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.

Behind the Scenes of The Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Christmas

by in Holidays, Shows, December 10th, 2014

The Pioneer Woman's Cowboy ChristmasJust in time for the holidays, Ree Drummond welcomed crowds of Oklahoma ranchers and their families for the ultimate seasonal extravaganza as she hosted her first-ever prime-time special, The Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Christmas. In true Drummond fashion, this seasonal bash included no shortage of hearty fare, like party-ready glazed ham, cheesy potatoes and spiced gingerbread cookies, plus down-home games and plenty of dancing. If you missed the special last weekend, there’s still time to catch up: Watch the full episode on FoodNetwork.com now, and get all of Ree’s comforting sweet and savory recipes featured on the show.

Food Network was on hand as Ree and her family hosted the local ranching community and captured behind-the-scenes snapshots as the celebrations unfolded. Read on below for an insider’s look at the seasonal soiree, see Ree and Ladd strut their stuff on the dance floor, and check out the over-the-top spread of holiday dishes shining on the buffet.

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A Special Holiday Mission: Robert Irvine Transforms Double H Ranch

by in Shows, December 8th, 2014

Holiday: ImpossibleIn the largest Restaurant: Impossible challenge to date, Robert Irvine and his team traveled to Lake Luzerne, N.Y., for an extra-special mission at Double H Ranch, a year-round camp dedicated to serving children with life-threatening illnesses. Double H was founded on the premise of “health and happiness” according to CEO and executive director Max Yurenda, and the camp indeed lives up to its promise, as every child who attends is welcomed and made to feel safe and hopeful.

With the help and generosity of Lexus, Robert and his team had three days and an increased budget of $50,000 to transform the kitchen and dining hall at Double H, and it’s a good thing they had extra time and money to spend, because the 4,000-plus-square-foot dining room was among the largest they’d ever attempted. In true Irvine fashion, Robert welcomed the challenge, and not only did he overhaul those spaces and turn them into comfortable, friendly and functional designs, but he and Lexus also gifted the camp dozens of pieces of new equipment, plus a $10,000 donation. Read on below to hear from Max, and director of operations Jacqui Royael, to find out how Double H is doing today. Then, browse insider photos of the transformation in progress, and see Robert at Double H.

How have the new hot boxes improved serving time?
Jacqui Royael: The new hot boxes will allow more time for staff and campers to enjoy their meal together and less time waiting in a crowded line in the kitchen. The food can now be prepared and ready to go the minute the kids enter the dining hall, allowing all of camp to be served in half the time and eat together. So what once was 20-plus minutes and several trips back and forth to the serving line will now be a quick five to 10 minutes and one trip to have everyone enjoy a meal together.

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Top 5 Recipes from Holiday Central

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 8th, 2014

Gingerbread HouseFrom tried-and-true cookie classics to crowd-pleasing dinner recipes, go-to gift ideas, hosting how-tos and step-by-step videos, FoodNetwork.com’s Holiday Central is the ultimate destination for all things seasonal cooking, so you can spend more time celebrating with family, friends and food. Just in time to kick off the season, Angela Moore, FoodNetwork.com’s vice president, interactive site manager, joined The Kitchen co-hosts on this weekend’s all-new episode to introduce Holiday Central and show off the latest additions to this culinary winter wonderland, including all-in-one guides to easy baking and entertaining.

If you’re new to Holiday Central, spend some time clicking around. Check out our best-ever Christmas recipes and easy, speedy dessert picks, plus learn new ways to bake with gingerbread and find gift inspiration for everyone on your shopping list. Read on below to get the top-five recipes featured in Holiday Central, then watch insider videos to see how more of your favorite Food Network stars celebrate the season.

5. Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls — Two flavors that are simply better together, Buffalo-style hot sauce and juicy rotisserie chicken combine with cheddar cheese to create golden bite-size rounds ideal for entertaining.

4. Eggnog — Raise a glass to the holidays with Alton Brown’s 15-minute eggnog, a rich, smooth holiday must-have spiked with bourbon.

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“Pat, the Snowman Made Out of Butter” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 7th, 2014

Just in time for the holidays, Alton Brown decked the Cutthroat Kitchen halls on tonight’s all-new episode with a series of seasonal challenges — and even a Christmas tree-adorned sweater worn by judge Simon Majumdar. In true evilicious fashion, Alton didn’t shy away from punny sabotages inspired by the traditional holiday meals or activities, as the challenge dishes included a ham dinner, cocktail party fare and holiday cookies. And in Round 1 the chefs played a not-so-merry game of gift swap.

In the final round’s cookie challenge, Alton doled out the ultimate in seasonal sweets — a gingerbread house — but this one wasn’t exactly a treat. Complete with shortening, sugar, flour and leavening agents, plus various candies and decorations, this “gingerbread diorama,” as Alton called it, contained everything needed to make a cookie, and Chef Keith could use only the given ingredients to prepare his dish. While the contestant used nearly everything in Alton’s “majestic scene” in preparing his ultimately doomed cookies, only one element remained: a triple-decker butter figure shaped like a snowman. “Is he called Pat?” Simon jokingly asked Alton on the host’s After-Show, and Alton simply replied with a smile, “Yes, Pat, the Snowman Made Out of Butter.”

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Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 7th, 2014

Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted CauliflowerNo longer second-string components on the dinner table, side dishes can indeed take center stage — and perhaps even upset a meaty main dish — when they become packed with flavor, as in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week.

Made with only a handful of ingredients, Food Network Kitchen’s Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower is as striking to look at as it is easy to prepare. Just brush the vegetable with mustard, then roast the cauliflower until it’s tender and finish with a topping of nutty Parmesan and fresh parsley. Serve fresh lemon alongside for a light, fresh finish to this good-for-you side.

For more go-to side dish recipes, visit Food Network’s Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower (pictured above)

Enter to Win an Engraved 5 O’Clock Somewhere Cocktail Shaker

by in Contests, December 6th, 2014

Engraved Cocktail ShakersIn the words of Geoffrey Zakarian, “It’s five o’clock somewhere!” As the unofficial mixologist among The Kitchen co-hosts, he’s shaken up his share of cocktails during the show’s regular cocktail segment, pouring the cast elegant sippers and casual, party-ready drinks alike with a collection of signature barware.

Just in time for seasonal entertaining, FN Dish is giving fans a chance to add to their own home bars an engraved cocktail shaker reading “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” Whether you use it to make classic martinis, fresh-fruit margaritas or next-level smashes, look to this workhorse of a tool to create chilled, well-mixed drinks ideal for parties.

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Best 5 Mulled Drink Recipes

by in Drinks, December 5th, 2014

Mulled WineWhen it comes to steamy seasonal sippers, piping-hot cups of cocoa and glasses of rich buttered rum may be go-to picks, but when warmed, wine, sangria and cider can shake the December chill too. The secret to serving mulled beverages is pairing the drink with the warm flavors of complementary ingredients, like fragrant spices and fresh fruit. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five mulled drink recipes to find seasonal inspiration for wine, cider and sangria from Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, Alton Brown and more of your favorite chefs.

5. Mulled Cran-Cider — Crimson-colored cranberries add sweetness to Rachael’s fuss-free cider, while ginger promises subtle spice and a welcome bite to the drink.

4. Hot Mulled Cider — Ready to enjoy in a hurry, Ina’s big-batch drink laced with cloves and star anise is a last-minute party favorite that’s made with only a handful of ingredients.

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Home Cooks to Enroll in Food Network Chefs’ All-Star Academy in 2015

by in Shows, December 4th, 2014

Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Symon and Curtis StoneThree Iron Chefs and a Level 4 World-Class Kitchen Inferno Gladiator, together Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Curtis Stone, make up one of the fiercest foursomes in culinary competitions. And in the brand-new upcoming series All-Star Academy hosted by Ted Allen, they’ll battle it out in the kitchen as mentor versus mentor with teams of shining home cooks.

Beginning in March 2015, 10 of America’s most-skilled home cooks will make their way to Alex, Bobby, Michael and Curtis’ All-Star Academy, where they’ll be faced with rigorous kitchen challenges over the course of eight episodes. It’s up to the mentors to support their team members as they face off in the contest, but the contest isn’t just for the home cooks; with their own stellar culinary reputations on the line, Alex, Bobby, Michael and Curtis will want to guide their apprentices well if they want their team to make it to the end and one of their students to claim the $50,000 grand prize.

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Daphne Brogdon to Dish Out Humor and Family-Friendly Meals on All-New Series

by in Shows, December 1st, 2014

Daphne BrogdonWhile some cooks enter the kitchen with a get-it-done attitude toward mealtime, Daphne Brogdon prefers to dish up her dinners with a side of humor. This blogger and standup comedian is a mom to two children, and on her all-new series, Daphne Dishes (premiering Sunday, Jan. 4 at 12|11c), she’s revealing her how-tos for serving up creative takes on traditional meals. As Daphne opens up her home each week and shares go-to meals fans can count on, she’ll offer tips for transforming everyday staples — and even reveals how she outcooks her professional chef husband when it comes to family diner.

What can you expect on Daphne’s menus? Over the course of six episodes, she’ll dress up the tried-and-true chicken breast with a next-level filling, plus show how simple it can be to turn seemingly forgotten leftovers into brand-new pasta dinners and reinvented vegetable sides. In true Daphne fashion, she’ll share her family’s take on common events like birthday parties, low-key family suppers and game-day extravaganzas alike, all while dishing out humor.

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“Did You Say ‘Compost Pile’?” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 30th, 2014

From chip-based cooking vessels and tools to mandatory claw hands and honey-soaked ingredients, Cutthroat Kitchen judge Jet Tila is no stranger to the most-diabolical sabotages to befall competition. But even this veteran judge could hardly believe his ears when host Alton Brown asked the crew to “bring in the compost pile” during the latest installment of his After-Show.

“Did you say ‘compost pile’?” Jet asked Alton, laughing. Sure enough, Jet had heard correctly, and indeed Alton had auctioned off a compost pile-inspired challenge that forced one chef to surrender his shopping basket and dig for all of his ingredients amongst 200 pounds of coffee grounds. “I don’t know what that is,” Jet admitted as he sifted through the pile and found — and later sniffed — a mound of mystery meat. According to Alton, it was simply “some kind of canned ham product.”

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