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.

Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Special Delivery at La Casa Bianca

by in Shows, December 17th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossiblePaul Liscio was struggling in his work as the owner of La Casa Bianca in Whitehouse Station, N.J., a restaurant that had seen significant declines in recent years. But it was his daughter, Megan, who was determined to remedy the situation as she reached out to Robert Irvine for help in rescuing her father and his business from impending failure. After ambushing Paul with a Restaurant: Impossible renovation, Robert and his team managed to not only reopen La Casa Bianca with the tools it needs to succeed, but also help Paul find the inspiration to manage his eatery. Read on below to hear from Paul and find out how La Casa Bianca is doing today.

“Business is picking up,” Paul explains. “[The experience] has brought new customers. The combo of my food and what [Robert and the team] did is clicking more and more every day. It’s special.”

Read more

The 10 Most-Popular Recipes on FoodNetwork.com in 2015

by in Recipes, December 17th, 2015

The 10 Most-Popular Recipes on FoodNetwork.com in 2015Food fans, 2015 has been one downright tasty year, from made-over spins on classic comfort foods in January and warm-weather-ready cocktails in the summer to fall’s best harvest feast and now the holiday cookies that will surely make your “nice” list. But as the days and weeks ticked away, there were a handful of recipes that you kept coming back to time and time again. Read on below as we count down the best-of-the-best plates of the year, those 10 recipes that fans made the most popular.

Read more

Reporting Live from Santa’s Lap — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 16th, 2015

In a ball pit, strapped to a life-size rotisserie, high atop a high chair, on top of a mechanical bull — the Cutthroat Kitchen After-Show has seen the judges in some downright diabolical (and downright hilarious) locales. But on tonight’s all-new installment, the scene turned a bit more seasonal when host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila found themselves atop Santa’s lap following the Holi-Dazed and Confused holiday special.

“Alton, I’ve never felt this uncomfortable,” Jet — clad as what else but a holiday elf, of course — told Alton as the duo landed atop Santa’s lap. “Oh, we’re just getting started,” Alton joked. Not only did the guys have to work while seated, but they each had an additional sabotage to simultaneously contend with. Since Alton won the coin toss, he chose the spinning-dreidel challenge for himself — which meant that he had to keep a dreidel spinning during the whole time he was cooking — while Jet was forced to send all of his ingredients down an ice luge before working with them. “You’re, like, weighing [ingredients]?” Jet asked Alton as the host used a kitchen scale to precisely measure the components. “I won’t even be able to get sugar down the luge.” Sure enough, though, Jet as well as Alton did manage to create presentable eggnog, and even Santa was able to partake in the holiday cheer with a cup for himself.

Read more

Speak Up, Fans: New Year, New Cocktail Segment on The Kitchen

by in Community, Shows, December 15th, 2015

Speak Up, Fans: New Year, New Cocktail Segment on The KitchenFor many, the new year brings with it a time of change and opportunity, and as the cast of The Kitchen looks ahead to 2016, they’re getting set to switch up their popular cocktail segment. Instead of “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” the wonderfully boozy close to the show will be renamed. What, exactly? That’s where you come in. Yes, you, fans.

The Kitchen is looking for the best fan suggestions for the new name of the cocktail segment. If you have an idea or two, please share it in the comments below. It may end up being chosen and revealed on-air!

Meet Your New Party Planner: Giada De Laurentiis to Help You Throw Your Best Events Ever on Giada Entertains

by in Shows, December 15th, 2015

Giada De LaurentiisIf the mere thought of opening up your home to guests and hosting a party sends chills down your spine, you’re not alone. But it doesn’t have to be all work and no play for you as the host. On her all-new series Giada Entertains, Giada De Laurentiis is out to prove that throwing a party can be downright easy — and also enjoyable for both you and your guests. All you need are a few good-to-know strategies and tried-and-true recipes, which Giada is set to share.

Premiering Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, at 11a|10c, Giada Entertains proves that the season of celebration doesn’t have to end with the holidays. No matter if you’re inviting the gals over for a casual night in or you’re gathering fellow football fans for a tailgate of epic proportions, Giada has the tricks to help you execute the party with ease. In each episode she’ll dish out crowd-pleasing eats and drinks, as well as offer her secrets for setting up and maintaining the best vibe for the event you’re hosting. With her simple how-tos in your back pocket, you’ll not only feel comfortable entertaining but also look forward to it.

Read more

Kale and Pistachio Pesto Spaghetti — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 14th, 2015

Kale and Pistachio Pesto SpaghettiWhile basil often claims the starring role in traditional pesto recipes, this vibrant green sauce can surely be made with just about any other green, which means that even when fragrant basil is out of season, like it is now, post-steamy days of summer, you can enjoy this quick-fix favorite. Food Network Kitchen’s recipe for Kale and Pistachio Pesto Spaghetti not only calls for kale as the leafy green, but it also puts pistachio nuts to work in place of the classic pine nuts.

“Kale adds a rich earthy note and brilliant green color to this hearty pesto,” the chefs in Food Network Kitchen said, and because this top-rated recipe comes together in only 35 minutes, it’s a go-to pick for those nights when you’re strapped for time. To boost the healthy factor here, Food Network Kitchen chefs opt for whole-wheat spaghetti, but they don’t compromise on flavor: Bold garlic and nutty Parmesan cheese round out the flavor of the sauce. According to the chefs, “This makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups pesto, which would also be good on fish, chicken, pork or steak,” so keep this recipe in your back pocket even when you’re cooking for Meatless Monday.

Read more

Wake Up to Holiday Cheer: The 6 Best Christmas Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 14th, 2015

Panettone Bread PuddingIf the seasonal tradition in your home calls for a wake-up-worthy breakfast or brunch on Christmas morning instead of a grand feast at dinnertime, you’re in luck, because these savory and sweet recipes will start your holiday on a hearty note. Read on below for classic picks like baked eggs as well as crowd-pleasing ham, dressed-up bacon and cornbread casseroles.

Panettone Bread Pudding
A favorite among many Italians during the holiday season, panettone is a sweet, soft-inside bread often studded with dried fruits. Here Ina Garten lets the bread sop up a rich, creamy custard laced with almond extract, so when it bakes, it’s full of moisture and flavor. For welcome crunch, she blankets the top of the bread pudding with sliced toasted almonds before it goes in the oven.

Read more

Simon’s Journey ‘Round the Rotisserie — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 13th, 2015

“You got to learn to twist the core.” That was Alton Brown‘s advice to a less-than-enthused Simon Majumdar as he took his turn — literally — around what Alton called “the human rotisserie.” This downright diabolical sabotage made its return to tonight’s all-new Cutthroat Kitchen episode for the gyro challenge, and in true After-Show fashion, Alton forced the judge of the day, this time Simon, to get a hands-on feel for the demands of eviliciousness.

“I’m getting a little cramp here,” Simon admitted as he strained from side to side and attempted to reach the prep and cook stations while the rotating spit was in motion. It didn’t take long, however, for Simon to realize that perhaps the most-efficient way to cook his dish — a crab cake instead of the challenge gyro — was to simply carry the pan as he turned. He managed to fry the crab cake and watch over it, instead of risking burning it in what was a screaming-hot skillet. “I suggested that she do this as well,” Alton told Simon of Chef Melanie, who was saddled with this sabotage during the competition. “But she didn’t. She wanted to keep the pan on the heat the whole time.”

Read more

Easy Calzones — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 13th, 2015

Easy CalzonesCheese and sausage — if this combination sounds like your favorite pizza toppings, then you’ll surely enjoy this decadent duo when wrapped up in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, The Pioneer Woman’s Easy Calzones. Follow Ree Drummond’s lead and opt for store-bought frozen dinner rolls for the pastry, which will save you the time of making dough from scratch. She mixes up a creamy mixture of ricotta, gooey mozzarella and nutty Parmesan to create the ultimate gooey cheese filling, which partners well with hearty sausage. Serve a tomato-garlic sauce on the side for a tried-and-true pairing.

For more comforting recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Easy Calzones 

Dress Up Your Holiday Ham with The Kitchen’s 2 New Recipes

by in Recipes, Shows, December 12th, 2015

The KitchenUnlike Thanksgiving, when it’s all but assumed that a glistening turkey will be headlining your feast, the December holidays leave room for interpretation when it comes to the star of your table. Turkey makes repeat appearances, but we also see impressive beef rib roasts, grilled lamb, seafood and, of course, classic ham. Though many hams are sold precooked and require little more than reheating in the oven, a simple glaze can boost the flavor, as can complementary side dishes and the way you plate the meat. That’s where this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen comes in. Geoffrey Zakarian and Jeff Mauro shared creative twists on the traditional slice-and-serve ham. See what they did to dress up this seasonal staple with their recipes below.

Instead of opting for just a bit of mustard to accompany his ham, GZ offers a duo of sides to add next-level taste and texture to the dish. Similar to the traditional glaze that gets slicked across the ham, Geoffrey’s Fig Chutney boasts subtle sweetness, which he balances with the heat of a pinch of cayenne pepper and the richness of fresh red wine. To round out the meal, his Collard Salad with Walnuts, Pecorino and Mustard Vinaigrette is an easy, no-cook salad that comes together in mere minutes. If you’ve never before served collard greens raw, Geoffrey notes in his recipe, “The acid [in the vinaigrette] will break down the leaves a bit and tenderize them.”

Read more