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 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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Sweet, Creamy Coffee with Toast on the Side: Donnie Wahlberg Dishes on His Morning Brew

by in News, October 16th, 2014

Donnie WahlbergAlthough a morning cup of joe is surely a way to guarantee a jolt of energy when you need it the most, for many, making and drinking coffee goes beyond the daily caffeine fix. From sipping espresso and people watching at an alfresco cafe to sharing a just-brewed batch with friends at the local diner, coming together over coffee is a tried-and-true tradition, and Keurig is out to make it easier to do that with their new Say Hello with Keurig 2.0 campaign, featuring actor and musician Donnie Wahlberg and focused on encouraging meaningful face time.

FN Dish recently caught up with Donnie, who plays a high-ranking detective on CBS’ Blue Bloods, to find out more about his morning coffee routine and to see if he’s able to resist the police-station temptation of coffee and doughnuts

If you could enjoy a cup of coffee with anyone in the world, whom would you choose?
Donnie Wahlberg: I’d probably choose the president, and I would have a real conversation with him. … Even if I don’t agree with every policy he has, I think he’d be a fascinating person to sit down with.

How do you take your cup of coffee in the morning?
DB: Decaf [with] half-and-half and two Splendas — which is awful. You shouldn’t use sweeteners, but I can’t help it.

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Can You Mix It? — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, October 15th, 2014

In true evilicious fashion, Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown has been known to not only sabotage chefs’ ingredients, but also to disrupt their means and methods of preparing and cooking them so as to guarantee the most hilariously challenging situation possible. And during tonight’s second preliminary heat of the Superstar Sabotage tournament, he proved he wasn’t about to forgo those unfavorable trials simply because of the all-stars’ celebrity status when he auctioned off mandatory — and inferior — mixing and cooking vessels during the Round 1 pancake test.

A colander and a Bundt pan took the place of two chefs’ bowls and skillets, as the chefs were doomed with sabotages that forced them to both combine all of their ingredients and cook their pancakes in those sole vessels. Given that pancakes ought to come together with both dry and liquid ingredients, would it be possible to prepare a batter in a colander, and what would happen when they tried to cook round pancakes in a fluted pan? It turns out that the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team had similar questions before these items were sold at auction, and they tested the sabotage ahead of the battle to make sure the challenge was feasible.

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Join Us at the 2014 New York City Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, October 15th, 2014

2014 New York City Wine & Food FestivalAutumn may bring with it an excuse to indulge in pumpkin spice and the opportunity to dig into the occasional Halloween candy bowl, but in New York City specifically, fall means it’s time for one of the culinary industry’s most-anticipated events: the annual New York City Wine & Food Festival. 2014 marks the seventh year of the annual festival, and when it kicks off tomorrow night, your favorite Food Network stars, plus culinary and beverage experts and fans from across the country, will take over the Big Apple for four days of celebrations of all things food and drink.

FN Dish will be at the festival all weekend long with Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Sunny Anderson, Robert Irvine, Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian and more famous faces as they host elegant dinners, walk-around tastings and late-night bashes alike. If you can’t make it to the festival this year, stay tuned to FN Dish for our editors’ insider coverage of the events, or search the hashtag #NYCWFF on Twitter.

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