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.

After Buying This Restaurant: McNabs Dockside

by in Shows, March 23rd, 2014

Keith Simpson on Buy This RestaurantLeaving behind pasts in Washington, D.C., Tim and Jennifer moved south to Fort Lauderdale and soon set their sights on business ownership. Although Tim has vast experience in the food industry, he and Jennifer needed guidance when it came to finding a location to launch an Irish pub, so they looked to Keith Simpson and Buy This Restaurant. Together they scoured several potential hot spots before selecting a waterfront restaurant with both dock and road access.

FN Dish checked in with Tim soon after filming to find out how his brand-new business, now named McNabs Dockside, is progressing. Read on below to hear from Tim for the exclusive first update on McNabs.

How is construction going at McNabs Dockside? In what stage is the renovation, and when do you plan to open?
Construction is going great. We are approaching the final stage. We anticipate opening in May.

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Win a Signed Copy of Haylie Duff’s Cookbook, The Real Girl’s Kitchen

by in Contests, Shows, March 22nd, 2014

Sunny Anderson, Haylie Duff, Marcela Valladolid and Katie LeeWhile some authors may pride themselves on publishing cookbooks filled with intricate multistep recipes and lavishly elegant meal ideas for special occasions, Haylie Duff is no such writer, releasing a brand-new work, The Real Girl’s Kitchen, that cooks of every caliber can conquer with ease.

She stopped by The Kitchen this morning to introduce this recent release — based on her blog of the same name — and chat with the co-hosts about some of her favorite go-to dishes that are every bit as easy to prepare as they are deliciously satisfying. Together with Sunny Anderson, Haylie prepped two savory bites, Bacon-Wrapped Dates and Mushroom and Herb Crostini, which take the hassle out of entertaining, thanks to fuss-free preparation.

You can buy a copy of Haylie’s cookbook here, or you can enter to win one for free from FN Dish. We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected readers each a copy of The Real Girl’s Kitchen, and all you have to do to enter to win one is leave a comment below telling us your favorite recipe featured on The Kitchen so far this season (find them all here). You must include the recipe URL in your comment to be entered to win.

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Tempting an Evilicious Fate: Cutthroat Kitchen Winners to Return for Second Battle

by in Shows, March 20th, 2014

Cutthroat Kitchen ChefsWhether they’ve won or lost on Cutthroat Kitchen, many competitors would likely agree that one turn at the contest is enough, as it’s too fierce and downright evilicious to attempt again. For four determined chefs, however, one Cutthroat cook-off isn’t enough.

Chefs Brian, Charles, Frankie and Gwen, all winners from past appearances on the show, are returning to battle this Sunday on an all-new special episode, airing at 10|9c. The rules of the game are the same, but the competition will surely be steeper, as the most-skilled sabotagers are gathering to take on each other in a no-holds-barred competition. Ultimately three of these previous winners will be forced to forfeit their perfect records, and only one will earn the title of two-time Cutthroat conqueror.

Prepare for the upcoming event by reliving Chef Brian’s, Chef Charles’, Chef Frankie’s and Chef Gwen’s best moments in battle, then tell FN Dish in the poll below who you want to win a second time this weekend.

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Restaurant Revisited: Fiery Family Fusion at Pasión Latin Fusion

by in Shows, March 19th, 2014

Robert IrvineInferior food was just one of the problems Robert Irvine was forced to contend with when he arrived at Pasión Latin Fusion in Albuquerque, N.M. Owners Monica and Elvis Bencomo were faced with financial struggles and family conflict, and they needed Restaurant: Impossible to improve their issues if Pasión was to have any chance at future success. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert transformed the interior of the Latin-inspired eatery, overhauled the menu and eased strained personal relationships to ultimately relaunch the business. Read on below to hear from Monica in an exclusive interview and find out how Pasión is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible reopening.

Since Robert left, Monica says, “Sales are definitely up by about 40 percent compared to January 2013 and 30 percent from December 2013.” She adds that “according to our servers, about one in five customers are new.”

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Best 5 Recipes for Spring

by in In Season, Recipes, March 19th, 2014

Primavera with Prosciutto, Asparagus and CarrotsTomorrow marks the first day of spring, and just as you may be getting ready to transition your wardrobe from heavy snow coats to light jackets, so, too, are you likely longing for a change in everyday meals. Gone are the cravings for warming stews and comforting casseroles; it’s all about bright, fresh flavors that make the most out of this brand-new time of year. Check out Food Network’s top-five recipes for the season below, and celebrate the first days of spring with an abundance of crisp vegetables and juicy fruits of all colors.

5. Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetables — With this all-in-one supper of juicy chicken, hearty potatoes, and colorful carrots and radishes, you no longer have to prepare separate protein, starch and vegetable components to offer a complete meal.

4. Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette — Consider Rachael’s fuss-free recipe the ultimate go-to salad, as it requires just a few minutes to assemble the lettuce with fresh berries and a tangy dressing.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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