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.

Exclusive: Damaris Phillips Dishes on the New Season of Southern at Heart

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, November 4th, 2014

Damaris PhillipsIt was barely one year ago that fans welcomed Damaris Phillips — the winner of Food Network Star, Season 9 — into the Food Network family when she premiered her brand-new series, Southern at Heart (airing Sundays at 12|11c). Now this Kentucky-born chef is back with a third helping of her show, and this time it’s going to be focused more on what she calls “cooking from the heart.” FN Dish recently caught up with Damaris to find out more about the culinary passions she’s bringing to Southern at Heart and learn what kinds of recipes she’s excited to show off. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Damaris as she talks Season 3 of her series and reveals the must-haves of a classic Southern feast.

Congratulations on a third season! What are you most looking forward to as the episodes roll out?
Damaris Phillips: So this season at the end of all the recipes, where I talk about having a dinner party or I talk about having Christmas with my family, or I talk about going on a date with my gentleman, instead of just talking about those, we’ve invited people to see those at the end of each of the shows. So I’m really excited because every person that I love is on the show. So when I talk about cooking from the heart, these are the people that I cook for, and it is magical to see them on television and see from the outside so you can appreciate those people that you love so much.

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Ina’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes: The Secret to Stress-Free Thanksgiving Spuds

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 4th, 2014

Goat Cheese Mashed PotatoesOne of the trickiest parts of pulling off Thanksgiving dinner is ensuring that each of the (many, many) components of the meal are ready to eat — and are warm — at the same time. For many, deciding when and how to delegate the precious oven and stove spaces becomes a puzzle as they make mental notes of how long the turkey ought to rest, how quickly water can boil for the potatoes and at what temperature the rolls should bake. This year, however, with the help of Ina Garten, the ever-together hostess, you can tackle one key element of the feast ahead of time: mashed potatoes.

The success of mashed potatoes depends on a super-creamy finished product, and sure enough, when you follow Ina’s boil-and-bake method for her make-ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes from Food Network Magazine, pictured above, the results are soft, smooth spuds. Instead of simply mashing potatoes and letting them rest until dinner — which would likely cause them to turn tough — she assembles the rich, cheesy dish up to three days in advance, refrigerates it, then bakes it with a Parmesan cheese topping before eating.

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Restaurant Revisited: Recipe for Disaster at Papa C’s Eastside Cafe

by in Shows, November 3rd, 2014

Robert Irvine at Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Papa C’s Eastside Cafe, the family drama he discovered was unlike that at any other restaurant he’s visited in nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible. Owner Sal Cimino and his three sons, Sal Jr., Justin and Rick, work at the business together, though much of what they do involves yelling and arguing. It was up to Robert and his team to mend the frayed family dynamic at Papa C’s and overhaul the menu and interior there to reflect a contemporary eatery. Read on below to hear from Sal and find out how his restaurant is doing today.

“The restaurant is doing much better,” Sal reveals of Papa C’s Eastside Cafe. “Revenue is up about 20 percent, and we are now closed on Mondays.”

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“You’ll Eat Anything with Sprinkles on It” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 2nd, 2014

Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from all aspects of competition, they’re not privy to the diabolical sabotages that befall contestants, which means that when they receive a plate before them, they don’t know what inferior ingredients went into the dish or under what conditions it was made. On tonight’s all-new episode, host Alton Brown saw the power of that unawareness when judge Simon Majumdar enthusiastically tasted one chef’s ice cream sandwich offering.

A Round 3 sabotage forced Chef Krystal to try her hands — literally — at homemade ice cream, and unbeknownst to Simon, he tasted her version of a chilled treat that she made using the salt-and-ice shake method. “Her ice cream actually was pretty good,” Simon conceded to Alton on the host’s After-Show after reflecting on Chef Krystal’s dish. “It was just very sweet.” Alton told him simply that when it comes to Simon’s willingness to taste the mystery dishes in front of him, “I learned that you’ll eat anything with sprinkles on it,” to which the judge did not contest.

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Giada’s Chicken Piccata — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 2nd, 2014

Chicken PiccataFrom fried chicken drumsticks and roasted whole chickens to simply grilled chicken breasts, there are days when it seems like you’ve done nearly all you can with the humble chicken. But the beauty of this family-friendly meat is that it’s endlessly versatile and pairs well with a variety of flavors and textures. Follow Giada De Laurentiis’ lead and dress up boneless, skinless chicken breasts with fresh lemon juice and briny capers to create her classic Chicken Piccata, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week.

For more five-star recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s 5-Star Recipes board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Piccata

Friends, Food and Turkey Day Tips Are on the Menu at Thanksgiving at Bobby’s

by in Shows, November 2nd, 2014

Thanksgiving at Bobby'sIf you’ve ever wondered what Thanksgiving looks like when an Iron Chef is in charge, you’re in luck because for the first time, fans will be able to watch Bobby Flay as he hosts his Food Network friends for a celebratory feast. On the all-new upcoming special Thanksgiving at Bobby’s, airing Saturday, Nov. 22 at 12|11c, Bobby will be joined by some of your other favorite chefs, Alex Guarnaschelli, Katie Lee, Sunny Anderson and Michael Symon, and together they will cook up a turkey day spread complete with all of the trimmings. They’ll even break down each course with chef-tested tips so you can tackle the holiday with ease.

In true Iron Chef style, Bobby’s menu will feature traditional picks like a simply roasted turkey and a hearty cornbread stuffing, but his recipes and those from the group will include new ways to dress up old-fashioned classics, like a maple glaze for his bird and a boldly spiced cauliflower side dish from Alex. Perhaps best of all, with five cooks in the kitchen, you can guarantee that the cast will offer strategies for stress-free hosting at home and share quick tricks for turning out next-level flavor at your house.

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The Basics of Homemade Pumpkin Pie

by in Recipes, November 1st, 2014

Pumpkin PieWhile the turkey often takes center stage on Thanksgiving, for the sweet tooths at the table, it’s likely all about the most-anticipated final course: dessert —  in particular, the rich, creamy pumpkin pie. With a buttery crust and spiced pumpkin filling, this tried-and-true indulgence in a holiday staple, and with the help of a go-to recipe, it’s one you can surely make easily at home. Learn the basics of Food Network Kitchen’s Pumpkin Pie recipe below, then check out the complete gallery for the rest of the how-to.

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Beware of Oncoming Eviliciousness

by in Shows, October 31st, 2014

Chefs know that when they compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re subjecting themselves to all manners of ruthless sabotages, but  now it seems that even host Alton Brown will come face-to-face with eviliciousness. Check out the GIF above to see him try to outrun a rolling boulder, and tune in Sunday at 10|9c to see what challenges are in store on an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.

Cook the Superstar Sabotage Contest: Banana Bread

by in Recipes, October 30th, 2014

Banana BreadIn this week’s latest installment of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, a seemingly approachable dessert, banana bread, was nearly insurmountable for Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner once she felt the full weight of her duo of sabotages: firm green bananas and the mandate to mix and cook the loaf in banana leaves. But for fans watching at home, classic banana bread is indeed doable, and it’s one such recipe that surely all home cooks can — and should — master.

From school bake sales and simple family desserts to DIY holiday presents, Food Network’s go-to Banana Bread recipe (pictured above) will prove useful time and again. The key to making this tried-and-true recipe is not overworking the batter; once you’ve incorporated the dry ingredients into the cinnamon-laced mashed bananas, the batter is complete and ready to bake. For an extra-special presentation, serve the sliced loaf with sweet honey or creamy vanilla ice cream once the bread has cooled.

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From Leaves to Loaves — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, October 29th, 2014

Ingredients, utensils and heat — that’s all that is needed to create most of the dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen, but as fans know, those three elements aren’t always available to the contestants, at least not in their expected and desired forms. On tonight’s all-new episode of Superstar Sabotage, host Alton Brown doled out a dooming challenge that seemed nearly insurmountable: a mandate forcing Chef Elizabeth Falkner, a famed pastry chef, to prepare and bake her banana bread in banana leaves. While most classic recipes would recommend that she mix the dry and wet ingredients in several sturdy bowls, then cook the batter in traditional loaf pans, she had to do all of that with and in the leaves.

Before Alton could auction off that sabotage, however, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew first had to attempt the challenge. After all, would such a sabotage be feasible, and would it be fair to ask a contestant to attempt it given the time constraints? The team testing the sabotage approached the banana bread in two ways before ultimately finding the challenge possible for future contestants.

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