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.

Restaurant Revisited: No Day at the Beach at Portu-Greek Cafe

by in Shows, June 11th, 2014

Restaurant: ImpossibleAfter running Portu-Greek Cafe in Hudson, Fla., for eight years, husband-and-wife owners Jordan and Anne Lindiakos were losing at least $4,000 every month, so they looked to Robert Irvine for help in a last-ditch effort to save their combination Portuguese and Greek eatery. While what Robert deemed the restaurant’s “very plain” decor and the largely microwaved menu were surely in need of an overhaul, the business’ management style was largely to blame for its failure. “We don’t make long-term decisions,” Jordan admitted, speaking of himself, his wife and his children, who work at Portu-Greek Cafe. It was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to not only transform the cuisine and decor at the restaurant, but also to improve Jordan’s leadership ability and help the family work better together. Read on below to hear from Anne and Jordan, and find out how their business is faring today.

“At this time, we have at least doubled sales,” Anne says, noting that Portu-Greek is “very busy.” Jordan admits, “The decor is beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, including ours.”

Read more

Bobby Flay’s 10 Commandments of Grilling

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, June 10th, 2014

Bobby's Perfect BurgerOn his all-new series Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics (Sundays at 11a|10c), grill master Bobby Flay is putting away his recipes for involved, complicated meals and focusing on those essential summertime favorites all of us should have in our arsenals. Each week he’ll break down the how-tos for various authentic plates and share his secrets for turning out the most-authentic true barbecue, which are largely dependent upon his grilling commandments. Read on below to learn Bobby’s 10 must-know pieces of advice for all things grilling, from juicy burgers and smoky barbecue sauce to entertaining tips and the ultimate pantry ingredients.

1. Direct/Indirect Heat: Set up your grill with two zones — one for direct heat, and the other for indirect heat. Use the direct heat to sear meats and veggies, and move them to the cool side to allow the food to finish grilling without overcooking.

2. Lid On or Off? That Is the Question! My rule of thumb is to leave the lid off for ingredients that cook quickly like shrimp and vegetables and put the lid on for longer-grilling items like poultry and steak, to use the grill like an oven and prevent burning or overcooking.

Read more

Exclusive: Father’s Day with Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, June 10th, 2014

Margaret and Geoffrey ZakarianGeoffrey Zakarian may be a co-host on The Kitchen, a no-nonsense Chopped judge, the chef and partner at New York’s The Lambs Club, and the culinary director of The Plaza hotel, but on Father’s Day, this famed Iron Chef revels in another title: Dad. Geoffrey’s a father to three young children, two daughters plus a newborn baby boy, which means this year’s holiday is sure to be extra special. Read on below to get an exclusive with Geoffrey and learn his family’s plans for Sunday’s celebration, and find out what dishes he enjoys cooking alongside his young sous chefs.

What kinds of Father’s Day traditions do you have now and did you have as a child?
Geoffrey Zakarian: Well, not surprisingly, all centered around food. Usually we tried to go to a Red Sox game at Fenway, and if not, we would watch and chow down on simply grilled hot dogs. Delicious!

How will you and your family celebrate this year?
GZ: We are all going to our family’s place in upstate New York. A large buffet will be developed over the weekend and it will be an eat-a-thon. Lots of rosé will be poured.

Read more

15 Summer-Loving Ways to Enjoy Tomatoes

by in In Season, Recipes, June 7th, 2014

BruschettaAlong with longer days and warmer nights, late spring and early summer ushers in an abundance of ultra-fresh produce. From tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries to colorful squash and bell peppers, there’s no shortage of fruits and vegetables during these warm months, and one of the best, most-versatile items to enjoy is a bright, ripe tomato. Simple pastas and salads are classic picks for putting the tomato to work, but these juicy bites can go beyond the basics as well, as The Kitchen co-hosts showed off this morning with their takes on stuffed tomatoes. Read on below to get 15 ideas and recipes for taking tomatoes to the next level, and learn how to celebrate these beauties all summer long.

1. Perhaps the most-traditional use for tomatoes, a pasta-ready sauce is a must-have in every recipe arsenal. Master Alton’s Tomato Sauce recipe this summer, and keep coming back to it when you need a satisfying meal. He starts off by baking the tomatoes to add a subtle sweetness to the sauce, then processes them through a food mill to achieve a smooth texture.

2. Just like pasta sauce, salsa is also a no-fail way to put tomatoes to work. Instead of picking up jarred salsa, try Marcela’s speedy homemade version instead. Her Roasted Tomato Salsa is made with just a handful of ingredients, and it features a single serrano chile, which offers manageable heat.

3. Whether you need a last-minute potluck addition or an elegant appetizer, The Pioneer Woman’s party-perfect Bruschetta (pictured above) is a timeless favorite, made with colorful grape tomatoes and a splash of balsamic.

Read more

Restaurant Revisited: Saving Grace at Grace’s Place Bagels and Deli

by in Shows, June 4th, 2014

Robert Irvine“We just got ourselves in way over our heads,” Grace Tutak said of her and her husband, Eddie, both owners of Grace’s Place Bagels and Deli. The financial ambiguity of the restaurant and the significant debt they’re facing had put a strain on their marriage, and they were in dire need of Robert Irvine‘s help. “Ed and Grace are both responsible for the failure of the restaurant,” Robert admitted, and together with his Restaurant: Impossible team, he overhauled Grace’s Place and attempted to repair Grace and Eddie’s relationship in order to give their business a second chance at success. Read on below to hear from Grace and find out how her eatery is doing today.

Sales at Grace’s Place have remained steady since the show, and Grace says that “the customers love the new decor.”

Customers were sorry to see some of their beloved dishes had been taken off the menu, so the list of offerings now features some of its original items, plus plates that Robert created. Still being featured are the French Dip, Muffalatta Sub, Fresh-Cut Fries, Cinnamon Bun Sundae and the Minestrone Chicken Matzo Ball Soup, according to Grace.

Read more

Best 5 Macaroni Salad Recipes

by in Recipes, June 4th, 2014

Old-Fashioned Macaroni SaladFrom picnics and graduation parties to weekend cookouts and the upcoming Father’s Day holiday, summer’s all about leisurely get-togethers, and for those you need simple, tried-and-true dishes you’re sure will feed a crowd. Burgers, hot dogs and barbecue are go-to main dishes, but when the focus is on traditional sides, macaroni salad reigns supreme. This easy-to-fix favorite is a crowd-pleasing classic, and it can be prepared ahead of time and served when guests arrive. Check out Food Network’s top-five macaroni salad recipes below to find next-level renditions from Rachael, Guy, the Neelys and more Food Network chefs, then browse more side dish selections ideal for grilling season.

5. Bacon and Egg Macaroni Salad — Rachael starts with balsamic vinaigrette-topped macaroni and adds crisp bacon, hard-boiled eggs and pimentos for welcome texture and added flavor.

4. Macaroni Salad with Dill and Ham — Ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, this go-to picnic favorite features a classic ingredient combo — peas and ham — and the flavors are combined with a tangy mustard-sour cream topping.

Read more

Bobby’s Going Back to Basics on All-New Barbecue Series

by in Shows, June 3rd, 2014

Bobby FlayNo matter Bobby Flay‘s urban roots, no one knows outdoor cooking quite like this Iron Chef. A famed master of meat with decades’ experience of smoking, charring and searing everything from thick-cut chops to true barbecue, Bobby’s the ultimate resource for all things grilled. Now, just in time for summer, Bobby’s sharing a one-stop guide to grilling on his all-new show, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics.

Tune in Sundays at 11a|10c beginning June 22 to get classic how-tos for conquering the grill, and learn step-by-step tips for making his essential dishes at home. What can fans expect from Bobby on his upcoming episodes? Easy, approachable recipes indicative of Bobby’s signature flavors, plus his must-know secrets to authentic barbecue that you’ll be referring to for summers to come.

Read more

One-on-One with the Winner of the Cutthroat Kitchen Judges’ Battle

by in Shows, June 2nd, 2014

Geoffrey Zakarian and Antonia LofasoAfter nearly three seasons of doling out constructive critiques and eliminations on dozens of chefs, the Cutthroat Kitchen judges took their turns in the contest and battled each other in an epic three rounds of competition. Antonia Lofaso, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar faced the same kind of evilicious sabotages that host Alton Brown is notorious for auctioning off to other contestants, but the rivalries among the judges were fiercer, as each wanted to claim Cutthroat glory once and for all.

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, don’t read any further because FN Dish is about to break down the rounds and reveal the winner.

Read more