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.

Where to Start and What to Make: The Kitchen’s Guide to Culinary Basics

by in How-to, Shows, February 28th, 2015

Fettuccine AlfredoFrom learning how to hold a knife to remembering how long to cook each shape of pasta, gaining proficiency in the kitchen takes practice, but no matter where you are in your culinary journey, it’s never too late to master the basics. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian shows off his secret to making a classic mother sauce, and luckily for fans, you don’t have to be an Iron Chef to pull it off successfully. In fact, this béchamel is a cinch to prepare in a hurry, and it shines in this 30-minute Fettuccine Alfredo (pictured above).

FN Dish caught up with the co-hosts between takes of this episode, and the cast told us that when it comes to getting comfortable in the kitchen, it’s best to begin with the simplest, most-tried-and-true dishes — whatever those may be for you and your family’s tastes. Read on below to hear from all five chefs to learn how to get started.

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Giada De Laurentiis Proves You Can Have Pasta for Breakfast

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, February 27th, 2015

Pasta al la CarbonaraLeave it to Food Network’s own queen of Italian cuisine, Giada De Laurentiis, to transform a breakfast classic — bacon and eggs — into a rich, hearty pasta ideal for any time of day. While cooking for a packed crowd last weekend at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, in between answering fan questions and mingling with her onstage guest cook, Giada showed off how simple it is to make her carbonara, a next-level version of a traditional recipe featuring creamy eggs and Italian bacon. Read on below for her top-10 tips for making this silky, comforting pasta, then get her quick-fix recipe.

1. Instead of everyday bacon, Giada uses pancetta — an unsmoked Italian bacon — in her carbonara. When rendered, it becomes crispy and salty, and the drippings can be used to saute the onions.

2. Giada admits that while onions may not be an ingredient in the most-authentic carbonara recipes, they’re indeed a beloved element in her family’s recipe, as they offer sweetness, which offsets the salt, and promise “a lot of flavor.”

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11 Times a Chicken Breast Will Save the Day

by in Recipes, February 26th, 2015

Chicken Piccata Pasta TossThe food you love to hate, chicken breasts often get a bad rap: On their own and without any seasoning, they can be bland, and if they’re boneless and skinless, then they turn from moist to dry in a matter of moments when cooking. But if cooked properly (as in, not scorched beyond oblivion) and flavored, even with just salt and pepper, the go-to chicken breast can save many a day in the kitchen. This culinary workhorse is a blank canvas that you can dress up with nearly any ingredients (think Italian, Asian, French and Mexican profiles, among others) for breakfast, lunch and dinner; plus, it’s an inexpensive cut of meat that the whole family will enjoy. You can count on that. Below, in no particular order, are 11 times you’ll realize the humble chicken breast is your best friend in the refrigerator.

When You Run Out of Tomatoes on Pasta Night: Who says pasta must be served with red sauce? Rachael’s 30-minute Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss is just that — penne noodles quickly and simply tossed with classic chicken piccata fixings, like buttery chicken tenders and a bold lemon-caper sauce.

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Beyond the Veggie Platter: Best 5 Cauliflower Recipes

by in Recipes, February 25th, 2015

Cauliflower GratinMuch like simply grilled chicken and the classic hamburger, cauliflower is a culinary blank canvas that can be paired with myriad other flavors and textures, like creamy cheeses, bold spices and tangy hot sauce, depending on what you’re craving and what ingredients you happen to have on hand. The beauty of cauliflower is that this vegetable can stand to be cooked at high temperatures and it maintains its sturdy consistency even when crumbled, so it can even be turned into something new altogether, like a pizza crust. Check out Food Network’s top-five new twists on cauliflower to get must-try recipe ideas from Katie Lee, Guy Fieri, Ina Garten and more of your favorite chefs.

5. Cauliflower Pizza Crust — There’s no dough required to make Katie’s easy cauliflower-based pizza crust. She simply processes the vegetable until it’s fine, then adds eggs and a duo of cheese for moisture before shaping into a traditional circle and baking.

4. Cauliflower-Onion Linguini — Ready to eat in only 35 minutes, Food Network Magazine’s healthy pasta delivers on both taste and texture, thanks to a sweet sauce of toasted onions, fresh basil and plenty of tender cauliflower. For a bite of welcome crunch, fry the onions with panko breadcrumbs and finish the dish with a sprinkle of pine nuts.

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The 10 Best Bites of the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, February 23rd, 2015

The 10 Best Bites of the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food FestivalThe 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival wrapped up mere hours ago with an over-the-top tasting at The Best of the Munchies: People’s Choice Food Awards, and while the FN Dish team packed in more fried, glazed, grilled and cheesed dishes in four short days than we thought possible, we’re already craving just a few more bites of our very favorite dishes from the weekend. Relive top moments from all the marquee events, and look back at our 10 most-memorable sweet and savory selects from the festival.

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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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