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.

Playing with Fire — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, May 25th, 2014


No matter what recipe you’re cooking, when it comes to being prepared in the kitchen, few things are more important than a quality heat source. From live flames from a gas stove to the warmth of an oven or the power from a microwave, heat is needed to make critical things happen, and without it, or with an inferior heat supply, cooking anything well can be nearly impossible. On tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown auctioned off a sabotage that would seem to spell doom for one competitor: Instead of being able to prepare a clambake on a conventional stove, one chef would have to use tiny flame cubes set within a miniature prop. Was this too much to ask of a contestant in a 30-minute round? No, the sabotage was indeed fair, as the culinary team had tested the obstacle beforehand.

Click the play button on the video above to watch how this test unfolded, and learn which elements of the sabotage were approved and why some parts weren’t successful.

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Vote for the Ultimate Picnic Dish

by in Recipes, May 24th, 2014

PicnicWith the unofficial start of summer just days away, it’s officially time to head outside and take advantage of warmer temperatures, and for many, that means moving the cooking and eating to the outdoors. On this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts shared go-to tips for packing easy picnics, explaining that that these meals don’t have to be elaborate to be enjoyable. All it takes is a little planning and, of course, fuss-free foods to pull off a memorable celebration.

As you start planning your first outdoor meal of the season, FN Dish wants to know: What do you consider the one must-have plate at your picnic? Do you prefer simple finger foods like meat-and-cheese platters, just as the co-hosts do, or do you opt for heartier fare like juicy fried chicken? Is it all about the sides, like potato and pasta salads, or do you reach for the sweet treats alone? Cast your vote in the poll below, then read on to find some of Food Network’s favorite picnic essentials.

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Restaurant Revisited: Living in the Dark Ages at Cave Inn BBQ

by in Shows, May 21st, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleJust when fans likely thought that Robert Irvine had seen it all after nearly eight seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, this week he opened the doors to a themed restaurant for the first time. Cave Inn BBQ, located in Winter Garden, Fla., offered a prehistoric ambiance, complete with pictures of dinosaurs and fake rocks in the dining room and a menu of hearty, meaty plates. While Robert was taken aback by Cave Inn’s display, he couldn’t convince owner Buzz Klavans to abandon his business’ theme, and ultimately Robert and the Restaurant: Impossible crew continued the theme during the transformation. After just two days and with a $10,000 budget, the Stone Age-inspired restaurant reopened, reinvigorated with a second chance at success. Read on below to hear from Buzz to find out how this business is doing today.

“Revenue has risen about 10 to 18 percent,” Buzz says. “I’m doing my best to follow all of Robert’s advice — some things are easier said than done, especially regarding [the] back of house — but we’re trying.”

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Best 5 Broccoli Salad Recipes

by in Recipes, May 20th, 2014

Broccoli and Cauliflower SaladWith Memorial Day just a few days away, the time is now to start planning your holiday weekend menu. No matter if you’ll be hosting a neighborhood celebration or simply enjoying a cookout with your family, you’ll likely be firing up the barbecue for the first time this season and breaking it in with smoky grilled chicken, cheesy hamburgers and all-American hot dogs. When it comes to side dishes, however, think beyond such classics as pasta and potato salads, and try a vegetable-based option instead. Broccoli salad is easy to make in a hurry, and it’s a crowd-pleasing addition to potluck picnics; the secret to most recipes is letting the fresh flavor of broccoli shine and only enhancing it with complementary ingredients. Check out Food Network’s top-five broccoli salad recipes below to find traditional and dressed-up takes on this go-to favorite.

5. Broccoli and Mozzarella Salad — Made with just a handful of ingredients, Sandra’s five-minute dish is a next-level take on the caprese salad. Her version calls for frozen broccoli florets, mini mozzarella balls and juicy cherry tomatoes.

4. The Neelys’ Broccoli Salad — “This is a way of getting away from just the traditional salads,” Pat says of his five-star creation, mixed with decadent bacon and crisp red onions.

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Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 19th, 2014

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and WalnutsCome lunchtime, when all else fails you can nearly always count on a simple salad to save your midday meal. All it takes to pull off a winning recipe is bunch of fresh greens and a light dressing; anything beyond that is a bonus, but it surely helps to bulk up a salad with seasonal produce, hearty protein, and cheese for added sustenance and decadence. Make Rachael’s five-minute green salad with strawberries for a healthy recipe in a hurry; dig into Food Network Kitchen’s classic Greek Salad, packed with Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese and juicy cherry tomatoes; or try a top-rated spinach salad.

In just 15 quick minutes, Food Network Kitchen turns out a Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts (pictured above) that’s both good for you and deliciously satisfying. The star of this recipe is the flavor-packed vinaigrette, whisked together with sweet shallots and tangy Dijon mustard. Dress the greens with this simple mixture, and add crunchy walnuts and creamy goat cheese for texture and taste.

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“This Really Is Awesome.” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, May 18th, 2014


“This is awesome. I say that all the time, but I really mean it,” judge Jet Tila told Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown on tonight’s brand-new After-Show. “I know I keep saying that. This really is awesome,” he added. Jet has judged multiple episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen and is no stranger to the kind of evilicious Alton is capable of bestowing upon the competitors. So when Jet showed such a wowed reaction to one particular sabotage featured on tonight’s episode, fans knew this challenge must have been especially diabolical.

The sabotage in question was none other than the paper cutter auctioned off during Round 3′s steak Diane test, which allowed Chef Frances to slice or dice Chef Jaron’s piece of meat for a whopping 30 seconds. Because a singular round of meat — usually a fillet — is a signature element of steak Diane, shredded meat could mean disaster, and it ultimately did for Chef Jaron, who failed to take advantage of his newly cut-up beef. Alton told Jet of how he would have approached the obstacle, explaining: “I’m going to chop it down to even smaller pieces, and I’m going to either do it like it started to be a tartare, or I’m going to make a fricken burger kind of thing out of it.” He added of Chef Jaron’s obvious demise, “The second that he didn’t do that, I thought, ‘This is over.’” And sure enough, Chef Jaron walked away empty-handed.

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Vote: How Do You Prefer Your Potato Salad?

by in Recipes, May 17th, 2014

Sunny's Warm German Potato SaladAlthough the unofficial beginning of summer is still a few weeks away with Memorial Day at the end of May, it turns out that FoodNetwork.com fans are craving one of the season’s best recipes all year long. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts revealed that potato salad is one of the most-searched-for items on our site, and Sunny Anderson celebrated this easy, family-friendly favorite with a recipe to prepare for the picnics and cookouts to come.

While creamy mayonnaise-tossed potato salads may be some of the most traditional, Sunny’s Warm German Potato Salad (pictured above) boasts a vinegar-based dressing and is made with red potatoes instead of classic Idaho spuds. When it comes to making your family’s favorite potato salad, what ingredients do you reach for? Are you a fan of the rich flavor of mayonnaise, or do you skip the mayo and instead opt for a tangier dressing made with vinegar? Vote in the poll below to tell FN Dish your favorite way to enjoy potato salad, then check out Food Network Magazine’s roundup of 50 Potato Salads, and get new ideas for swapping out the mayonnaise.

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