All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an online editor at FoodNetwork.com, covering top-tier show and talent packages and managing the FN Dish and Star Talk blogs. She grew up in a tight-knit Italian family in Michigan, where food was the focus of most conversations and it wasn't unusual to talk about the next day’s lunch and dinner menus while eating breakfast. Maria graduated from Barnard College in 2012 and currently lives in New York City. She likes her pasta cheesy, her eggs runny and her oysters briny.

Welcome to Christmas at Bobby’s: A Very Flay Holiday

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, Shows, November 29th, 2015

Bobby Flay on Christmas at Bobby'sTo usher in the holidays and kick off the season with good cheer, Bobby Flay is throwing a Christmas party for all of his Food Network friends on the upcoming special Christmas at Bobby’spremiering Sunday, Dec. 6 at 12|11c. Fellow Iron Chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian will be on hand, as will Katie Lee and Sunny Anderson, along with Scott Conant, Anne Burrell and the newest member of the Food Network family, Eddie Jackson, whom Bobby mentored on Food Network Star, Season 11. Recently FN Dish checked in with Bobby to see what the holidays look like at his house — how he celebrates with his family and what seasonal indulgences he craves most at this time of year. Read on below to hear from him as he dishes on his holiday entertaining strategy and looks back on seasons past from when he was a kid.

What does Christmas usually look like at your house? How do you celebrate?
Bobby Flay: It’s usually my family and some friends. We actually like Christmas Eve. I think we celebrate Christmas Eve more so than Christmas Day. Sometimes we go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. And usually there’s a biggish dinner for Christmas Eve, and sometimes I’ll make, like, Feast of the Seven Fishes. Even though we’re not Italian, it’s just a really great tradition.

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Chicken Tortilla Casserole — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 29th, 2015

Chicken Tortilla CasseroleCreamy, cheesy and oh-so-comforting, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, a fan-favorite recipe from Trisha Yearwood, transforms the usual baked chicken casserole into a next-level dish packed with bold flavor. Trisha creates a smoky chicken gravy laced with cumin and studded with green chiles to offer plenty of richness to her big-batch recipe, which she beefs up with layers of corn tortillas, tender shredded chicken and gooey cheddar.

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

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POLL: What’s the Centerpiece Dish on Your Holiday Table?

by in Polls, Shows, November 28th, 2015

The KitchenWith Thanksgiving, a holiday all but devoted to turkey, behind us, the focus has shifted to the upcoming holiday season and the entertaining that comes with it. From cocktail parties and cookie swaps to family dinners and open houses, holiday get-togethers can be what you make them in terms of the food and drink you pass and serve. On this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, the cast kicked off the season with a hearty menu ideal for entertaining, including Jeff Mauro’s roast beef.

FN Dish wants to know: When it comes to the centerpiece element at your holiday feast, what dish do you most often prepare? Do you, like Jeff, reach for the beef, or do you follow the suit of Thanksgiving and opt for a turkey? Cast your vote in the poll below to let us know.

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“Double-Dog Dare” — Alton’s Superstar Sabotage After-Show

by in Shows, November 26th, 2015

Alton Brown challenges the chefs. The chefs challenge each other. That’s how a typical Cutthroat Kitchen battle unfolds, even in the midst of a Superstar Sabotage tournament. But when it comes to Alton’s After-Show, Alton gets even more diabolical: He challenges the judges.

On the latest installment of the After-Show following last night’s Heat 4 tournament face-off, Alton and judge Jet Tila experienced firsthand the eviliciousness that was the hamster wheel prep table, which Chef Bobby Deen was forced to contend with in Round 1’s Denver omelet test. While their mission began simply enough — Alton and Jet working and walking together to make a joint omelet — the situation turned even more dreadful when it came to the final step in omelet prep, the all-important flip. “I dare you to flip that,” Alton told Jet. “Double-dog dare.” Ever the good sport, Jet said, “I can’t say no.” And it’s a good thing he didn’t, because he managed to pull off a (near) perfect flip while he and Alton continued to walk the wheel. One bit of the omelet didn’t turn over, but Jet explained simply, “I’m going to hide it,” before successfully plating the omelet.

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One-on-One with the Heat 4 Winner of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage

by in Shows, November 25th, 2015

Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar SabotageAlton Brown isn’t shy about doling out diabolical sabotages to anyone and everyone who enters the hallowed Cutthroat Kitchen arena, including grandmas, firefighters, the judges he keeps on hand and the A-list chefs on Superstar Sabotage. In this brand-new series, 16 all-star professionals, all renowned in their field, have agreed to subject themselves to Alton’s eviliciousness. While most will ultimately fall in their quest for Cutthroat glory, a few will shine — one in each of the four preliminary rounds and one of them again in the tournament finale. Check back to FN Dish after each episode to hear from the latest round’s winner in an exclusive interview. If you haven’t watched tonight’s new episode, read no further, because we’re about to break down the ins and outs of the battle.

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The Best Thanksgiving Leftovers: Next-Level Ideas for Next-Day Fare

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 25th, 2015

Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage HollandaiseYou’ve roasted the turkey, mashed the potatoes, baked the dressing and seen the sun set on another Thanksgiving dinner. Now the real party begins: reinventing all of those turkey-day leftovers. Soup and sandwiches are tried-and-true picks for a reason — nothing satisfies a savory craving quite like a midnight turkey sandwich, right? — but if you want to turn your spread into next-level next-day fare, look no further than Food Network’s best ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise
Giada De Laurentiis’ creative take on traditional eggs Benny features golden-brown stuffing patties as the base instead of the usual English muffins. She tops the cakes with crispy pancetta, a runny-yolked poached egg and a drizzle of buttery, sage-laced hollandaise sauce.

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Garden Egg Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 23rd, 2015

Garden Egg SaladButtery mashed potatoes and gravy; rich, cheesy casseroles; creamy pumpkin pies … there’s no shortage of indulgences come the holidays, and we haven’t even entered Christmas cookie season yet. While these decadent dishes are called for at this time of year, it’s no surprise that you may be craving a bit of balance in your meals. That’s where this healthy recipe comes in.

Ready to eat in only 25 quick minutes, Food Network Kitchen’s Garden Egg Salad is a better-for-you take on traditionally heavy egg salad. By swapping in low-fat mayonnaise and mixing in fresh celery and crunchy radishes, this mustard-laced salad features all of the textures and flavors you crave, but it’s not simply made lighter. Bonus: Opt for romaine lettuce leaves instead of the traditional bread when serving up this fuss-free lunch.

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When Andy Richter Hosts a Dinner Party, Celebrity Food Fights Ensue

by in Shows, November 23rd, 2015

Celebrity Food Fight‘Tis the season for cookie swaps, family get-togethers and gatherings of all kinds, even among the celebrity set. In fact, with the holidays only weeks away, Andy Richter is opening up his house for a series of dinner parties with chefs, tastemakers and food fanatics from both the big screen and small. But of course when this comedian is in charge, guests will enjoy more than just dinner and drinks; there will surely be some laughs involved as well, and all of it will play out on the upcoming series Celebrity Food Fight.

Premiering Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 10|9c, this three-part show will feature two teams of stars each week, and as the teams progress from appetizers to dinner and dessert, they’ll be facing off in some friendly food-focused games. Think taste tests, cookbook trivia and kitchen gadget know-how — all while working in pairs to outscore the other team.

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Yes, It’s Possible to Make Gravy Ahead of Time This Thanksgiving

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 23rd, 2015

Yes, It's Possible to Make Gravy Ahead of Time This ThanksgivingAccording to Alex Guarnaschelli, “Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving unless everything is bathed in gravy.” And we don’t disagree. But given the rush of last-minute turkey carving, the warming of countless side dishes and the process of getting your whole family seated ahead of the feast, it can be tricky to devote the necessary time to turning out a silky gravy right before dinner is served. That’s where this go-to trick comes in. Believe it or not, you don’t need turkey drippings to make a winning gravy. The secret ingredient to be used instead? Oil.

Click the play button on the video below to see how it’s done.

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“This Is Fun, Isn’t It?” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 22nd, 2015

It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown is game to try his hands at the eviliciousness he forces upon the competitors. Not only has he bobbed for doughnuts and walked the hamster wheel with Jet Tila, but he’s jumped into the ball pit with Simon Majumdar. On the latest installment of his After-Show, however, Alton sat out one sabotage in particular and made Antonia Lofaso take it on instead.

It was up to Antonia to blindly choose which challenge among three that she’d attempt, all of which Alton said “were especially cunning and horrible,” and ultimately she was saddled with making hushpuppies in the Hush Puppet Theatre. In true Antonia fashion, she quickly gauged the demands of the mirrored sabotage and adapted to its oddball stresses. But no sooner did she begin prep work of her hushpuppies did she encounter an unexpected challenge: Alton chatting next to her. “Shh. You’re confusing me,” she joked with him. As he wasn’t competing in this sabotage alongside her, he — and his chef hand puppet — could focus on making sure that she appreciated all of the eviliciousness this sabotage had to offer. But even though Alton may have stopped Antonia’s train of culinary thought, she looked to the host to help her in grabbing necessary equipment around the kitchen. “This is fun, isn’t it?” Alton asked the judge, though she wasn’t eager to agree. “This is actually the worst challenge I’ve ever been a part of,” Antonia admitted. No matter her struggles, she indeed managed to turn out impressive hushpuppies, as she said after seeing them for the first time, “These look fantastic.”

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