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.

Michael Symon’s Fried Chicken Fundamentals

by in Food Network Chef, March 18th, 2014

Michael SymonMichael Symon may be a guru of all things pork, but at the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he switched the focus from pig to chicken as he demonstrated to a standing room-only crowd the fundamentals of fried chicken. “If you learn the technique, you can make a thousand dishes,” he said, explaining his philosophy in the kitchen, which surely applies to the batter-fry process of chicken. He offered sun-soaked fans on the beach a how-to for making the crispiest, juiciest fried chicken yet — a set of must-know strategies that will yield consistent results every time. Read on below to learn Michael’s secrets, then after mastering his approach, update the process with your own ideas to accommodate your tastes.

1. “Buy the best chicken that you can afford.” The overall taste of the dish will be affected by the quality of ingredients that you use, and he says of the meat, “If it can be organic, great.”

2. Proper and frequent salting is key to any recipe. Not only does it add bold flavor, but it also acts as a tenderizer. “Make it rain,” he suggests of this crucial seasoning.

3. He opts for “a quick brine” of buttermilk to offer moisture and enhanced taste when making his fried chicken. This process is different from a traditional long brine, which many do to Thanksgiving turkeys, as this will not break down the meat too much.

Read more

Go Green (Beans) for St. Patrick’s Day — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 17th, 2014

Green Bean and Egg Salad with Goat Cheese DressingBetween the corned beef and cabbage, ham-studded mashed potatoes and Irish lamb stews that traditionally line holiday tables today, it’s easy to get lost in the meaty buffet of St. Patrick’s Day. But despite these classic recipes, it’s indeed possible to stick to a meatless menu — or at least introduce one vegetarian option — all while sticking with the green theme of the day. Fresh vegetables and leafy salads are naturally colorful, so you can introduce a few of these vibrant plates and make them appropriate for the holiday.

Food Network Magazine’s Green Bean and Egg Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing (pictured above) is a five-star pick that’s easy to make, and it’s packed with bright-green ingredients. Featuring tender potatoes and in-season green beans, plus a bed of mixed greens and juicy tomatoes, this good-for-you salad boasts a mix of textures and light, fresh flavors. Since raw red onions can be a bit powerful, Food Network Magazine recommends soaking them in cold water for a few minutes before adding them to the salad, so they lose some of their sharp bite. Round out the salad with hard-boiled eggs and a creamy mustard-horseradish dressing, made with tangy goat cheese and buttermilk.

Read more

Dressed to Souffle — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 16th, 2014


While many Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages may be downright evilicious, most are, at least in some way, related to the challenge dish in any given round, and they are often inspired by common ingredients, tools and processes used to make that plate. On tonight’s all-new episode, Alton took that idea one step further during the Round 3 souffle battle when he auctioned off what he deemed “a souffle suit,” an oversize, puffed-up outfit that would force a contestant to match the general qualities of a souffle: rounded and inflated.

Chef Millie ultimately found herself victim of the getup, and when judge Simon Majumdar learned of her unfortunate apparel, he told Alton on the host’s After-Show, “The fact that she was able to deliver anything is really remarkable.” Although he was impressed by her ability to cook while dressed up, he couldn’t excuse her dish, which was a sorry attempt at a souffle, as it was wholly without egg whites. “Chef Milly’s was so far away from being a souffle that I just couldn’t make the call any other way,” he explained to Alton of his decision to eliminate Chef Millie. Alton admitted, however, that no matter the outcome, “Chef Millie was an incredible sport” in the face of the sabotage.

Read more

After Buying This Restaurant: The Ville Restaurant

by in Shows, March 16th, 2014

Keith Simpson on Buy This RestaurantHusband and wife Keith and Raquel were no strangers to the food industry when they met Keith Simpson, as they’ve been owners of a successful Indianapolis-area catering company for years. It was only after they decided to pursue a sit-down eatery that they looked to Buy This Restaurant for help in purchasing the ideal location. They toured three possible hot spots before ultimately selecting a 3,800-square-foot restaurant in Noblesville, Ind., that offered both room for a traditional service as well as a private area for catering.

FN Dish checked in with Keith a few months after he and Raquel bought their restaurant, now named The Ville Restaurant, to learn their plans for the business and to find out how the construction process is faring today. Read on below for an exclusive interview.

How is construction going on The Ville Restaurant? In what stage is the renovation, and when do you plan to open?
Keith: Things are going well with construction. … So far we have only completed light demo, but if all goes as planned we will open in June 2014.

Read more

Bacon for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — and Dessert

by in Recipes, March 15th, 2014

Whole-Grain Pancakes with Eggs and BaconIt’s no secret that bacon is a perennial family-friendly favorite, and on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts offered their top secrets for preparing it just right every time. Both Jeff and Geoffrey shared wedge salads — Wedgelet Kabobbies and a Grilled Cobb Wedge, respectively — that showcased this crispy indulgence, proving that a strip of bacon isn’t limited to breakfast plates alone (although it’s indeed a welcome addition there too).

In an effort to celebrate all things bacon, FN Dish rounded up a day’s worth of meals featuring that ingredient: a dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Read on below to find all four recipes, then tell us in the comments your favorite way to enjoy bacon.

Who says bacon can’t be part of a balanced diet? In Food Network Magazine’s easy-to-make Whole-Grain Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon (pictured above), it’s added atop a surprisingly healthy stack of flapjacks and fluffy scrambled eggs.

Read more

Restaurant Revisited: A Lot to Lose at Tootie’s Texas BBQ

by in Shows, March 12th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“There’s nothing that says, ‘Welcome to a barbecue place,’” Robert Irvine said after surveying Tootie’s Texas BBQ, but it turned out that what he deemed the “very, very bland” decor was just one of several problems plaguing owner Eileen Smith’s Cathedral City, Calif., restaurant. With unexceptional ‘cue coming out of the kitchen and mediocre management at the helm of the business, Tootie’s was losing nearly $3,000 every week, so Eileen looked to Robert to reinvigorate the eatery as well as herself, after she’d endured a string of personal losses and devastating struggles. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert indeed fulfilled his Restaurant: Impossible mission, reopening Tootie’s with an updated menu and a comfortable, lively interior. Read on below to hear from Eileen in an exclusive interview, and find out how she and her business are doing today.

“Our sales are up 30 percent,” Eileen says, adding, “I know I have a ways to go before I am making a profit, but the gap is closing. I am working my tail off to ensure success.”

Read more

Best 5 French Toast Recipes

by in Recipes, March 12th, 2014

French ToastWith a crispy, crunchy crust and a moist, tender center, French toast is a hearty breakfast that’s most often made even more comforting with a hefty drizzle of warm maple syrup. While the classic recipe requires little more than bread, eggs, and a splash of milk or cream, there are seemingly endless ways to dress up this timeless favorite, including using specialty bread or baking the toast into a big-batch casserole. Check out Food Network’s top-five French toast recipes below to find a mix of traditional and creative renditions from Guy, Ina, The Pioneer Woman and more Food Network chefs.

5. Texas French Toast Bananas Foster — Using the decadent dessert of bananas Foster as his inspiration, Guy dunks thick-cut Texas toast into a sweet, creamy mixture of rum, cinnamon and orange juice, then tops the griddled bread with caramel-coated bananas.

4. Chocolate Hazelnut Stuffed French Toast — Sandwiched between two slices of buttered French toast, the chocolate-hazelnut spread becomes warm and deliciously gooey.

Read more

Sweet and Savory Snacks Get Rewrapped on All-New Series

by in Shows, March 10th, 2014

Marc Summers and Joey FatoneWhether for an after-school treat, late-day pick-me-up or just-because indulgence, beloved snack foods like Twinkies, potato chips, doughnuts and Goldfish crackers are timeless munchies that can curb cravings in a flash. While you surely have images of noshing on these bites as a child — or just recently — you’re going to see them in an all-new light on the upcoming series Rewrapped.

Hosted by Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and Chopped All-Stars alum Joey Fatone, Rewrapped, premiering Monday, April 21 at 8|7c, will celebrate these tried-and-true comfort foods — and put a competitive spin on them. With limited time to cook in Round 1, three competitors will have to re-create the chosen snack of the day for a panel of discerning food folks and snack-brand experts. The goal is to make their version resemble the original as much as possible in areas like taste, texture and appearance in order to earn points they can carry into Round 2. It’s then a matter of reinvention, as the rivals must use the packaged good to devise a dish all their own. From savory takes on a traditional sweet treat to next-level dessert plates and almost everything in between, competitors will have to deliver on creativity above all else if they want to wow permanent judge Marc Summers, the host of Food Network’s Unwrapped, plus the other evaluators. In the end, however, only one will have earned enough points to claim lasting glory and, best of all, a lifetime supply of their challenge snack.

Read more

One-Pan Breakfast for Dinner — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 10th, 2014

Baked Eggs with Farmhouse Cheddar and PotatoesWeekends are practically made for lazy, relaxed breakfasts, but once Monday strikes, there’s little time to enjoy morning classics. To indulge in your favorite breakfasts like eggs, pancakes or waffles during the hectic week, however, all you have to do is ditch the idea that they can only be enjoyed in the morning. Try swapping out your usual dinner fare and introducing hearty breakfast and brunch staples to your suppertime routine; they’re just as simple and quick to prepare as many traditional dinner dishes, but they’re often a bit more decadent, so they will feel like a treat. Plus, your kids will enjoy the novelty that comes with having “morning” food at nighttime.

Food Network Kitchen’s Baked Eggs with Farmhouse Cheddar and Potatoes is one such easy breakfast dish that’s ideal for dinner, as it combines tried-and-true morning picks and is ready to eat in less than an hour. Made conveniently in a single pan, this recipe is simplest to make when you have all of your ingredients prepared and at the ready; that way you can move from one step to another in flash. Start by sauteing potatoes in fresh parsley and garlic, then create a few wells in the mixture into which you can crack eggs. After baking the eggs for a few minutes, top with a blanket of cheddar, then return to the oven to achieve a gooey, melty finish. Be sure to start the recipe in an ovenproof skillet, like a cast-iron one, since it will move from the stovetop to the oven.

Read more

Allies and Enemies — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 9th, 2014

It’s no secret that success on Cutthroat Kitchen often entails strategy; it’s not enough to show up and cook on this evilicious competition, as at its heart the contest is a game that requires careful manipulation in order to win. While catching up with judge Antonia Lofaso on tonight’s all-new installment of Alton’s After-Show, the host explained that in Round 2′s quiche challenge, two of the remaining chefs could have potentially bettered their own outlooks had they joined forces to sabotage and outcook one rival in particular.

“If I’d been playing the game,” Alton said, “and I was Chef Gregory, I would [have] wanted to preserve Chef Bryan, so then I could have killed him in the end.” He mused of Chef Emmanuel, who likely had vast experience in cooking quiche on account of heritage: “Who wants a French guy to be able to fight a quiche battle?” Antonia agreed and suggested later, “They should have all actually ganged up on [Chef Emmanuel].” She added that it was “lights out” once Chef Emmanuel presented a quiche with Gruyere and bacon on account of these naturally rich, flavorful ingredients. “Everything else could be bad because I put Gruyere and bacon together,” Antonia imagined as Chef Gregory.

Read more