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 Pancake Recipes for Mother’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 9th, 2013

Almost-Famous Cheesecake PancakesThis Mother’s Day, instead of making Mom wait until dinnertime to enjoy a meal made just for her, treat her to a special morning treat of breakfast in bed. Deliciously easy to make in a hurry, pancakes are a no-fuss dish that both grownups and little ones crave, and they can be as simply or elegantly prepared as you like. Boxed mixes may indeed be convenient on hectic weekdays, but the taste and texture of a mix can’t compare to light, fluffy from-scratch pancakes, which are quick to prepare with everyday baking ingredients. Check out Food Network’s top-five pancake recipes below to find top-rated classic and dressed-up picks alike, then browse Mother’s Day Central for more tips on cooking for Mom.

5. Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes — Just as oatmeal cookies are made with oats, cinnamon and raisins, so, too, are Rachael’s kid-friendly pancakes, ready to enjoy in less than 25 minutes.

4. Tri-Berry Oven Pancakes — More like Dutch babies than traditional pancakes, Ina’s thin, golden-brown beauties are scented with orange zest and finished with mixed berries.

Get the top three recipes

Transforming the Familiar — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, May 7th, 2013

The Chopped judges have seen their share of odd, uncommon ingredients come out of the mystery baskets — haggis, goat brains and shad roe sack, to name a few. But sometimes what trips up the competitors more than any strange products is a selection of ordinary ingredients, like eggs, flour tortillas and apples. If the competitors are judged on their abilities to use the basket ingredients, they’ll have to think beyond omelets, tacos and fruit salads, for example, if they want to avoid the Chopping Block.

On tonight’s all-new episode of Chopped, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Maneet Chauhan and Marc Murphy welcomed four moms to the kitchen with baskets of familiar ingredients that home cooks would likely use. In the entree round, that meant a spread of mustard greens, pork butt, red quinoa and carrot baby food — products that, while perhaps difficult for these nonprofessional cooks, should have been a cinch to prepare for the chef-judges, who later tried their hands at this very basket.

Alex admitted that, with the exception of the baby food, “It’s like a nice, innocent little basket.” But that didn’t stop her and the rest of the panel from facing some of the same challenges the moms did, like how to make a tough piece of pork tender and how to quickly cook quinoa with limited time. During their friendly face-off, Marc resorted to using a meat grinder to break down the pork and make it into meatballs. Maneet incorporated the meat into a casserole-style dish, and Alex took advantage of almost every second of the competition to fully cook her quinoa.

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Restaurant Chefs Talk Dining Experiences at James Beard Awards

by in Events, May 7th, 2013

Aaron Sanchez and Zarela MartinezJust as movie stars vie for an Academy Award and television stars wish for an Emmy, food stars dream of taking home the ultimate prize in the culinary industry: a James Beard Award. Honoring a commitment to excellence, the James Beard Foundation recognizes those restaurants, chefs, and food and spirits professionals who’ve proved they and their businesses offer the quintessential dining experience — something to which their peers can aspire. In New York City last night, nominees from 20 categories, including Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Service and Outstanding Restaurant, gathered in Avery Fisher Hall with some of the biggest names in the industry, like Food Network’s own Anne Burrell, Ted Allen and Aarón Sánchez, for the chance to earn a coveted Beard medal.

Before the ceremony got under way, nominees, presenters, past winners and Foundation members strutted their stuff on the red carpet, and FN Dish was on hand to chat with them. For these passionate chefs and food people, there’s seemingly no insurmountable kitchen task or meal they couldn’t create flawlessly at home, but, still, given the award-worthy meals coming out of top-notch restaurants, Dish editors were curious: What meals do restaurant chefs prefer not to make themselves, and indulge in only when dining out?

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Baked Potato Bar — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 6th, 2013

Mushroom-Onion Potato

Not merely a starchy side dish playing second string to the meaty entree, the everyday baked potato can be the star of your dinner simply by topping it with a few hearty ingredients. When it comes to stuffing baked potatoes, think of the spuds as blank canvases through which you can showcase your favorite flavors, textures and ingredient combinations inspired by some tried-and-true dishes. They’re plenty filling on their own, but when finished with fresh or roasted vegetables, creamy cheeses, eggs and more, baked potatoes are transformed into all-in-one suppers that are budget-friendly and quick to prepare.

When cooking for your family, particularly if you’re trying to cater to little ones’ picky palates while feeding your own adventurous appetite, it’s best to bake the potatoes first, then let everyone add their preferred toppings. Set up a baked potato bar complete with salsa, sour cream, roasted peppers, herbs, sauces and just about anything else you can imagine, so each person can assemble his or her own meal and get exactly what they like.

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50 Grilled Cheeses — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, May 5th, 2013

50 Grilled CheesesWhen it comes to a classic grilled cheese, gooey slices of American sandwiched between buttery white bread may be the timeless preparation, but there’s more to feature in this family favorite than cheese alone. In this week’s Most Popular Pin of the WeekFood Network Magazine dressed up the classic creation in its collection of 50 Grilled Cheeses, featuring recipes for a Crunchy Nacho version with corn chips and jalapenos, a Mediterranean interpretation piled high with baba ghanoush and zucchini, and a Brie and Marmalade variation made of orange spread and creamy Brie on cinnamon-raisin bread. Ideal for a next-level lunch or easy lunch-for-dinner dish, these deliciously simple takes on the everyday sandwich are no-fail picks.

For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Recipe of the Day board on Pinterest.

Get the recipes: Food Network Magazine’s 50 Grilled Cheeses

 

How to Make the Ultimate Margarita, Plus New Twists on the Classic

by in Drinks, Holidays, May 4th, 2013

Classic MargaritasForget the super-sweet margaritas that are served in oversized tumblers at your local Mexican dive bar. The ultimate margarita is something simpler, far less heavy and indeed more like a cocktail than a dessert. All you need to make it is just a few liquors, a cocktail shaker and perhaps a blender, depending on how you answer the question: Frozen or on the rocks? Check out a few of FN Dish’s favorite margarita recipes below, a roundup of traditional and deliciously unusual offerings alike, then browse Food Network’s 10 Cinco de Mayo Margaritas for more cocktail inspiration, just in time for tomorrow’s Cinco celebration.

In its recipe for a Classic Margarita, Food Network Magazine shows how simple it can be to make this Cinco de Mayo staple, ready to enjoy in just 10 quick minutes. Start with your favorite tequila and add to it fresh lime juice and just a splash of orange liqueur. Although no one wants a margarita that’s more akin to a sweet treat than a cocktail, it’s best to add a pinch of superfine sugar, as well — it will help balance the tartness of the citrus without overpowering the drink. Shake the mixture, pour it into salt-rimmed glasses with ice and serve it with lime wedges for easy cheersing. The beauty of this adults-only cocktail is that it makes enough to serve four people; by making cocktails in bulk like this, you’ll be able to enjoy your Cinco bash with your guests and not have to play bartender all night.

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Chopped Judge Marcus Samuelsson Wins James Beard Award for Newest Book

by in Events, May 4th, 2013

Marcus SamuelssonRestaurant owner. Professional chef. Author. Chopped judge. Chopped All-Stars Champion. Philanthropist.

Marcus Samuelsson’s list of accolades is a long one, and after yesterday’s James Beard Foundation Books, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, it became even more impressive. At New York City’s Gotham Hall surrounded by renown chef superstars, the leaders in food writing and the who’s-who in the culinary industry, including his Chopped peer and event host Ted Allen, Marcus accepted the Writing and Literature award for his latest book, Yes, Chef: A Memoir. He’s now a four-time James Beard Award-winning chef, having been lauded as Rising Star Chef and Best Chef: New York City and for Best International Cookbook in 1999, 2003 and 2007, respectively.

Telling the story of how Marcus moved from his birthplace in Ethiopia to Sweden and later to New York City, Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus’ lowest and highest moments both personally and professionally. The book was published in 2012, just two years after he opened his dream restaurant, Red Rooster, in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, allowing for the crisscrossing of cultures and cuisines in the area. After thanking his wife and family for believing in Yes, Chef, Marcus gave “a special shout out to Harlem” before returning to his table to celebrate.

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Tacos, Nachos and Churros: Go-To Recipes for a Kid-Friendly Cinco de Mayo

by in Family, Holidays, May 4th, 2013

Tacos Carne AsadaWhile some elements of Cinco de Mayo — the spicy salsas, spiked margaritas and too-green guacamole among them — may be no match for little ones and their picky palates, others like soft-shelled tacos, cheesy nachos and sweet churros are go-to bites that are practically made with kids’ appetites in mind. These dishes, although guaranteed kid-pleasers, are also some of the most-classic picks for traditional Mexican fare, so by serving them at your Cinco de Mayo celebration, you can be sure that grown-up guests will be happy to enjoy them, too. Whether you’re hosting a big-bash fiesta tomorrow or simply spending a quiet day at home, mark the fifth of May with a family-friendly spread of Mexican eats. Check out a few of FN Dish’s favorite tacos, nachos and churro recipes below, then browse Food Network’s Cinco de Mayo Central for more go-to recipes and entertaining tips.

Tyler’s top-rated Tacos Carne Asada is a must-try meal if you’re cooking for kids, because you can control the ingredients of the steak marinade and pico de gallo, making them as spicy or as mild as you want. Tyler opts for a jalapeno and a few garlic cloves in the mojo-style marinade and a serrano chile in the salsa, but little ones may appreciate less heat. After letting the meat marinate, grill it until juicy and tender, then serve it in warm tortillas. Let your kids assemble their own dream tacos by setting up a spread of traditional toppings like shredded lettuce, Jack cheese, white onion and fresh pico de gallo and inviting them to help themselves. Watch this video to see Tyler make this can-do recipe.

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