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.

A 2 a.m. Wake-Up, Dozens of Dinner Guests and a Rescue Ingredient: Thanksgiving According to Bobby Flay

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

Bobby FlayWith less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, the countdown to all things turkey, potatoes and gravy is officially on. If you’ve begun to fret about how you’re going to execute the meal with ease this year, there’s reason to take comfort: At least you’re probably not cooking for 50 people. That’s how many guests are expected to show up at Bobby Flay‘s house on Thanksgiving, though in true Iron Chef fashion, Bobby has a surefire plan to approach the day. FN Dish recently checked in with Bobby on set and at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to learn more about his holiday traditions and find out what the trickiest part of meal prep is for him. Read on below to hear from Bobby in an exclusive interview, and learn the go-to ingredient he uses in five key ways on Thanksgiving (hint: you likely have it in your pantry now).

What does Thanksgiving look like at your house?
Bobby Flay: On the holiday, there are usually 50 people at my house that I cook for. It ranges from family to friends to … Basically, it’s just a tradition every year where I cook two 30-pound turkeys, and I usually theme the Thanksgiving. I actually haven’t thought about what it’s going to be this year …. But we usually pick a theme that has to do with an occurrence that has taken place in the world.

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Can You Iron Waffles Without an Iron? — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, November 9th, 2014

Steak, lasagna, chicken, potatoes — these dishes and more can be made in nearly any pan you have in the kitchen and can even move from the stove to the oven seamlessly. But when it comes to waffles, there’s just one all-important tool available for making them — or so Cutthroat Kitchen chefs thought before tonight’s all-new episode. In a doozy of a sabotage, Alton Brown auctioned off exclusive rights to the lone waffle iron in the kitchen, while other competitors were forced to tackle the waffle challenge using an ice cube tray and a metal meat mallet as their only cooking vessels.

Before the contestants attempted their next-level waffles with these seemingly oddball gadgets, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew got to work on the same sabotages to make sure they were indeed fair and possible given the tight time restraints in the competition. Click the play button on the video above to watch the tests unfold and see how the team turned out untraditional waffles with the ice cube tray and meat mallet.

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Ina’s Garlic Roasted Potatoes — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 9th, 2014

Garlic Roasted PotatoesWhen it comes to rounding out your dinner menu with a few easy-to-make side dishes, look no further than potatoes. From mashing and pureeing to frying, grilling and sauteing, there’s no shortage of ways to prepare the humble spud, including Ina Garten’s preferred method of roasting, which is featured in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. She opts for a few pounds of small potatoes to make her five-star dish, which boasts bold flavor from fresh garlic and a final sprinkle of parsley before serving.

For more top-rated recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: 5-Star Recipes board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Garlic Roasted Potatoes (pictured above)

“It’s My Favorite Cooking Holiday” — Alex Shares Her Thanksgiving Traditions and Tips

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 9th, 2014

Alex GuarnaschelliIf Valentine’s Day is a day for hopeless romantics, then Thanksgiving is surely one for the chefs among us. From the crowd of company seated at the dining room table to the crowning turkey centerpiece and the 10 or so side dishes flanking the buffet, it’s no surprise that those who enjoy cooking for strangers in restaurants would love even more to cook for their families at home, and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is no exception. “It’s my favorite cooking holiday,” Alex told FN Dish of turkey day when we caught up with her recently. For her, Thanksgiving comes twice — once at her restaurant and again with her family—and she notes, “I try to make everything from scratch.”

Read on below to hear more from Alex and find out her must-have bites on Thanksgiving, plus a few of her make-head tips for the feast.

What does Thanksgiving look like at your house? What kinds of traditions do you celebrate?
Alex Guarnaschelli: I have two Thanksgivings every year. The first one I do at the restaurant with my restaurant family, and we cook a whole big spread and we sit down, no matter how busy we are, and we take the time to hang out. And then I cook for my parents. My parents like to eat out in a restaurant, which is kind of embarrassing for a professional chef to be caught, busted, in a restaurant on Thanksgiving. So, if my parents really want to go out, we go out, but then I cook a whole spread at home for my daughter and my parents. And I try to make almost everything from scratch. It’s my favorite cooking holiday of the year. It’s a time, I think, when a chef just goes nuts and just does everything, and so I want to make sure I don’t miss anything.

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POLL: What’s Your Favorite Fall Produce?

by in In Season, Shows, November 8th, 2014

Fall ProduceWhile pumpkins and apples may receive most of the glory when it comes to seasonal autumn eats, the bounty of fall produce reaches far beyond them, as hearty potatoes, colorful carrots and bite-size Brussels sprouts make their way to the farmers markets this time of year. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts savored the flavors of fall by putting in-season ingredients to work in fresh, new ways, especially when it comes to ever-versatile cauliflower. Katie Lee, a no-nonsense pizza enthusiast, transformed cauliflower into a next-level pizza crust, while Marcela Valladolid roasted it with herbs and pickled peppers, and Sunny Anderson glazed cauliflower and treated it as a main dish.

Now that fall is in full swing, FN Dish wants to know what seasonal fruit or vegetable you’re most excited about enjoying. Are you a fan of fresh-from-the-orchard apples, or are you partial to tender-firm pears? Do you crave the subtle sweetness of butternut squash, or do you reach for golden sweet potatoes? Vote in the poll below to share your favorite fall produce.

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Traditional Classics, Updated: 4 Favorite Stuffings to Savor

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 7th, 2014

Sausage and Herb StuffingStuffing or dressing, in the bird or out, cornbread or sourdough, crispy edges or not — no matter what you call the bread-based side dish on your Thanksgiving table or how you prefer to eat it, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without it. This year, honor the traditional dish while dressing up your feast with fresh, new flavors by putting a few twists on classic recipes. Read on below for go-to recipe inspiration for stuffings and dressings from Ina Garten, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis, then check out Food Network’s Thanksgiving Central for more side dish selections.

Ina sticks to tried-and-true dish in her recipe for Sausage and Herb Stuffing (pictured above), a crowd-pleasing casserole made with the trifecta of classic stuffing ingredients: apples, onions and celery. Follow Ina’s recipe and use either white or sourdough bread to form the base of the casserole, then opt for sweet or spicy sausage, depending on your family’s tastes. After mixing in the cranberries, plus a splash of chicken stock for moisture, bake the stuffing until it’s turned deliciously browned on top.

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Alton Cooks the Superstar Sabotage: Meatballs

by in Recipes, Shows, November 6th, 2014

While many consider meatballs the ultimate accompaniment to classic spaghetti and tomato sauce, these traditionally beefy rounds go beyond Italian comfort food, as Superstar Sabotage winner Eric Greenspan showed off on last night’s finale when he presented them in an Asian-style dish. Host Alton Brown, too, puts a creative spin on the everyday meatball in his easy-to-make recipe for Swedish Meatballs (pictured above).

Ideal for weekend tailgating or a casual appetizer, Alton’s top-rated meatballs are made with a mix of ground beef and pork, and they’re portioned into bite-size rounds so they’re easy to eat at a party. The key element of Alton’s recipe is his gravy; instead of simmering the meatballs in a tomato-garlic sauce, he sautes them on the stove before blanketing them in a rich, creamy broth-based topping laced with fragrant allspice.

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Cutthroat Kitchen Host Alton Recaps the Superstar Sabotage Tournament

by in Recipes, Shows, November 6th, 2014

Alton BrownIn true tournament fashion, the final moments were some of the most anticipated in Cutthroat Kitchen‘s first-ever installment of Superstar Sabotage. Over the course of four weeks, 16 of your favorite A-list culinary masters took their places in the Cutthroat arena for no-holds-barred competition, subjecting themselves to sabotage upon sabotage all in the name of charity. But last night, the final four rivals — Chefs Aarti Sequeira, Eric Greenspan, Fabio Viviani and Marcel Vigneron — went to battle in the last heat, and as fans might have expected, host Alton Brown saved some of his shock-and-awe flashes until the very end. Read on below to hear from Alton as he looks back at a most-memorable finale.

For the first time ever, you doubled chefs’ bank accounts and gifted them a total of $50,000 to spend during the finale. Is that allowance a blessing or a curse, and do you think that allowance changed the course of play?
Alton Brown: It’s only a blessing or a curse if you’re on the receiving end of it at the end of the day. For whatever charity gets the money, then it can be a huge blessing. But really, in the kitchen environment, it’s kind of play money in a way. It almost doesn’t matter. It could be millions and it wouldn’t matter.

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“Competition Smarts” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 5th, 2014

Not just a competition, Cutthroat Kitchen is a game, and to win, chefs must be able to not only outcook their contestants but also outthink them, both during auction and in the midst of their food prep. During tonight’s finale heat of Superstar Sabotage, Chef Marcel Vigneron proved just how useful it is to be a savvy contestant — one that can anticipate the judging process and use it to his advantage.

In Round 1’s meatball challenge, Marcel was forced to make the star of his dish with either canned soup or canned ham, and he opted for the ham, a seemingly doozy of an ingredient but perhaps ultimately his saving grace. “It freaking tastes good,” host Alton Brown revealed on his After-Show. “It’s salty, so it’s got those spices.” Judge Simon Majumdar agreed, explaining that while the salt of such a canned product has the potential to be overwhelming, Marcel used the “competition smarts” to use that flavor to his benefit. “He knew that I was only going to take a taste, mix it with the other things on the plate and then make my decision based on that,” Simon said. “It’s not like I was going to chow down on the whole big meatball.”

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Curtis Stone

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, November 5th, 2014

Curtis StoneYou likely saw him compete on Iron Chef America, perhaps made his recipe for his best-ever breakfast dish and surely watched him judge the finale battle on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off. And now, beginning tonight, you can catch Curtis Stone on the all-new series Kitchen Inferno (airing tonight at 10|9c) as he oversees fiery battles between chefs in the ultimate game of risk and reward. Just in time for Kitchen Inferno’s series premiere, Curtis stopped by Food Network’s Facebook page to chat with his fans, answer their questions about the show and reveal little-know tidbits about himself. Read on below to see highlights from the chat and learn 10 facts about the Kitchen Inferno host, including his least-favorite food, his most-craved holiday treat and the go-to ingredients he keeps in the refrigerator.

1. Curtis’ top pick for supper? “It would be something that reminds me of my childhood, like roast pork with cracklings,” he says. “I still make it a lot at home.”

2. His least-favorite food is licorice.

3. Curtis owns a tasting-menu-based restaurant in California. “My favorite food trend is the trend of tasting menus because I think it’s a beautiful way to eat. You put yourself in the hands of the chefs and their ability to cook for you,” he explains.

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