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.

Alton Cooks the Superstar Sabotage Tournament: Steak

by in Recipes, Shows, October 23rd, 2014

At its most basic, a surf and turf dish includes one seafood and one land-based element, so on this week’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament Heat 3 battle, host Alton Brown stretched that definition to include inferior versions of those components when he auctioned off ingredient swaps that included canned tuna for surf and liver for turf. For fans watching at home, surf and turf most likely connotes a dinner of lobster and steak, and likely an elegant one at that, but when it comes to steak, it doesn’t have to be saved for a special occasion.

If you don’t often make steak at home, try Alton’s simplest-ever recipe as a go-to starting place. His Pan-Seared Rib Eye (pictured above) boasts more than 500 user reviews and a glowing 5-star rating. Best of all, since his foolproof technique suggests making the steak on the stove, there’s no grilling required, which means you can enjoy meaty flavors year-round.

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“You Have to Be Able to Play the Game” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 22nd, 2014

To survive — and thrive — on Cutthroat Kitchen, it’s not enough to be able to work quickly under pressure or to deliver a well-seasoned plate; chefs must be able to strategize their every move, budget their $25,000 bank account and bid productively with three rounds of competition in mind. Fans saw what happened when a contestant didn’t take that approach during tonight’s Heat 3 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. For Chef Johnny Iuzzini, it didn’t matter how much he spent during Rounds 1 and 2 so long as he advanced to Round 3, while Chef Eric Greenspan frugally saved his money for charity — until the last round, when Chef Johnny was forced to compete with only $100 and Chef Eric was armed with a full $25,000.

“Once you’re down to $100, you can’t fight back. It doesn’t matter how good you are,” Alton Brown revealed to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s latest After-Show. “This is a game, and you have to be able to play the game. And if you walk into a final round with a $100 bill in your hand, you’re going to have a really tough time winning regardless of how good you are.” Thanks to the force of his full funds behind him, Chef Eric was able to saddle Chef Johnny — a famed pastry chef — with a duo of sabotages during the lemon bar test, and that maneuver ultimately set up Chef Eric for the win. “Eric said it was just now even,” Alton told Simon of their Round 3 matchup.

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Spring Break in Miami: Tickets on Sale Now for the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, October 22nd, 2014

South Beach Wine & Food FestivalThough the chill of fall air might be welcome relief now after a stifling summer, come February you’ll have likely turned a cold shoulder to the frigid temperatures and be ready to warm up in the sun. Enter: The South Beach Wine & Food Festival. For four days, you can escape the slush and snow and join your favorite Food Network stars and chefs for a long weekend at the beach celebrating all things eats and drinks.

2015 will mark the 14th year of SOBEWFF, and this year’s events, running from Feb. 19 through Feb. 22 in Miami, are expected to be bigger than ever. Favorites like Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine and Anne Burrell will be on hand to host walk-around tastings, elegant sit-down dinners, late-night parties and interactive meals alike, all while mingling with fans and enjoying the flavors of Florida.

Tickets are on sale now — buy yours today to guarantee your spot at marquee events like Burger Bash, The Q, Medianoches & Mixology, and more. Here are some of the events where you can find your favorite chefs.

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Alton Brown, the Master of Eviliciousness, Dishes on Halloween

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 22nd, 2014

Alton BrownWhen it comes to dishing out culinary evils, no one does it quite like the host of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown. Now in its fifth season, Cutthroat is known for no-nonsense sabotages befalling even those contestants already in the thick of kitchen struggles, and on the recent Halloween-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the situation turned even scarier with ghostly challenges. FN Dish recently checked in with Alton to learn his candy must-have on Halloween, plus his best idea for next-level pumpkin carvings. Read on below to hear from the host in an exclusive interview, then catch Alton in costume on his Halloween After-Show.

What’s your favorite candy?
Alton Brown: Milk Duds

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Restaurants Revisited: The Gross, Grosser and Grossest

by in Shows, October 20th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleFrom creepy crawling insects in the kitchen to appliances overrun with mold and caked in grease, Robert Irvine has seen all manner of filth in eateries over the course of nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible missions. But no matter how off-putting and seemingly impossible to tackle a scene may be when Robert arrives, with the help of his team, he’s always able to resurrect the space and reopen the business as a shining, safe restaurant worthy of a second chance.

On tonight’s episode of Restaurant: Impossible, fans had the chance to look back at not just the dirty restaurants that have been featured on the show, but those simply too gross to forget, like Mama Lee’s, where a cockroach landed on Robert’s shoulder, and Smitty’s Restaurant, which required the aid of a professional exterminator.

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Trisha Yearwood Hosts a Down-Home Brunch — and Demos New Music

by in Events, Food Network Chef, October 20th, 2014

Trisha YearwoodBefore this weekend’s New York City Wine & Food Festival came to a close, fans flocked to Midtown Manhattan on Sunday afternoon for one final indulgent feast, this time a hearty Southern-style meal that only country superstar Trisha Yearwood could offer. Set in an elegantly adorned hotel ballroom, Trisha’s Down-Home Country Brunch offered classic Southern fixings, like grits, greens and fried catfish, a Bloody Mary bar complete with traditional toppings, and a musical surprise from the host that brought the sold-out crowd to its feet. FN Dish was on hand to take in the sights, sounds and tastes, and we caught up with Trisha to find out what the weekend brunch scene looks like at her house.

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The Sting of Elimination for a Judge — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 19th, 2014

It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from the sabotages taking place during competitions and forced to evaluate the dishes based solely on what’s in front of them — such a strategy guarantees the focus remains on the food at all times. But on tonight’s all-new Alton’s After-Show, judge Jet Tila revealed that after learning what one chef had endured in the name of sabotage, he felt a tinge of guilt — especially after his decision led to the contestant’s elimination.

“You feel so bad after the fact. Now I realize,” he admitted after Alton spoke of how Chef Alex had to use only kitchen tongs to cut her wrap ingredients. “I was dinging so badly on her just horrible knife cuts. They literally looked like she’s just tearing things apart. But now I get it.” Alton went on to explain that because the judges are blind to the sabotages, they’re forced to evaluate on “flavor, presentation and ‘does it remind me of the thing it’s supposed to remind me of.’” But he admitted, “It doesn’t mean they’re all equally weighted. The truth is is anybody’s who’s a chef is going to more heavily weight flavor above all.”

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Velvety Banana Cream Pie — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, October 19th, 2014

Banana Cream PieWhen you think of cream pie, or even dessert, you’re likely not imagining it to be healthy — but that’s exactly the case with this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Ellie Krieger’s easy-to-make and velvety Banana Cream Pie (pictured above). This crowd-pleasing sweet treat boasts a buttery graham cracker crust, a two-part filling of fresh bananas and pudding, plus a simple topping of fluffy whipped cream, and best of all, it’s all surprisingly light.

For more good-for-you dessert ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.

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Burger Bash 2014 Winners: Marc Murphy and Josh Capon

by in Events, October 17th, 2014

Marc MurphyWith views of the Hudson River to the west and the bright lights of the Big Apple to the east, dozens of A-list Food Network stars on hand, and the sweet summertime smell of grilled burgers wafting through the autumn air, the scene was set to kick off the New York City Wine & Food Festival‘s much-anticipated Burger Bash atop Pier 92 in Midtown Manhattan. This marks the seventh-annual celebration of all things between the bun, and in true Festival fashion, there was no shortage of eats, drinks or chefs as the walk-around tasting unfolded. Once again, Rachael Ray hosted the sold-out event as fellow Food Network favorites like Marc Murphy, Alex Guarnaschelli and Robert Irvine joined her to show off their signature offerings, and Anne Burrell and Andrew Zimmern, among others, judged the 30 burger offerings enticing the hundreds of fans.

After hours of deliciously meaty indulgence, guests’ votes were tallied and Marc earned the judges’ pick of the night with his Lamb-Marc burger (pictured above). The first-time winner wowed the panel with a tender lamb patty and a fresh mint chimichurri on top.

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Alton Cooks the Superstar Sabotage Tournament: Pancakes

by in Recipes, Shows, October 16th, 2014

While host Alton Brown didn’t offer the chefs any pancake shortcuts during yesterday’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, he’s giving one to fans in the form of his “Instant” Pancake Mix (pictured above), a go-to recipe that lets you do most of the hands-on work in advance and keeps work simple when you’re ready to cook.

Better than the boxed stuff you buy from the supermarket, Alton’s DIY mix comes together with only a few pantry staples, like flour, baking soda and salt, and, perhaps best of all, it keeps for up to three months and yields as many as three batches of pancakes. Keep it on hand for when you want a stress-free morning meal, and when you’re ready to enjoy, stir in eggs, buttermilk and butter to create the ultimate quick-fix breakfast.

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