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.

Best 5 Salmon Recipes

by in Recipes, March 7th, 2013

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti With Lemon, Basil and SalmonKnown for its trademark light-orange hue and heart-healthy proteins, salmon is a naturally flavorful fish, one that even kids and picky seafood challengers enjoy. Salmon can stand up to high heat and pairs well with the taste of charcoal, which is why many recipes prefer to grill the light, flaky fillets. In the winter months, however, instead of standing over a barbecue in the bone-chilling snow, prepare salmon in the warmth of your kitchen using easy cooking techniques like poaching, baking and sauteing. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five salmon dishes, each with stress-free recipes that can be made easily indoors. Check out the classic and creative takes on this family-friendly fish below, then browse our entire collection of salmon recipes.

5. Crispy Salmon Croquettes With Remoulade Sauce — Similar to crab cakes, Sandra’s golden-brown bites are made with prepared salmon and a filling of egg, a splash of hot sauce and fish-fry coating mix for added flavor, then pan-fried until warm and served with a cool mayonnaise-garlic sauce.

4. Salmon and Dill Chowder With Pastry Crust — Rachael remakes the everyday chicken pot pie into a hearty seafood bowl, complete with a creamy combination of poached salmon, celery and potatoes, finished with a pre-baked flaky crust.

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Vote: What Toppings Make for the Best Burger?

by in Shows, March 5th, 2013

Chef Anne Burrell and Sue MangognaFlavors were the primary talk of Boot Camp on Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America: which tastes work best together, which ingredients should never be paired and what flavors are most successful in sweet treats and savory picks. The recruits tackled these questions and more as they experimented with signature combinations while crafting from-scratch gelato and handmade hamburgers in an attempt to test their palates.

During the Main Dish Challenge in which contestants from both teams battled for burger glory, the mentors demonstrated that even seemingly unusual ingredients can and often do work well together. In true Bobby Flay form, the Blue Team leader added a topping of potato chips to his beefy creation, “crunchifying” the burger from between the buns. Chef Anne Burrell, too, embraced the untraditional by making for the Red Team a Greek-inspired lamb patty finished with a creamy tzatziki spread. Both of the chefs’ creative additions to the everyday burger proved successful, but many of the recruits’ efforts were simply disappointing, including Sue’s mozzarella-stuffed patties that barely held their shape, Carrie Lee’s chicken burgers that were burned and of course Alex’s overwhelming “burg-dog” and Aadip’s grilled cheese sandwich, which was hardly a burger at all.

When it comes to building your ultimate burger, what toppings do you reach for? Are you a traditionalist who craves nothing else on the patty except a slice of cheese, or do you embrace multiple flavors and textures by adding salty bacon, a runny fried egg or cool lettuce? Have you taken to Chef Bobby’s penchant for “crunchified” burgers? Did Chef Anne inspire you to consider Mediterranean flavors?

Vote for your ultimate burger toppings

Takeout Favorites at Home — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 4th, 2013

Buckwheat Noodle SaladAs tempting as it is to resort to a quick delivery dinner after a hectic day, there are surely far healthier and less costly meal options that can be made in a hurry at home without sacrificing flavor or ease. Asian-style takeout in particular often gets a bad rap for being deep-fried and greasy, but if you make some of your favorite white-box picks at home, you’ll be able to ensure that what you’re eating is wholesome and fresh, plus you can tailor the ingredients to your family’s individual tastes.

Bobby’s Buckwheat Noodle Salad (pictured above) is a lighter take on traditional noodle dishes that are often swimming in pools of oil. Here, he combines protein-packed buckwheat noodles with a sweet and tangy sauce of honey, grated ginger and tamari — Japanese soy sauce — that pairs well with cool vegetables like chopped carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers. Ready to eat in just 25 minutes, this top-rated recipe is an almost no-cook classic and makes a simple all-in-one meal. Watch this video to get Bobby’s secrets to making this family-friendly dish.

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

by in Shows, March 3rd, 2013

Alex Stein and Chet PourciauFor 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 3rd, 2013

Aadip Desai and Sue MangognaFor 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

Best 5 French Onion Soup Recipes

by in Recipes, March 2nd, 2013

French Onion Soup Topped French Bread Pizzas and Salad With Dijon VinaigretteWinter comfort food at its finest, French onion soup is a hearty, complete meal in bowl that needs no adornments other than a generous blanket of rich, creamy cheese and perhaps a slice of crusty bread. The key to making any French onion soup is properly cooking the onions. Instead of quickly sauteing them until browned, it’s important to cook them over low heat for a long period of time until they’re soft, boasting a deliciously sweet taste and deep golden, caramelized color. Check out Food Network’s top-five French onion soup recipes below to find out how your favorite chefs and stars put their signature spins on this crave-worthy seasonal soup.

5. Rachael’s French Onion Soup-Topped French Bread Pizzas and Salad With Dijon Vinaigrette (pictured above) — Rachael takes the classic ingredients of French onion soup out of a bowl and turns them into an eat-with-your-hands meal by piling sherry-spiked onions and a duo of decadent cheeses atop French bread and then baking.

4. Anne’s French Onion Soup — “Caramelized onions are very sweet and require a fair amount of salt,” Anne says of her simple-to-make soup, which is why she strongly recommends tasting the broth before serving.

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DIY Dinners: Ingredient Bars to Please the Whole Family

by in Family, Recipes, March 2nd, 2013

All American Beef TacosPicture this: It’s about 5:00 in the evening and you ask your family what they want for dinner. Your spouse responds with one dish — but it’s not what you’re craving — and what your kids answer with isn’t appealing to the grownups in the house. Sound familiar?

It can be downright impossible to please everyone at the dinner table with a single meal, but that doesn’t mean you have to cook multiple recipes to guarantee everyone enjoys what they’re eating. The trick is to pick a single base dish and let each person customize it to his or her own tastes with their favorite ingredients. Family-friendly picks like pizza, tacos and baked potatoes are blank-slate recipes that can be prepped to a certain point, then finished by each person with preferred additions depending on if they are a vegetarian or diehard carnivore, or have a picky palate or simple distaste for certain foods. To serve these make-it-yourself dinners, set up an ingredient bar with toppings, condiments and more to which your family can help themselves; they’ll be able to choose how much of each component they want, plus the interactive element of mealtime will go a long way in getting little ones excited about their food.

For a traditional taco preparation, stick with Alton’s All-American Beef Taco (pictured above). He sautes ground beef with Taco Potion #19 — his signature blend of spices — and serves it in freshly fried tortilla shells before filling each with optional add-ons like crumbled panela cheese, pickled jalapeno, cool lettuce and cilantro.

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Ice Cream Meltdowns — Worst Cooks in America Caption It

by in Shows, March 1st, 2013

Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby FlayJust when the recruits are starting to adjust to the stresses of Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp and the expectations that come with each Skill Drill and Main Dish Challenge, Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay are ready to throw a twist into their list of already tricky demands. On Sunday, for the first time, the mentors will leave the kitchen during the Skill Drill while the recruits prep homemade gelato, which will be subject to a blind tasting. This means that the competitors will be wholly alone in their efforts this week, as they won’t have the security of nearby coaches or the opportunity to defend their dishes as they’re tasted.

Given the sneak-peek image above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it seems as though both Chefs Anne and Bobby are left stunned — and not in a good way — with what chilly treats their team members have scooped for them. Here, both mentors look with confusion and perhaps pure horror at the icy concoction before them, but since it’s a blind tasting, they can’t tell whose recruit is responsible for this dessert meltdown. Do you think the chefs will be able to guess based on flavor and presentation who prepared this plate, and if so, who’s most likely to have crafted this unsuccessful confection?

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Restaurant Revisited: Dinner Bell Restaurant

by in Shows, February 27th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible

Not long after Robert Irvine arrived at Dinner Bell Restaurant in Madison, Tenn., it was clear to him that this mission would be unlike any he had done in the past. “This has got to be the most desperate restaurant I’ve ever been to,” he reflected after meeting owner Tommy Kirkpatrick. Before its Restaurant: Impossible experience, Dinner Bell was just two days away from closing its doors, so it was up to Robert and his team to rescue the eatery from the brink of financial ruin. Despite initial tension between Robert and Tommy, who was frustrated with the acknowledgment of his failures, Dinner Bell ultimately reopened to a full house after a much-needed deep clean, a revamping of the menu and an interior overhaul. We checked in with Tommy a few months after the renovation to find out how his business is doing today.

Dinner Bell remains “very clean,” according to Tommy, who, since the renovation, has held his employees accountable to excellence in both the front and back of the house. “Kitchen staff are expected to taste the food before each shift to ensure quality and expected to keep the kitchen in clean, working order,” he tells us. The servers “definitely look more professional than they did before the show, and Tommy is “ensuring [they] are consistently wiping the tables and table bases down, and guests are greeted with personality and friendliness.”

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Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Guide to Following Recipes

by in Events, Food Network Chef, February 27th, 2013

Iron Chef Michael SymonHow many times have you searched for the ultimate recipe only to find one that’s nearly what you’re looking for but features perhaps a single ingredient or flavor that you simply can’t bare? When that happens, do you scrap the recipe altogether, vowing to find one that’s perfect, or do you settle for the undesired taste because the rest of the recipe fits the bill? We caught up with Iron Chef Michael Symon at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and he told us that instead of an all-or-nothing approach to recipes, look at them as detailed suggestions you can use to build the dish that best suits your tastes.

“Let your palate be your guide,” Iron Chef Symon said. He was reminded of a time that his father suffered through a batch of salsa that, while it was made according to its recipe’s instructions, boasted cilantro, an herb his father doesn’t like. Looking back on the moment now, Iron Chef Symon recalled that it would have been perfectly acceptable for his father to swap in other “soft, leafy herbs” for the cilantro so as to keep with his preferences and ultimately allow him to enjoy the dish.

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