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.

Win a Signed Copy of Martha Stewart’s Cakes: Our First-Ever Book of Bundts, Loaves, Layers, Coffee Cakes, and More

by in Contests, Shows, March 29th, 2014

Jeff Mauro and Martha StewartWhether you’re celebrating a milestone birthday, you’re recovering from a stressful week or you simply have a sweet tooth that won’t quit, cake-baking is nearly always a good idea, as the finished product delivers tried-and-true comfort every time. Double-layer frosted confections may be a party favorite, but the beauty of cakes is that they can take countless shapes and sizes. On today’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Martha Stewart dropped by to introduce one of her latest publications, Martha Stewart’s Cakes: Our First-Ever Book of Bundts, Loaves, Layers, Coffee Cakes, and More, which is dedicated to both classic and creative desserts.

The co-hosts inducted Martha into Cookbook Club, and together she and Jeff Mauro created an updated version of the traditional icebox cake. Her Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake is an easy yet impressive dessert, boasting layer after layer of decadent chocolate cookies and sweet, fluffy cream. After chilling overnight in the refrigerator, the cookies will have absorbed moisture from the cream and become deliciously tender, so the cake will hold its shape when cut into slices.

Want to check out more of Martha Stewart’s Cakes? You can buy the book here, or you can enter to win a free signed copy from FN Dish. We’re giving away one cookbook each to four lucky, randomly selected fans. To enter, tell us in the comments which recipe from The Kitchen has been your favorite this season (you can find a complete list of recipes from The Kitchen here). You must include the recipe URL to be entered to win.

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All-New on Sunday: Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, March 28th, 2014

Alton BrownFans have noticed from watching more than two seasons of Cutthroat Kitchen competition that some sabotages appear simply too evilicious to ever be allowed, and Food Network has heard your curiosities. It turns out, however, that even the most-demanding challenges have been vetted and approved by the show’s culinary team; that’s what makes them acceptable for the contest. Before Alton auctions off any sabotage to competitors, the Cutthroat crew tests it to see if it is, in fact, possible to work with during the allotted 30 minutes. And beginning this weekend, you’ll be able to watch some of those tests unfold in a series of brand-new Web-exclusive videos.

Visit Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen headquarters after Sunday’s episode to watch the first Testing the Sabotage video, then mark your calendars for the below dates to catch even more clips in the future.

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Geoffrey Zakarian’s Brunch Essentials

by in Shows, March 27th, 2014

Geoffrey ZakarianWhen you imagine brunch at an Iron Chef’s house, you might picture a lavish affair complete with an overflowing spread of all manner of croissants, made-to-order omelets, thick-cut French toast and the bubbliest Bellinis. But according to Geoffrey Zakarian, “less is more” when it comes to this midmorning meal, and it can be surprisingly easy to execute. As he explained, “Everything at brunch is done the day before.” FN Dish recently caught up with Geoffrey in Miami as he hosted his own brunch event, and we chatted with him about what it takes to pull off the ultimate crowd-pleasing meal. Read on below to learn his top tips for entertaining and thoughts on classic brunch picks like eggs, waffles and mimosas.

What’s a go-to rule of thumb to remember when preparing brunch?
Geoffrey Zakarian: I always say less is more. What people do with brunch is they overwhelm you with too much stuff that’s, like, throwaway. They pile breads and pastries and all this stuff, and no one eats it anyways. You end up throwing it away. So I say just be very focused and really edit what you’re going to do. Do seven, eight things maximum. Make people just eat those things, and make them really delicious and different, and it’ll be a very successful brunch.

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Inside the Beat Bobby Flay Kitchen

by in Shows, March 27th, 2014

Beat Bobby FlayMuch like you probably prepare to cook an important meal by stocking up on any ingredients and specialty tools you may need, so, too, do the culinary teams on Food Network shows before filming begins. Shopping for goods to stock the pantry and refrigerator is up to them. For the all-new series Beat Bobby Flay, the team was tasked with readying the kitchen with enough food and equipment for not one round of cooking, but two, and the selection had to be great enough to ensure that the guest chefs and Bobby would be able to make whatever dish they wanted.

FN Dish was on the set of Beat Bobby Flay recently and caught up with the show’s culinary producer, Danielle LaRosa, to find out more about what it takes to make the series happen. Read on below to see insider photos of the kitchen and learn some of the most-popular ingredients on set from Danielle.

“We have at least 200 items in our pantry daily for both contestants and Bobby to have access to,” Danielle said. “Some of these 200 items include 30 kinds of spices (plus more as the season has gone on), 80 items in the dry pantry (including breads, vinegars, dried fruit, etc.), [and] 45 different kinds of fruits and vegetables.”

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Restaurant Revisited: NY State of Mind at Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria

by in Shows, March 26th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleChange — or a lack thereof — was at the foundation of Robert Irvine‘s mission at Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria in Baton Rouge, La., a Big Apple-style parlor specializing in family recipes. While Robert indeed identified several issues with the menu at Mama Della’s and noted that its interior decor was “very nondescript,” perhaps the most-critical problem plaguing the business was owner Barry Kalt, who Robert deemed “one of the most-cantankerous owners I have ever come across.” Given his long-standing beliefs in how true dishes and ingredients should be prepared and served, Barry was hesitant to make any meaningful updates to his business practices, which ultimately resulted in his son Andrew, a former cook at Mama Della’s, leaving the restaurant. It took a serious lesson from Robert for Barry to fully realize the error of his ways, and he soon committed to improvements in the future. After two days of renovations on a $10,000 budget, the Restaurant: Impossible team reopened Mama Della’s, and FN Dish has the exclusive update from Barry on how his business is faring today.

“Mama Della’s saw a significant increase in customer traffic for the one-month period after the shoot,” Barry said. “Sales have increased by 30 percent over the same period in 2013.”

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5 New Recipes for Spring

by in In Season, Recipes, March 26th, 2014

Pasta, Pesto and PeasWhen you’ve nearly exhausted all of your usual go-to meals, it’s time to update your recipe repertoire with a fresh set of flavors. Think of it as a spring cleaning of sorts, celebrating the change in season with family-friendly dinners, salads and treats that showcase the best tastes the warm weather has to offer. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite innovative springtime recipes below to find must-try ideas from Melissa, Giada, Ina and more chefs.

5. Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad — Dressed with a sweet and tangy mustard-mayonnaise vinaigrette, Melissa’s top-rated salad is tossed with crispy bacon for extra indulgent flavor.

4. Spring Peas with Dates and Walnuts — The beauty of this quick-fix side dish is that it boasts a mix of textures, including the trio of tender English, snap and snow peas, crunchy nuts and chewy dried fruit. Plus, it’s a big-batch recipe, so it’s sure to feed a crowd when you’re entertaining.

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Get to Know Marc Summers

by in Shows, March 25th, 2014

Marc SummersFor years Marc Summers was the face of Food Network’s Unwrapped, pulling back the curtain on some of your all-time favorite snack foods and exposing just how they come to be in the factory. But come this spring, he’ll go one step further in the world of munchies by judging a snack food showdown on Rewrapped. Just in time for next month’s premiere (on Monday, April 21 at 8|7c), FN Dish caught up with Marc to learn a bit more about his own cooking habits, plus some of his favorite foods and go-to late-night bites. Read on below to hear from Marc, then find out more about the host of Rewrapped, Joey Fatone.

Do you cook at home? If so, what’s your signature dish?
Marc Summers: I do, but my wife is a better cook than I am, so, not that we’re ever in competition, but she’s just so darn good at it that I don’t do it much. When I’m in California … I like to barbecue. So I’m the king of barbecue in L.A., but the rest of the time my wife is cooking.

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Melissa’s 18-Minute Pasta Dinner — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 24th, 2014

Garlic Oil Sauteed Pasta with BroccoliDespite your best attempts at meal planning and any plans you have for leisurely time in the kitchen, sometimes the unexpected occurs, and by the time you get home from the day, there’s hardly any time to make dinner. On nights like these, it’s important to have in your recipe arsenal a few go-to recipes that require as few ingredients as possible and can be on the table in a flash.

Melissa’s Garlic Oil Sauteed Pasta with Broccoli (pictured above) is one such fuss-free timesaver, as it can be on the table in less than 20 minutes. She starts with a few pantry staples, like garlic, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil, to make what will become the base of this bold sauce. After incorporating vibrant broccoli for a dose of good-for-you vegetables, she tosses penne into the mixture for a quick, simple supper. Be sure to reserve some of the pasta water, as you may need it to thin out the sauce once the noodles are added. For an indulgent finish, top each bowl with Parmesan cheese.

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Get to Know Joey Fatone

by in Shows, March 24th, 2014

Joey FatoneAlthough he was once a competitor on such fierce contests as Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and Chopped All-Stars, Joey Fatone is trading in his apron for a host’s suit on the all-new series Rewrapped (premiering Monday, April 21 at 8|7c). FN Dish caught up with the former musical superstar on the set of his upcoming show to chat about his signature dish, go-to late-night bite and favorite people to cook with. Read on below to hear from Joey, then hear from Marc Summers, a judge on Rewrapped.

Do you cook at home?
Joey Fatone: I do. I do enjoy cooking at home. It’s hard when you have kids because they like certain things, so sometimes you end up making the same thing over and over and over again. It’s like, “Let’s try something new, shall we?”

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Double the Victory — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 23rd, 2014


For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, Alton Brown welcomed four of the “wickedest winners” back to the contest to see who among them could uphold their victorious records and outcook their competition yet again. After claiming wins in Season 1, Chefs Brian, Charles, Frankie and Gwen took their places at their workstations, confident that they would be able to keep up with their newest culinary rivals — but ultimately only one proved his or her staying power.

After three hard-fought rounds that found him making impromptu drinks for Alton, cooking in bed and deep-frying bread pudding, Chef Brian claimed a second Cutthroat win. Jet told Alton on the host’s After-Show that Chef Brian’s cocktail-concoction sabotage was “a giant time killer,” but it was surely not as wow-worthy as his Round 2 challenge, which forced him to prepare a breakfast burrito in bed atop a small cook station. “Are you kidding me?” Jet asked Alton with a smile when he saw the bed rolled in the kitchen.

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