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.

Mexican Egg Tacos with Potatoes — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 23rd, 2015

Mexican Egg Tacos with PotatoesMeaty tacos without the meat? That’s indeed possible, and it’s exactly what you get when you swap out traditional fillings like ground beef and grilled chicken for vegetarian-friendly options, such as protein-packed tofu or hearty veggies like potatoes or peppers and onions. Best of all, meatless tacos are still full of the authentic taco tastes and textures you crave.

In Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Mexican Egg Tacos with Potatoes (pictured above), these breakfast — or breakfast-for-dinner — beauties get their heft from a filling pairing of roasted Yukon golds and scrambled eggs, both boldly flavored with such spicy picks as chili powder and a poblano pepper. Try adding a few dashes of hot sauce to the egg mixture for even more welcome heat, and serve a rustic, fresh tomato-cilantro salsa on the side of these easy-to-make tacos to round out the meal. Food Network Magazine suggests warming the tortillas before piling on the filling, to make sure they boast a signature toasty taste.

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Southern Comfort Comes to South Beach at Trisha Yearwood’s Down-Home Brunch

by in Events, February 23rd, 2015

Trisha's Southern Kitchen BrunchWhile Miami may indeed be in the southern United States, its cuisine is known more for its hearty Cuban flavors and just-caught seafood than any comfort-food influences from down-home states like Tennessee or Georgia. That all changed this weekend when Trisha Yearwood was in town to host her Southern Kitchen Brunch at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. In an elegant ballroom at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Trisha and other chefs from Florida, New York City and beyond came together to dish out the best of what the true South has to offer, like savory chicken and waffles, fluffy biscuits, and rich and creamy grits.

Three big-city chefs from the Midwest and Northeast brought fried chicken to the party: Chef Art Smith from Chicago’s Table 52, as well as Chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth from New York City’s Root & Bone. While Chef Smith’s Southern-style fried chicken was served with his thick Saw Mill Gravy, the Root & Bone team featured its chicken (pictured above) atop a fluffy cheddar waffle with bright pickles.

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A Transformative Potato Chip Experience — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, February 22nd, 2015

A competition like Cutthroat Kitchen can surely be a transformative undertaking for the chef contestants, as they’re almost always pushed beyond their culinary comfort zones. But their ingredients, too, are often forced to become something they’re usually not in order to satisfy a challenge — that’s where Testing the Sabotages comes in. Before Alton Brown could auction off a test to, say, turn potato chip crumbs into gnocchi, as he did on tonight’s all-new episode, the Cutthroat culinary crew had to attempt the conversion firsthand to make sure it was both possible and fair within the time limits.

Just minutes into starting his test, food stylist Hugo Sanchez struggled to work with the gnocchi dough, and he admitted, “The chips in it are preventing it from binding as a normal dough would. It’s actually turning out to be a bigger deal than I expected.” Nevertheless, he soon managed to roll the dough into a log and lob off bite-size dumplings, and in the spirit of evilicious cooking, he said, “It may not taste like gnocchi, but it’s going to look like gnocchi.” Sure enough, after a quick boil and pan-fry, he served up a simple yet presentable gnocchi offering, though he wondered if chefs could use their imagination to create an even better rendition. “It’s definitely something you can play with,” Hugo noted. “Maybe some bacon, some sour cream — call it a baked potato gnocchi.”

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Frost by Numbers — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, February 22nd, 2015

Frost by Numbers: How to Make Frosting ColorsSo, you’ve baked the cake and now it’s time to frost it. While you could opt for the traditional white or chocolate variety, a special occasion — or, perhaps, just a chilly snow day — calls for a pop of color. That’s where this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week comes in.

Thanks to Food Network Magazine’s handy guide to DIY frosting colors, it’s now possible to tint your topping with more than just the usual red, yellow, green and blue dyes. Follow the easy system to know just how many drops of coloring it takes to turn out an entire rainbow of frosting colors, including Orange Soda (bright orange), Bubble Gum (hot pink) and Grasshopper Pie (a cool mint green).

For more baking inspiration, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake board on Pinterest.

Get the Details: Frost by Numbers: How to Make Frosting Colors from Food Network Magazine

Barbecue 2.0: Guy Fieri Brings Meatopia to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, February 22nd, 2015

Guy FieriOn day three of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, after back-to-back nights of indulgent alfresco feasting and over-the-top burgering, hungry fans wanted more, and for that, they turned to Guy Fieri. The host of Triple D and Guy’s Grocery Games isn’t known for doing anything on a small scale, and last night’s Meatopia: The Q Revolution was no exception, as he hosted this 30-plus-chef extravaganza that for the first time combined The Q, a longtime festival favorite, with Meatopia, a festival all its own, to create an all-new party at South Beach. From sticky ribs and tender pulled pork to hearty rib-eye steaks, moist brisket, and even veal, lamb and chicken hearts, the competing chefs at this all-out meat brawl brought their best bites in the hopes of taking home the Judges’ Choice trophy or the Fan-Favorite Winner guitar.

As Blues Traveler was jamming on stage, the crowds lined up on the beach at each station to sample the dozens of beefy dishes on display last night, and after a few hours of indulging — and, perhaps, the expected meat sweats — Guy proclaimed The Cecil the judges’ pick of the night. Chef JJ Johnson’s BBQ oxtails, bathed in a spicy tamarind sauce, earned him a whopping $1,000 check and a flame-wrapped trophy.

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Sunday Supper Showdown: Spaghetti vs. Meatballs

by in Recipes, Shows, February 21st, 2015

Spaghetti and MeatballsLike peanut butter and jelly and mashed potatoes and gravy, spaghetti and meatballs are two parts of a seemingly unbreakable culinary marriage, and in many homes, these Italian superstars are often the shining component of Sunday supper. Geoffrey Zakarian showcased his version of this timeless comfort food, featuring tender rosemary-laced meatballs simmered in a tomato-basil sauce for bold flavor and served with classic spaghetti, on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen. The secret to his moist meatballs is the meat blend he’s chosen: a combination of ground pork and veal, plus pork sausage.

FN Dish wants to know, when you make spaghetti and meatballs at your house, which half of this dish is your favorite? Are you a lover of all things pasta, no matter its shape, or do you prefer the melt-in-your-mouth taste of a meatball cooked just right? Do you prefer to gently twirl the noodles on your fork or slice open the meatball in one fell swoop? Vote in the poll below to tell us whether you prefer the spaghetti or meatballs element of Sunday supper more.

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2015 Burger Bash Winners: Josh Capon and Pincho Factory

by in Events, February 20th, 2015

Josh CaponWith dozens of flaming-hot grills set up in the sand, hundreds of hungry guests filling the tents and a cool ocean breeze wafting through the air, the scene was set for South Beach Wine & Food Festival‘s most-anticipated event: the ninth annual Burger Bash. In true festival fashion, your favorite Food Network stars, as well as local and national chefs, delivered a whopping 30 burgers in over-the-top form, each piled high with classic and creative toppings. Once again, Burger Bash veteran Rachael Ray was on hand to host the sold-out soiree as familiar faces like Iron Chefs Jose Garces and Masaharu Morimoto came together to cook up signature between-the-bun offerings and judges Geoffrey Zakarian, Katie Lee and Chrissy Teigen, among others, welcomed the meaty challenge of sampling every burger and deciding which reigned supreme.

While the judges dug into their burger offerings, fans, too, were bellying up to chefs’ tasting stands to get their hands on some of the most-craveworthy bites of the night, including Shake Shack’s Roadside Shack, Emily’s Emmy Burger and STK Miami’s lil’ BRGs. Everyone was given one token upon entering the event, and with that came the power to vote for the People’s Choice winner.

After a few hours of indulgent burgering, Rachael, the judges, and the Schweid and Sons team came together to announce the winners, and sure enough, thanks to his fail-proof Bash Burger, Josh Capon of Miami’s Lure Fish Bar earned the Judges’ trophy this year. Capon’s now-infamous patty topped with sweet, savory and welcomingly rich bacon-onion jam has become a good-luck charm of sorts for the chef, as it’s earned him several Burger Bash titles at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and tonight it clinched his first-ever victory in South Beach. “I’ve always wanted South Beach so bad, baby. So bad,” Capon exclaimed on stage. “Burger Bash forever!”

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The 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival Kicks Off with a Seaside Al Fresco Feast

by in Events, February 20th, 2015

Gabriele Corcos and Debi MazarWhen Italian food is the name of the game, no two will do it better than Cooking Channel’s own Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, so it’s no surprise that this husband-and-wife duo was on hand to host as the South Beach Wine & Food Festival inaugurated its first-ever Al Fresco Italian Feast last night. The hosts of Extra Virgin, plus native Italian and fearless Food Network competitor Fabio Viviani, as well as dozens of America’s greatest Italian chefs, came together underneath the colorfully lit tents along the sandy shores of Miami to dish out a true feast of a meal celebrating the best of Italian comfort foods and pay tribute to pay tribute to Ronzoni Pasta’s 100th anniversary. Though Mother Nature surprised partygoers with unseasonably low temperatures for Florida, the cool air didn’t stop anyone from cozying up to heaping plates of classic-red-sauce pasta, cheesy ravioli and plenty of sweet roasted meats as they danced to a DJ-band mash-up in the sand.

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If You Can’t Attend the Oscars on Sunday, Eat Like You’re a Celebrity Anyway

by in Recipes, February 19th, 2015

Pepped-Up PopcornThe 87th Academy Awards will be held in Los Angeles this Sunday night, and while you may not be able to score a coveted ticket to the ceremony, there’s no reason you can’t roll out the red carpet at home and make like you’re famous by indulging in awardworthy eats and drinks (even if you happen to be in fuzzy sweatpants instead of a skintight gown). From bubbly Champagne cocktails and easy crostini to tender short ribs, rich chocolate cupcakes and more, Food Network’s ultimate collection of Oscar Sunday specialties is brimming with 5-star flavor, and it’s deceptively simple to pull off.

If movies equal popcorn, then there’s no better way to kick off an evening of reviewing the best in big-screen dramas than with a bowl of Pepped-Up Popcorn (pictured above). Our Food Network Kitchen’s next-level recipe yields a trio of tastes: a savory pick with nutty Parmesan, plus chili powder-dusted and chocolate-coated snacks as well. If you’re feeling more classic than creative, however, dig into Food Network Magazine’s tried-and-true Theater-Style Buttered Popcorn for a traditional salty, crunchy bite.

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Restaurant Revisited: Bene Pizza and Pasta

by in Shows, February 18th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIt’s brother versus brother at Bene Pizza and Pasta, a 13-year-old business in Omaha, Neb., run by Jon and Bobby Lanphier and their mother, Ginger Lanphier. It was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team not only to overhaul the interior of the eatery and improve upon the dreary arcade, but also to mend the siblings’ relationship, which had weakened over the years as a result of increasing financial strain on the company. Read on below to hear from Ginger and find out how she and her sons are doing at Bene Pizza and Pasta a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible transformation.

Comparing this December to last December, “business was up 20 percent,” Ginger reveals. “The arcade does well when we are busy. We have talked to customers and are convinced that it brings customers in because it differentiates us from other pizza restaurants.”

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