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.

Best 5 Shrimp Scampi Recipes

by in Recipes, February 26th, 2014

Shrimp ScampiWhile shrimp cocktail may be the centerpiece on appetizer tables everywhere, there are indeed more ways to prepare these two-bite beauties than simply boiling them and serving them with cocktail sauce. For something a bit more dressed up but still deliciously easy to prepare, look to shrimp scampi, a quick-fix classic that pairs garlic, lemon and often a splash of white wine with the tender shellfish. Most traditional scampi recipes call for relatively petite shrimp, but even the larger varieties don’t take more than a few minutes to cook, so it’s a must-try preparation when you’re pressed for time in the kitchen. Check out Food Network’s top-five shrimp scampi recipes below to find tried-and-true as well as creative takes on this favorite dish from Giada, Bobby, Ina and more Food Network chefs.

5. Lemony Shrimp Scampi with Orzo and Arugula — Giada sears the shrimp with shallots for mild flavor, then mixes them with peppery arugula, orzo pasta and a simple lemon vinaigrette for refreshing, vibrant results.

4. Grilled Shrimp Scampi-Style with Soy Sauce, Fresh Ginger and Garlic — Ready to enjoy in only 15 minutes, Bobby’s sweet and savory shrimp are brushed with a bold blend of soy sauce, honey, lime juice and garlic before they’re grilled.

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Chefs and Stars Join Geoffrey Zakarian for Food Talk Radio Show

by in Food Network Chef, February 25th, 2014

Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro and Geoffrey ZakarianGiven chefs’ notoriously long hours at their restaurants, plus the efforts they devote to filming television shows, making personal appearances and authoring cookbooks, it’s no surprise that Food Network stars are rarely in one place for long — and hardly ever in the same place at the same time. That all changes, however, when it comes to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival; for one weekend every winter, nearly all of your favorite chefs converge upon the sunny, sandy shores of Miami for the ultimate weekend-long celebration of the best and the latest in eats and drinks.

The 13th annual festival just wrapped up in South Beach on Sunday, but while the cooking demonstrations, seminars, dinners and late-night parties were in full swing, The Kitchen host and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian found time to catch up with some of his closest friends and colleagues in the business. He recorded a SiriusXM Food Talk radio show (airing on SiriusXM Stars Channel 106 on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 8|9c) one afternoon near the pool deck at The James Royal Palm, and he welcomed fellow Chopped judge Marc Murphy, a few co-hosts from The Kitchen, including Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson and Katie Lee, plus Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine and more food folks to dish on all things from competition television to the ever-changing restaurant industry and memorable work projects from days gone by.

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Food Network Chefs’ Favorite Comfort Foods

by in Food Network Chef, February 24th, 2014

Bobby Flay and Michael SymonWhether it’s the bone-chilling weather, the short, darker days or the cozy sweaters and puffy coats, winter practically necessitates comfort food. And while you likely reach for all things cheesy, warm and hearty to feel soothed this time of year, so, too, do Food Network chefs. FN Dish caught up with Bobby Flay and Michael Symon at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, and we asked the guys to share their favorite sweet and savory indulgences. What we found out is that when it comes to comfort food, tried-and-true classics reign supreme.

Both Michael and Bobby agreed that a classic roast chicken is among their top dishes, but for Bobby, it has to come with the works. “I want the roasted chicken with all the roasted vegetables alongside of it that you cook with it [and] the pan sauce right out of the roasting pan,” he explained.

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Broccoli-Cheddar Oven Risotto — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 24th, 2014

Broccoli-Cheddar Oven RisottoFor better or worse, risotto has garnered a bit of a bad rap. After all, while traditional recipes promise deliciously creamy, comforting results, they do require a bit of attention and greatly benefit from low-and-slow cooking. Food Network Magazine’s Broccoli-Cheddar Oven Risotto (pictured above), however, celebrates the texture and taste of the classic preparation but is made almost entirely in the oven in only 35 minutes, which means little hands-on time is entailed.

The secret to Food Network Magazine’s risotto is twofold: cooking the broccoli separately from the risotto and covering the rice with plenty of hot liquid before baking. After quickly sauteing onions in butter with the rice and wine, stir into the mixture a whopping 4 cups of broth, then transfer it to the oven to finish cooking. In a little while the rice will have absorbed the liquid and become tender, while creating the smooth, rich sauce for which it’s famous. It’s important to use Arborio rice instead of everyday brown or white rice, as the Italian variety has a high starch content, and it’s that starch released during cooking that will ultimately create the creamy consistency. Before serving, add sharp cheddar cheese and a splash of hot water to loosen the texture, then stir in the roasted broccoli to round out the meal. To maintain a wholly vegetarian meal, be sure to use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.

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Sabotaged Chefs Return to Battle — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, February 23rd, 2014

Even if a competitor manages to secure a win on Cutthroat Kitchen, it is likely only earned after some of the most-painstakingly fierce cooking in his or her career. From mandatory ingredients to forbidden appliances and inferior tools, Cutthroat sabotages are notoriously grueling, and most chefs will only endure this kind of face-off once. But on tonight’s all-new episode, four previously eliminated competitors returned to the kitchen for a second chance to overcome sabotage. These chefs had fallen in battle before, but with experience on their side, they took their places in front of Alton, ready to attempt to prove themselves once again.

“All of these people learned the first time they were on the show that at the end of the day, you got to secure the win, or you don’t win anything at all,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on the host’s After-Show. “I would rather walk out of here with a grand than walk out of here with nothing.” He didn’t make the chefs’ return to the contest any easier this time around, auctioning off waterlogged buns during a hot dog challenge and the forced use of strainers as mixing bowls during a brownie challenge. Jet deemed the mixing bowl sabotage “amazingly diabolical,” and indeed it ultimately contributed to Chef Zadi’s elimination.

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After Buying This Restaurant: Moochie’s Tavern

by in Shows, February 23rd, 2014

Keith Simpson on Buy This RestaurantWith a shared wish to own their own eatery, friends and colleagues Jody and Rhonda looked to Buy This Restaurant‘s Keith Simpson for help in finding the ultimate location to launch their would-be business. They wanted a spot in which they could run a sports-themed restaurant with a communal, family-friendly focus, and after exploring three options with Keith, the clients purchased Skinnyz Bar & Grille, an existing business they later transformed into Moochie’s Tavern.

FN Dish checked in with Rhonda a few months after she and Jody opened Moochie’s to find out how the restaurant is faring today. Read on below to hear from Rhonda, and learn about her experience in buying a restaurant and how it’s been to run it so far.

How is Moochie’s Tavern doing today? What have the monthly sales been at the restaurant? What is the greatest expenditure at your business?
Rhonda: Moochie’s is doing really well! We have more than doubled our business in two short months; monthly sales are presently $50,000. We are extremely excited about the sales growth, especially as the increase in business has been organic — all word of mouth. We have done no advertising while we establish our menu and get our team up to speed.

Believe it or not, signs are really expensive. The sign, the addition of 11 TVs, and reorienting the booths have been the costliest for us.

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Iron Chef Marc Forgione Leads DIY Lobster Dinner

by in Events, February 23rd, 2014

Iron Chef Marc ForgioneWhile there’s hardly a replica for the kind of pressure Iron Chefs feel when sprinting around Kitchen Stadium during battle, Iron Chef Marc Forgione and Chef Lorenzo Boni of Barilla cranked up the heat in the makeshift kitchen during last night’s Barilla Interactive Dinner when they tasked partygoers to prepare dinner for their tables. The duo welcomed a sold-out crowd to The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Fla., for an elegant but relaxed meal as part of the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but it was only after guests arrived that the all-star chefs revealed to them the multicourse menu they would be cooking.

Outfitted with aprons and chef’s hats, and with pre-prepped ingredients at the ready, seemingly novice and experienced amateur chefs alike manned the saute pans and took charge of dinner, but lucky for them, help wasn’t far away should they need it. Chef Boni led the crowd with detailed suggestions for creating the pasta course, a richly decadent cheese tortellini with morel mushrooms, Marsala wine and prosciutto, while the Iron Chef tackled the entree.

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Vote: What’s Your Favorite No-Bake Dessert?

by in Recipes, February 22nd, 2014

No-Bake Chewy Truffle CookiesOn this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Katie Lee proved that when it comes to sweet tooth-satisfying desserts, sometimes preparation and assembly can be just as productive as baking. She welcomed her mom, Kim, to the set, and together they made a duo of no-bake desserts: No-Bake “Cow Pile” Cookies, featuring a crave-worthy combination of chocolate, peanut butter and oats, and No-Bake Banana Pudding Pie, a simple but comforting classic.

Whether you’re looking for fuss-free treats to make with your kids or just need a go-to dessert for a last-minute get-together, no-bake recipes like Katie’s offer endless quick-fix options. Since you don’t need to account for baking time, most dishes can be fully prepared in mere minutes (although they may need to cool) and are simple to execute, even in a hurry. Cheesecakes and tarts become even easier if they’re started with a store-bought crust, while trifles, mousses and mix-and-drop cookies guarantee wows from the crowd despite being nearly effortless to put together.

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Beach Eats Meet Comfort Food at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, February 22nd, 2014

ZeppoleWhen you imagine classic shoreline snacks and sips, you likely picture buttery lobster rolls, crispy golden-brown fried shrimp and umbrella-adorned frosty cocktails. But at last night’s Life’s a Beach, Then You Eat! Dinner at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the hosts and chefs, including Chopped judges Aarón Sánchez and Marcus Samuelsson, FN Dish contributor Hedy Goldsmith and New York City-based Chef Jonathan Waxman, proved there’s more to snacking in the sand than these tried-and-true picks when they rolled out their menus of comfort food favorites.

Gathering underneath the palm trees and hanging lights on the beach of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami, this group of fan-favorite chefs and stars served hearty, satisfying dishes that not only wowed the sold-out crowd, but also held special significance for those who made them.

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Alex Guarnaschelli Celebrates Bella Cucina at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, February 21st, 2014

Alex GuarnaschelliWhile she may be known for her fierce competitive spirit in the kitchen — both while facing off against rivals as the newest Iron Chef and judging the latest Chopped contest — Alex Guarnaschelli enjoyed a culinary partnership last night at the 2014 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Kicking off the weekend-long celebration of all things eats and drinks, Alex teamed up with Chef Dena Marino to host Bella Cucina, an intimate yet lively Italian-themed dinner at Chef Marino’s MC Kitchen in Miami’s Design District.

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