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.

Friendly Fish Kisses — Worst Cooks in America Caption It

by in Recipes, February 22nd, 2013

Alext Stein on Worst Cooks in AmericaWe’re just one week into the fourth season of Worst Cooks in America, and if the first day of Boot Camp was any indication, Chef Anne was correct when she promised the recruits, “This is going to be a brutal seven weeks.” In the premiere episode, the contestants reluctantly said goodbye to their most prized kitchen possession — the microwave — and attempted to embrace from-scratch cooking by tackling a familiar favorite: meat and potatoes. Some finalists rose to the challenge, turning out dishes that were shockingly impressive for their first tries, while others offered plates that proved barely palatable to mentors Bobby and Anne.

For at least a short time on Sunday’s brand-new episode, it seems from the sneak-peek photo above that the recruits are leaving their cares over the kitchen behind and embarking on a hands-on fishing trip. Here, “Primetime 99″ Alex Stein not only poses with his prized catch of the day but lays a few fish kisses on it as well, proving that at least one of the recruits finds success on the high seas. Do you think the other contestants will get as up close and personal with their scaly friends as Alex did, or will some shy away from these underwater creatures?

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Best-Dressed Eats and Drinks: Oscar-Worthy Recipes for an Academy Awards Party

by in Entertaining, Recipes, February 21st, 2013

Theater-Style Buttered PopcornIn celebration of Hollywood’s biggest night of big-screen honors, the stars of your favorite movies from the past year will come together at the 85th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night to recognize the most outstanding performances in film — and the most fashionable styles, of course. While you may not be in Los Angeles this weekend to partake in the action on the red carpet, you can celebrate top nominees with the next best thing: an Oscars viewing party at your place, complete with fellow movie-buff friends and a spread of elegant yet comforting snacks and sips. We have a crowd-pleasing menu inspired by some of the most popular films, plus classic movie munchies and sweet concessions to help you pull off an award-worthy bash with ease. Check out Food Network’s favorite movie-themed recipes below, then tell us in the comments: How will you be celebrating the Oscars this weekend?

As the celebrities make their way from limousines to red-carpet interviews, raise a glass to the evening to come with Food Network Magazine‘s bright, refreshing Red-Carpet Cocktails made with crimson-colored pomegranate juice and toppers of gin and champagne. Let guests help themselves to a concession-stand favorite — crunchy, salty popcorn — to help recreate the moviegoing experience in your living room. Food Network Magazine‘s Theater-Style Buttered Popcorn (pictured above) is a must-try recipe, boasting clarified butter instead of simple melted butter so that each kernel is coated with flavor but isn’t soggy or greasy.

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Restaurant Revisited: Nanny Goat’s Cafe & Feed Bin

by in Shows, February 20th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIn one of his most dramatic missions to date, Robert Irvine arrived in Kilgore, Texas, to help Nancy Dupre, then owner of Nanny Goat’s Cafe & Feed Bin, transform her failing restaurant. But on day one of renovations she stormed out, vowing to end her Restaurant: Impossible experience before it even started. She became frustrated and simply overwhelmed when it was revealed that her daughter, Jessica, then cook at Nanny Goat’s, was the root of her business’s problems. Despite Nancy’s refusal, her mother, Sissy, and Jessica agreed that Robert and his team should continue their project, and the next day, a calmer, more composed Nancy returned to the site more committed to this mission than ever.

Although Robert and his team helped launch Nanny Goat’s into a new season of success with a crowd-pleasing menu and clean yet comfortable decor, Nancy decided to sell the restaurant for a profit, and has since entered retirement. Jessica no longer works at Nanny Goat’s Cafe, but much of the eatery’s other staff remains.

We checked in with Sharon Henley and Glenda Reid, the new owners of Nanny Goat’s, who took control of the restaurant in the new year, and they’re proud to say that their restaurant is “full of customers every day.” They’re pleased with its fresh, welcoming look and admit that they “work together like a well-oiled machine” with their employees.

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Deglazing 101 — Worst Cooks in America Culinary How-To

by in How-to, Recipes, February 20th, 2013

Chicken PiccataDeglazing: you’ve surely heard the term mentioned by your favorite Food Network chefs and stars, but do you know what it means and how to do it? Chef Bobby Flay introduced the idea of deglazing to his team of recruits on last Sunday’s premiere of Worst Cooks in America as he taught them how to make a mushroom-wine sauce for steaks, but for some contestants, the lesson could have used a second explanation. If you’re in need of a refresher course as well, look no further, because we have the how-tos for tackling this can-do cooking technique, plus easy recipes to help you master the process.

To deglaze a pan is to use liquid — be it stock, wine or water — to unstick any bits of food leftover on the bottom of the pan after searing or sauteing. In the case of Chef Bobby’s recipe, he used bold red wine to deglaze the pan in which he cooked his beef tenderloin. Thanks to a quick sear, the meat had taken on a golden-brown crust full of flavor, and after flipping it, remnants of that flavor remained on the pan. With just a splash of wine and a bit of stirring, however, those crispy pieces added a new depth of taste to the sauce without much effort.

Practice deglazing at home

Best 5 Pork Chop Recipes

by in Recipes, February 19th, 2013

Smothered Pork ChopsIn many homes, chicken bears the brunt of being the dinnertime protein, thanks to its easy versatility and quick cooking time. But it no longer needs to be the go-to main dish. Instead of resorting to everyday chicken breasts, try cooking pork chops instead. Depending on their size, most pre-cut chops require less than 20 minutes of cooking time, and like chicken, they’re a blank canvas on which to showcase your favorite marinades, flavorful herbs and bold sauces. Try Food Network’s top-five pork chop recipes below, each an easy, can-do dinner that will impress kids and grownups alike, then browse our entire collection of pork chop recipes for more inspiration.

5. Potato-Crusted Pork Chops With Pesto Sauce — For a salty bite and crunchy texture, coat a pork loin with crushed potato chips and fresh herbs, then roast until juicy and serve with a creamy pesto-herb sauce.

4. Pork Chops With Golden Apple Sauce — In a tried-and-true pairing of apples and pork, Rachael tops caramelized pork chops with a sweetened applesauce made with fresh ginger and golden raisins.

Get the top three recipes

Polenta With Fontina and Eggs — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 18th, 2013

Polenta With Fontina and EggsSimilar to Southern-style grits, traditional Italian polenta is made from dried corn and churns out rich and creamy results after simmering for a while in liquid, often water or stock. Many classic recipes feature a how-to for making polenta from scratch, but the process can be challenging to tackle on a hectic weeknight. Luckily, most grocery stores now sell prepared polenta in firm, chilled tubes, and these go-to conveniences make easy time-savers when you’re in a hurry.

Food Network Magazine relies on premade polenta to prepare its simple recipe for Polenta With Fontina and Eggs (pictured above) in only 40 minutes. After making a basic tomato sauce with garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, add sliced, seared polenta discs to the same pan, crack some eggs on top and finish with grated fontina cheese. Just a few minutes in the oven is all it takes to set the eggs and melt the cheese, delivering a hearty, one-skillet supper that the whole family will enjoy.

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

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Chef Bobby Flay and the 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, February 17th, 2013

Chef Anne Burrell and the 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

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Pine Nuts

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Roasted AsparagusSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — precooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s Grand Finale competition, the focus is now on pine nuts, which made an appearance in the appetizer basket alongside pig ears, ramps and apple strudel.

As you may have guessed, pine nuts do in fact come from pine trees, as they’re the tiny (think pinky-nail size) seeds that grow inside pinecones. Untoasted pine nuts are a light yellow-cream color and boast a buttery, slightly chewy texture. After warming in a pan, however, pine nuts become a golden hue and offer a crunchy bite to greens, grains, pasta and more. Given their small size, pine nuts are often left whole when mixed in salads or served atop vegetables, but they can also be ground into sauces or vinaigrettes. Read on below to find traditional and creative ways to cook with this must-try ingredient, then browse these insider photos from the Champions finale to relive each course of the battle.

Food Network Magazine‘s simple Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) turns out deliciously tender every time, but thanks to a topping of pine nuts, parsley and lemon juice, this top-rated recipe features a crunchy texture and fresh, vibrant taste as well. Serve this in-season vegetable with light fish, hearty meat and more to complete your meal in only 20 quick minutes.

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Munching Made Simple: Easy Snacks for Kids to Savor

by in Family, Recipes, February 16th, 2013

Homemade Granola BarsNo matter how hearty a lunch they may have had, when the clock strikes 4 pm, it’s hard for kids — and kids at heart — not to want an afternoon snack. Instead of settling for everyday chips or candy on account of convenience, give them homemade versions of traditional munchies like granola bars and crackers or creative takes on classic picks that include fruit and milk and are a cinch to prepare. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite snack recipes below, then browse Food Network for more ideas on cooking for kids.

While some boxed granola bars are so chock-full of chocolate and cookies that they seem more like desserts than snacks, Ina’s Homemade Granola Bars (pictured above) boast a subtle sweetness without disappointing on flavor. She combines old-fashioned oats, crunchy almonds and coconut with a trio of dried fruits to create a five-star pick that’s deliciously easy to eat with little hands. The key to making Ina’s recipe is prepping the buttery vanilla honey; this simple mixture will help the ingredients stick together and allow the bars to hold their shape.

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