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.

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.

Keep reading for more recipes

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.

Keep reading

Culinary Quiz: How Well Would You Fare at Worst Cooks Boot Camp?

by in Shows, February 16th, 2013

Worst Cooks in AmericaIn this all-new fifth season of Worst Cooks in America, 14 culinary recruits are in for the kitchen Boot Camp of their lives, as Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay work to transform them into capable, confident cooks who can turn out winning meals with ease. But before one can be crowned the best of the worst of the kitchen, they’ll have to endure seven weeks of hands-on training covering even the most elementary culinary know-how.

For many watching the competition unfold at home, it’s easy to think that you’d fare far better than the recruits if tested with the same challenges of Boot Camp. But would you really succeed where others have fallen? FN Dish is giving you the opportunity to assess your critical culinary thinking and the extent of your cooking chops. Take the quiz below to find out how well you’d manage in the kitchen with Chefs Anne and Bobby, then watch this exclusive video to see how the Worst Cooks recruits answered when they were asked quiz questions.

Take the quiz now

Enter for a Chance to Win a Free Set of Obols, the Original Crispy Bowl

by in Contests, February 14th, 2013

Enter for a Chance to Win a Free ObolWhen it comes to enjoying a bowl of cereal, there are two kinds of people: those who like their morning meal to be crispy and crunchy, and those who prefer it extra moist and practically soggy, completely drenched with milk.

If you’re a proud member of the first group, someone who would rather resort to eating dried cereal straight from the box than sink into a bowl of breakfast mush, allow us to introduce you to your new morning mealtime best friend: the Obol, the Original Crispy Bowl. Thanks to the clever design of the Obol, which includes a raised partition separating an upper deck of sorts from a lower pool, your cereal and milk never have to touch. After filling the top portion with your cereal of choice (ours just happens to be anything with cinnamon) and the bottom with milk (skim, please), you can dunk in the milk just a spoonful of cereal at a time, essentially eliminating the need to hurry through breakfast so that the cereal stays crunchy.

Read official rules before entering

Anne’s Top 8 Lessons Learned as a Chef

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 13th, 2013

Anne BurrellAlthough she’s now a seasoned mentor on Chef Wanted and a no-nonsense team leader to some of the Worst Cooks in America, Chef Anne Burrell wasn’t always a food-television star. In fact, she began her career working in some of New York City’s top restaurants, where she climbed the culinary ladder to become a leading executive chef. Read on below to find the most important pieces of industry know-how she’s picked up along the way.

1. Being a chef can get very emotional from time to time. Remain cool under pressure.

2. Remember that you are a teacher and a leader.

3. You can’t avoid mistakes, but you can try to prevent them and learn how to not make them again.

4. Set long-term goals for yourself and review them regularly.

Read more

Best 5 Red Velvet Recipes for Valentine’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 13th, 2013

Red Velvet CheesecakeJust like flowers and perhaps a glass or two of champagne, chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a must. This year, however, instead of resorting to store-bought candies, try making simple red velvet desserts for you and your special someone to enjoy together. Boasting a subtle cocoa taste instead of an overpowering punch of chocolate flavor, red velvet treats pair naturally with smooth cream cheese frosting, and their distinct crimson color just can’t be beat when it comes to a red-themed holiday like Valentine’s. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five red velvet recipes below to help you prepare easy-to-love favorites that will have your sweetie swooning in no time.

5. Red Velvet Swirl Brownies — Before baking Sunny’s brownies, gently run a knife tip through the decadent layers of red velvet batter and sweetened cream cheese to achieve an attractive swirled topping.

4. Red Velvet-Cherry Cake Roll — The secret to executing this can-do cake is rolling it while it’s still supple and warm. After it’s cooled, unroll it and stuff with an almond-laced cream cheese frosting before gently rerolling the cake and serving.

Get the top three recipes

Chatting With the Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chefs Rob Evans and Jun Tanaka With Chopped Host Ted AllenIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the latest winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

Chatting With the Chopped Champions Runner-Up

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chopped Champions Grand FinaleIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the Chopped chefs.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who’s the runner-up