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.

Scripps Networks to Celebrate U.S. Military in First-Ever Hero’s Welcome

by in Shows, September 30th, 2014

Hero's WelcomeThis Veterans Day will be a celebration like none other as all-stars from Food Network and HGTV, plus humanitarian Gary Sinise, together with the rest of the Scripps Networks Interactive family, honor Staff Sergeant Tony Woods in a brand-new upcoming special, Hero’s Welcome, premiering Tuesday, Nov. 11.

A 25-year service member who suffered life-threatening injuries in Iraq, Tony is preparing to retire from the military, but for this dedicated hero, a simple congratulatory party isn’t enough — especially if Robert Irvine and Genevieve Gorder have anything to say about it. On Hero’s Welcome, Robert and Genevieve will work with the Woods’ neighborhood to overhaul Tony and his wife Joedi’s Oahu, Hawaii, home so that’s it’s worthy of not just the couple but also the foster children they welcome into their family. Emotions will be high as Tony and Joedi experience the surprise of their lives when they arrive to find their home transformed and their community at the ready to thank Tony for his selfless service.

Read more

Baby Gear Meets Grown-Up Competition — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, September 28th, 2014

While challenge dishes featured on Cutthroat Kitchen are classics and easy to prepare, many, like Thai coconut soup and falafel, aren’t necessarily appealing to children. On tonight’s all-new episode, however, the competition took a turn for the kid-friendly, as Alton Brown introduced one dish that’s perhaps enjoyed more by children than by adults: chicken fingers. “The chicken finger is featured on pretty much every single kids’ menu on the planet,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on this week’s After-Show. To celebrate the plate and honor one place many chicken fingers are eaten, Alton auctioned off a giant highchair, one intended not for kids but for an unlucky chef saddled with sabotage. “Look at the view,” Alton said jokingly to Jet, who willingly climbed onto the chair to experience the test for himself. “You can see further in Cutthroat Kitchen than ever before.”

While the sights may have been ideal up there, the working conditions were not, as Chef Joel found mini utensils, plastic plates and an electric cooktop waiting for him at the table of the highchair. Lucky for him, though, he didn’t stay there long, as he won the mid-round sabotage and forced Chef Oz to take his place and finish prepping the dish there as his own. He “simply cannot recoup,” Alton noted to Jet, who surely tasted the struggle in Chef Oz’s dish, as the judge sent him home after a failed chicken-finger offering.

Read more

Beyond the Bottle: New Ways to Cook with Beer for Oktoberfest

by in Recipes, September 27th, 2014

Beer-Braised Chicken ThighsJust days ago Oktoberfest, the annual celebration of all things Bavarian, kicked off in Germany, but on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts brought the party stateside with a menu of authentic eats and drinks. At Oktoberfest, beer may be the drink of choice for the crowds of revelers enjoying the events, but there’s more to do with beer than simply say “Cheers!” From savory stews to sweet cakes, beer shines in a mix of classic and creative recipes, thanks to its range of bold flavors. Read on below for tips on putting the bottles of beer in your refrigerator to work in easy chicken dinners, fish-and-chip plates, moist chocolate cake and more must-try favorites.

When it comes to braising, it’s the ingredients in the liquid that flavor whatever you’re cooking, so when Rachael Ray adds a bottle of lager to the broth in her Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs (pictured above) recipe, she ensures that the meat turns out full of flavor every time. She simmers the moist chicken thighs in the garlic-laced broth alongside sausage and peppers for a bold meal. Want to use pork instead of chicken? Try Food Network Magazine’s Beer-Braised Country-Style Pork Ribs, gently cooked in a mixture of sauteed onions, amber ale and fresh herbs.

Read more

Best 5 Chili Recipes

by in Recipes, September 25th, 2014

Game-Day ChiliWhen the weather turns chilly, few things are more welcome than the chance to cozy up to a warm bowl of comfort food, and with football season in high gear, let your dish do double duty by making a tailgate-ready chili. From hearty beef-based bowls to recipes packed with chicken, turkey and beans, there’s no shortage of chili varieties, and when it comes to vegetable additions, nearly anything you have on hand in the refrigerator would likely be a fine addition to the pot. Check out Food Network’s top-five chili recipes below to find warming recipes from The Pioneer Woman, Bobby Flay, Ina Garten and more Food Network chefs.

5. Simple, Perfect Chili — “It’s a total cinch to make,” The Pioneer Woman says of her big-batch chili. It’s made with a duo of beans and features a pinch of cayenne pepper for subtle heat.

4. 30-Minute Turkey Chili — Swap in turkey for classic beef when making this fuss-free recipe, and set out a toppings bar of fresh cilantro, cool sour cream and grated cheese so everyone can top their own bowls.

Read more

Jesse Palmer Previews the First-Ever Food Truck Face Off

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, September 25th, 2014

Steak Shapiro, Jesse Palmer, Alpana Singh and Andrew GruelAs four industry rookies take their places in the premiere series of Food Truck Face Off, host Jesse Palmer will be on hand to oversee the contest as an esteemed panel of judges decides the fate of the hopeful teams. Before you tune in on Sunday at 11|10c for a sneak-peek episode and watch what goes down on the road in Miami, hear from Jesse to learn what to expect from the season. Read on below for an exclusive interview and find out what he would pursue as a food truck concept.

What can fans expect from Food Truck Face Off?
Jesse Palmer: Amazing food, incredibly talented competitors, a ton of human emotion and a hungry host

Read more

Restaurant Revisited: Drama at Mamma’s at Mamma Lucrezia’s

by in Shows, September 24th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“I’ve walked right in the middle of a sibling rivalry like no other,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Mamma Lucrezia’s in Bellefonte, Pa. While this 10-year-old Italian eatery offered some of Robert’s most-favorite pizza, its decor was dated, and, perhaps more problematically, owner Maria Albegiani and her sister, server Stefania Albegiani, were at odds with each other after years of tensions building in their relationship. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team had to not only overhaul the interior at Mamma Lucrezia’s but also attempt to mend a strained family. Read on below to hear from Maria and see how her restaurant is faring since the renovation.

“We have more than doubled in revenue,” Maria explains of business at Mamma Lucrezia’s. She adds that in terms of diner reaction, “The customers love the food and the new design.”

Read more

Exclusive: Alton Previews the Premiere Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage Tournament

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, September 23rd, 2014

Alton BrownFor the first time ever, 16 of your favorite all-star chefs are coming together in the name of eviliciousness to face off in the first-ever Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament, premiering Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 9|8c. During the course of five weeks, kitchen masters like Alex Guarnaschelli, Justin Warner, Anne Burrell and Nadia G will battle in four heats plus a finale, but ultimately only one contestant can earn Cutthroat glory and a $75,000 prize for charity. Before this unprecedented series of cook-offs begins, FN Dish wanted to learn a little bit more about what host Alton Brown has in store for these A-list rivals. Will he be soft on the sabotages on account of the contestants’ vast culinary experience? It turns out, Alton says, “It’s not difficult for me at all” to be hard on the chefs. Read on below to hear more from Alton in an exclusive interview.

Do you think these chefs have any idea what they’ve signed up for? After all, Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t like any other culinary competition.
Alton Brown: I think that everybody that is in the competition has watched the show — or maybe two — but that still doesn’t really prepare you because this is one of those shows where being a spectator just doesn’t set you up for the realities of what to expect, especially during the shopping.

Read more

POLL: What’s Your Soup Preference?

by in Community, Shows, September 22nd, 2014

Classic Tortilla SoupLast week FN Dish revealed that The Kitchen is preparing for its first-ever episode dedicated to one of fall’s favorite comfort foods — soup — and we asked for help in learning how you make and enjoy soup at home. (Click here to vote on last week’s questions.) This week The Kitchen wants to know more about your personal tastes when it comes to filling up on a warm bowl of soup. Read on below to cast your vote in the polls, and be sure to look out for The Kitchen’s upcoming soup show.

Read more

History-Making Moments All Around — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, September 21st, 2014

Considering the ruthless sabotaging that takes place on any given day on Cutthroat Kitchen, it would surely take something over-the-top evilicious to stop host Alton Brown in his tracks, and that’s exactly what happened on this week’s all-new episode. Just moments into his After-Show, Alton revealed to judge Jet Tila, “This one may be my favorite — ever.” And Alton added, “We definitely had our best round of cooking, I think ever, today.”

While Round 1 saw a doozy of a bento box challenge and Round 2 welcomed a toy crab claw sabotage, it wasn’t until the pineapple upside-down cake test began that Alton saw what he deemed “the round that I believe to be the finest Cutthroat Kitchen round that I have ever witnessed.” As judge Jet listened to the details of the history-making Round 3, Alton noted the competition’s first-ever Hammock Station, which made its debut after Alton and the Cutthroat crew looked for “something else that goes upside down in an inconvenient time and way.” What resulted forced Chef Alexis to work exclusively on the hammock (with the exception of the cooking) as he prepared his cake. Simply put, it was “unspeakably wonderful” to watch, according to Alton. But what came next in judging was perhaps the most-unexpected ending to the contest: a tie. “For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, the judge decides on a tie,” Alton explained; and Jet told him, “I had to.”

Read more

Your Guide to Cooking the Fall Harvest

by in Recipes, September 20th, 2014

Pear-Pecan Upside-Down CakeThe first day of autumn is just days away, and whether you’re preparing to host weekend tailgates or you want to throw a fancy fall soiree, get set for the season by filling up your recipe repertoire with go-to dishes that are both impressive for guests and easy to prepare. When you’re shopping the farmers market or walking the aisles at the grocery store, check out the fresh, in-season produce, like squash, potatoes, greens and pears, and design your menu based upon whatever looks best that day. Check out the party-ready recipes below to find sweet and savory inspiration for your fall cooking, then head over to The Kitchen headquarters to see how the co-hosts kicked off the season on this morning’s all-new episode.

If you think slow cookers are for only meaty chilis and soups, think again, because Food Network Magazine introduced a Pear-Pecan Upside-Down Cake (pictured above) that comes together with the help of the machine. After setting up the pears at the bottom of the slow cooker and topping them with a cinnamon-laced cornmeal batter, your hands-on work is just about finished, and all you have to do is let the cake cook for a few hours. Invert the cake so the pear slices are on top and serve with cool, fluffy whipped cream for a simple-yet-stunning presentation.

Read more