All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an 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.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, October 3rd, 2016

Cream of Wild Mushroom SoupIf you’re skipping meat this Monday (or any day), look to mushrooms to bulk up a dish that would otherwise be made heftier by the addition of meat. Like beef, mushrooms are hearty and earthy, and they pack a filling punch that delivers the satisfaction you crave.

In her recipe for Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, Ina Garten opts for three varieties of fresh mushrooms — shiitake, portobello and cremini — to add not just flavor but also welcome texture to her fan-favorite soup (there are a whopping 400-plus user reviews of this top-rated recipe). The secret to her soup is making a homemade stock; it’s simmered with mushroom stems and fresh thyme to create a full, bold taste, then it’s used to make up the soup’s broth, which is studded with buttery leeks and the mushroom caps. To add richness, Ina adds white wine, half-and-half and cream for next-level decadence and warming comfort.

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What You Won’t See on TV: Behind the Scenes of All-Star Halloween Spectacular

by in Shows, October 3rd, 2016

All-Star Halloween SpectacularThis Halloween, five of your favorite stars from Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel are coming together for the first time ever — and it’s not to go trick-or-treating. On All-Star Halloween Spectacular, airing Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8|7c, they’ll face off in teams — Drew Scott and Tia Mowry versus Jonathan Scott and Duff Goldman, with Adam Richman and Egypt Sherrod on hand as well — in an extravaganza of building, cake baking and downright scary-good times as they create life-size haunted houses right in the heart of Sin City. They’ll be working against the clock to not only wow with a ghoulish display fit for fright night, but also sweet-tooth-satisfying confections worthy of the competition.

We joined the crew in Las Vegas to watch some of the creations come together behind the scenes and to catch up with the crew. Click here and here to watch two Food Network Facebook Live videos of cakes in progress, then check out more Facebook Live videos from HGTV here and here to see Drew and Jonathan on set — with some tricks and treats of their own.

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Basic Parmesan Pomodoro—Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, October 2nd, 2016

Basic Parmesan PomodoroDon’t let of the name of this recipe fool you: This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is anything but “basic.” Giada De Laurentiis builds layer upon savory layer of flavor in her fan-favorite recipe, starting with bold garlic, sweet carrots and the rind of nutty Parmesan cheese. When these ingredients are slowly simmered with the canned cherry tomatoes, the taste turns out deeply rich and the texture thick and nearly creamy without the use of cream.

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

Get the Recipe: Basic Parmesan Pomodoro

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte Base

by in Shows, October 1st, 2016

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte BaseApple orchards are open, leaves have begun to turn and, perhaps most importantly, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at your favorite coffee shop — fall is officially in session. While you may indeed crave the piping-hot comfort of a fragrant PSL, there are more ways to indulge in that seasonal flavor than in a cup of joe. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed off a simple way to create your own rich, boldly flavored Pumpkin Spice Latte Base, which you can use to transform whipped cream, oatmeal and more into autumnal dishes.

If you can mix up a few ingredients, you’re well on your way to prepping this five-minute recipe. Start with a can of smooth pumpkin puree, then sweeten it up with brown sugar and mix in flavorful additions, including, of course, the requisite pumpkin pie spice. This fuss-free combo will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator; it’s a grab-and-use way to boost the taste of your favorite plates. To start, try it in Pumpkin Spice Latte Sweet Dip with creamy ricotta for a next-level dessert.

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Curry-Style Cooking: Fresh, Family-Focused Mealtime on Ayesha’s Homemade

by in Shows, September 29th, 2016

Ayesha's HomemadeWhen Ayesha Curry heads into the kitchen, she’s not just prepping a quick meal for herself; she’s thinking about her husband, NBA great Stephen, and their young daughters as well, all of whom bring hearty appetites to the table. Beginning this fall, you can join Ayesha in the kitchen for a taste of what’s on her menu, as she’s kicking off her brand-new series, Ayesha’s Homemade, on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 12|11c.

Just like her husband on the court, Ayesha, a cookbook author and social media aficionado, has a game plan when it comes to family-friendly cooking. She’s known for turning out time-tested recipes and contemporary showstoppers alike, all with easy and approachable prep work ideal for everyday meals and dressed-up gatherings alike. Updated takes on brunch staples, party-ready stuffed peppers, holiday-worthy mac and cheese — these slam-dunk favorites and more craveable recipes are all in the works in Ayesha’s kitchen. She knows just what it takes to wow the crowd, and when she and her family open up their home to viewers, she’ll show you her secrets for making it happen.

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The “Seance Board” Speaks — Alton’s Tournament of Terror After-Show

by in Shows, September 28th, 2016

No matter the day or time, the Cutthroat Kitchen arena is often brimming with eviliciousness. But in tonight’s premiere heat of the Tournament of Terror, Alton Brown-turned-Hannibal Lecter upped the diabolical factor immeasurably and brought in spooky spirits to control a sabotage. After two rounds of downright scary-good challenges, the host introduced the “CTK Seance Board,” which let the spirits, not the doomed chef, select ingredients for a blood orange dessert in Round 3.

Chef Richard Blais, the judge of the day who donned a “Clarice Darling” getup like a champion, tried his hand at the board on the After-Show — and let’s just say that he was all too eager to partake in the experience. “The spirits are with me!” he proclaimed, with his eyes closed and head thrown back as the spirits (or rather the spirits of the Bob hidden in the table) took control. “What do the spirits want you to have?” Alton questioned, as Richard’s hand was dragged across the board on a figure before it ultimately landed on blood oranges. The judge took his fruit in stride, but little did he know the horrors that awaited him: first a clown sidekick, then a menacing shower prep station that required careful manipulation.

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Master Saboteur Alton Brown Previews the Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of Terror

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of TerrorFresh off a whirlwind (and wild) summer at Camp Cutthroat, Alton Brown is heading back to the evilicious arena tomorrow night, but what awaits isn’t his usual lot of diabolical escapades. Instead, he’s set to kick off a five-part Tournament of Terror (Wednesdays at 11|10c), complete with all manner of ghastly, horrific and simply scary-good sabotages, just in time for the upcoming Halloween holiday. The 16 chefs that will face off in four preliminary heats and one over-the-top finale know to anticipate competitive rivals, trying challenges and judges’ commentary. But nothing can prepare them for the fear that Alton will instill.

We caught up with Alton about the new tournament in an exclusive interview, and he previewed the kinds of next-level Halloween shenanigans on deck for the Tournament of Terror. “Cuddles the Clown,” is one particularly incredible costume he’ll debut, he noted. Read on below to hear more from Alton and find out his take on homemade Halloween candy.

You’ve done Halloween-themed Cutthroat Kitchen episodes before but never a full tournament like this. What can fans except to see?
Alton Brown: We’ve built five shows that are essentially a bunch of love letters to Halloween. We’ve taken every scary movie trope and tactic and twisted them into sabotages. Oh, and they can also expect a lot of costumes.

We’ve seen a sneak peek of some of the costumes you wear in Tournament of Terror, and they’re pretty extravagant (and amazing). Do you have a favorite?
AB: Three words: Cuddles the Clown.

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Chatting with Amber Kelley About Her New Web Series, Kids Menu Makeover

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Fresh off her momentous win on the premiere season of Food Network Star Kids, Seattle eighth-grader Amber Kelley is back in front of the camera, only this time she’s not in a competition. As part of her prize for besting nine other young kid cooks, Amber became the host of her own web series, Kids Menu Makeover, and now that series is live on FoodNetwork.com.

In keeping with her culinary point of view on Food Network Star Kids, Amber made sure the recipes in all three episodes of Kids Menu Makeover were fresh, approachable and easy. She teamed up with famed restaurant chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Dale Talde and Ariane Duarte to present her take on their beloved intricate dishes, making them not only ideal for kid palates but also adult tastes.

We caught up with Amber on the set of Kids Menu Makeover and chatted about what it’s like for her to host her own web series and work with all-star chefs. Find out what she had to say below and learn her advice to other budding cooks, then watch the other two episodes of Amber’s series here.

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Exclusive: One-on-One with the Winner of Food Network Star Kids

by in Shows, September 26th, 2016

Food Network Star KidsCulinary competitions are difficult for even the most-skilled chefs in the business, as past seasons of Food Network Star have proved. But for the young cooks — really, really young ones, in fact — who took on the challenge of Food Network Star Kids this season, the contest was not only doable but actually fun. Mentors Donal Skehan and Tia Mowry challenged the 10 eager recruits to six weeks of camera and kitchen challenges, each designed to ready them for the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to star in their own Web series on FoodNetwork.com. Tonight the top-three hopefuls — Amber, Isaiah and Liam — faced-off in a final showdown, before one of them earned the coveted title of Food Network Star Kid.

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, don’t read any further until you do. We’re about to chat with the winner in an exclusive interview.

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Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 26th, 2016

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut SquashMuch like salads with traditional mixed green lettuces, quinoa salad on its own is a culinary blank canvas. The grainlike seeds impart a flavor all their own — subtle nuttiness — but they pair well with countless other tastes, textures and ingredients, and you can dress them up or down depending on what ingredients you happen to have on hand. Bonus: Quinoa is filling, since it’s full of protein, which means that you can skip the meat and still feel satisfied.

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