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.

Enter to Win a Copy of Alice Waters’ New Book, Fanny in France

by in Contests, November 29th, 2016

It was just yesterday that we introduced you to Alice Waters’ latest publication — Fanny in France: Travel Adventures of a Chef’s Daughter, with Recipes — a part storybook, part cookbook that’s largely geared toward children. Waters, who has long been credited with establishing the farm-to-table effort at her beloved California eatery Chez Panisse, chatted with us and dished about all things French cuisine and cooking for children, including her memories of cooking with and for her own daughter, Fanny, the titular character in her book. From cover to cover, Fanny in France not only details Fanny’s explorations of a new world as she took in the best sights and tastes in France, but also provides more than 40 authentic French recipes.

“I wanted things that were very, very simple to make,” Waters said of the recipes included in the book. “I wanted to have the feeling that French cooking, at least what I experienced in the South of France, is very, very straightforward and simply dependent on the goodness of the ingredients, the ripeness and the aliveness of the foodstuffs.” You can find the recipe for her Croque-Monsieur (Grilled Cheese Sandwich), a French take on the ham-and-cheese mash-up we know and love, in our interview with Waters here, but to get all of the recipes from Fanny in France — for dishes such as Pommes Frites (Crispy Pan-Fried Potatoes) and Chocolate Soufflé — you’ll have to order a copy for yourself.

Or you can enter to win our giveaway. That’s right — we’re giving five lucky, randomly selected fans the chance to each receive one copy of Fanny in France. To be entered to win, all you have to do is tell us what was your favorite food to eat as a child.

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The Quest for the Ultimate Culinary Title Returns with Brand-New Epic Series Iron Chef Gauntlet

by in Shows, November 28th, 2016

Alton BrownKitchen Stadium die-hards, we have breaking news for you. Just this afternoon, Alton Brown sent this tweet, and with only one word and a single hashtag — “Finally. #IronChefGauntlet” — he announced an upcoming series. Here’s what we know: Beginning in the spring of the new year, an all-new reboot of the beloved Iron Chef America is set to roll out. The name of this reimagined competition is Iron Chef Gauntlet, and as Alton hinted with an accompanying photo, he’s set to reprise his role as the host and master of ceremonies.

Like both Iron Chef America and its big brother based in Japan, this newfangled series will celebrate the highest echelon of cooking. Look for some of your favorite elements of battle from Iron Chef America, plus new twists that will leave you craving more.

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Chatting with Alice Waters: French Food Culture, Cooking for Kids and a Dressed-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich

by in Books, November 28th, 2016

Alice WatersLong credited with launching the now-ubiquitous farm-to-table effort, Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in 1971, and it’s been a landmark fixture of American cuisine ever since. But despite owning a restaurant with deep roots in Berkeley, Calif., Waters has spent a significant amount of time in France, and it’s her time abroad that influenced her style of cooking with local, market-driven ingredients. “I went to France when I was 19, and I came from a basically fast-food culture in America, and I arrived in the early ’60s in France when it was still a slow-food culture,” she told us when we chatted recently. “The kids came home and had lunch with their parents for two hours every day from school. You know, they went to the market twice a day just so that everything could be fresh and ripe, and people always ate with their family. I think these values are terribly, terribly relevant, because they are values that are universal and have been around since the beginning of civilization, really.”

Waters’ time in France was indeed formative for her, but it turns out that it made a lasting impact on her daughter, Fanny, too — so much so that she became the subject of Waters’ latest book, Fanny in France: Travel Adventures of a Chef’s Daughter, with Recipes. “I wanted to tell a story that children were amused by,” Waters told us. Told from Fanny’s point of view, Waters’ part storybook, part cookbook recounts Fanny’s bike ride with friends on Ile de Bendor, her time snacking on strawberries at the market in Nice and moments with her mom as they traveled throughout France. There are also more than 40 of “Fanny’s French Recipes” included, from kid-friendly picks like Pizza with Quick Tomato Sauce to more dressed-up dishes like Roasted Herbed Rack of Lamb and Chocolate Soufflé.

In chatting with Waters, we talked more about cooking with and for kids, both her own daughter and children who may be picky eaters. She offered advice to parents and stories of serving vegetables to Fanny, as well as her thoughts on a typically kid-approved dish, Croque-Monsieur (Grilled Cheese Sandwich), the recipe for which you can get below. Read on to hear from Waters, then learn how to make that craveable sandwich.

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Giada’s Easy Limoncello — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 27th, 2016

LimoncelloWith Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is officially underway. And that means it’s time to start looking ahead to shopping for everyone on your “nice” list. But when it comes to finding a gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative, skip the usual gift cards and look to this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Giada De Laurentiis’ bright lemon-vodka liqueur comes together with just four ingredients, and she says, “It makes wonderful gifts.”

For more party-ready recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Entertain board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Limoncello

3 Ways to Infuse Cocktail Flavors Into Party-Time Snack Mixes

by in Recipes, Shows, November 26th, 2016

Bloody Mary Cocktail Snack MixChips and dip, carrots and ranch, maybe a fruit platter — these are all fine party starters. They’re great ones, actually. But when it comes to holiday parties, sometimes we like to up the appetizer ante a bit, all while keeping it casual and easy, of course. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts introduced a trio of snack mixes that are the kind of next-level recipes that will transform your seasonal spreads. Combining two party-time favorites — booze and bites — the co-hosts made three cocktail-inspired snack recipes that range from savory and salty to sweet and oh so crunchy. Read on below to find out how they turned a Bloody Mary, a White Russian and a tequila-based cocktail into eat-with-your-hands nibbles. (Spoiler: It all comes down to spiking, pouring and mixing.)

Bloody Mary Cocktail Snack Mix

The flavors you know and love in a classic Bloody Mary are well-represented in this big-batch mash-up of rice cereal, bagel chips and pretzels. Just as tomato juice and vodka form the base of the drink, this snack mix is made with tomato paste and vodka, plus a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, which deliver the salty, deeply umami flavor you love in a Bloody Mary. Once the mixture is warmed, it’s poured over the munchies, which get microwaved for just a few minutes so the flavors can marry.

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One-on-One with Aarti Sequeira, a Judge on Clash of the Grandmas

by in Shows, November 22nd, 2016

We’re just a few weeks into the premiere season of Clash of the Grandmas, and if the first battles were any indication, it’s clear that top-quality cooking knows no limits, age or otherwise. Aarti Sequeira is a judge on Sunday’s all-new episode (airing at 10|9c), and she noted the downright fierceness of the ladies facing off in the competition. They are “vivacious, spunky grandmas who love nothing more than to feed people, whether those people are their grandchildren, or someone else’s,” she explained, noting that their dishes often boast that extra something-something. In addition to the “love” that goes into their offerings, she said, there’s also “a little bit of I-don’t-give-a-damn,” which we can only assume is what makes their food so treasured. Read on below to hear more from Aarti and get her take on what it’s like to judge grannies’ cooking.

Aside from the age of the competitors, what makes Clash of the Grandmas different than other culinary battles?
Aarti Sequeira: There’s something special about the way that grandmothers cook. They can make the simplest of dishes, but there’s something in the way they turn their wrist, sprinkle in that brown sugar, layer in the cheese; it’s all so infused with a sense of comfort that every round, after eating their food, I felt like everything was going to be OK. I don’t get that when I taste even the best chef’s cooking!

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Slow-Cooker Spicy Fajita Soup — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 20th, 2016

Spicy Fajita SoupThe countdown to turkey day is on, with less than a week until Thanksgiving is upon us. As you prepare for the feast and perhaps the influx of guests that will coming to your house, your to-do list likely doesn’t leave extra time for dinner. That’s where this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week comes in. Thanks to the handy slow cooker, you can simply prep, set and forget this top-rated soup recipe until you’re ready to eat a few hours later. Thanks to the handy slow cooker, you can simply prep, set and forget this top-rated soup recipe until you’re ready to eat a few hours later. The one-two punch of chile powder and a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce strikes an ideal balance between spicy heat and smoky heat in this comforting bowl.

For more hearty recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Fajita Soup

Two Ways to Transform a Mashed Potato Side Dish

by in Recipes, Shows, November 19th, 2016

A Battle of the Mashed Potato Side DishesOnce you’ve settled the whole sweet-potato-versus-regular-potato debate, the next Thanksgiving side dish question you have to contend with is: flavored or not? Would you prefer to dress up a traditional recipe with bold tastes, or do you crave the comforting flavors of tradition? On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, which was devoted to a complete roster of turkey-day side dishes, the co-hosts showcased a cornucopia of ways to prepare squash, dressing and green beans — and the all-important potatoes, of course. Check out both of the new spins on spuds below, one a creatively flavored take on the usual recipe and the other a buttery mainstay with just a hint of extra-special presentation.

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8 of the Speediest Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes Ever

by in Entertaining, Holidays, Recipes, November 19th, 2016

Stuffed Dates with ProsciuttoThe appetizers you make for Thanksgiving dinner are arguably some of the trickiest to plan; after all, they kick off one of the most-important meals of the year. They should likely be more special than carrots and ranch, and they need to be hearty enough to satiate your guests, but they should not be so heavy that guests don’t want to eat that enormous meal that’s coming right up. Plus, your kitchen will likely be overrun with all manner of pots and pans on Thanksgiving, so when it comes to the hors d’oeuvres especially, the easier and faster the better. Enter: our fast-fix starter solutions. All eight of these recipes are ready to eat in 35 minutes or less, and they’re guaranteed crowd-pleasers — think cheese logs, shrimp cocktail and cheesy dip.

Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto
With oven and stove space at a premium on Thanksgiving, you can be thankful that these eight-minute bites require only assembly — no cooking necessary. When it comes to the cheese, Giada De Laurentiis opts for a mix of rich goat cheese and creamy mascarpone.

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The 7 Best Flavors to Pair with Apples in Thanksgiving Desserts

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 14th, 2016

Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese IcingMuch like the turkey that will likely be the savory star of the show on Thanksgiving, apple desserts, which will all but steal the spotlight come dessert, can be complemented by myriad flavors and ingredients; it all comes down to knowing how to pair them and letting the tastes and textures speak for themselves. This Thanksgiving, think beyond the classic apple pie (though, let’s be honest, we’ll have that on our table too — Bobby Flay’s recipe is a go-to favorite). Try dressing up your sweet apple treats with other fall flavors. Check out our top ideas below for seven ways to pair apples with seasonal selects like fragrant spices, pears, cranberries and more.

Spices Galore

Anne Burrell balances the tartness of the green apples in her easy-to-make cake with two kinds of sugar and the warmth of fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg. These powerhouse spices are favorite fall flavors, and they’re natural complements to not just the apples but also the fluffy cream cheese icing.

Get the Recipe: Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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