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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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