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: Stay or Go at Ellendale’s Restaurant

by in Shows, November 12th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIt’s the name of the Ambush game that business owners are shocked by Robert Irvine‘s unexpected appearance with his Restaurant: Impossible team. What happens after that initial surprise is up to the owners themselves: Are they open to Robert’s help, or are they so fearful of change that they refuse to let him make their eateries better? On tonight’s brand-new episode, one owner, Julie of Nashville’s Ellendale’s Restaurant, nearly turned down Robert’s offer of a second chance at success when he visited her restaurant unannounced. But once she came to terms with the potential for vast improvements, she readily welcomed him and his team. And it’s a good thing she did, because after a few days of work, Ellendale’s reopened to a full house. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Julie to see how her business is faring these days.

“Business has improved since the buzz of the show. It’s up about 20 percent, which is huge to me. Before the show I was running four or five servers a night and now seven or eight,” Julie admits. She adds that she’s pleased with the updated design of the restaurant, as are her employees and the diners who visit the restaurant. “The staff loves taking the guests around the room and showing off the new changes. I think everyone’s favorite element is the outrageously large wood beam turned into a chandelier hanging in the center of the dining room,” she says.

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Here’s What Food Network Stars Crave Most on Thanksgiving

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 12th, 2015

Sunny AndersonAfter hours (days, really) of prepping each element of Thanksgiving dinner, once your family and friends have gathered around the table and everyone has been served a plate, there’s nothing else to do but finally eat the feast before you. From the mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole to the Brussels sprouts, roasted carrots and, of course, the juicy turkey, there are countless reasons to love the meal — not to mention the dessert that comes after it — so it’s no surprise that seemingly everyone looks forward to one element of it in particular. FN Dish caught up with some of your favorite chefs, and it turns out that they too crave specific dishes — read on to see what they had to say.

“I look forward to everything, but I love the mac and cheese, because I seldom make it — even though I love mac and cheese — really, because I love it I seldom make it, because it’s a 9-by-13 moment, and what will I do with the rest of it, you know?” Sunny Anderson admits.

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How to Win the Dessert Course This Thanksgiving: Pie, Pie and More Pie

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 12th, 2015

Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan PieAfter a richly decadent Thanksgiving feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and likely several kinds of casseroles, the only way to end the meal is with something sweet … and also richly decadent. If cakes are the go-to at birthday parties, then pies were made for turkey day. Whether your family craves the tradition of a spiced apple pie or prefers the creaminess of the peanut butter variety, there’s indeed a filling for every personality this season. Check out Food Network’s top pie picks below, each a tried-and-true favorite from our chefs.

Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie
Let’s nickname this one “indecision pie”: It’s a three-way mash-up of apple, pumpkin and pecan pies for those times when you really want a slice of all three at the buffet table. With a base of buttery pecans, an edge of sweetened apples and a center of spiced pumpkin puree, this pie boasts comforting fall flavors in each bite.

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Justin’s Journey from Judgee to Judge — Alton’s Superstar Sabotage After-Show

by in Shows, November 12th, 2015

It was just last night that Chef Justin Warner put all of his hopes for evilicious glory into three plates for judge Antonia Lofaso during Heat 2 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. And lucky for Justin, Antonia was so wowed by the offerings before her that he won the round and earned the right to advance to the tournament finale. But not long after claiming the preliminary crown did Justin learn firsthand just what it’s like to judge — while Antonia learned a bit about what went into that day’s diabolical sabotages. On the latest installment of the After-Show, host Alton Brown offered himself and Antonia up for a not-so-friendly competition featuring an evilicious sabotage — Round 2’s turntable prep station — while Justin took on the role of judge.

After just barely finishing her grocery shopping within the allotted 60 seconds in the pantry, Antonia ran to the turntable where she and Alton were to cook Swedish pancakes side by side, and it didn’t take long for her to realize the difficulties of the rotating table. “I’m getting really dizzy,” she admitted, while Alton was trying to recover from his momentary panic over a missing whisk. Justin watched the duo wrangle with the sabotage and couldn’t help but smile at the scene before him. “Antonia, could you tell me what you’re making?” he asked the judge before questioning Alton. “Could you tell me what you’ve put in yours?” Justin asked the host, who couldn’t hide the fact that his pancake had darkened more than he would have liked. “I’m folding up my badly burned pancake,” Alton said. But then he corrected himself: “No, it’s perfect. What am I saying?”

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One-on-One with the Heat 2 Winner of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage

by in Shows, November 11th, 2015

Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar SabotageAlton Brown isn’t shy about doling out diabolical sabotages to anyone and everyone who enters the hallowed Cutthroat Kitchen arena, including grandmas, firefighters, the judges he keeps on hand and the A-list chefs on Superstar Sabotage. In this brand-new series, 16 all-star professionals, all renowned in their field, have agreed to subject themselves to Alton’s eviliciousness. While most will ultimately fall in their quest for Cutthroat glory, a few will shine — one in each of the four preliminary rounds and one of them again in the tournament finale. Check back to FN Dish after each episode to hear from the latest round’s winner in an exclusive interview. If you haven’t watched tonight’s new episode, read no further, because we’re about to break down the ins and outs of the battle.

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Feast Your Eyes on the 11 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 11th, 2015

Best Thanksgiving Side DishesWhile the turkey often gets all the glory at Thanksgiving dinner, it’s the side dishes that turn the turkey into a full meal. From creamy mashed potatoes and classic green bean casserole to roasted vegetables, cranberry sauces and buttery, flaky breads, the seemingly second-string dishes can indeed take the spotlight at your holiday feast. Below are Food Network’s best-of-the-best side dish picks, the tried-and-true winners that will surely garner praise from your holiday guests.

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8 Turkeys That Are Guaranteed to Deliver Flavor — and Oohs and Aahs from Your Guests

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 10th, 2015

Perfect Roast TurkeyBe honest: Is turkey your favorite part of Thanksgiving? No matter if you answered yes or no, chances are you’ll be cooking up a bird this holiday, as it’s arguably the most-important element of your Thanksgiving dinner table. As the centerpiece of the feast, a winning bird will bring balance to the seemingly never-ending buffet of veggie side dishes (and provide the leftovers for must-have turkey sandwiches), whether you fry it, roast it, stuff it or brine it. Check out some of Food Network’s best-ever turkey recipes below, each chock-full of good-to-know tips from your favorite chefs.

Perfect Roast Turkey: The tried-and-true staples are beloved for a reason, and Ina Garten’s top-rated turkey is no exception to that rule. Ina stuffs the bird with fresh thyme and a halved lemon to gently flavor the bird from the inside out.

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Healthy Squash and Kale Casserole — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 9th, 2015

Healthy Squash and Kale CasseroleWhen time is tight on busy weeknights, the key to easy, enjoyable mealtimes is taking advantage of what you already have. While some nights that may mean looking to a refrigerator full of groceries to put simple, ready-to-go ingredients to work, other times it could call for a bit of creativity in dressing up your pantry staples. Then there are the nights that it can be as simple as letting your past prep help. Enter the frozen casserole.

With a crispy breadcrumb blanket on top and a center of tender, garlic-laced veggies, hearty brown rice and a creamy, cheesy sauce, Food Network Kitchen’s Healthy Squash and Kale Casserole is a make-ahead beauty. It can be assembled up to two weeks before you want to eat it, so perhaps dedicate some time over the weekend to putting this big-batch pick together, and then freeze it for later. When you’re ready to eat, preparing it is as simple as covering it with foil and letting it bake.

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5 Ways to Get Your Table Ready for the Holidays

by in Entertaining, Holidays, November 9th, 2015

Thanksgiving Centerpieces and Decorating IdeasThe food may just be the most-important thing on your Thanksgiving table (next to your family and friends around it, of course). But that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up the space to make it more seasonal and fit for the feast. Check out these easy, inexpensive ideas and good-to-know tricks to trim your table with a fall-focused spread, no matter if your plans include hosting kids or throwing an elegant celebration.

Repurpose Existing Goods
You know that wine bottle you have left over from the other night? That could be your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Save a few bottles and fill them with grains to create an easy yet impressive display.

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“Tiny Tank, Tiny Food, Tiny Results” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 8th, 2015

For the first time ever on Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown hosted a special military battle in which four members of the armed services faced off for evilicious glory, and in true evilicious fashion, Alton debuted a series of military-focused sabotages with diabolical effects. In what would ultimately be her undoing, Chef Bella had to cook inside a pintsize tank in Round 2 and also cook with only the remnants of blown-up basket ingredients. “Tiny tank, tiny food, tiny results,” Alton said on his After-Show to judge Antonia Lofaso about the competitor’s elimination in Round 2. “That’s a lot to handle,” Antonia admitted, and indeed she knows a bit about the difficulty of Chef Bella’s burden.

Before she saw firsthand the food fragments left over from the culinary explosion, which ultimately made up Chef Bella’s submarine sandwich ingredients, Antonia climbed into the tank for a few spins around the arena — while chasing Alton. “Come get me, Antonia,” the host joked as he ran away from the moving tank. “I bet you can’t get me over here.” After a few too many close calls and a minor collision with the After-Show chair setup, Antonia was forced to exit the tank.

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