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.

Payback, Cutthroat-Style — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, January 19th, 2014


While competitors may not know the dishes they’ll be tasked with cooking on Cutthroat Kitchen, or the specifics of the challenges that will befall them in battle, a few things are certain about the contest: Chefs will sabotage each other and be sabotaged in return. It’s how contestants cope that will ultimately determine the success of their food, and while much of their adaptation involves recipe tweaks and ingredient swap-outs, it also requires strategy in bidding and the assigning of a particular sabotage once it’s been earned.

On this week’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Chef Leah wasted no time in gifting a doozy of a challenge to all three of her rivals during Round 1′s quesadilla test. She paid a whopping $6,900 to force the other competitors to use a high-powered work lamp, a kitchen torch and a hair-straightening flat iron as their sole heat sources. “So, at this point, Chef Leah is hated by almost everyone universally. When the mid-challenge item came up, it was almost a fait accompli that somebody would make sure she got it,” Alton revealed to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s After-Show. Sure enough, as a form of evilicious retribution, she was tasked with making two pitchers of margaritas using a human-powered blender attached to a bicycle, so she ultimately learned the sting of sabotage as she peddled to make the motor run. “But in the end, I don’t know how bad it hurt her,” Alton explained to Simon. Not only did Chef Leah survive the round, but she went on to win the entire competition after outcooking her rivals in rounds of chicken noodle soup and fish fries.

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Sweet vs. Spicy Wings: Which Team Are You On?

by in Recipes, Shows, January 18th, 2014

Classic Hot WingsJust this morning on a brand-new episode of The Kitchen, co-hosts Sunny Anderson and Geoffrey Zakarian showed off a duo of recipes for the humble chicken wing. This game-day favorite is a blank canvas for almost all ingredients, but often one of two tastes ends up reigning supreme: spicy or sweet. While both Geoffrey and Sunny deep-fried their wings until the skin was deliciously crispy and the meat juicy, Geoffrey opted for a slightly spicy rendition with piquillo peppers and cumin in his BBQ Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Butter, and Sunny celebrated the sweeter flavor of pomegranate juice and hoisin sauce in her Sticky Onion Crunch Wings. Both finished wings proved deliciously sticky, but Geoffrey’s featured smoky notes while Sunny’s were subtly sweet without losing their savory bite.

Before you pick which team you’re rooting for in this year’s big game, FN Dish is challenging you to select which side you’re on in the great debate of sweet versus spicy chicken wings. Cast your vote below to tell us which flavor profile you prefer, then find party-ready recipes for both kinds of wings after the jump.

Get recipes for spicy and sweet chicken wings

#TBT: The Neelys

by in Food Network Chef, January 16th, 2014

The NeelysIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

The king and queen of down-home barbecue, husband and wife Patrick and Gina Neely are best when they’re together, one of only a few groups on Food Network to co-host a show. Their first-ever series on the network, Down Home with the Neelys, featured Pat and Gina cooking alongside each other, swapping stories about their family’s recipes, tips on executing their dishes at home and surely plenty of laughs.

Pat and Gina specialize in making traditional barbecue, and while that has different meanings across the United States, the Neelys most often focus on classic Tennessee ’cue, turning out Memphis-Style Hickory-Smoked Beef and Pork Ribs, Barbecue Baked Beans and Honey Cornbread Muffins. Although some barbecue recipes have a tendency to be complicated and require tricky cooking techniques, Pat and Gina’s are simple to follow and deliver tried-and-true results, thanks to their fan-friendly style of breaking down each component of a recipe and showing how it  can be replicated easily at home.

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Restaurant Revisited: Monkey Business at Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill

by in Shows, January 15th, 2014

Restaurant: ImpossibleFrom a filthy interior to seemingly indifferent management, the problems at Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill in Auburn, Wash., were many, and it was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team to decipher and ultimately fix them one by one if the business was to have any chance at future success. Over the course of two days and with a budget of only $10,000, Robert overhauled the interior of the eatery, redesigned the menu and worked with owner Donel Brinkman to implement positive changes that ultimately allowed her to reopen Spunky Monkey to a packed crowd. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Donel and find out how her business is faring a few months later.

“Customers are thrilled with the design (as are we),” Donel says of the diners’ reactions to Spunky Monkey’s transformation, “and we are receiving great commentary on the transition.”

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Top 3 Most-Searched Ingredients on FoodNetwork.com, Plus Recipes

by in Recipes, January 13th, 2014

Perfect Roast ChickenJust last week on an all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts took to FoodNetwork.com to find out which three ingredients were most searched by fans, and it turns out that when it comes to home cooking, simplicity and health reign supreme. Chicken, the ultimate family-friendly dinner, leads the way in searches, followed by good-for-you kale and quinoa, so Marcela combined these picks into one simple dish: Chile-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Kale, Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts Salad. Instead of featuring all three ingredients on one plate, FN Dish is breaking them down, showcasing three of the best recipes for each chicken, kale and quinoa on FoodNetwork.com; read on below to find must-try soups, salads and all-in-one suppers alike for these fan-favorite ingredients.

Chicken:
3. Chicken Piccata — Quickly coated in flour and cooked until tender, Giada’s easy chicken dinner is topped with a classically bold sauce of lemon and capers.

2. Easy Chicken Pot Pie — Thanks to Sunny’s shortcut of using store-bought dough as the pastry topping, this creamy, hearty pot pie can be on the table in less than 45 minutes.

1. Perfect Roast Chicken (pictured above) — Stick with Ina’s no-fail method of buttering the bird and roasting it with lemon and herbs to turn out a juicy, flavor-packed chicken every time.

Get more chicken recipes.

Get top recipes for kale and quinoa

Soba Noodles with Shiitakes and Edamame — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 13th, 2014

Soba Noodles with Shiitakes and EdamameWhether it’s because of hectic schedules or simply an undeniable craving, sometimes it’s tempting to pick up the phone and order delivery for dinner. But even on the busiest of weeknights, it’s possible to make some of your favorite takeout picks at home, and the results are often healthier and made with better ingredients. The secret to making supper in a flash is keeping a well-stocked pantry, so on the weekend — or when you find yourself with extra time — head to the supermarket to pick up some essentials like dried pasta and rice, cans of beans and basic condiments. It’s far simpler to recreate classic Asian takeout dishes, for instance, when you already have items like soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar on hand.

Food Network Magazine puts all three of those Asian products to work in Soba Noodles with Shiitakes and Edamame (pictured above), its spin on a traditional Asian noodle dish. Ready to eat in only 35 minutes, this recipe comes together simply thanks to frozen, preshelled edamame and quick-cooking soba noodles, which take only 5-6 minutes to become al dente. This dinner gets it heft from tender, earthy shiitake mushrooms, and boasts a light, fresh finish from a dressing featuring blended cilantro and mint, plus soy sauce and sesame oil. For subtle spice and added flavor, add a bit of Sriracha to the food processor when making the dressing and balance the heat with a sprinkling more of cilantro before serving.

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Grown-Up Sabotage in a Kid-Size Kitchen — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, January 12th, 2014


From competition and available prize money to chefs’ hopes and judges’ expectations, Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t short on anything, least of all sabotage. But tonight the contest took a turn for the pintsize in Round 3, when Chef Midgley found himself cooking strawberry shortcake in a tiny kids’ kitchen, equipped with a miniscule sink, toaster oven and induction range, as well as petite utensils.

“If you can only imagine in your mind’s eye big ol’ mitts on that guy using these little-bitty tools,” Alton said to Simon after he revealed the play-size setup to the judge on his After-Show. “I probably would have cried and run off into the corner,” Simon joked of how he may have approached this challenge, as he and Alton crouched down next to it. It turns out, however, that Chef Midgley found success with this sabotage, as he completed the round on time and presented Simon with a dish superior to his rival’s balsamic-soaked plate.

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Win a Signed Copy of The Kitchen’s Cookbook Club Feature, Desserts for Every Season

by in Contests, January 11th, 2014

Desserts for Every SeasonFor the first time on Saturday’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen (airing Saturdays at 11am/10c), the co-hosts introduced fans to what will become a regular segment on the show — Cookbook Club — wherein they welcome a cookbook author to the set to check out his or her recipes and even taste some of the book’s most-tempting dishes.

Pastry chef Jenny McCoy kicked it off this week with her publication, Desserts for Every Season, a sweet-tooth-satisfying collection of easy-to-make treats. While the book boasts recipes that are grouped by seasonal ingredients and flavors, Jenny says that each how-to is approachable enough that you can swap out the fruit featured in one season’s dish for something else — whatever happens to be the freshest when you’re making it. She and Katie wasted no time in cooking up one of the book’s most-decadent recipes, Chocolate-Dried Cherry Bread Pudding — a warm, gooey dessert made with milk chocolate, a bit of orange zest and some chewy dried cherries.

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One-on-One with Sunny Anderson from The Kitchen

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 10th, 2014

Sunny AndersonYou know GeoffreyJeffKatieMarcela and Sunny from their other adventures on Food Network and FoodNetwork.com, but for the first time last Saturday, you watched them come together on their brand-new series, The Kitchen (airing Saturdays at 11am/10c). Katie and Geoffrey cooked alongside each other, Sunny showed off her version of crepes, and the group dished about the latest trends and topics in everyone’s favorite room of the house: the kitchen. Before the season gets too far underway, however, FN Dish wants fans to get to know each of the co-hosts a bit better, so we’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with all five chefs every day this week. Read on below to learn more about Sunny Anderson, then get to know the rest of the group.

Tell us your culinary point of view in the kitchen in a few sentences.
Sunny Anderson: I am hungry, I am impatient and I am lazy. This is how I cook.

Why did you want to get involved in The Kitchen?
SA: I always talk about food, so why not get paid for it, right? And it’s a good excuse to get Geoffrey Zakarian to cook for me weekly.

Hear more from Sunny

One-on-One with Marcela Valladolid from The Kitchen

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 9th, 2014

Marcela ValladolidYou know GeoffreyJeffKatieMarcela and Sunny from their other adventures on Food Network and FoodNetwork.com, but for the first time last Saturday, you watched them come together on their brand-new series, The Kitchen (airing Saturdays at 11am/10c). Katie and Geoffrey cooked alongside each other, Sunny showed off her version of crepes, and the group dished about the latest trends and topics in everyone’s favorite room of the house: the kitchen. Before the season gets too far underway, however, FN Dish wants fans to get to know each of the co-hosts a bit better, so we’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with all five chefs every day this week. Read on below to learn more about Marcela Valladolid, and check back tomorrow to hear from Sunny.

Tell us your culinary point of view in the kitchen in a few sentences.
Marcela Valladolid: Quick, easy, approachable and Mexican at the core

Why did you want to get involved in The Kitchen?
MV: Because I wanted to add that perspective precisely. A lot of the hosts have kids — well, the Jeffries have kids — but I am the only one that’s a mom, and I think that’s a very important perspective to have. And also, I think I’m always going to try to infuse that Mexican flavor and Mexican ingredients, and I think that’s very relevant these days. I think there’s a huge interest in that, so I think you can infuse that at the same time as being incredibly approachable …. So I think there’s a huge interest in anything Hispanic, and I’d love to be able to be that voice on the show. I’m sure all of us appreciate, like I said, easy and approachable menus, but because, like I said, I’m a mom, it’s just something that I totally gravitate toward.

Hear more from Marcela