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.

Love Match Made at Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp

by in Shows, March 19th, 2013

On this season of Worst Cooks in America, there were two competitions taking place: the one all of the recruits faced as they tried to become the best of the worst in the kitchen, and another that was Carla‘s alone, the one to win Chef Bobby Flay‘s love once and for all.

Week after week, fans watched as Carla strutted her stuff for Bobby, adding heart-shaped honey designs to her plate, making gelato and a burger with some of Bobby’s favorite flavors, and unabashedly flirting with him, all to prove to her Blue Team mentor that she’s the only girl for him. Surely not shy about her feelings, she was shameless in her romantic attempts, and even though he’s married, Bobby couldn’t help but offer her a few friendly hugs in return.

“The secret that I’m going to use is that I’m in love with Bobby Flay,” she said confidently during the premiere episode of her plan to dominate the challenges. Although her strategy may have been successful for five weeks of Boot Camp, it was ultimately too good to be true, and on Sunday, she was asked to turn in her apron. After learning that she’d be leaving the competition — and her culinary crush — only two weeks before the finale, she was heartbroken, claiming this to be “another breakup,” but she couldn’t leave without telling him, “I still love you, Bobby Flay.”

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Ravioli With Alfredo and Peas — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 18th, 2013

Ravioli Alfredo With PeasThe secret to stress-free weeknight cooking is having a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry that you can rely on to help piece together quick dishes on nights when you hardly have time to meal plan. When you make it to the grocery store on weekends or low-key evenings, fill up on staples you know your family uses frequently, plus a few good-to-have freezer ingredients that will ensure your dinners aren’t just simple to make but also deliciously interesting for the whole family.

Food Network Magazine puts store-bought ravioli and frozen peas to work in its recipe for Ravioli Alfredo With Peas (pictured above), a 20-minute timesaver that’s easy enough to make on a busy Monday night but impressive enough to serve to company as well. After making a richly indulgent sauce of cream and butter, add vibrant peas for a pop of color and then mushroom-filled ravioli — a next-level twist on the everyday ricotta variety — so they pick up the comforting flavors of the Alfredo. A final mix-in of nutty Parmesan cheese will thicken the sauce, while a shower of parsley adds freshness.

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Restaurant Revisited: Soup to Nuts Diner

by in Shows, March 17th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleSoup to Nuts Diner in Tavares, Fla., was in such poor condition when Robert Irvine arrived that he promptly deemed the restaurant “dangerously dirty” and refused to let anyone eat the food coming out of the kitchen. Littered with bugs and coated in dust, this 1950s-style eatery featured a cluttered dining room with tattered seating, but unfortunately for owner Sharon Whitmore, even more serious problems were in the kitchen. There, Robert found tools and equipment caked with grease, raw meat being kept at unsafe temperatures and a complete lack of management among the cooks.

For the last four years, Soup to Nuts has struggled with decreasing business, and Sharon admits that prior to Robert’s visit she was losing nearly $1,000 per month, which resulted in the foreclosure of her home. With a $10,000 budget and only two days to work, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reworked all aspects of her restaurant, deep cleaning every surface in the front and back of the house, demonstrating the how-tos of making a fresh menu and restructuring Sharon’s schedule so that she’d be able to abandon her 100-hour workweeks. At the end of what Robert called “one of the most-ambitious projects we’ve ever tackled,” Soup to Nuts reopened to hundreds of customers with in-control management at the helm. We checked in with Sharon a few months after the renovation to find out how her business is doing.

She tells us that in the weeks immediately following filming, Soup to Nuts was “overwhelmed with” a 40 percent increase in business, and now the restaurant is “up consistently about 20 percent over last year.”

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One-on-One With the Latest Blue Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, March 17th, 2013

Worst Cooks in America Blue TeamFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

One-on-One With the Latest Red Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, March 17th, 2013

Worst Cooks in America Red TeamFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

How to Host a Kid-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Party

by in Family, Holidays, March 16th, 2013

Green Eggs and HamWhen you think of St. Patrick’s Day, what comes to mind? Beer, corned beef, cabbage, crowded bars and more beer. Kid-friendly favorites? Not so much.

This weekend, instead of forgoing a St. Paddy’s day celebration simply because you have kids in tow, tweak your celebration to make it friendlier for young party guests. The key to planning a bash that both kids and grownups will enjoy is offering a menu centered not on the mature tastes of traditional Irish delicacies like colcannon and shepherd’s pie, but rather on the signature color of the Emerald Isle: green. Let green be the theme of your dishes by getting creative with your meal choices and incorporating naturally vibrant ingredients — plus a bit of food dye — into crowd-pleasing eats and drinks. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite deliciously green recipes below, then tell us in the comments how you’ll be spending St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.

Instead of saving the party until late in the day, start the celebration in the morning with a St. Paddy’s Day brunch. A casual, relaxed get-together that’s ideal to host with other families, this simple meal is a cinch to pull off, especially when you make it a potluck so you can split cooking duties with other parents. No matter what dishes your friends bring, Paula’s Green Eggs and Ham (pictured above) will be the talk of the table: this easy scramble features fluffy eggs that are made wonderfully green with the help of a few drops of food coloring. Don’t look to green bottle to do the trick, however. It’s the blue dye that will mix with the yellow eggs and emit a green tint in seconds. Incorporate diced ham to add heft and texture to the eggs, and serve with a side of shaped buttery toast to transform this 25-minute plate into an all-in-one meal.

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Bonding With the Bikers — Worst Cooks in America Caption It

by in Shows, March 15th, 2013

Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell on Worst Cooks in AmericaHeading into their fifth week of Boot Camp, the Worst Cooks in America recruits will be forced to face one of their top culinary fears: cooking for others. Many of the competitors have admitted to making their friends and families sick with haphazardly prepared dishes from kitchen attempts past, so it’s no surprise that they’re leery about unsuspecting strangers sampling their latest offerings. Have their skills come so far in the past month that they can now be trusted to feed the public? How will the taste testers react to the contestants’ meals?

After Sunday’s initial challenge of making Asian-inspired dumplings for supermarket shoppers, it will be up to Chef Anne and Bobby‘s teams to prepare a spread of bar snacks for a crowd of hungry motorcycle riders. In the above sneak-peek shot from the all-new episode, the mentors are seen chatting with one of the bikers, and so far, the group seems to be enjoying the experience the contestants are providing. Do you think these happy faces will last throughout the cook-off, or will a partygoer ultimately encounter a disastrous dish? Which samplers — the shoppers or bikers — will be more lenient with the recruits’ culinary shortcomings? Will the mentors be wowed by the contestants’ progress, or will they find some making too many rookie mistakes?

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Geoffrey Zakarian to Host Food Talk Radio Show With Fellow Chefs

by in Food Network Chef, March 14th, 2013

Geoffrey Zakarian, Marc Murphy and Scott ConantHaving already conquered the professional kitchen as the chef-owner of two New York City restaurants — The Lamb’s Club and The National — and Kitchen Stadium as a member of the Chairman’s elite team of Iron Chefs, Geoffrey Zakarian is setting out to take over the radio airwaves, if only for just one night.

From 8pm-9pm EST tomorrow evening, Friday, March 15, Geoffrey can be heard on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Stars Channel 107 chatting with an impressive roster of chefs, including Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, Sunny Anderson, Andrew Zimmern, fellow Chopped judges Scott Conant and Marc Murphy, and more. These industry A-listers came together in Miami, Fla., during last month’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and FN Dish was on hand as the show was recorded live, poolside from The James Royal Palm Hotel.

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Best 5 Hummus Recipes

by in Recipes, March 14th, 2013

Hummus DipInstead of looking to rich, indulgent dips to pair with chips or vegetables, try making better-for-you hummus, a traditionally no-cook mixture of ground chickpeas and extra-virgin olive oil. This smooth, creamy combination takes just minutes to prepare in a blender or food processor and can be easily featured alongside salty pretzels, crispy pita wedges and fresh crudité alike. Not just for appetizers or simple snacking, however, hummus also transforms everyday sandwiches, salads and pizzas into next-level meals with little effort or time. Spread it onto bread, mix it into dressings or use it in place of sauce on pizza for a creative twist to traditional dishes. Check out Food Network’s top-five hummus recipes below for a varied roundup of classic and inspired versions of this no-fail favorite.

5. Buffalo Wing Hummus — Enjoy the flavors of Buffalo-style chicken wings without the meaty bones in this lookalike dip, boasting a combination of barbecue and hot sauces, plus a pinch of paprika for subtle spice.

4. Edamame Hummus — A key ingredient in Food Network Kitchens’ hummus is tahini, a soft sesame-seed paste that adds unbeatable silkiness to the easy recipe, ready to eat in mere minutes, thanks to timesaving frozen edamame.

Get the top three recipes

Restaurant Revisited: Caseyville Cafe

by in Shows, March 13th, 2013

Robert Irvine at Caseyville CafeAlthough mother-daughter duo Diane Emery and Robin Gordon had no previous experience in the restaurant industry, together they purchased Caseyville Cafe in Caseyville, Ill., more than three years ago. At one point their eatery was making enough money to simply break even with its costs, but it soon turned into a failing venture, with more than $6,000 being lost every month. Just months away from shutting down their business entirely, the ladies looked to Robert Irvine for a complete Restaurant: Impossible overhaul. It soon became clear to Robert that this “dirty, dysfunctional” space was in need of not simply an aesthetic transformation, but also vast changes to its menu and management. In two days and with only $10,000, he worked with Diane and Robin to revamp all aspects of Caseyville Cafe, which ultimately reopened with crowd-pleasing food and a roomful of satisfied customers. We checked in with Robin a few months after Robert left to find out how her business is doing today.

Since its Restaurant: Impossible debut, Caseyville Cafe has had an increase in business. Although they’re still working to manage supply costs, Robin and Diane are slowly minimizing their debt.

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