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.

POLL: What’s Your Soup Preference?

by in Community, Shows, September 22nd, 2014

Classic Tortilla SoupLast week FN Dish revealed that The Kitchen is preparing for its first-ever episode dedicated to one of fall’s favorite comfort foods — soup — and we asked for help in learning how you make and enjoy soup at home. (Click here to vote on last week’s questions.) This week The Kitchen wants to know more about your personal tastes when it comes to filling up on a warm bowl of soup. Read on below to cast your vote in the polls, and be sure to look out for The Kitchen’s upcoming soup show.

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History-Making Moments All Around — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, September 21st, 2014

Considering the ruthless sabotaging that takes place on any given day on Cutthroat Kitchen, it would surely take something over-the-top evilicious to stop host Alton Brown in his tracks, and that’s exactly what happened on this week’s all-new episode. Just moments into his After-Show, Alton revealed to judge Jet Tila, “This one may be my favorite — ever.” And Alton added, “We definitely had our best round of cooking, I think ever, today.”

While Round 1 saw a doozy of a bento box challenge and Round 2 welcomed a toy crab claw sabotage, it wasn’t until the pineapple upside-down cake test began that Alton saw what he deemed “the round that I believe to be the finest Cutthroat Kitchen round that I have ever witnessed.” As judge Jet listened to the details of the history-making Round 3, Alton noted the competition’s first-ever Hammock Station, which made its debut after Alton and the Cutthroat crew looked for “something else that goes upside down in an inconvenient time and way.” What resulted forced Chef Alexis to work exclusively on the hammock (with the exception of the cooking) as he prepared his cake. Simply put, it was “unspeakably wonderful” to watch, according to Alton. But what came next in judging was perhaps the most-unexpected ending to the contest: a tie. “For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, the judge decides on a tie,” Alton explained; and Jet told him, “I had to.”

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Your Guide to Cooking the Fall Harvest

by in Recipes, September 20th, 2014

Pear-Pecan Upside-Down CakeThe first day of autumn is just days away, and whether you’re preparing to host weekend tailgates or you want to throw a fancy fall soiree, get set for the season by filling up your recipe repertoire with go-to dishes that are both impressive for guests and easy to prepare. When you’re shopping the farmers market or walking the aisles at the grocery store, check out the fresh, in-season produce, like squash, potatoes, greens and pears, and design your menu based upon whatever looks best that day. Check out the party-ready recipes below to find sweet and savory inspiration for your fall cooking, then head over to The Kitchen headquarters to see how the co-hosts kicked off the season on this morning’s all-new episode.

If you think slow cookers are for only meaty chilis and soups, think again, because Food Network Magazine introduced a Pear-Pecan Upside-Down Cake (pictured above) that comes together with the help of the machine. After setting up the pears at the bottom of the slow cooker and topping them with a cinnamon-laced cornmeal batter, your hands-on work is just about finished, and all you have to do is let the cake cook for a few hours. Invert the cake so the pear slices are on top and serve with cool, fluffy whipped cream for a simple-yet-stunning presentation.

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POLL: The Kitchen Gets Set for Soup Season

by in Community, Shows, September 18th, 2014

Asparagus and Bread Soup with PancettaWith the days shorter and the weather turning chilly, you’re likely setting your sights on the warm, comforting flavors of autumn. Just in time for fall, The Kitchen is getting set to dedicate an entire episode to one of the season’s most-satisfying dishes: soup. From rich, creamy purees to simple broths studded with noodles and veggies, the co-hosts want to help you make your best bowl yet this year, and they need you — the fans — to tell them how you enjoy soup and what you’d need to make your soup recipes better. Answer the first round of poll questions below, then check back on Monday to cast the rest of your votes.

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Best 5 Lentil Soup Recipes

by in Recipes, September 18th, 2014

Lentil Vegetable SoupThe key to making soup a meal is ensuring it goes beyond basic broth and vegetables with hearty, satisfying ingredients that will fill you up. That’s where lentil soup comes in. Satisfying and good for you, lentils are packed with protein, and they pair well with a variety of flavors and textures, from hot sauce to tangy tomatoes and nutty Parmesan cheese. Check out Food Network’s top lentil soup recipes below to find a mix of classic and creative renditions from Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten and more chefs.

5. Spicy Lentil Soup — A serrano chile and a bit of grated ginger add heat to this quick-fix soup, but the spice is balanced by a final mix-in of cool, creamy Greek yogurt.

4. Sausage, Kale and Lentil Soup — Rachael mixes Tuscan kale into a base of sausage, carrots and potatoes before adding a splash of white wine for flavor, and then adds the lentils.

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Restaurant Revisited — Military: Impossible at Green Beret Club

by in Shows, September 17th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“This is very special,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Fort Bragg, N.C., for a mission near and dear to his heart. A former member of the British Royal Navy, Robert was honored to be asked to transform the decades-old Green Beret Club, an on-base eatery for service men and women of the United States Army. While the structure of the Green Beret Club was clean and boasted a fine floor, its food could be improved, especially if they swapped in fresh ingredients in place of frozen alternatives. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reworked the menu at Green Beret Club to make sure it fit the needs of the soldiers. They changed the decor inside as well, to pay tribute to the building’s history. Read on below to hear from Mikki Morris, the manager of the restaurant, and Michelle Hagwood, who is the Family and MWR Business Operations Officer, to find out how the newly renamed Smoke Bomb Grille is doing today.

By July, Smoke Bomb Grille boasted a more than 48 percent increase in business, according to Mikki and Michelle, and “about 10 percent” of diners are new customers.

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Friends Turns 20 with Central Perk Pop-Up and Free Coffee in NYC

by in Events, News, September 17th, 2014

James Michael TylerIt was 1994 when fans first met Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, Rachael and Ross, the six now-beloved friends who made up the heart of the cast on NBC’s Friends. Over the course of a decade, fans watched as this tight-knit group took their places on a cozy orange couch in the coffee shop downstairs to navigate their 20s before ultimately saying goodbye to them as 30-year-olds settled into their careers and relationships in the Big Apple. Although the show took place in New York City, James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther, the wonderfully awkward barista at the Central Perk coffee shop, revealed that the set was located in sunny Los Angeles. Now, however, 10 years since Friends’ finale, Central Perk is finally getting its chance to shine on the streets of Manhattan as Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Eight O’Clock Coffee team up to launch a Central Perk pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood.

Beginning today through October 18, fans of Friends in New York City can visit Central Perk and take in the sights and sounds of the cast’s cherished hangout spot for themselves. Complete with the same orange couch and gilded espresso machine that were featured on the Central Perk set, plus more original memorabilia from the show, like Monica and Chandler’s wedding invitation and Phoebe’s guitar, the pop-up Central Perk is located at 199 Lafayette Street and will be serving free cups of Eight O’Clock Coffee daily. Not located in New York? Look out for Eight O’Clock Coffee’s limited-edition Central Perk roast at grocery stores near you or online.

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Gnocchi with Squash and Kale — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 15th, 2014

Gnocchi with Squash and KaleAlthough summer’s juicy tomatoes and sweet peaches are nearly a thing of a past, fall brings with it an abundance of produce too: Welcome to the season of crisp apples, golden sweet potatoes and a myriad of squash, like kohlrabi, acorn and butternut. A bell-shaped squash with a thick skin, butternut squash shines in dishes from creamy soups and simple salads to rich purees and hearty casseroles, like Food Network Magazine’s Gnocchi with Squash and Kale (pictured above).

The beauty of this one-pan supper is that it starts with store-bought potato gnocchi, which means that the dish can be on the table in as few as 35 minutes. After sauteing the squash in a buttery mixture with garlic and sage, add the kale and gnocchi, then top with a blanket of nutty Parmesan cheese and finish in the broiler for a cheesy, comforting family-friendly dinner ideal for busy weeknights. Since this pan moves from the stove to the broiler, be sure to start with an oven-safe pan.

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Not-So-Crispy Rice Treats — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, September 15th, 2014

For the Cutthroat Kitchen judges to be wowed by a dish in front of them, the offering must be not only appealing to the eyes and tastes, but it must be at least somewhere reminiscent of the classic rendition of the challenge dish. When it comes to crispy rice treats — those gooey, marshmallow-laced desserts mixed with rice cereal — the need for a crispy element is baked right into the name, so it’s no surprise that when Alton Brown auctioned off a sabotage that would threaten that crunchy texture, chefs had every reason to be concerned.

Instead of cooking with true crisp rice cereal, one competitor would be forced to work with soggy, milk-soaked cereal. How could he or she resurrect the crispy texture from such a limp state? Is it even fair to ask a chef to make crispy rice treats with mushy cereal? It turns out that it is indeed possible to turn out a solid finished dish, as the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team tested this sabotage before Alton opened it up for auction.

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Takeout Fake-Out: Your Restaurant Favorites, Delivered

by in Recipes, September 13th, 2014

Sweet and Sour PorkEven on those nights when it seems like the only quick option for dinner is delivery, think again, because with the help of a well-stocked pantry, you can turn out your favorite takeout orders at home in a hurry — and they’re often healthier than the originals. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Cooking Channel’s Ching-He Huang introduced her take on a Chinese takeout staple, Kung Po Chicken; it’s ready to eat in only 20 minutes, and on busy weeknights after school and work, such a timesaver is a welcome addition to your dinner repertoire. For more homemade renditions of your favorite Asian-inspired recipes, read on below to find three classic picks, each a healthy option ready to eat in fewer than 30 minutes.

A lightened-up take on traditional sweet-and-sour dishes, Food Network Magazine’s Sweet and Sour Pork (pictured above) is made with lean pork tenderloin, and it’s quickly stir-fried instead of being battered and deep-fried, to guarantee crispy, juicy results. Mix up a tangy sauce with balsamic, soy sauce and ketchup to coat the pork, and add snow peas and carrots for freshness and bright color.

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