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.

One-on-One with the Heat 3 Winner of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage

by in Shows, November 18th, 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.

Read more

Fans Show Us Their Guilty Food Pleasures: All About Pumpkin

by in Community, Shows, November 17th, 2015

Fans Show Us Their Guilty Food Pleasures: All About PumpkinThough Halloween has come and gone, pumpkin season is still upon us as we look ahead to Thanksgiving; after all, what’s turkey day without a sweet slice of pumpkin pie to finish the feast, right? In honor of last night’s Season 2 premiere of Guilty Pleasures, which showcased your favorite chefs’ picks of Thanksgiving-inspired eats from coast to coast, Food Network asked you, fans watching at home, to show us your best-ever pumpkin plates. And in true superfan fashion, you showed off some droolworthy creations. Keep on reading to see our favorites.

On their own, pancakes are among the most-indulgent breakfasts to wake up to. But when you add pumpkin, like Jose Antonio Garcia does with this butter-topped stack, this morning meal turns into a next-level treat.

Read more

Bobby Flay Calls This Everyday Ingredient “the Key to Thanksgiving”

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 16th, 2015

Bobby FlayThere are myriad things and people without which Thanksgiving would not be complete: the turkey, the potatoes, the pumpkin puree, the gravy and, of course, your family and friends. But according to Bobby Flay, there’s just one ingredient that is “the key to Thanksgiving” — that one must-have product that will help marry the elements of the meal and ensure a successful feast.

Read more

Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 16th, 2015

Rigatoni with Vegetable BologneseWhile traditional Bolognese sauces are packed with meat — often a three-way mix of ground beef, veal and pork — Giada De Laurentiis proves that veggies can indeed steal the spotlight in her top-rated recipe for Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese (pictured above).

Featuring a flavor-packed base of onion, carrots and bell pepper, Giada’s herb-laced sauce boasts a key ingredient to bulk it up in place of the meat: assorted mushrooms. “They’re very hearty and substantial,” Giada explains of the mushrooms. Just a splash of red wine adds another layer of complexity to the sauce, while a dollop of mascarpone cheese offers creaminess and a subtle tang. Giada recommends you save a bit of the pasta water when draining the noodles, as you may need it later to loosen up the sauce. Just before serving, toss the pasta with nutty Parmesan cheese to round out the flavor.

Read more

Stuffing vs. Dressing: It Doesn’t Matter, So Long As One Is on Your Thanksgiving Table

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 16th, 2015

Sausage and Herb StuffingCan you really call your stuffing a “stuffing” if it wasn’t cooked inside the turkey? Do New Yorkers make “dressing,” or is that only a Southern dish? How many ingredient mix-ins is too many when it comes to reinventing the stuffing wheel? There are countless debates surrounding this all-important Thanksgiving side dish, but no matter what argument you believe, one thing is certain: A stuffing or a dressing (however you define it) ought to be on your table this turkey day. Check out Food Network’s all-star lineup of the best picks for both seasonal stuffings and dressings.

Sausage and Herb Stuffing
The beauty of Ina Garten’s timeless stuffing is that you don’t need to start prepping it days in advance to dry out the bread. She simply toasts freshly cut cubes for a few minutes to achieve the same effect.

Read more

When Thanksgiving Turns Into a Hot Dog-Eating Contest — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 15th, 2015

Though it was only one year ago that Alton Brown unveiled the now-infamous turkey suit during last fall’s special Thanksgiving episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the host took the holiday to the next diabolical level tonight when he made one chef hunt for his own turkey — so to speak. The name of the game in Round 2 was turkey tacos, but instead of using traditional ground meat, Chef Vitor was forced to grab his (Nerf) arrow and (plastic) bow and attempt to shoot one of three kinds of turkey meat: turkey pastrami, which was the tiniest turkey, on the top shelf; turkey hot dogs, on the middle level; and the biggest and perhaps least desirable turkey, the jerky, in the bottom row.

Though Chef Vitor spent precious time shooting for the turkey pastrami he craved for his dish, Alton told judge Antonia Lofaso on the After-Show, “I would want the turkey jerky.” He explained after the duo tried their hands at the makeshift shooting range, “They’re the biggest targets, so they’re the easiest to hit and you’d have more time.” For Antonia, though, it was all about scoring the turkey hot dogs, which Alton wasn’t shy about tasting — straight up, on their own — after their friendly face-off. “Did you just [take a] bite of it?” Antonia jokingly asked the host. He challenged her to one more contest, but this time it was a self-sabotage battle. “You wrap up the show and I’ll eat as many of these as I can while you’re talking,” Alton told Antonia as he prepped to shovel hot dogs into his mouth. As she signed off from the After-Show, Alton wasted no time in beginning his challenge, which ended just as you might expect.

Read more

Easy, Cheesy Arancini — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 15th, 2015

AranciniIf you’re thinking that this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week ought to be served with a translation, fear not. Arancini are Italian rice balls, featuring a crispy, golden-brown crust on the outside and an inside of cheesy, ooey-gooey risotto and often a tomato sauce. Featured in Food Network Magazine, this week’s top-rated recipe boasts a next-level filling studded with pine nuts for welcome crunch as well as a trio of Italian cheeses — mozzarella, fontina and nutty Parmesan — for over-the-top decadence. Because they’re a cinch to make with your hands, these two-bite beauties are an ideal holiday appetizer that’s endlessly impressive.

For more easy appetizer ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Entertain board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Arancini from Food Network Magazine

Sunny Anderson’s Canned Cranberry Thanksgiving Hack

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 14th, 2015

Sunny AndersonThe centerpiece roast turkey, the spread of casseroles, the pumpkin pie (and, likely, the apple pie too) — there’s no shortage of to-dos come Thanksgiving. So when there’s an opportunity to make your prep work a tad easier, it’s indeed tempting to give in. Hear from The Kitchen‘s Sunny Anderson about how she transforms a tried-and-true store-bought staple — the infamous canned cranberries — into an all-new side dish.

According to Sunny, one of her go-to holiday hacks is “cranberry sauce out of the can.” But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t dress it up. When it comes to the jellied stuff and the whole-cranberry option, she explains: “You can mix it together. … I take the jelly. I don’t slice it; that looks crazy. You just beat it with a whisk until it becomes a little bit loose, and then you add in the [canned whole cranberries].” To add an extra boost of homemade flavor, she brightens up the sauce with citrus. “A little bit of orange juice, some orange rind or, you know, zested. It kind of feels like it’s your own,” she explains. She also adds that you can mix in chopped fresh rosemary. “It looks like you made it, but you didn’t,” says Sunny.

Read more

All the Ways to Cook a Potato This Thanksgiving

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 13th, 2015

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow StreuselButtery, rich and oh-so-creamy, mashed potatoes are surely a beautiful thing. But when it comes to putting spuds to work, the everyday mash isn’t the only option. This Thanksgiving, no matter what kind of spuds you have on hand, try stuffing your potatoes, or smashing them, souffleing them, roasting them or even turning them into a bisque. Check out Food Network’s best-ever potato picks below for holiday-worthy inspiration.

Stuffed: Think of Tyler Florence’s easy-to-make sweet potatoes as the cousins of the sweet potato casserole you know and love. He bakes the spuds, then fills them up with a sweetened, cinnamon-scented filling of crunchy pecans and gooey marshmallows.

Read more

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.

Read more