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.

What’s the Most-Common Mistake Made in the Chopped Kitchen?

by in Shows, April 13th, 2013

Geoffrey Zakarian, Alex Guarnaschelli, Amanda Freitag and Ted AllenWeek after week, Chopped fans tune in to watch four eager chef competitors take their places in the kitchen for a chance to outcook the chopping block and score the coveted title of Chopped Champion. Not only facing off against each other, the contestants battle baskets full of mystery ingredients like shad roe sacks, black garlic, pig ears and duck hearts — products and produce that are so unusual that some chefs have neither seen nor tasted them before in their career.

Working with such oddball selects surely invites a host of unique problems, including overcooked proteins and underdone grains, but the most-common mistake made among chefs isn’t one resulting from obscure ingredients. Instead, it’s something that trips up even home cooks as they prepare everyday meals for their families.

Speaking to a crowd at the Borgata Hotel Spa & Casino in Atlantic City, longtime Chopped judge Geoffrey Zakarian said that the most-prominent error in competitors’ dishes is seasoning. No stranger to the highs and lows in the Chopped kitchen, he’s tasted his share of meals that have proved to be near disasters simply because chefs used too little of two of the most-basic ingredients found in restaurant and home kitchens alike: salt and pepper. “Nobody puts salt and pepper in their food,” he said. “Amazing. Shocking.”

What cooking conundrums do you struggle with in the kitchen? Tell FN Dish in the comments below.

What Kind of Restaurants Do You Want to See in Food Network On the Road?

by in Community, April 11th, 2013

Food Network On the RoadWhen it comes to summer road trips, the only thing more frustrating than unexpected construction detours is finding yourself in an unknown city with no ideas for where to eat. Instead of resorting to drive-through fast food, stop by a local hot spot favorited by Food Network stars with the help of the On the Road app.

Packed with detailed city guides, must-try dish recommendations and cuisine-specific road trip suggestions, this travel-friendly app makes it easy to find chef-approved eateries highlighted on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, The Great Food Truck Race and more. Say you’re passing through the Oklahoma countryside. With just a few swipes and taps, you soon could be enjoying saucy barbecue ribs at one of Guy’s Triple D hangouts.

One of the most-prominent features of On the Road is its custom-designed Best-Of lists. Food Network sifted through its vast restaurant listings to create the ultimate go-to guides to comfort food, all-American pie, sandwiches and breakfast classics, so not matter what part of the country you’re in, you’re sure to find top-notch eats and drinks nearby.

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Best 5 Deviled Egg Recipes

by in Entertaining, Recipes, April 11th, 2013

Traditional Southern Deviled EggsMuch is made of hard-boiled eggs immediately before and after Easter, but these two-toned beauties are a welcome party starter throughout the year. This weekend, whether you’re hosting an elegant spring dinner party or simply enjoying a casual night with friends, look to platters of deviled eggs to be the star appetizers of the evening. While they’ll curb pre-dinner munchies, deviled eggs aren’t so filling that they’ll weigh down appetites, plus they’re easily customizable with a myriad of ingredients, so you know you’ll find a style of egg that suits your tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five deviled egg recipes below — all top-rated dishes that can be made quickly with ease — from Anne, Sunny, Melissa, Bobby Deen and Paula.

5. Truffled Deviled Eggs — Fresh truffles are extremely pricey, so Anne opts for truffle oil — an ingredient that’s a bit more modest — to add rich flavor to her top-rated eggs. But be sure to use only the amount listed, as truffle oil can easily overpower the dish.

4. Crunchy Deviled Eggs — After stuffing the egg whites with a tangy combination of lemon juice, mustard and pickled jalapenos, Sunny adorns each egg with canned fried onions for a crispy textured bite.

Get the top three recipes

Memphis BBQ Tour, Coast-to-Coast Chow, and Bar Food and Bon Bons on Triple D Tonight

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 8th, 2013

Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and DivesAmong locals in the South, it’s common to believe that one style of barbecue reigns supreme, that a signature blend of spices and use of the sauces, rubs and techniques turns out real-deal ribs, pulled pork and brisket, and others’ versions aren’t true ‘cue. In tonight’s marathon of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy‘s delving into the world of Tennessee barbecue with a tour of Memphis hot spots. His first stop is Leonard’s, an almost-100-year-old institution specializing in classics like meaty ribs and chopped pork; then he heads to Tom’s Bar-B-Q for a deliciously speedy meal made with Mediterranean flavors.

After a weekend in Memphis, Guy takes off to discover authentic German dishes in Chicago and a Honolulu food truck serving Island-style fare before setting his sights on the city. He’s at The Sparrow Tavern in Queens, N.Y., known for its elevated takes on bar food, including the Bifteki Burger Sandwich, before moving on to Indianapolis. There he stops by Zest to taste its signature Tomato Bon Bons, stuffed with cheese and coated in sausage.

Go behind the scenes with Guy

The Customizable Pizza — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 8th, 2013

White Pizza With BroccoliniEndlessly versatile and suitable to kids’ and grownups’ tastes alike, pizzas are ideal meals for vegetarian eaters, as they can be made the same way with or without meat, and a lack of protein won’t sacrifice flavor or substance. If your weeknight routine has you ordering delivery pies on account of their ease and timesaving beauty, try embracing a fresher alternative that’s every bit as simple and quick to prepare: homemade pizza.

The secret to effortlessly making pizza at home is relying on prepared dough. Although you can make from scratch and then freeze Food Network Magazine‘s Basic Pizza Dough if you have the time, picking up already made dough from the supermarket or local delivery spot is just fine, especially if you crave the signature crust from your neighborhood pizzeria. Keeping ready-to-go dough in the freezer for fuss-free meals will save valuable time in the kitchen on hectic nights.

Keep reading for recipes

How to Put Your Freezer to Work, Plus Frozen Meals Made Fresh

by in Family, Recipes, April 6th, 2013

Homemade Frozen Chicken FingersOn hectic weeknights when it seems like there’s just no time to cook, few things are more welcome than ready-to-go meals that require little-to-no prep time. Occasionally that may mean takeout or delivery dinners, but it certainly doesn’t need to, especially when you have a fully stocked freezer on which to rely. Whether you find yourself with extra food after a party or a lazy weekend of making big-batch soups or casseroles, commit to building up your freezer supply by saving the leftovers for those nights when you can’t get to the grocery store or be bothered to make supper from scratch.

The secret to increasing your freezer supply is knowing how to freeze food safely and properly for best-tasting results later. No matter what it is you want to freeze, be sure to let it come to room temperature after it’s cooked and before you add it to the frigid-cold freezer; doing so will help avoid spoiled food and the overwarming of anything surrounding it.

Get freezer-friendly recipes

Want to Be on Food Network? Apply Now to Get Cast on Future Shows

by in Community, Shows, April 4th, 2013

Tyler Florence on The Great Food Truck RaceIf you’ve ever found yourself watching Food Network in your living room and thinking, “I can do that, too,” or, “I want try what they’re doing on television,” now is your chance to go from Food Network viewer to on-air contestant.

We’re currently accepting applications for the fourth season of Tyler Florence‘s The Great Food Truck Race — the multi-week showdown that challenges food truck teams to outsell one another in a coast-to-coast road trip — plus an all-new competition series hosted by Tyler, Food Court Wars. Whether you’re an experienced restaurant chef or a novice home cook, if you think you have the dedicated passion, enthusiasm and charisma to impress Tyler and a national audience, we want to hear from you.

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Best 5 Asparagus Recipes

by in Recipes, April 4th, 2013

Roasted AsparagusGiven that most produce is available in grocery stores year round, it’s easy to forget that fruits and vegetables indeed have seasons in which they’re at their peak of freshness, when they’re the most colorful and flavorful — and not to mention the most economical. For asparagus, that time to shine is early-to-middle springtime, which means that the bundles at farmers’ markets and supermarkets right now are some of the best you’ll find all year. Celebrate the season’s bounty by putting asparagus to work in quick, family-friendly recipes like vegetable side dishes, healthful salads and quick pastas. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five asparagus dishes — a mix of traditional and creative takes on this simple-to-make vegetable — ideal for casual weeknight suppers and dressed-up dinners alike. Check out our favorite picks below, then browse Food Network’s entire collection of asparagus recipes to find more fresh inspiration.

5. Corn and Asparagus Salad — In just 20 quick minutes, Paula dresses tender asparagus and vibrant corn with a sweet and tangy vinaigrette for a light side dish that complements any hearty entree.

4. Quinoa Salad With Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Black Olives — Think of quinoa as a blank canvas through which you can showcase favorite ingredients and textures, like Bobby does in his five-star recipe by adding to it trimmed asparagus, fresh thyme and creamy goat cheese.

Get the top three recipes

Chopped Judges Take Over the Kitchen in After-Hours Competitions

by in Shows, April 2nd, 2013

Chefs Aaron Sanchez, Marc Murphy and Chris SantosNo strangers to the uncommon, unusual ingredients that make their way into mystery baskets, Chopped judges have tasted myriad plates of eccentric eats after more than 14 seasons of competition, but they rarely are able to cook with those ingredients for themselves. That is, until now.

In Chopped After Hours, an all-new series on FoodNetwork.com, the panel is taking over the kitchen. For the first time, the judges are trying their hands at identical combinations of ingredients that have sent home chef competitors. They’ll cook against the clock in the same amount of time as traditional contestants, but among these friends and colleagues there will be as much eating, drinking and playful joking happening at each station as there is high-quality food preparation. None of the judges will settle for creating anything less than masterful meals, but they know well how to balance work and play — and will surely make time for a cocktail or two and even subject their fellow judges to a few hilariously timed interruptions.

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Fan-Chosen Hot Spots, International Eats and Hawaiian Classics on Triple D Tonight

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 1st, 2013

Guy Fieri at Pies N ThighsIf you’ve ever written to Guy with suggestions for Triple D-worthy restaurants in your neighborhood, know that he’s been paying attention and wants to visit the area standbys that you love most.

During tonight’s marathon of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes, Guy sets off to discover some of the local favorites that you, the fans, have recommended to him. He’s off to Eischen’s Bar & Grill in Oklahoma first to taste their decades-old fried chicken recipe, then travels to Kenny and Ziggy’s, a Houston deli that’s making corned beef and traditional Jewish comfort food just like they do in New York City.

Later, Guy finds the best of the best in Basque, Salvadorian and Spanish fare — all without leaving the country — with tastes of oxtail stew, tomato-chile pork and spiced tasso at spots from Florida all the way to California. He then sets off on a Hawaiian adventure to sample Windy City-style hot dogs on the island of Oahu before partaking in a luau that’s special to locals.

Join Guy on his coast-to-coast journey starting at 6pm/5c — follow along and bookmark the restaurants as he goes, and then try your hand at the recipes.

Go on set with Guy