. And on tonight’s all-new episode, subpar chicken — or something like it — once again appeared on the auction table, this time during a General Tso’s Chicken challenge. After being gifted a sabotage of MREs, which Alton deemed “meals ready to eat,” one chef was forced to pick through the innards of such prepared and packaged dishes as “a chicken stew [and] a chicken fajita,” according to Alton.

For Antonia, these products were “mushy,” and on the host’s After-Show, Alton told her with a smile, “It’s the best kind of sick that you could possibly imagine.” It turns out, however, that for the competitor who worked with this sabotage, the inferior meat wasn’t a hindrance at all. “She really didn’t have any choice but to make a fritter,” Alton explained to Antonia. “And it looked just like General Tso’s chicken.”

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Judge Marc Summers Previews Rewrapped

by in Shows, April 20th, 2014

Marc SummersFor years, Marc Summers revealed the whats and hows of timeless snack foods on Food Network’s Unwrapped. And beginning tomorrow, he’ll be part of the all-new series Rewrapped, wherein three hopeful contestants must re-create a sweet or savory treat, then use the original item in an inspired dish all of their own. Marc will sit on the judges’ panel alongside two other culinary experts, and together they must determine which competitor’s offerings are worthy of the prize: a lifetime supply of snacks. FN Dish was recently on the set of Rewrapped, and we caught up with Marc to look back on Unwrapped and to get his insider’s perspective on what’s ahead on Rewrapped. Read on below to learn his thoughts on both series, then hear from host Joey Fatone.

What are you most looking forward to in this competition?
Getting back on television would be No. 1, on fresh shows. I just think it’s fun. All the other competition shows on Food Network are pretty intense. This one, you smile during the whole thing. It’s snack foods, it’s junk foods, it’s kind of everything we ever did on Unwrapped, but I think when you see the Twinkie or the Hostess cupcake or the Bloomin’ Onion or SpaghettiOs, you think … “I identify with them.” And then seeing if somebody can duplicate it is just fun. We kind of hit the ground running on day one. It just seemed like we’d been doing it forever. Joey’s a great host. He brings a certain energy to it. It’s effortless.

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