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.

Alton Cooks the Superstar Sabotage Tournament: French Toast

by in Recipes, Shows, October 9th, 2014

In true Cutthroat Kitchen fashion, even the simplest dishes become seemingly insurmountable challenges once Alton Brown‘s evilicious sabotages make their way to the competitors. In this week’s premiere heat of the first-ever Superstar Sabotage tournament, the host turned a breakfast staple — French toast — into a near-nightmare for Round 3 rivals Chefs Michael Psilakis and Aarti Sequiera, as they were forced to make the plate using onion-scented bread and a small conveyor toaster, respectively. But when the mind games end, it turns out that for Alton, all it takes to make his winning French Toast (pictured above) is just a handful of ingredients — no sabotages in sight.

Ready to eat in a hurry, Alton’s fuss-free morning meal is the kind of staple you’ll want to master and make a permanent part of your recipe repertoire. He opts for a mix of eggs, half-and-half and a squeeze of honey to make the creamy custard for his brioche-based French toast. Cook the bread in butter until the slices are golden-brown, and top with sweet maple syrup or fluffy whipped cream for an indulgent finish. Click the play button on the video above to watch him make it.

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“I Don’t Know What to Say Sometimes” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 8th, 2014

“I don’t know what to say sometimes to these things,” judge Antonia Lofaso revealed to Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show after learning of a particularly shocking challenge that befell Chef Michael. Tonight’s all-new episode marked the preliminary heat in the first-ever Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament featuring A-list chefs, so of course the sabotages proved to be as over the top as the crop of talent facing off in the kitchen.

After hearing that within the French toast offering Chef Michael gave her were slices of “crispy, old cheese bread” harvested from the top of French onion soup, Antonia was quick to understand, though not excited to admit, “That’s what I ate.” She also proclaimed that when it came to one chef being forced to simultaneously prepare a salmon dinner and walk on a treadmill, “There can’t be more.” Sure enough, however, Alton noted: “There’s always more. It’s Cutthroat Kitchen.” And then he revealed a critical station swap that would ultimately do in Chef Susan.

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Best 5 Spaghetti Squash Recipes

by in Recipes, October 8th, 2014

Spicy Roasted Tomato Marinara with Spaghetti SquashThe beauty of seasonal squash is that there are myriad varieties available, which means it’s nearly impossible to tire of it before autumn runs out. From hearty butternut squash and stuffable acorn squash to flat-shaped pattypan squash and golden spaghetti squash, there’s a kind to please every palate, and the ways to use each are seemingly endless. When it comes to spaghetti squash, its name suggests its likeness — spaghetti — although you have to open up the squash to get at the individual strings. Just halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise, then run your fork across the flesh to see it come apart into noodle-looking strands, which can be featured in much the same way pasta is. Read on below to get Food Network’s top-five spaghetti squash recipes to find classic and creative takes on this fall staple.

5. Spaghetti Squash Tostadas — Make a satisfying tostada filling by piling tender spaghetti squash, plus chipotle-scented roasted tomatoes and onions, atop a black bean base, and finish with cool sour cream and fresh cilantro on top.

4. Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs — Don’t be fooled by the look of this dish; there’s no pasta in sight, just a bed of roasted spaghetti squash topped with tomato-basil sauce and combination beef and pork meatballs.

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Restaurant Revisited — Paradise: Impossible at Padre Rita Grill

by in Shows, October 6th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleA tiki bar-style restaurant offering live music, Padre Rita Grill in South Padre Island, Texas, is just four years old, but already the owners, husband and wife Micheal and Cathy Laferty, are finding themselves inundated with debt. They looked to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team not only to transform the interior of their space from island-oriented to next-level nautical, but also to overhaul the menu, adding fresh flavors and coastal influences. Read on below to hear from Micheal and Cathy to find out how Padre Rita Grill is doing a few months after reopening.

Micheal and his employees alike are pleased to be rid of the salad bar that was previously in their restaurant, as Cathy explains: “I believe the staff is very happy about not having the salad bar to deal with. It was a daily issue [in terms of] cleaning and keeping [it] filled, and they each voiced their dislike of the duty.”

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Chefs to Climb the Culinary Ladder on All-New Series Kitchen Inferno

by in Shows, October 6th, 2014

Curtis Stone on Kitchen InfernoIt will be a delicate balance of risk and reward for chefs on Food Network’s brand-new upcoming series Kitchen Inferno, as they’re forced to bet on their skills with cash on the line. Each week beginning Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 10|9c, contestants will face off in culinary showdowns in front of a live audience during the course of four possible rounds — how far they advance depends on their willingness to tempt fate by playing for more money and risking it all in the process.

With a grand prize of $25,000 at stake, chefs will be forced to do more than execute a properly seasoned plate or a beautifully adorned dish; as they begin their journey up the culinary ladder, they’ll face tests that are progressively more difficult, and it’s up to them to decide which to tackle and when to walk away. They can continue playing for the whopping sum, but if they chance their luck and fail, they’ll have to forfeit their winnings and succumb to blazing defeat.

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An Evil Contest Just Got Scarier — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 5th, 2014

For a competition as entrenched in evil as Cutthroat Kitchen, the contest would have to turn especially ghostly to spook the chefs in the midst of battle, and that’s just what happened on tonight’s first-ever Halloween-themed episode. With the help of costumes, devilish-sounding dishes and terrifying tests, host-turned-vampire Alton Brown pulled off a fright-night battle like no other, and he filled in judge Jet Tila, who was appropriately dressed in judicial garb, on all of his scary secrets during his exclusive After-Show.

“It was a very spooky day here in Cutthroat Kitchen,” Alton revealed before a crew member rolled in the first sabotage: a coffin, which served as a makeshift prep station for one unfortunate competitor. Jet mused as to whom he would have sabotaged with this test during the first-round deviled egg dish: “The tallest person — for sure.” And sure enough, that’s what Chef Emme had in mind when she picked Chef Caulden for the challenge. Despite the creepy conditions, however, Chef Caulden managed to earn Jet’s praises, as the judge said: “Wait, so he composed his entire dish in there. The foam, the green, the everything. He did quite a good job.”

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Poll: What’s Your All-Time-Favorite Comfort Food?

by in Shows, October 4th, 2014

Quickest Mac and CheeseIn the spirit of fall’s shorter days and colder nights, The Kitchen co-hosts dedicated an entire episode this morning to one of autumn’s most-anticipated indulgences: comfort food. From rich casseroles to hearty stews and extra-creamy desserts, few things are better than cozying up to a satisfying meal this time of year, and The Kitchen has you covered when it comes to enjoying both savory and sweet recipes.

FN Dish wants to know, now that the change of seasons is upon us and autumn is in full swing, what comfort food is you all-time-favorite decadence? Do you keep coming back for treats like double-layer cakes or piled-high pies, or do you prefer cheesier selects like bubbly lasagna or baked macaroni and cheese? Cast your vote in the poll below to tell us your go-to pick for comfort food.

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Cutthroat Kitchen Caption It: Vampire Brown

by in Shows, October 2nd, 2014

Alton BrownConsidering the scary-good surprises that befall chefs when they’re least expecting them, and the ghostly sabotages auctioned off by host Alton Brown, no competition does evil quite like Cutthroat Kitchen. And this weekend, for the first time ever, the Cutthroat arena will be transformed into an extra-spooky kitchen as the set gets dressed up for the show’s first Halloween-themed episode. Of course, no Fright Night contest is complete without costumes, and that’s where Alton comes in.

In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new Halloween episode, the host has gotten into the spirit of the day by donning his best vampire cape and a look of impending terror. What do you think Alton has in store for the unsuspecting chefs? Will he be handing out more tricks than treats this year?

Before you tune in on Sunday at 10|9c to see what mysterious mind games arise on the special Halloween episode, we’re challenging you, Cutthroat Kitchen fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

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Best 4 Apple Cider Cocktails

by in Drinks, Recipes, October 1st, 2014

Mulled Apple Cider CocktailWhether you pick up a gallon at the orchard to accompany warm doughnuts or you simply buy a bottle while shopping at the grocery store, you’ll likely find yourself with apple cider on your hands this season. And when that happens, it’s time to mix up a cocktail. When thinking about mix-ins, stick with flavors that will complement the sweet, crisp taste of cider — warm cinnamon, simple fruit juices and sparkling wine are good places to start. Read on below for more ideas, and find Food Network’s top-four apple cider cocktails from Giada De Laurentiis, Alex Guarnaschelli and more chefs.

4. Sparkling Apple Cider Punch — The beauty of Nancy Fuller’s crimson-colored cocktail is that once you prepare one batch of this sparkling cider-cranberry punch, guests can help themselves to it, so you don’t have to prepare cocktails all night long.

3. Spiked Apple Cider Cocktails — For a fresh finish, garnish this rum-laced cocktail with a skewer of apple chunks.

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Scripps Networks to Celebrate U.S. Military in First-Ever Hero’s Welcome

by in Shows, September 30th, 2014

Hero's WelcomeThis Veterans Day will be a celebration like none other as all-stars from Food Network and HGTV, plus humanitarian Gary Sinise, together with the rest of the Scripps Networks Interactive family, honor Staff Sergeant Tony Woods in a brand-new upcoming special, Hero’s Welcome, premiering Tuesday, Nov. 11.

A 25-year service member who suffered life-threatening injuries in Iraq, Tony is preparing to retire from the military, but for this dedicated hero, a simple congratulatory party isn’t enough — especially if Robert Irvine and Genevieve Gorder have anything to say about it. On Hero’s Welcome, Robert and Genevieve will work with the Woods’ neighborhood to overhaul Tony and his wife Joedi’s Oahu, Hawaii, home so that’s it’s worthy of not just the couple but also the foster children they welcome into their family. Emotions will be high as Tony and Joedi experience the surprise of their lives when they arrive to find their home transformed and their community at the ready to thank Tony for his selfless service.

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