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.

Barbecued Tofu — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, June 3rd, 2013

Barbecued TofuHot dogs, sticky ribs and juicy cheeseburgers take center stage during grilling season, and if you don’t eat meat, it can feel like your only options at a cookout are the side salads and veggie toppings for the dogs and burgers. Instead of tucking into another plate of macaroni salad and shredded lettuce, try hearty, seasonal main dishes that go beyond grilled vegetables. Summertime favorites like veggie burgers, cheesy pizza and gazpacho are classic picks that are deliciously meat-free but still seasonal and ideal for outdoor entertaining.

In this recipe for Barbecued Tofu, medium-firm tofu is the meaty protein of the dish, a big-batch pick that can feed a crowd. Tofu often gets a bad rap because of its tendency for blandness, but that’s often only the case when it’s prepared and served on its own, with no additional flavors or ingredients. Here, the diced tofu is cooked in a pan on the grill alongside fresh garlic, peppers and onions, so there’s no opportunity for lack of taste; the smoky, charred flavor of the grill, the bold garlic and the sweet vegetables work together to turn the tofu into a full-flavored bite. Plus, because the tofu is further sauteed with barbecue sauce before serving, it absorbs the sweet, tangy taste of the condiment and becomes transformed inside and out. Save time in the kitchen by relying on store-bought barbecue sauce to make this meal in a flash — just be sure to pick up a bottle you know your family enjoys, as it will be predominant on the plate.

Read more

The Best Before-and-After Transformations From Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, June 1st, 2013

Robert IrvineAfter more than six seasons of budgeted, on-the-clock renovations on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine has seen seemingly everything — the good, the bad and the ugly — in eateries across the country. From unpalatable food and unsafe cooking conditions to creepy-crawlies covering the furniture and floor, the scenes at some of these restaurants are simply shocking, to Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible team and at-home viewers alike. No matter how dirty or downright disheartening a situation may be, however, Robert has never walked away from a challenge, successfully transforming nearly 70 eateries to date.

Over the years, Robert has proved his trademark to be his ability to breathe new life into once-failing establishments and give them the second chance they deserve. In the form of revamped menus and updated designs, plus tried-and-true techniques for food buying, handling front-of-house management and overseeing day-to-day operations, he outfits businesses with everything they need to not just survive but thrive. And ultimately his commitment has led to awe-inspiring transformations, especially given that his updates must be started and completed in just two days and can cost no more than $10,000.

See before-and-after photos

Barbecue Without a Grill — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, June 1st, 2013

The Ultimate Barbecued RibsThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features authentic barbecue made without a traditional barbecue grill.

Memorial Day has come and gone, and for the next three months, the focus will be on enjoying all things grilled — those quintessential warm-weather favorites that all but define summertime. But what if you simply don’t own a grill, or if you live in the city and don’t have access to outdoor space? Are you resigned to a summer of boiled dogs and sauteed chicken? No way. Even if you’re confined to cooking with a basic stovetop-oven setup, you can indeed indulge in classic seasonal recipes for saucy ribs, moist burgers, juicy chicken and succulent steak. It just takes one key piece of kitchenware: the grill pan. Heavy and sturdy, grill pans are placed atop stovetop burners like a standard pan, but they boast raised ridges similar to the grates on an outdoor grill, guaranteeing those sought-after grill marks.

Keep reading for recipes

Star-a-Day: Viet Pham

by , May 30th, 2013

Viet PhamYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Viet Pham, 34, was born in Malaysia and moved to California when he was a child. This James Beard Award semi-finalist grew up cooking for his brother at home and later graduated from the California Culinary Academy. Now the owner of a Salt Lake City restaurant, Viet was victorious over Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America Battle Ground Meat and is known for creating globally inspired cuisine.

Click the play button on the video below to watch Viet’s casting video.

Read more

Star-a-Day: Stacey Poon-Kinney

by , May 29th, 2013

Stacey Poon-KinneyYou heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton BrownBobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month’s premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.

Having grown up cooking in a food-focused family, Stacey Poon-Kinney, 34, became familiar with the restaurant scene at a young age, thanks to her great-grandfather and great-grandmother, who worked as a chef and a diner owner, respectively. She eventually pursued her passion for dance and performance, but she later teamed up with her father to open The Trails restaurant, which was featured on Restaurant: Impossible. This mother of two now lives in San Diego and runs The Trails.

Read more