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.

Search of the Week: Fried Green Tomatoes

by in Recipes, July 2nd, 2014

Fried Green TomatoesWhen it comes to warm-weather produce, much is made of the importance of finding just-ripe fruits and vegetables for their natural sweetness and juicy insides. But that all changes when the spotlight is shined on one particular summer classic: fried green tomatoes. This Southern staple is best when made with firm, not-yet-ripe tomatoes — which are most often green — because they’re not packed with liquid yet. Traditional tomato sauce relies on ripe red tomatoes because they burst open with juices when cooked, but it’s those same juices that would render red tomatoes limp and the crumb coating soggy if they were fried.

As you peruse your gardens this summer or shop at farm stands and the supermarket, reach for green tomatoes and put them to work in the Neelys’ can-do recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes (pictured above). Ready to eat in only 30 minutes, this simple-to-make dish features slices of green tomato dunked in garlic powder-laced flour, a batter of milk and eggs, and finally panko with a pinch of cayenne for subtle heat. Fry them until they’re golden brown and crispy on the outside and serve a creamy, tangy buttermilk sauce alongside for deliciously easy dipping.

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Back for More Battles: Bobby Dishes on New Season of Beat Bobby Flay

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, July 1st, 2014

Bobby FlayJust two losses after nearly 10 battles — that winning record could be earned only by Bobby Flay, a famed Iron Chef and the master of the throwdown, who first challenged hopeful chefs to head-to-head competitions on Beat Bobby Flay last year. This summer, Bobby’s bringing his A-game yet again for an all-new season of Beat Bobby Flay (premiering July 31 at 10|9c), and with his reputation on the line, the stakes will be higher than ever. FN Dish caught up with Bobby recently and chatted about what he’s looking forward to in this upcoming batch of face-offs. Read on below for an exclusive interview, and find out Bobby’s most-memorable battles, plus his strategy for securing victory after victory.

What are you most looking forward to in Season 2?
Bobby Flay: Being pushed to the edge. I want it to be really challenging ’cause that’s what keeps my edge going.

What are some of your most-memorable moments from the first season?
BF: When I lost the taco [battle] — that was memorable. One of my favorite dishes I made was the meatloaf with the Korean-style kimchi in it, ’cause I’ve only made meatloaf a couple times in my life, really, and I’m not that big of a meatloaf fan. So when they said meatloaf, I was like, Oh, brother. But it actually turned out to be really tasty.

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Poll: How Do You Take Your Burger?

by in Recipes, June 28th, 2014

Katie Lee and Marcela ValladolidWith summer in full force and grilling season officially underway, The Kitchen co-hosts dedicated an entire hour on this morning’s all-new episode to perhaps the ultimate grill-friendly meal: burgers. Family-friendly and endlessly versatile, hamburgers can feed a crowd and shine both in their simplest form and when dressed up with nontraditional toppings. Katie and Marcela offered a few of their takes on classic between-the-bun creations with Shrimp Burgers with Old Bay Mayo and Grilled Chicken Burgers with Pasilla Aioli, respectively, while Geoffrey, Katie and Sunny made next-level ketchups: Guachup, Spiced Peach Ketchup and Sunny’s Homemade Ketchup.

FN Dish wants to know: When it comes to firing up the grill and searing your ultimate burger, what do you reach for? Is your favorite patty one made of chicken or fish instead of beef, or do you prepare no-meat burgers? Are you a cheese purist and prefer cheddar or American, or do you reach for tangy goat or blue cheeses? Toppings: salty like bacon, or sweet like caramelized onions?

Vote in the poll below to tell FN Dish how you take your best burger (select all that apply).

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What to Do with Rotisserie Chicken

by in Recipes, June 21st, 2014

Pulled BBQ Chicken SandwichesThe Kitchen co-hosts, plus a few of their special guests, showed off a next-level contraption that roasts chicken fireside, a la rotisserie chicken, on this morning’s all-new episode. The setup included a central fire pit and multiple hanging birds around the heat, which roasted slowly and became moist and juicy. If you don’t happen to have the tools and space to recreate the scene in your backyard, there’s no shame in picking up a warm rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and putting it to work in quick-fix meals at home. Easy to find and economical, store-bought rotisserie chicken is a weeknight timesaver and perhaps the ultimate shortcut ingredient, as it can be used in countless lunch and dinner recipes. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite ideas below, then see all of the recipes featured on The Kitchen today.

Once you make a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce, these surprisingly healthy Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (pictured above) become as simple to make as shredding the meat and assembling. Be sure to not go overboard when adding the liquid smoke; a few drops will go a long way in adding the beloved smoky flavor.

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Best 5 Zucchini Bread Recipes

by in Recipes, June 18th, 2014

Zucchini BreadFrom grilling and roasting zucchini to mixing it in pastas and cold salads, there’s no shortage of ways to use up this seasonal classic, but perhaps the easiest among them is baking zucchini in a sweet bread. The beauty of zucchini bread is that once you bake a single loaf, the results double as breakfasts and desserts for days to come. Unlike banana bread, which requires overly ripe bananas, zucchini bread can be made with the produce at any stage, so it’s a go-to pick if you’re facing a surplus from a garden or a sale at the grocery store. Read on below to find Food Network’s top-five recipes for zucchini bread, and get a mix of creative and traditional picks.

5. Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread — You don’t have to be gluten-intolerant to enjoy this sweet loaf, laced with a trio of warm spices as well as a duo of olive oil and Greek yogurt for moisture.

4. Zucchini and Apple Bread — Made with crunchy walnuts for added texture, this easy-to-do recipe yields two loaves, making it a favorite for potlucks and bake sales.

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How to Build a Better Dog

by in Recipes, June 14th, 2014

Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade RelishKetchup, mustard, maybe some relish and sweet, saucy onions. These classic toppings surely get the job done when it comes to making an everyday hot dog, but for a next-level cookout, try dressing up your favorite franks with nontraditional fixings. On this morning’s episode of The Kitchen, Katie, Marcela and Jeff introduced their creative takes on hot dogs with their West Virginia-Style Hot Dog, Mexican-Style Hot Dog and Depression Dog with peppers, respectively. This summer, follow the co-hosts’ leads by experimenting with unexpected toppings; just stick with your favorite ingredients and try to choose flavors that you know complement one another. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite ways to build a better dog below, then browse Food Network Magazine’s roundup of 50 All-Purpose Condiments complete with must-see ideas for adding finishing touches to your grilled greats.

While Jeff’s Depression Dog from The Kitchen may have been deliciously simple, his Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade Relish (pictured above) is perhaps the ultimate in hot dog indulgence. He starts with beef franks and tops them with white onions and yellow mustard, plus homemade pickles and golden-brown french fries flavored with celery seed. Jeff recommends building the dogs, then letting them steam for a few minutes before serving.

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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.”

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