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.

Weeknight Chili — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 16th, 2013

Weeknight Two-Bean ChiliWhile some dishes — like meatballs and burgers — struggle to keep their identities when you take away the meat, chilis, soups and stews hold up well without it. Chili is naturally beefy and rich. Most chilis, meatless or not, are traditionally made with beans, and in the case of vegetarian cooking, it’s that hefty protein that adds hearty substance to the meat-free dish.

Food Network Kitchens relies on kidney and black beans to be the base of this recipe for Weeknight Two-Bean Chili (pictured above), a fuss-free dinner that’s ready to eat in 30 quick minutes. Laced with jalapeno, onions and crushed tomatoes, this one-pan chili is given an added boost of flavor from bold chili powder and a pinch of Chinese five-spice, which Food Network Kitchens say “is a nice spice surprise.” If you don’t like kidney or black beans, just substitute two of your favorite varieties. Serve the chili atop rice to round out the meal, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese for a decadent finish.

Read more

A Southern Holiday Season with Damaris Phillips

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 16th, 2013

Damaris PhillipsWhether it be staying true to the Southern food she grew up eating or every year bringing the same dish to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner, Damaris Phillips is all about tradition, and there’s perhaps no more important time for tradition than the holidays. For Damaris, this season of celebration means just a few things — family, food and love — and that hasn’t changed since she was a young girl growing up with her five siblings in Louisville, Ky. Just in time for Christmas, FN Dish sat down with Damaris in Louisville to find out more about what the holidays looked like for her when she was a child and to chat about how she celebrates today. Read on below to hear from Damaris and to learn the must-have item at her Christmas dinner, her favorite holiday song and movie, and her sweet alternative to eggnog.

How did you celebrate the holidays growing up?
Damaris Phillips: With my family. There’s a bunch of siblings and so we’d would go downstairs in the morning. We’d wake my parents up. My mom would make, like, quiche or cinnamon rolls or something, and we’d go downstairs and there was always, like, bags of our presents. Our parents were really good at, like, not wrapping Santa presents, so if there was, like, a bicycle, there’d be just a bicycle there waiting for you. And then we would hang out and play with toys — and eat lots of food. I mean, just exactly like you think of Christmas …. It used to be the whole world went still and it was just a time to hang out with your family. So thankfully I had all those siblings, so it was always fun, and we were playing with new toys and probably driving my parents bonkers, but it was awesome.

Read more

Hot-Iron Woes and a Chilly Ball of Ice Cream — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 15th, 2013


Having been a judge on the premiere season of Cutthroat Kitchen, Simon Majumdar is no stranger to the tricks and challenges that befall competitors in each round of cooking, but after eating set cheese and soupy ice cream on tonight’s all-new Season 2 premiere, he needed a few clarifications on how the dishes came to be. Host Alton Brown — who’s not only privy to the sabotages, but in charge of auctioning them off as well — filled in Simon during the latest installment of his After-Show.

It turns out that the patty melt-inspired dish that Chef Stratton gave Simon was mushroom-heavy on account of the Freeze Dried Meat product he was forced to work with after Chef Wiginton assigned it to him. “There was no patty in the dish, really,” Simon told Alton. “It was mushroom-heavy, and I guess that’s what he did to try and compensate, but it kind of overcompensated a bit.” This ingredient was so unlike fresh meat that it prevented Chef Stratton from turning it into a traditional patty.

Read more

One-on-One with the Winner of Restaurant Express

by in Shows, December 15th, 2013

Restaurant ExpressAfter seven weeks of showdowns, Robert Irvine‘s first-ever Restaurant Express road trip came full circle when the bus rolled into Sin City for the finale. Robert shocked the remaining three hopefuls last week when he announced all of them would make it to tonight’s all-or-nothing competition. But while Adam Goldgell was guaranteed a spot in the last challenge, Jan Charles and Seonkyoung Longest had to go head-to-head in a cook-off for the chance to join him in one night of restaurant service for the chance to claim the win.

Read on below to find out whether Jan or Seon advanced to the end, and get the exclusive first interview with the winner of Restaurant Express and Las Vegas’ newest restaurateur.

SPOILER ALERT: Hear from the winner

One-on-One with Marc Forgione

by in Food Network Chef, December 14th, 2013

Marc ForgioneThis fall, FN Dish introduced you to Marc Forgione‘s brand-new steakhouse in New York City, American Cut, and looked back on the Iron Chef’s last three years of battle in Kitchen Stadium. But what else is there to know about Marc beyond his experience as a restaurateur and the fierce competition he brings to Iron Chef America? FN Dish sat down with Marc to learn about his personal food preferences, go-to kitchen utensil, must-have at his last supper and least-favorite ingredient. Read on below to hear what Marc had to say and find out more about his culinary tastes.

What’s your Achilles’ heel ingredient, one that you hate to work with or encounter in someone else’s dish?
Marc Forgione: I’m not a huge fan of monkfish liver.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?
MF: Blood clams.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?
MF: I love New York City sliced pizza.

Read more

Watch: Alton’s Video Tour of the Cutthroat Kitchen Set

by in Shows, December 13th, 2013

YouTube Preview Image
Just in time for this Sunday’s Season 2 premiere of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown is giving fans an insider’s look at the set where all of the competition goes down. No one knows the kitchen quite like Alton, the host of the show and the shameless deliverer of evil sabotages, so he’s the ultimate tour guide. Showing off the infamous pantry, where chefs have just 60 seconds to shop, revealing what’s behind closed doors in the refrigerator, and taking fans behind the stoves and prep tables to see where the competitors face off, Alton’s keeping nothing secret — he’s even revealing little-known tidbits about the set, including the dumbwaiter, which reveals each round’s sabotages.

Click the play button on the video above to watch Alton’s behind-the-scenes tour of Cutthroat Kitchen, and learn insider facts about the set. Then tune in Sunday at 10pm/9c to watch Alton and four all-new chefs on the Season 2 premiere of Cutthroat Kitchen.

Read more

#TBT: Melissa d’Arabian

by in Food Network Chef, December 12th, 2013

Melissa d'ArabianIt’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.

Long before Melissa d’Arabian provided parents with a one-stop guide to combatting picky eating in kids or started writing for this very blog, she was a devoted Food Network fan looking to take her love of cooking to the next level. She ultimately earned the chance to do just that when she proved her commitment to the kitchen once and for all by getting cast on Food Network Star, Season 5 — and winning. This mom of four impressed the Selection Committee with her personable charm and family-friendly recipes so much so that she went on to star in her first-ever Food Network series, Ten Dollar Dinners.

Read more

Best 5 Christmas Appetizers

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 11th, 2013

Baked BrieSimilar to Thanksgiving, the Christmas supper is often a rich, hearty meal complete with beef, turkey, lamb or ham, among other sides and salads — not to mention dessert — which is why party starters tend to be simple and light fare. But while you don’t want your guests to fill up on appetizers, it’s best to offer a few pre-dinner munchies to satisfy their cravings when they walk in the door and to hold them over until the main dish is ready. Quick-fix snacks like dips and mini meatballs are go-to picks, as is crostini or cheese and crackers, since they don’t require forks and knives, and guests can grab them as they mingle. This holiday, stick with Food Network’s top-five appetizers below to ensure casual, stress-free get-togethers that let crowd-pleasing recipes shine.

5. French Onion Dip — The secret to Guy’s top-rated recipe is cooking the onions slowly over a low temperature so they have time to become sweet, soft and caramelized, which will add to the overall depth of flavor in his sour cream-based dip. Click the play button on the video after the jump to watch Guy make it.

4. Crostini with Thyme-Roasted Tomatoes — For an elegant appetizer presentation that’s deceptively simple to achieve, Chopped host Ted Allen slow-roasts slices of tomatoes until they’re tender, then features them atop garlic-rubbed toast.

Get the top-three recipes

All New in 2014: 5 Stars Will Join Forces on The Kitchen

by in Shows, December 11th, 2013

The KitchenThere’s no question that in most homes, the kitchen is the warmest room in the house, the place where memories are made and stories are shared — not to mention where family meals are prepared day after day. And beginning this winter, five of your favorite Food Network stars will celebrate these aspects and more of the kitchen on an all-new series.

Jeff Mauro, Geoffrey Zakarian, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson will come together on The Kitchen, premiering Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at 11am/10c, in a weekly morning show to not just cook some of their signature recipes together, but to dish on current food trends, chat about their families’ strategies for easy weeknight meals, swap money-saving tips and help you get the most out of your favorite kitchen gadgets. As these stars will gather around the kitchen table week after week, each will lend a unique perspective to the conversation, among them Katie’s often-healthy point of view, Marcela’s flair for Mexican cuisine and Geoffrey’s penchants for crafted cocktails.

Keep reading

Tofu-Stuffed Acorn Squash — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 9th, 2013

Tofu-Stuffed Acorn SquashThough squash often plays a starring role on Thanksgiving dinner tables — from soups and salads to mashes and mac and cheese — this family-friendly vegetable is a staple all winter long. Just like butternut and spaghetti squash, acorn squash is endlessly versatile: Feature it as a simple side to round out the meal, or let acorn squash take center stage on your dinner table as the main dish. The key to turning acorn squash — or any vegetable — into an entree is beefing it up a bit with hearty protein, like meat, tofu or eggs, plus complementary ingredients to add extra flavor.

In its recipe for Tofu-Stuffed Acorn Squash (pictured above), Food Network Magazine puts a spin on classic stuffed peppers by using squash as the vessel of choice and tofu instead of ground meat as the filling. Since tofu can be plain on its own, it’s important to cook it with bold ingredients so it adopts those tastes and becomes full-flavored. Here Food Network Magazine sautes tofu with olive oil, garlic and onions, then adds juicy cherry tomatoes and baby spinach to create a fresh mixture. Parmesan cheese and lemon juice add balancing richness and a refreshing flavor to the combination, which is served inside a tender roasted acorn squash with a simple pita-spinach salad on the side.

Read more