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.

“No Bowl, No Dignity” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, February 14th, 2016

Where there’s a kitchen mixer there’s often a mixing bowl, right? Wrong, in fact. At least insofar as Cutthroat Kitchen is concerned. On tonight’s brand-new chocolate-themed episode, chefs were forced to prep chocolate cookies with a trio of diabolical mixing devices, including a stand mixer that forbid the use of an accompanying bowl, which meant one competitor was left using his hands to keep the batter fixings together. If such a challenge seems too evilicious to overcome, the Cutthroat culinary crew is here to dispel those worries: Jamie Peterson tested this very sabotage and the results were downright surprising.

“I’ve set up a baking sheet underneath my stand mixer because I’m going to need to catch all of the product that’s going to come running out of it and going everywhere,” Jamie explained of his first steps of prep. After that, the name of the game was keeping the speed on slow and using his hands to form the ingredients. “Time is definitely going to be an issue with this sabotage,” he explained as he attempted to combine the butter and sugar. “This is a very time-consuming process.” Despite the minor chaos of the flour mixture being incorporated — “It’s going everywhere,” Jamie revealed — he managed to combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones, and he was able to form the dough into balls for baking. “No bowl, no dignity — I still came out with chocolate cookies,” he said after tasting the results. While perhaps a bit tricky to manage, this sabotage was indeed ready for auction, thanks to the golden finished product.

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Giada’s Top-Rated Mozzarella Sticks — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, February 14th, 2016

Mozzarella SticksCrispy on the outside and ooey-gooey on the inside, mozzarella sticks are a go-to bar snack, but with the help of this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, you don’t need to belly up to the bar to enjoy them. Giada De Laurentiis’ 5-star recipe comes together with only a handful of ingredients, including creamy fresh mozzarella, which stars in the filling. In place of a traditional breadcrumb blanket, Giada opts for a coating that’s laced with Parmesan cheese, which offers a rich, slightly nutty flavor. Serve the fried sticks with a homemade tomato-garlic sauce for hands-on dipping.

For more snack inspiration, check out Food Network’s Let’s Game Day board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Mozzarella Sticks

How to Have Chocolate for Dinner (and Dessert, Of Course)

by in Recipes, Shows, February 13th, 2016

Cocoa-Rubbed New York Strip Steak for TwoNot only is Valentine’s Day a chance to celebrate your love for the special someone in your life, but it’s also an ideal time to profess your devotion — to chocolate. This fan-favorite ingredient is a go-to pick in rich sweet treats, but believe it or not, it can also star in savory dishes. As you plan tomorrow’s menu, try treating your sweetie to a dinner featuring cocoa powder, like the one Geoffrey Zakarian made on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, and finishing with a decadent dessert to wrap up the meal. Get the recipe for GZ’s impressive steak for two below, and check out the trio of chocolatey desserts for next-level dessert inspiration.

The secret to Geoffrey’s Cocoa-Rubbed New York Strip Steak for Two (pictured above) is balancing the flavor of the cocoa with smoky ingredients, like Hungarian paprika and ancho chile powder, to create a bold spice rub. GZ quickly sears the beef so it achieves a golden, caramelized exterior, then moves it to the oven to finish cooking. To round out the meat, opt for a fresh side dish of balsamic-laced beets, which turn tender after roasting.

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Red Velvet Everything: 10 Favorites to Eat and Drink

by in Recipes, February 11th, 2016

The Best Red Velvet RecipesWhile chocolate may claim the spotlight on Valentine’s Day (and for good reason: molten. lava. cake.), there’s another holiday-worthy treat that’s just as decadent and rosy-colored to boot. Red velvet desserts are pretty to look at, and they also boast a flavor all their own, with just a subtle bit of cocoa and plenty of rich moisture from the classic pairing of cream cheese frosting. Check out some of our favorite red velvet showstoppers, including a towering layer cake, fluffy whoopie pies, a crimson cocktail and a warming hot chocolate.

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It’s Anyone’s Game in a Culinary Battle of Cooks vs. Cons

by in Shows, February 10th, 2016

It's Anyone's Game in a Blind Culinary Battle of Cooks vs. ConsWhen professional chefs present their dishes, their years of experience and their reputations for stellar cuisine and expert technique often precede them, so much so that tasters may be biased when it comes to reviewing the food. But what happens when judges don’t know if the meal was prepared by a home cook or a chef? Will perceptions change and critiques differ? That’s where the brand-new series Cooks vs. Cons comes in.

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Rice Bowls with Fried Eggs — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 8th, 2016

Rice Bowls with Fried EggsAs with soup and tacos, there aren’t exactly rules when it comes to creating a rice bowl, just a set of loose guidelines that you can follow to craft your ultimate finished product. Rice will provide a blank-canvas base, much like broth in a soup and a shell in tacos; then it’s up to you to pick the veggie add-ins and a protein. The options are seemingly endless — not to mention convenient. If you find yourself with a refrigerator full of strays, like that half-full container of prepared rice, those two random carrots and a handful of black beans, you’re well on your way to a complete dinner. Food Network Magazine utilized a similar approach in its recipe for Rice Bowls with Fried Eggs, which is easy enough that you can execute it on even the busiest of weeknights in just 30 quick minutes.

Featuring a hearty base of ready-to-go brown rice, these fuss-free bowls are topped with earthy shiitake mushrooms and tender broccoli, as well as bright snow peas. Sauteing the veggies in a mixture of tangy teriyaki sauce and a squeeze of Sriracha ensures that there will be plenty of flavor and a bit of subtle spice throughout. To bring even more heft to the bowl, finish the dish with a sunny-side-up egg for a boost of protein, and drizzle with more Sriracha for added heat.

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Spicy Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil: The Anti-Valentine’s Day Dinner

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 8th, 2016

Spaghetti Aglio e OlioThe hearts, the roses, the chocolate candy … It’s tough to escape the culture of Valentine’s Day once February 1 rolls around. If, for whatever reason, you’re not embracing all things red and pink these days — and instead running away from them — this Valentine’s Day dinner is for you.

It takes just 15 minutes and five everyday ingredients to make Geoffrey Zakarian’s Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, aka spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. This fan-favorite recipe gets a boost of welcome heat from a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, while the sauce comes together in a quick saute; just use a few splashes of pasta water to create a silky sauce out of the garlic slices and oil. Go ahead and slurp up each and every noodle and revel in that garlicky flavor.

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Shockingly Healthy (and Easy) Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, February 7th, 2016

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and GritsWhile most comfort foods conjure images of hearty decadence and over-the-top indulgence, believe it or not, a satisfying meal can be healthy. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, featured in Food Network Magazine, is a good-for-you take on a traditionally rich pick, shrimp and grits; it features all the flavors and textures you know and crave in the classic rendition, with cheesy, creamy grits and tender, lemony shrimp, but it’s made sans cream and with only a bit of butter, so the results turn out lighter. Perhaps best of all, this fan-favorite dish can be on the table in only 30 quick minutes.

Visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest for more savory and sweet ideas for fill-you-up fare.

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits from Food Network Magazine  

Treat Yourself to an At-Home Spa Day with Bobbi Brown’s Edible Products

by in Shows, February 6th, 2016

Treat Yourself to an At-Home Spa Day with Bobbi Brown's Edible ProductsWelcome to the dog days of winter. If you’re starting to crave the relaxation of a warm-weather getaway, The Kitchen is here to help — with the relaxation part, at least. This morning’s brand-new Winter Escape episode brought a bit of sun and tropical flavor into The Kitchen, while makeup maven Bobbi Brown stopped by to share how simple it is to enjoy an at-home spa day.

Using only edible items that you likely have on hand already, Brown showed off a trio of easy how-tos that will both invigorate and nourish your body as you close out the final weeks of winter. To start your pampering session, mix up her “Beauty from the Inside Out” Smoothie, featuring a bright blend of coconut milk and cocoa powder, then move on to her Lip and Hand Scrub and her Face Mask, both designed to soften and hydrate your skin. In the photo above, Jeff Mauro is taking full advantage of the yogurt-honey mask, which can be easily rinsed off a few minutes after application.

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9 Ways to Get Your Guacamole On

by in Recipes, February 3rd, 2016

Guacamole with Cumin-Dusted TortillasNo matter if you’re prepping a snack spread for Sunday’s tailgate or simply looking to elevate your everyday dip roster, guacamole is a go-to choice for game day and any other day. Not only does this fan favorite come together with only a handful of ingredients, but it often takes just minutes to prep. Check out our top picks for classic and creative guac renditions, including one look-alike version that’s a deceptively sweet dish.

Guacamole with Cumin-Dusted Tortillas
Consider this your back-pocket guacamole recipe. Bobby Flay’s top-rated recipe brings together an all-star lineup of creamy ripe avocados, a single jalapeno for subtle heat and plenty of lime juice for bright flavor. He dresses up the dip by serving it alongside freshly fried tortillas scented with smoky ground cumin.

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