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.

Family Time, German Chocolate Cake and Peanut Butter Balls — Trisha Yearwood Celebrates Father’s Day With Garth Brooks

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, June 15th, 2013

Trisha YearwoodWhile some families craft extensive plans and elaborate surprises to honor their dads on Father’s Day, the scene at the Yearwood-Brooks home will be far more low-key tomorrow. For Trisha, her husband, Garth, and his three daughters, there will be just one item on the agenda: spend time together enjoying some of Dad’s most-treasured treats.

“As long as his girls are all three in the same place, that’s huge,” Trisha told FN Dish of Garth when we caught up with her last month. “Now we have two [daughters] in college and one in high school, so getting everybody together is harder.” When the family is finally under one roof, especially at a time like this weekend, quality time is of the utmost importance. “Father’s Day really is just whatever Dad wants to do, and it always means he wants to have his girls there, so it’s always just something with them,” Trisha says of how they’ll be celebrating tomorrow.

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Bobby Flay’s Top 5 Tips for Summer Cooking

by in Food Network Chef, June 15th, 2013

Bobby FlayBobby Flay may be one of three no-nonsense judge-mentors on Food Network Star, but he’s also Food Network’s resident grill master, the go-to guy for top burger, side dish and cocktail recipes all summer long. He’s known for his penchant for barbecue and fresh, contemporary takes on classic Southwestern cuisine, so it’s no surprise that when FN Dish caught up with him at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he was preparing jerk chicken tacos with red cabbage slaw and tangerine margaritas. Fresh off his win at the 2013 Burger Bash competition, Bobby chatted with fans in the standing-room-only crowd, sharing strategies for stress-free summer entertaining and answering questions about hosting the ultimate cookout. Read on to hear from Bobby, and learn his top-five tips for warm-weather eating and drinking.

5. When you’re serving something in a tortilla — like a taco — it’s best to overseason the filling because it will have to work to maintain its flavor within the wrapping.

4. “Taste every single thing,” no matter what you’re cooking or how.

Get Bobby’s top three tips

Frozen Desserts for Dad’s Day — Weekend Cookout

by in Holidays, Recipes, June 14th, 2013

Peanut Butter PieThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread will be finished with a chilly frozen dessert to celebrate Dad on Father’s Day.

Even if your dad isn’t a fan of all things meat, bacon and beer, you can treat him to an extra-special dish in honor of Father’s Day this year — just save it until the end of the meal. Richly decadent and deliciously indulgent, frozen desserts are go-to party fare; they’re almost always prepared well in advance, and they’re guaranteed crowd-pleasers, no matter if you’re entertaining kids or grownups.

Showcasing the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate, the Neelys’ top-rated Peanut Butter Pie (pictured above) is a five-star fan favorite that’s a cinch to make quickly at home. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and creamy peanut butter to make the foundation of the richly decadent filling, then fold in vanilla-laced whipped cream to add an airy lightness. The Neelys save time in the kitchen by using an already prepared chocolate crust as the base of their pie, so it’s A-OK to opt for the store-bought variety here. Be sure to let the pie chill for at least four hours before serving to allow it time to set, then offer guests toppings of hot fudge and crunchy peanuts on the side.

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Best 5 Zucchini Recipes

by in Recipes, June 12th, 2013

Grilled Zucchini Salad With Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette and Shaved Romano and Toasted Pine NutsWhether you grow it in your backyard garden, shop for it at the farmers’ market or just pick it up in the produce aisle, zucchini is a can’t-miss vegetable this time of year, as this mild, versatile squash is at its peak of freshness during the warm summer months. Simply sauteed zucchini with olive oil and seasoning is a go-to standby, but when you want to dress it up or feature it in creative ways, think beyond everyday preparations and check out Food Network’s best-five zucchini recipes below. Some of your favorite chefs, including Ina and Bobby, showcase this seasonal pick in their top-rated dishes for comforting gratin, quick salads and more can-do plates that are elegant enough to serve to company but easy enough to prepare on a weeknight.

5. Zucchini Gratin — Ina uses just a handful of ingredients to make her big-batch casserole, laced with a buttery sauce and finished with cheesy breadcrumbs for a textured topping.

4. Zucchini Corn Fritters — The secret to making Food Network Magazine‘s quick side dish is salting the zucchini after you shred it and letting it rest before combining it with sauteed corn and onions; this process will draw out much of its moisture, so when you fry the zucchini, it becomes deliciously crisp and golden brown.

Get the top three recipes

Crisp Mozzarella Sticks — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, June 10th, 2013

Crisp Mozzarella SticksThink back to the mozzarella sticks you ate as a child (or last weekend at the sports bar): the frozen-then-baked sticks whose skin was soggy and cheese tough, or the grease-laden logs overpowered by the taste of dried herbs. Now forget them entirely, because these mozzarella sticks are nothing like those. Light and fresh, once-indulgent cheese sticks have been made over and are now not only healthy but deliciously satisfying, too.

The secret to making Food Network Kitchens’ Crisp Mozzarella Sticks (pictured above) is using wholesome ingredients in each component of the dish. To make the coating, stick with ground whole-grain Melba toasts for texture and add whole-wheat breadcrumbs, plus fresh oregano and a dash of cayenne for flavor. After a double-dredge process in an egg-garlic batter and this dry mixture, the part-skim string cheese will be generously coated in a thick, crunchy crust. It’s important to let the sticks chill in the freezer before baking them to golden brown so that the cheese doesn’t melt as soon as it meets the heat. Served alongside a bowl of marinara sauce for easy dunking, these eat-with-your-hands beauties are a timeless, kid-approved favorite.

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Restaurant Revisited: Lost in the Woods at Pinehurst Country Lodge

by in Shows, June 9th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleRoger Murray, the owner of Pinehurst Country Lodge in Greeley, Pa., had no experience in either working at or owning a restaurant before he purchased the business just six months ago. Although he was once prosperous in the corporate world, Roger’s venture into the culinary industry proved less successful, and he was facing a $350,000 debt when Robert Irvine arrived to rescue him from despair. Strung with unattractive holiday lights and offering a menu of unpalatable food, Pinehurst Country Lodge was in desperate need of the design and menu revamps that Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible team was ready to provide. After just two days and with only $10,000, Pinehurst reopened to a bustling crowd and offered guests a menu of freshly prepared meals. FN Dish checked in with Roger a few months after Robert left to find out how his eatery is doing today.

“Business has picked up since the filming,” Roger tells us. “Overall I’d give it a 10 percent bump revenue-wise but consider my bottom line to be expanding more than that.” Pinehurst is indeed making more money than it was before its transformation, and Roger adds that he’s now seeing income from the bar.

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Stretching the Value of Steak — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, June 8th, 2013

Skirt SteakThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features juicy grilled steak that won’t break the bank.

No matter if you’re buying filet mignon or flank steak, the price of beef can leave a sizable dent in your wallet, especially if you’re shopping to feed a crowd. But even though it’s a splurge item for many, steak is indeed a can-do meat for your next weekend cookout; the trick is knowing what to buy and how to stretch it so that you get the most for your money.

Choosing the Best Cut
About that filet mignon — skip it. Stick to the flank or other budget-friendly cuts like hanger or skirt steak. These pieces of beef are every bit as flavorful as their expensive counterparts, but they’re thinner, so they’re more prone to overcooking. To remedy that and dodge chewy meat, simply keep the cooking time to a minimum. In his recipe for Skirt Steak (pictured above), Alton cooks the beef on hot charcoals for just 60 seconds on each side, then keeps it wrapped in foil for 15 minutes; the direct-heat method ensures that the meat develops a charred crust, while the aluminum tent helps it become tender. Click the play button on the video below to watch Alton make it.

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