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.

Watch the Top 5 Owner Arguments on Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, December 24th, 2013

Whether or not they’d admit it, most owners who welcome Robert Irvine to their eatery on Restaurant: Impossible realize the need for change in their business. But that doesn’t stop some from fighting with Robert every step of the transformation, yelling at him in frustration or embarrassment, accusing him of sabotage or resisting his help along the way. True to his mission of giving restaurants a second chance at success, Robert embraces the challenges these owners pose and continues to offer them his and his team’s support, even if that means getting screamed at along the way.

Click the play button on the video above to watch the top-five owner arguments ever featured on Restaurant: Impossible and see Robert go head-to-head with business owners, then catch up on more of the top-five video roundups from the show for a look at the dirtiest restaurants, most-emotional reveals and best sledgehammer moments.

Bobby’s Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 23rd, 2013

Cauliflower-Goat Cheese GratinVegetarian eating during the holidays can be tricky, as so many classic main dishes are meaty picks, like turkey, ham and beef. If you’re hosting the celebration this year, you can plan ahead and make a selection of meatless favorites (in addition to beefier items, if you’d like). But if you’ll be gathering at someone else’s house and can’t guarantee what the host will be serving, it’s a good idea to bring at least one vegetarian dish to pass; this way you’ll know you have at least one dish to eat come dinnertime.

Bobby’s Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin (pictured above) is a go-to pick, as it’s every bit as rich and satisfying as a traditional main dish, but it’s wholly meat-free. The beauty of this casserole is that it’s relatively hands-off to prepare. After arranging cauliflower florets alongside a trio of creamy, nutty cheeses and decadent heavy cream, he simply bakes the dish until the vegetables are soft. Your vegetarian guests will enjoy having a comforting, filling dish available, while meat eaters will appreciate the creamy cheese sauce coating each floret.

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Best 5 Quick Christmas Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2013

Lemon Pasta with Roasted ShrimpWhether you find yourself hosting unexpected holiday guests or are suddenly tasked with bringing a dish to pass at a party, it’s a good idea to have in your recipe arsenal those crowd-pleasing dishes that look deliciously elaborate and taste just as impressive but are, in fact, a cinch to prepare. When last-minute get-togethers arise, reach for Food Network’s top-five quick recipes for Christmas, a collection of celebration-worthy classics from some of your favorite chefs, like Rachael, Robert and Ina. Perhaps best of all, these go-to picks can be on the table in less than 35 minutes.

5. Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Reduction — Pork and apples are two ingredients simply better together, and here they’re combined when a sweet and tangy maple syrup-apple cider vinegar sauce is spooned over juicy tenderloins.

4. Creamed Spinach — With a rich and creamy sauce subtly spiced with nutmeg, this traditional steakhouse side dish can be made easily at home with fresh spinach and will round out any entree.

Get the top-three recipes

Hand Masher Gone Wrong and Indoor Campfires — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 22nd, 2013


For the first time this season, Antonia Lofaso took her turn judging four competitors in the latest round of evilicious contest on Cutthroat Kitchen, and because no judge is privy to the bidding for sabotages and cooking, she joined Alton Brown on his After-Show to learn what had gone down.

The chefs had to create gnocchi during Round 1 of the competition; though a hand masher may have been an appropriate tool for the job, it became an obstacle for Chef Gentile when he was forced to have it duct taped to his arm for the duration of the round. “He was looking for garnish that was going to build a dish,” Antonia told Alton, realizing that this impediment is what prevented Chef Gentile from breaking down ingredients and cooking with more precision.

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Mustard-Maple Roasted Salmon — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 22nd, 2013

Maple-Mustard Roasted SalmonThe holidays are all about indulgence, but in the midst of enjoying sweet Christmas cookies, savory glazed hams and a celebration-worthy cocktail or two, it can be nice to sit down to a better-for-you meal. Just ahead of the Christmas holiday, check out this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week to find a healthful salmon supper that is made with just a handful of ingredients and is ready to eat in only 20 minutes.

Start with good-for-you salmon fillets, and for a bright punch of flavor, brush them with a tangy mixture of Dijon, light mayonnaise and maple syrup, then bake them until they’re cooked and tender on the inside. For added freshness, sprinkle chopped cilantro on each piece of fish before serving.

For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Food Network Kitchens’ Mustard-Maple Roasted Salmon

Shop for a Cause: Last-Minute Gift Ideas to Benefit Share Our Strength

by in Community, December 22nd, 2013

Share Our StrengthWhile Christmas is only three days away, the Food Network Store is still stocked with last-minute gifts and seasonal stocking stuffers that will wow the unchecked names on your shopping list. Best of all, if you shop among these gifts in the store, 100 percent of all proceeds will go directly to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, a national movement committed to ending childhood hunger in America.

Pick up a few pairs of aviator- or Malibu-style sunglasses, or, if you’re shopping for little ones, opt for youth T-shirts in a bright-orange color. Check out all of the No Kid Hungry Holiday gifts here.

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Restaurant Revisited: Goombazz Gone Wild at Goombazz Big City Eatzz

by in Shows, December 18th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleFacing nearly $300,000 of debt, Sally Fatzz and Brenda Brewer turned to Robert Irvine for a restaurant rescue at their eclectic one-year-old restaurant, Goombazz Big City Eatzz, specializing in regional cuisines from around the country. While Sally had enjoyed prior ventures in the restaurant industry, Brenda was new to the restaurant scene, but both recognized their need for a Restaurant: Impossible

transformation if their business was to have any chance at future success. It didn’t take Robert long to realize that this Rock Island, Ill., restaurant was failing largely on account of Sally’s out-of-control temper, which ultimately led to unhappy customers and a dissatisfied staff. With a budget of just $10,000 and only two days to work, Robert and his team overhauled the interior of Goombazz, updated the eatery’s menu, and began mending Sally and Brenda’s relationship. Read on below to hear from both owners and find out how their restaurant is doing today.

Since the transformation, “business is up,” Sally says. “We went from $800 to about $1,200 on weekdays, and [on] Friday and Saturday, $3,000.” He adds that “everyone loves the new decor.” Brenda explains: “The floor is amazing, the bridge mural is beautiful, we love the back bar, but [we] had to add our own lighting, and the kitchen pass-through window being closed up is my favorite change! I also love the fresh flowers on the tables.”

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Best 5 Christmas Brunch Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 18th, 2013

Panettone Bread PuddingWhile Christmas dinner may be the centerpiece meal in most homes come next week’s holiday, brunch isn’t to be forgotten, as it’s often quicker and simpler to prepare than supper, even if you’re cooking for guests. This year, whether you’ll be hosting a crowd on Christmas morning or simply unwrapping presents with your family, enjoy a spread of sweet and savory brunch picks, like crispy peppered bacon, Alton’s golden-brown French toast and Ina’s indulgent bread pudding. Check out Food Network’s top-five Christmas brunch picks below to find these recipes and more to complete your holiday celebration.

5. Breakfast Casserole — Filled with all of your favorite breakfast components — bread, eggs, sausage, potatoes and gooey cheese — this big-batch casserole can be assembled the night before and baked when you’re ready to enjoy it on Christmas morning.

4. Maple-Pepper Bacon — No matter what else you’re serving at brunch, be sure to round out the meal with a batch of Food Network Magazine’s crispy bacon, baked instead of fried, with a sweet and savory topping of maple syrup and pepper.

Get the top-three recipes

Michael Symon’s Holiday Must-Haves

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 18th, 2013

Michael SymonWhether it’s enjoying Grandma’s sprinkles-dusted sugar cookies and marshmallow-studded hot cocoa by her fireplace, singing along with your favorite carols in the car, or curling up on the couch and watching timeless Christmas movies, holiday rituals are an essential part of the season. For many, the celebration simply wouldn’t be complete without certain traditions. Just in time for the upcoming holidays, FN Dish sat down with Iron Chef Michael Symon during a recent trip to Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to find out how he celebrates the season. Although much of his work takes him to New York City, he’ll be celebrating in his hometown of Cleveland this year, and when it comes to his seasonal sipper of choice, he’ll reach for rich hot cocoa over eggnog any day. Read on below to hear from Michael and learn more of his holiday must-haves.

Hot cocoa or eggnog: Hot cocoa

Gingerbread or sugar cookies: Gingerbread

The movie Christmas Vacation or Elf: Christmas Vacation

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Watch the Top 5 Sledgehammer Moments on Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, December 17th, 2013

When Robert Irvine takes on a mission at a failing business, he’s not alone in the challenge; he brings with him his entire Restaurant: Impossible team, which includes a construction manager and designer. But although he has dedicated colleagues to help him carry out the physical transformation of an eatery, Robert isn’t shy about getting involved in the overhaul. Not only is he quick to share with his team his wish list for a restaurant, but he often takes matters of construction in his own hands.

Throughout the series, Robert’s been known to reach for one trusty tool in particular time and time again: the sledgehammer. He’s often seen wielding this weighted device to bore holes in walls and knock down partitions to better illustrate to his team just what updates he’d like to see. It’s up to Robert’s construction team to simply don their protective eyewear and watch as Robert makes the move in renovation.

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