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.

When a Side Dish Saves the Day — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, January 19th, 2015

So often in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena, chefs split their focus between the challenge dish and a side dish or two to round out their offerings for the judge, only to find out later that the sides did more harm than good, perhaps detracting from the primary dish or suffering a flaw that the judge cannot ignore. But on tonight’s all-new episode, it turns out that the side dish saved the day for one competitor and ultimately clinched his win.

It was up to judge Simon Majumdar to decide which of two chefs’ granola bars was worthy of the prize, and while Chef Julio’s plate indeed featured a bar, Simon noted of the taste during the After-Show, “It wasn’t the best granola.” That prestige was awarded to Chef John’s dish, as Simon explained, “John’s was really good granola, but it wasn’t a bar.” Therein lies the problem. “The fact that both of them had real problems — one didn’t have a bar and one didn’t have great granola — meant I had to judge the dish as a whole,” Simon said, “and [Chef Julio’s] pineapple dish was really great.” While such a judgment doesn’t happen regularly on Cutthroat, Alton Brown told Simon, “In that case, it was the side item that sealed the victory.”

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Speak Up, Fans: Where Do You Eat the Best Breakfast Ever?

by in Shows, January 19th, 2015

Best. Breakfast. Ever.While barbecue and pizza may conjure images of a specific plate — smoky, saucy meats or a crust with sauce on it — the rules of breakfast are far more lenient. After all, a morning meal can range from the sweetest sugar-rolled doughnuts and creamiest cups of oatmeal to the heartiest platters of steak and eggs and towering piles of fluffy flapjacks.

Your favorite Food Network chefs and stars are set to reveal their picks for the ultimate morning indulgence on tonight’s brand-new episode of Best. Breakfast. Ever. (at 10|9c), but before you tune in, FN Dish wants to hear about your breakfast picks. What are some of your local breakfast hot spots, and what do you order? Are you a fan of the diner on the corner for its classic egg scramble and bacon, a bagel shop specializing in fresh lox or a fancier eatery with gourmet French toast? Leave a comment below, tell us on Food Network’s Facebook page or Food Network’s Google+ page, or tweet @FoodNetwork using #BestBreakfastEver to tell us your local restaurant picks and share your version of the ultimate breakfast. FN Dish will round up your answers and reveal your top selections on Thursday.

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Chia Seed Pudding — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, January 18th, 2015

Chia Seed PuddingWhen it comes to your morning meal, there’s no reason to settle for boring — even when you’re in a hurry. In this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week recipe, Giada De Laurentiis lets chia seeds work their magic overnight in thickening maple-laced Greek yogurt before helping you wake up to a ready-to-eat treat full of texture. Just top the pudding with fruit and sliced almonds for added crunch for a quick-fix dish.

For more lightened-up meal ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Chia Seed Pudding (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine

How to Eat Better on a Budget

by in Recipes, January 17th, 2015

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White BeansOn this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts kicked off their Waste Not … episode with a look at new ways to stretch your dinner dollar and take advantage of your freezer and pantry for budget-friendly fixings. While your New Year’s resolution for healthier eating in 2015 may have led you to the grocery store for seemingly necessary specialty ingredients, believe it or not, you don’t have to spend a lot to prepare lighter recipes. It all comes down to stocking your kitchen with good-to-have staples like a mix of whole grains and canned beans. Check out Food Network’s 14 Musts for a Budget Pantry, then read on below for some of Food Network’s favorite healthy dinners that won’t break the bank.

Made with only a handful of ingredients, this recipe for easy-to-prepare Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White Beans (pictured above) suggests roasting tomatoes and garlic until soft and sweet, and letting them shine in place of a traditional tomato sauce. For extra heft, Ellie Krieger adds cannellini beans to the pasta, plus sprinkles of fresh basil and nutty Parmesan cheese for flavor.

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Fan Favorites: Your Picks for the Best. BBQ. Ever.

by in Shows, January 15th, 2015

Best. BBQ. Ever.FN Dish asked fans this week to share their top picks for authentic barbecue ahead of the premiere of Best. BBQ. Ever., and if readers’ responses are any indication, allegiances to regional favorites are strong. From coast to coast, fans spoke out for the little-known and well-documented hot spots near them, including a few of the classics showcased by chefs on Best. BBQ. Ever. Read on below to check out fans’ top ‘cue joints, including Atlanta native Ty Pennington’s spot for mouthwatering ribs, then find out where you can enjoy the stars’ picks from the show.

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Restaurant Revisited: Revved Up at Shade Tree Customs and Cafe

by in Shows, January 14th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIntrigued after arriving at Shade Tree Customs & Cafe — a dual motorcycle-repair shop and restaurant — in Albuquerque, N.M., Robert Irvine told owners Ryan Green and Rich Rael, “We’re going to see a service so I can understand what you do, because I’m not sure what you do right now.” Though the food there wasn’t outlandishly poor, Robert wasn’t impressed, and designer Taniya Nayak admitted that the decor was “college dorm-ish.” Together Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team had just two days to overhaul the interior of Shade Tree, foster a connection between the restaurant and the shop downstairs, and improve the relationship among Ryan, Rich and their fellow owners and investors. Read on below to hear from the guys to find out how their business is faring today.

The guys are wowed by what they’ve deemed the “stunning” look of the “motorcycle chic” decor now at Shade Tree Cafe. They plan to put the signs and relics that one lined the restaurant’s walls into the bike shop, and they add that they hope to begin refreshing the current wall space with artwork from locals.

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Best 5 Chicken Dinner Recipes

by in Recipes, January 14th, 2015

Chicken MarsalaWhile the humble chicken may carry the reputation of boring and basic, that’s likely only because it hasn’t been dressed up with flavor or texture. Since both white and dark meat chicken are culinary blank canvases, they pair well with myriad ingredients, and most can be prepared in a hurry too. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five takes on chicken dinners, from Alton Brown’s moist fried chicken to Ina Garten’s foolproof roast bird and more.

5. Fried Chicken — The ultimate in chicken indulgence, Alton’s juicy buttermilk-marinated chicken is seasoned with paprika and garlic powder and boasts a crispy, crunchy exterior thanks to a flour dredge before frying.

4. Chicken Parmigiana — Panko breading gives Bobby Flay’s thinly pounded chicken breasts plenty of crunchy texture, while a topping of homemade tomato-garlic sauce promises his signature bold flavor alongside gooey mozzarella cheese.

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Breakfast for Dinner: Goat Cheese Quiche — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 12th, 2015

Goat Cheese QuicheWhen you’ve nearly exhausted your usual recipes for dinner, it may be time to explore not only other supper options but also traditional breakfast ideas. After all, a hearty breakfast platter is just as satisfying at the end of the day as it is in the morning, and when you present an unexpected feast of eggs or pancakes, your family will likely be wowed by the surprise.

Food Network Magazine’s quick-fix Goat Cheese Quiche (pictured above) uses go-to ingredients, and perhaps best of all, the crust comes together with a store-bought timesaver: packaged puff pastry. After rolling out the dough and fitting it in a pie plate, start building the filling: first a layer of nutty Parmesan and tangy goat cheese, then chopped greens and plenty of creamy whisked eggs for fluffy results. After only 20 minutes in the oven, the eggs will have set and the crusts will have turned a warm shade of golden brown.

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Speak Up, Fans: Where Do You Eat the Best BBQ Ever?

by in Shows, January 12th, 2015

Best. BBQ. Ever.Few foods are as ignited as barbecue, since fans from Memphis, Kansas City, Texas and beyond all lay claim to the ultimate version. And on tonight’s brand-new episode of Best. BBQ. Ever. (airing at 10|9c), your favorite Food Network chefs and stars will add their voices to the debate as they show off their picks for sweet and saucy barbecue across the country.

Before you tune in tonight to see what dishes the cast has chosen for its Best. BBQ. Ever. feature, FN Dish wants to know: Fans, where do you go to dig into the best-ever barbecue? What local hot spot — perhaps a well-known neighborhood favorite or a hidden gem in town — turns out the most-mouthwateringly tender meat and crave-worthy sides? Is it a family-run ‘cue joint with just a few tables or a monstrous meat hall with smoky scents filling the air? Leave a comment below, tell us on Food Network’s Facebook page or Food Network’s Google+ page, or tweet @FoodNetwork using #BestBBQEver to tell us your local restaurant picks and share your version of the ultimate barbecue. FN Dish will round up your answers and reveal your top selections on Thursday.

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“I Wouldn’t Have Judged Against It” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, January 11th, 2015

It’s no secret that when Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar enter the Cutthroat Kitchen arena as judges, they’re evaluating chefs’ dishes based on three and only three elements: taste, presentation and authenticity. But what happens when these judges come face to face with an ingredient they simply don’t enjoy? While it may seem as though they’d be likely to mark down a competitor for featuring a taste that’s off-putting to them, Antonia revealed to Alton Brown on tonight’s all-new After-Show that that’s not the case.

“I don’t think any of us judges judge based on our own personal preference,” she revealed after Alton noted the possibility of some judges not liking sardines, which one chef was forced to contend with in a sabotage. “I’m actually not a big fan of sardines, but I do appreciate their flavor, and I would know what to be looking for in a good sardine,” Antonia told Alton. She added of sardines, “I wouldn’t have judged against it.” It turns out that while Chef Gina — who was tasked with working with sardines in Round 1’s fish taco test — was ultimately sent home, it wasn’t for too much sardine but rather too little. As Alton noted to Antonia, “You got rid of Chef Gina because you didn’t like the mushrooms and the fact that there wasn’t enough sardine in there to make it a fish taco.”

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