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.

#TBT: Tyler Florence

by in Food Network Chef, October 10th, 2013

Tyler FlorenceIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV. 

In his latest two series, The Great Food Truck Race and Food Court Wars, Tyler’s shining the spotlight on two relatively young culinary trends: mobile eateries and food court dining. But before he was traveling coast-to-coast with food truck rookies or helping aspiring entrepreneurs launch their own shopping mall restaurant, he was teaching kitchen basics on How to Boil Water and rescuing home cooks on Food 911, two of Food Network’s earliest programs.

Premiering in the early 1990s, How to Boil Water was originally hosted by Emeril Lagasse, but eventually Tyler took over, and soon he was the “teacher” advising his co-host, Jack Hourigan, on how to make classic favorites like Teriyaki Chicken Wings and Scalloped Potato Gratin. He introduced seemingly difficult cooking techniques with ease and made the kitchen approachable for novice chefs, something he continued to do when he took his passion for teaching into viewers’ homes on Food 911.

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Calling All Home Cooks: Are You America’s Best Amateur Chef?

by in Community, Shows, October 9th, 2013

Now Casting for a New Food Network ShowThere’s one in seemingly every family: That guy or gal who’s known unofficially as the “chef” and is constantly called upon to bake relatives’ birthday cakes, cater impromptu gatherings, host holiday suppers and bring the featured recipe to a potluck. They’re passionate about spending time in the kitchen, look forward to experimenting with new recipes, flavors and ingredients, and they’re unapologetic Food Network fanatics. If this sounds like you, then Food Network wants to hear from you.

The network is currently casting for a brand-new upcoming series that will show off the cooking chops of amateur chefs from around the country. But to be successful on the new show, it won’t be enough to simply follow a recipe. Home cooks must work alongside favorite Food Network stars, and together these regional teams will face off against one another in a series of fierce culinary competitions. At the end of the contest, a single amateur chef will ultimately be named America’s best home cook, earning coast-to-coast bragging rights and a generous cash prize.

Get the details on how to apply

Best 5 Pumpkin Recipes

by in Recipes, October 9th, 2013

Hazelnut Pumpkin PieFrom the pumpkin lattes being brewed at your local coffee shop and the crunchy pumpkin seeds being scraped out of jack-o’-lanterns to those ubiquitous cans of pumpkin puree on grocery store shelves, the classic fall flavor is seemingly everywhere right now, with so many ways to put this seasonal ingredient to good use. While pumpkin pie is a deliciously traditional way to celebrate this autumnal favorite, there are indeed other ways — both sweet and savory — to enjoy pumpkin, and for nearly all of them you can rely on that store-bought puree to save time in the kitchen. Check out Food Network’s top-five pumpkin recipes below to find inspired lunch, dinner and dessert ideas from Rachael, Anne, Robert, Sunny and more Food Network chefs.

5. Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish — Smooth and creamy, Rachael’s rich bowls are finished with a sweetened mixture of chopped apples and onions, plus chewy cranberries and a pinch of chili powder for subtle spice. Click the play button on the video after the jump below to watch Rachael make it.

4. Pork-and-Pumpkin Chili — Chipotle peppers in adobo add a smoky flavor to this big-batch chili, made with tender pork shoulder, pumpkin puree and fresh greens, then topped with cool pumpkin-laced sour cream for a refreshing bite.

Get the top-three recipes

Ratatouille Pasta — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, October 7th, 2013

Ratatouille PastaWhen vegetables are overflowing in your refrigerator, what do you prepare to put the produce to work? Simply roasting potatoes, parsnips and peppers with olive oil and seasonings is an option, as is enjoying squash in a soup or carrots and celery raw in green salads. But to beef up your vegetables, no matter what kinds you happen to have on hand, and turn them into a satisfying main dish, try mixing them with pasta and your favorite sauce. Instantly you’ll have transformed two humble ingredients — noodles and vegetables — into an all-in-one meal the whole family will want to eat.

Food Network Magazine does just that in its recipe for Ratatouille Pasta (pictured above) by re-creating the classic vegetable plate into an easy-to-make dinner. After grilling garlic-stuffed tomatoes, plus bell peppers, zucchini and Japanese eggplant — four quintessential ingredients in a traditional French ratatouille — until tender, chop them and gently saute them with fragrant basil before adding the cooked noodles. It’s best to reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining the noodles, as you may need to thin out the sauce before serving. For an extra-special finish to the dish, top each plate with a few crumbles of goat cheese; the tangy taste will marry the flavors of the vegetables, while the smooth, creamy texture will add welcome richness.

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Wild Sabotages Revealed — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 6th, 2013


Some weeks on Alton’s After-Show the focus of Alton’s chat with the judge revolves primarily around the finalists’ abilities — or inabilities — to cook within the confines of Cutthroat Kitchen, particularly the sabotages. But other times it’s the sabotages themselves that dominate the conversation, almost too shocking or simply laughable for the judges to believe. That was the case this week as Alton revealed to returning judge Jet Tila the roster of culinary interferences to befall the chefs.

Perhaps most appalling to Jet was the ingredient swap-out in Round 2, when the competitors were tasked with preparing a dish of sausage and peppers. Instead of being able to cook with everyday salt, pepper, spices and herbs, the contestant to receive this sabotage would be forced to use jelly beans flavored with tastes like habanero, wasabi, buttered popcorn and bacon. “That’s genius,” Jet admitted after a hearty laugh, before wincing at the thought of incorporating such oddball flavors into a dish. “I would have bid the farm and torpedoed somebody.” He soon realized how the unlucky chef to receive this sabotage ultimately offered a too-sweet plate of sausage and peppers. “The sweet … sticky sweet — it worked,” Jet said, reflecting on the contest. “I almost felt bad offering it. Almost,” Alton told him later.

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Chasing Comfort — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, October 6th, 2013


While many Chopped baskets may include a few common ingredients and just one oddball product, this week’s Halloween-themed episode featured baskets filled with extra-spooky offerings and downright ghoulish goods. Judges Alex, Chris and Marc took their places in the kitchen for an After Hours competition,

and they faced the challenge of cooking with an appetizer basket made up of eels, congealed pig’s blood, candy bats and potato crisps.

Instead of letting the strangeness of these ingredients get the better of them, the judges went back to what they know and the cooking styles with which they’re most familiar in order to turn out classic plates — as classic as they could be with pig’s blood and eel, after all. Potatoes are well within Marc’s comfort zone, so he was quick to feature them prominently in his offering. “So we’re going to have some potatoes — that is a shock, coming from Marc Murphy,” Ted joked with the judge, who featured a casserole-like offering studded with pig’s blood.

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Weekday Treats: Desserts Done in Minutes — School Days

by in Family, Recipes, October 5th, 2013

Instant Chocolate CakeWhether it’s because of an A+ spelling test, a hat trick on the soccer field or a pristinely cleaned bedroom, every child — and grownup — deserves to be treated to something special once in a while, and for many kids, that surprise may come in the form of dessert. Instead of resorting to store-bought goodies to save time in the kitchen, stick with from-scratch treats, like these homemade desserts, ready to eat in mere minutes.

A single-serving indulgence that demands no baking at all, Food Network Magazine’s Instant Chocolate Cake (pictured above) is a family-friendly pick that takes just 10 minutes to make. This rich, moist cake is prepped with traditional pastry ingredients, like cocoa, flour and vanilla extract, but it’s cooked quickly in the microwave instead of the oven. Perhaps the best part about this go-to recipe is that all of the ingredients are simply stirred — without the help of a mixer — in the same oversize mug in which it’s served.

Get more dessert recipes

#TBT: Rachael Ray

by in Food Network Chef, October 3rd, 2013

Rachael RayIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

You may know Rachael Rayas one half of the dueling powerhouses on the Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity and Kids Cook-Off series, or as the friendly face in the kitchen showing you how to make meals for a Week in a Day. But before she tackled these projects or launched her own lifestyle magazine and syndicated daytime talk show, Rachael was a 30-minute maven, the queen of quick meals who could dish up a full, hearty supper in just half an hour.

Rachael RayBorn in Glen Falls, N.Y., Rachael grew up in a food-focused family, then moved to New York City to run Macy’s candy counter and ultimately the store’s fresh-foods department. While in the city, she managed a specialty foods shop as well, but eventually returned upstate; it was this relocation that finally led her to the concept of 30-minute meals. She began teaching cooking classes called “30-Minute Mediterranean Meals” at the Albany market for which she was working, and given their enormous local popularity, it was only a matter of time before a regional television station welcomed her on board, launching her career in the television industry.

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Best 5 Applesauce Recipes

by in Recipes, October 2nd, 2013

Homemade ApplesauceWhile some jarred products (think ketchup and mustard) may indeed be best enjoyed straight from their store-bought bottles, applesauce isn’t among them, as it’s both simple and quick to make from scratch. All it takes to prepare a batch is a few crisp apples and a pinch of sugar, plus butter for richness and a bit of citrus; from there, you can dress up your recipe with warm spices, like cinnamon, or a glug of liqueur. Check out Food Network’s top-five applesauce recipes from Ina, the Neelys, Alton and more Food Network chefs to find classic and creative ways to turn autumn’s bounty of apples into a comforting seasonal dish.

5. The Neelys’ Homemade Applesauce — For added apple flavor in their 25-minute recipe, the Neelys stir apple cider into their simple mixture of fruit, brown sugar and cinnamon sticks.

4. Plum Applesauce — Juicy red plums add both color and sweetness to this big-batch applesauce, easily prepared in a rice cooker in just one hour.

Get the top-three recipes

Sunny’s “Scrambled Eggs with Personality” — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 30th, 2013

San Antonio MigasForget about the dry, tough scrambled eggs of breakfasts past. Sunny Anderson is introducing a new recipe that promises light, fluffy results full of flavor every time. Packed with crunchy tortilla strips, tender vegetables and pepper Jack cheese, her San Antonio Migas (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine are next-level eggs with Southwestern flair. “Migas are scrambled eggs with personality and texture,” Sunny recently told the magazine, which means they’re similar to the classic morning meal your family craves but dressed up with creative ingredients and textures.

The secret to making migas is layering flavors and incorporating them into whisked eggs before they’re scrambled. To start her 20-minute recipe, Sunny sautes tortilla strips until they’re buttery and crisp, then adds colorful bell peppers, green chiles and sweet onions. Together, the chips and vegetables will offer both crunchy and tender textures in the finished dish, while the eggs will be soft after just a few minutes of stirring. Be sure to lower the heat on the stove once you add the eggs to the pan, as too high a flame can dry them out quickly. Before serving, mix in chopped tomatoes, then top with creamy cheese for a fresh, bold finish.

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