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.

Exclusive: Jeff Mauro Dishes on the Launch of His First Restaurant, Pork & Mindy’s

by in Food Network Chef, News, September 7th, 2015

Jeff MauroFirst he conquered the ranks of Food Network Stardom with his Season 7 competition win, then he tackled the world of between-bread creations on Sandwich King and just two years ago he joined forces with four other co-hosts for the ultimate celebration, The Kitchen. Now Jeff Mauro is setting his sights on something offscreen: the restaurant scene. His first restaurant, Pork & Mindy’s, which he’ll launch with business partner Kevin Corsello, is slated to open at the end of 2015 and will feature a hybrid of “food, music and art,” according to Jeff, and the very best in barbecue.

Pork & Mindy’s will open in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, a city that’s currently known more for lakeside skyscrapers than for smoky barbecue. But Jeff’s planning to change that when he releases his over-the-top meaty menu in the Windy City. According to Jeff, the focus will be on “real, authentic, slow-smoked barbecue,” and he adds that just as the eatery’s name suggests, there will be plenty of pork. “All our pork is cooked 14 hours in a natural wood smoker, bone in and shredded.” Though the foundation may be pig, including what he deems “pig candy … caramelized crispy bacon brittle,” the offerings go far beyond that, to smoked legs of lamb, chicken and chuck roasts.

Read more

Tuscan Tomato-White Bean Soup — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 7th, 2015

Tuscan Tomato-White Bean SoupSummer’s not technically over, though the kids are going back to school. The days are turning brisker, though it’s not yet cold. Summer tomatoes are ripe from the garden, but you’re craving something hearty. What to make, what to do? Look no further than Food Network Magazine’s Tuscan Tomato-White Bean Soup (pictured above), ideal for those in-between days in early September.

Featuring a fresh, bright base of juicy seasonal tomatoes, plus the creamy richness of canned white beans, this easy-to-make soup comes together in less than an hour with little hands-on prep. For a subtle punch of bold flavor, sprinkle in red pepper flakes, then let the flavors of the soup marry as the soup simmers before you blend it into a smooth, rich consistency. To round out the bowl, sprinkle a few cheesy croutons on top just before serving; these crispy-crunchy bites can be made quickly in the oven with bread cubes and gooey mozzarella.

Read more

A Battle of Granny Proportions — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, September 6th, 2015

Given the high-stress competition, the pressures to cook within just 30 minutes and, of course, the sting of sabotages, Cutthroat Kitchen is the fiercest of fiercest of environments and perhaps no place for a grandmother — or so it would seem. On tonight’s special episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, four home-cook grannies took their places in the arena, ready to prove their seniority in the kitchen. “I was always taught to respect my elders, so I just want to say right now I’m very, very sorry for everything that happened here tonight,” host Alton Brown said with a sly grin as he opened the After-Show with judge Jet Tila. The guys looked back on a momentous three rounds, which ultimately had one grandma using her experience as a home cook to her advantage.

Come the Round 3 pie challenge, after being saddled with the mandate to shop and cook from the confines of a slow-moving power chair and being forced to use her mouth to fish for ingredients buried in pie, Grandma Nancy enlisted the help of a trusty appliance: the microwave. “Nancy, running out of time, knows that her custard is a real problem. She goes over to the microwave and she starts microwaving, stopping, whisking, microwaving,” Alton explains to Jet. “She cooked that custard, poured it before it had set, and the only thing you busted her for was it was too firm,” added Alton. Shocked by the realization of how Nancy’s pie came to be, Jet admitted, “I’ve never even heard of that technique.” And Alton noted that’s likely because of her skill set as a home cook. “Restaurant-trained chefs [are] never taught to use the microwave. This is a home cook from Grandmaville, from Texas, and so for her, it’s a completely viable tool,” Alton said. And indeed the microwave managed to save the day for Nancy, as she was crowned the champion.

Read more

Cheesy Baked Zucchini — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, September 6th, 2015

Baked ZucchiniBurgers, brats and barbecue may be the stars at your Labor Day cookout tomorrow, but when it comes to side dishes, look no further than this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Sunny Anderson’s seasonal casserole comes together with only a handful of ingredients and features a crispy topping of breadcrumbs, Parmesan and fragrant thyme, which turns golden in the oven.

For more crowd-pleasing recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Celebrate board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Baked Zucchini

Here’s How to Use Up All That Corn

by in Recipes, Shows, September 5th, 2015

No-Cream Creamed Corn with Applewood Smoked BaconThe unofficial end of summer may be just days away, but that doesn’t mean that one of the season’s most-abundant crops has slowed down. From farmers markets and roadside produce stands to the aisles of your local grocery store, corn — a lot of it — is everywhere right now. On this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts shared their top tricks for putting this seasonal beauty to work while it’s still around. Check out two easy recipes from Geoffrey Zakarian and Marcela Valladolid below for their signature takes on this staple ingredient.

GZ reinvents the traditionally rich dish of creamed corn with his no-cream recipe. His secret? Pureeing the kernels of a few ears, which produces a naturally creamlike texture after only a few whirls in the blender. He combines that corn juice with whole kernels and adds crispy chopped bacon for a salty bite. Perhaps the best part is that his recipe can be on the table in a hurry, so it’s ideal for last-minute entertaining.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more