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.

Traditional Classics, Updated: 4 Favorite Stuffings to Savor

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 7th, 2014

Sausage and Herb StuffingStuffing or dressing, in the bird or out, cornbread or sourdough, crispy edges or not — no matter what you call the bread-based side dish on your Thanksgiving table or how you prefer to eat it, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without it. This year, honor the traditional dish while dressing up your feast with fresh, new flavors by putting a few twists on classic recipes. Read on below for go-to recipe inspiration for stuffings and dressings from Ina Garten, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis, then check out Food Network’s Thanksgiving Central for more side dish selections.

Ina sticks to tried-and-true dish in her recipe for Sausage and Herb Stuffing (pictured above), a crowd-pleasing casserole made with the trifecta of classic stuffing ingredients: apples, onions and celery. Follow Ina’s recipe and use either white or sourdough bread to form the base of the casserole, then opt for sweet or spicy sausage, depending on your family’s tastes. After mixing in the cranberries, plus a splash of chicken stock for moisture, bake the stuffing until it’s turned deliciously browned on top.

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Alton Cooks the Superstar Sabotage: Meatballs

by in Recipes, Shows, November 6th, 2014

While many consider meatballs the ultimate accompaniment to classic spaghetti and tomato sauce, these traditionally beefy rounds go beyond Italian comfort food, as Superstar Sabotage winner Eric Greenspan showed off on last night’s finale when he presented them in an Asian-style dish. Host Alton Brown, too, puts a creative spin on the everyday meatball in his easy-to-make recipe for Swedish Meatballs (pictured above).

Ideal for weekend tailgating or a casual appetizer, Alton’s top-rated meatballs are made with a mix of ground beef and pork, and they’re portioned into bite-size rounds so they’re easy to eat at a party. The key element of Alton’s recipe is his gravy; instead of simmering the meatballs in a tomato-garlic sauce, he sautes them on the stove before blanketing them in a rich, creamy broth-based topping laced with fragrant allspice.

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Cutthroat Kitchen Host Alton Recaps the Superstar Sabotage Tournament

by in Recipes, Shows, November 6th, 2014

Alton BrownIn true tournament fashion, the final moments were some of the most anticipated in Cutthroat Kitchen‘s first-ever installment of Superstar Sabotage. Over the course of four weeks, 16 of your favorite A-list culinary masters took their places in the Cutthroat arena for no-holds-barred competition, subjecting themselves to sabotage upon sabotage all in the name of charity. But last night, the final four rivals — Chefs Aarti Sequeira, Eric Greenspan, Fabio Viviani and Marcel Vigneron — went to battle in the last heat, and as fans might have expected, host Alton Brown saved some of his shock-and-awe flashes until the very end. Read on below to hear from Alton as he looks back at a most-memorable finale.

For the first time ever, you doubled chefs’ bank accounts and gifted them a total of $50,000 to spend during the finale. Is that allowance a blessing or a curse, and do you think that allowance changed the course of play?
Alton Brown: It’s only a blessing or a curse if you’re on the receiving end of it at the end of the day. For whatever charity gets the money, then it can be a huge blessing. But really, in the kitchen environment, it’s kind of play money in a way. It almost doesn’t matter. It could be millions and it wouldn’t matter.

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“Competition Smarts” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 5th, 2014

Not just a competition, Cutthroat Kitchen is a game, and to win, chefs must be able to not only outcook their contestants but also outthink them, both during auction and in the midst of their food prep. During tonight’s finale heat of Superstar Sabotage, Chef Marcel Vigneron proved just how useful it is to be a savvy contestant — one that can anticipate the judging process and use it to his advantage.

In Round 1’s meatball challenge, Marcel was forced to make the star of his dish with either canned soup or canned ham, and he opted for the ham, a seemingly doozy of an ingredient but perhaps ultimately his saving grace. “It freaking tastes good,” host Alton Brown revealed on his After-Show. “It’s salty, so it’s got those spices.” Judge Simon Majumdar agreed, explaining that while the salt of such a canned product has the potential to be overwhelming, Marcel used the “competition smarts” to use that flavor to his benefit. “He knew that I was only going to take a taste, mix it with the other things on the plate and then make my decision based on that,” Simon said. “It’s not like I was going to chow down on the whole big meatball.”

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Curtis Stone

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, November 5th, 2014

Curtis StoneYou likely saw him compete on Iron Chef America, perhaps made his recipe for his best-ever breakfast dish and surely watched him judge the finale battle on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off. And now, beginning tonight, you can catch Curtis Stone on the all-new series Kitchen Inferno (airing tonight at 10|9c) as he oversees fiery battles between chefs in the ultimate game of risk and reward. Just in time for Kitchen Inferno’s series premiere, Curtis stopped by Food Network’s Facebook page to chat with his fans, answer their questions about the show and reveal little-know tidbits about himself. Read on below to see highlights from the chat and learn 10 facts about the Kitchen Inferno host, including his least-favorite food, his most-craved holiday treat and the go-to ingredients he keeps in the refrigerator.

1. Curtis’ top pick for supper? “It would be something that reminds me of my childhood, like roast pork with cracklings,” he says. “I still make it a lot at home.”

2. His least-favorite food is licorice.

3. Curtis owns a tasting-menu-based restaurant in California. “My favorite food trend is the trend of tasting menus because I think it’s a beautiful way to eat. You put yourself in the hands of the chefs and their ability to cook for you,” he explains.

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Best 5 Thanksgiving Appetizers

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 5th, 2014

While you want your Thanksgiving dinner guests to have something to munch on when they arrive at your house, you don’t want them to fill up on snacks and ultimately be too full to enjoy the feast. So, when it comes to dishing out appetizers on turkey day, less is more; think small bites of crunchy nuts, a simple soup or a creamy cheese. These fuss-free starters will satisfy the crowd and leave them craving the main event, but — as a bonus for you, the host or hostess — most are quick to prepare. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five Thanksgiving appetizer recipes to find ideas fit for the feast, then check out Thanksgiving Central for more appetizer inspiration.

5. Devilish Eggs — Ready to eat in less than 25 minutes, these classic deviled eggs are lightened up with the help of tofu, which stretches the traditionally indulgent mustard-laced yolk filling.

4. Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip — Follow Alton Brown’s lead and save time in the kitchen by starting with frozen spinach and frozen artichokes to make his quick-fix dip. He mixes tangy sour cream with cream cheese, plus a dollop of mayonnaise and a pinch of garlic powder, for over-the-top richness.

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Thanksgiving Turkey 101: Your Guide to Roasting Your Best-Ever Bird

by in Holidays, November 5th, 2014

How to Roast TurkeyThe Thanksgiving turkey: It’s the centerpiece of your holiday table and perhaps the most-craved component of the feast. But for many, turkeys are also the trickiest part of the menu to make, thanks in part to the fact that it’s likely been a year since you’ve cooked a bird of this size. This holiday season, however, tackle your turkey fears once and for all with the help of Food Network’s go-to turkey-roasting guide; all it takes is a few good-to-know tips and simple steps to turn out your juiciest, crispiest-skinned bird yet. Read on below to learn the basics of cooking a turkey, then check out How to Roast Turkey to get all of the details.

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Exclusive: Damaris Phillips Dishes on the New Season of Southern at Heart

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, November 4th, 2014

Damaris PhillipsIt was barely one year ago that fans welcomed Damaris Phillips — the winner of Food Network Star, Season 9 — into the Food Network family when she premiered her brand-new series, Southern at Heart (airing Sundays at 12|11c). Now this Kentucky-born chef is back with a third helping of her show, and this time it’s going to be focused more on what she calls “cooking from the heart.” FN Dish recently caught up with Damaris to find out more about the culinary passions she’s bringing to Southern at Heart and learn what kinds of recipes she’s excited to show off. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Damaris as she talks Season 3 of her series and reveals the must-haves of a classic Southern feast.

Congratulations on a third season! What are you most looking forward to as the episodes roll out?
Damaris Phillips: So this season at the end of all the recipes, where I talk about having a dinner party or I talk about having Christmas with my family, or I talk about going on a date with my gentleman, instead of just talking about those, we’ve invited people to see those at the end of each of the shows. So I’m really excited because every person that I love is on the show. So when I talk about cooking from the heart, these are the people that I cook for, and it is magical to see them on television and see from the outside so you can appreciate those people that you love so much.

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Ina’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes: The Secret to Stress-Free Thanksgiving Spuds

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 4th, 2014

Goat Cheese Mashed PotatoesOne of the trickiest parts of pulling off Thanksgiving dinner is ensuring that each of the (many, many) components of the meal are ready to eat — and are warm — at the same time. For many, deciding when and how to delegate the precious oven and stove spaces becomes a puzzle as they make mental notes of how long the turkey ought to rest, how quickly water can boil for the potatoes and at what temperature the rolls should bake. This year, however, with the help of Ina Garten, the ever-together hostess, you can tackle one key element of the feast ahead of time: mashed potatoes.

The success of mashed potatoes depends on a super-creamy finished product, and sure enough, when you follow Ina’s boil-and-bake method for her make-ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes from Food Network Magazine, pictured above, the results are soft, smooth spuds. Instead of simply mashing potatoes and letting them rest until dinner — which would likely cause them to turn tough — she assembles the rich, cheesy dish up to three days in advance, refrigerates it, then bakes it with a Parmesan cheese topping before eating.

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Restaurant Revisited: Recipe for Disaster at Papa C’s Eastside Cafe

by in Shows, November 3rd, 2014

Robert Irvine at Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Papa C’s Eastside Cafe, the family drama he discovered was unlike that at any other restaurant he’s visited in nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible. Owner Sal Cimino and his three sons, Sal Jr., Justin and Rick, work at the business together, though much of what they do involves yelling and arguing. It was up to Robert and his team to mend the frayed family dynamic at Papa C’s and overhaul the menu and interior there to reflect a contemporary eatery. Read on below to hear from Sal and find out how his restaurant is doing today.

“The restaurant is doing much better,” Sal reveals of Papa C’s Eastside Cafe. “Revenue is up about 20 percent, and we are now closed on Mondays.”

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