All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an 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.

Restaurant Revisited: Barely Edible at Hurley’s American Grille

by in Shows, July 21st, 2013

Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Edibles Restaurant & Pub in Horsham, Pa., it didn’t take long for him to realize the “misguided family” that owned the business was as much of a contributing factor to its failure as was the eatery’s filthy interior, “blah” decor and unappealing food. Husband and wife John Sr. and Butzy Hurley have been at the helm of their business for nearly 30 years, but despite their presence in the kitchen and at the front of the house, their staff, including their children, John Jr., Heather and Jennifer, and their nephew Steve, noted a significant lack of leadership. This, coupled with John Sr.’s strained relationship with his son, had contributed to Edibles’ $4,000-per-month losses, which Robert had only two days and $10,000 to attempt to rectify.

For the first time in six seasons of filming Restaurant: Impossible, Robert believed the best and most important means of improving a restaurant would be to change the business’ name and rebrand it with a descriptive, engaging and enticing identity, which is how Edibles became Hurley’s American Grille on opening day. Read on below to hear from John Sr., Heather and Steve, and find out how Hurley’s is doing a few months after its relaunch.

“The first couple weeks were great,” Steve explains of the time immediately after filming. “I feel like we’re busier, but our bills are higher because of the expenses of new staff.”

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Dressed-Up Hot Dogs — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, July 20th, 2013

Chipotle Chili Cheese DogsThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each weekend, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features dressed-up hot dogs.

Ketchup and mustard may be two of the most traditional hot dog condiments, but you can surely dress up the everyday dog with deliciously creative twists on toppings. Like burgers and grilled chicken, hot dogs are blank canvases that can showcase seemingly any flavors you like or ingredients you have on hand. Try thinking of ingredient combinations you know work well together and using your favorite meals as inspiration to develop a next-level hot dog, like the ones featured below.

Showcasing the timeless pair of chili and cheese, Food Network Magazine‘s top-rated Chipotle Chili Cheese Dogs (pictured above) are full of bold, smoky flavors. The star element of this dog is the bold chili, featuring crispy sauteed bacon, cumin, meaty pinto beans and tomatoes. Once it’s thick and rich, spoon the chili atop snappy grilled hot dogs, then finish with shredded pepper Jack cheese, cool sour cream and scallions. Since this recipe calls for footlong hot dogs instead of ballpark-style dogs, it’s best to use hoagie rolls for buns. These hefty loaves will support the size of the hot dog and the weight of the chili; plus, they boast heftier dough than traditional hot dog buns.

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First Family of Mississippi Barbecue Coming to The Shed

by in Shows, July 19th, 2013

The ShedFor the Orrison family, barbecuing isn’t simply a habit; it’s a way of life they’ve adopted in Mississippi, where they run a string of successful ‘cue joints called The Shed. This loveably quirky and offbeat bunch is known for their over-the-top personalities and offers food to match, specializing in finger-lickin’-good ribs and from-scratch barbecue sauce. Together, brother-and-sister duo Brad Orrison and Brooke Lewis — the founders of The Shed — along with their parents, Daddy-O and Mamma Mia, are shining a light on their barbecue business as well as their day-to-day adventures on an all-new upcoming series, The Shed.

Premiering Sunday, Aug. 4 at 10pm, then airing every Monday night at the same time, The Shed will follow Brad, Brooke and an entire cast of “ShedHeads” inside the wild happenings at their restaurants. It will show off the eccentric dynamics at work as they run their business, compete in national ‘cue competitions and maintain a strong family bond — all while observing “The Shed Philosophy.” From the muddy swamps and garages to the bull-shaped barbecues at their holiday-lights-clad restaurants, the Orrisons prove what makes their brood one-of-a-kind and their award-winning meats worthy of the hype.

Watch a preview of The Shed

Caption It: Taste Tester

by , July 19th, 2013

Alton BrownFrom private chefs and culinary instructors to restaurant owners, underground chefs and James Beard Award semifinalists, this year’s cast of Star finalists boasts a long and impressive kitchen resume. They’re keenly aware of what it takes to turn out balanced and full-flavored dishes, but thanks to the pressure of cooking on camera and against the clock — for a panel of esteemed food stars, no less — some of the rivals’ offerings have proven disappointing, some even inedible. While the Selection Committee has demanded culinary excellence from day one of the competition, now nearly two months into the contest, the judges are finally starting to see consistently stellar plates.

In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it looks as if Alton’s come across a dish he especially likes. No need for utensils or a tasting table here: He’s gone hands first into a pot of one finalist’s offering, picking at it while looking over his shoulder with a serious side-eye. What kind of food do you think is waiting for Alton in that pan, and who do you think made this sample-worthy meal?

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Best 5 Summer Appetizers

by in Recipes, July 18th, 2013

GuacamoleWhen you find yourself faced with last-minute entertaining duties or you simply want to dress up your usual dinner spread with a few premeal munchies, it’s a good idea to have several seasonal appetizers at the ready in your recipe arsenal. These go-to starters ought to be just enough to tide over friends and family without weighing down their appetites, and should ultimately complement the rest of the meal. If you’ll be setting up a burger bar for dinner, for example, you may want to steer clear of sliders for a starter and opt instead for something simple like salsa and chips. Similarly, if you’re serving a seafood feast as an entree, use the appetizer course to introduce a shellfish, like New England steamers. Check out Food Network’s top-five summer appetizers below to find fresh, party-ready picks from Giada, Anne, Ellie, Rachael and Alton, then visit Food Network’s Grilling Central to see the rest of our favorite first-course dishes.

5. Beef Pops with Pineapple and Parsley Sauce — Make a simple no-cook sauce of fresh parsley, garlic and vinegar, and let it do double duty in Giada’s mini kebabs as both a marinade for the beef and a final topping on the dish.

4. Grilled Corn, Bacon and Chile Crostini — Anne dresses up garlic-rubbed bread with a flavorful salsalike mixture of sauteed bacon, grilled corn and Fresno chiles to create flavorful two-bite toasts that are smoky and just slightly spicy.

Get the top three recipes

No-Bake Sweets for Sunday’s Star

by , July 17th, 2013

Chocolate Cream PieNo matter who you’re with or where you’re watching Food Network Star from, you surely have on hand eats and drinks to last you through the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you’re munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for recipes to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.

This week is proving to be a doozy on the heat index, which means that after days of sticky humidity and all-around sweatiness, the last thing you’ll want to do come Sunday night is turn on your oven to make dessert. But just because you won’t be baking doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy deliciously sweet treats. For this weekend’s all-new Star, cool off with a few no-bake desserts, like the indulgent-yet-refreshing recipes below.

Ready to eat in only 10 quick minutes, Food Network Magazine‘s Chocolate Cream Pie (pictured above) is an easy-to-make beauty featuring a store-bought chocolate-cookie crust and a filling of cream cheese and cocoa powder. Top the pie with fluffy whipped cream and chocolate shavings for an extra-special presentation of a stress-free dessert.

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Crustless Caprese Quiche — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, July 15th, 2013

Crustless Caprese QuicheIt’s no secret that quiche is a brunch staple; after all, most recipes are simple to cook in a hurry, will impress kids and grownups alike, and require little planning or preparation. For these same reasons, however, this typically morning meal is a go-to weeknight supper — especially when you want to enjoy a meatless dinner, as quiche is inherently full of protein-rich eggs. Whether you’ve never before made quiche or you’re just looking to experiment with new recipes, Food Network Magazine’s Crustless Caprese Quiche (pictured above) is an ideal place to start, thanks to its seasonal ingredients and mix of classic elements and creative twists.

Many traditional quiche recipes call for a pastry-crust base featuring either from-scratch or store-bought dough, but Food Network Magazine forgoes this completely, opting instead for a foundation of eggs, dusted only slightly with breadcrumbs. After blending whole eggs and egg whites with creamy ricotta cheese and a splash of milk, add fragrant basil and sweet sauteed onions and tomatoes to create the centerpiece of the quiche, and pour it into a breadcrumb-lined pie dish. A final sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and a topping of ripe tomatoes will add flavor and texture to the dish, inspired by the familiar Italian appetizer of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. After you bake the quiche, it’s important to let it rest for about 10 minutes, as it’s continuing to cook even out of the oven.

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Restaurant Revisited: Kalico Kraziness at Kalico Kitchen

by in Shows, July 14th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleNot long after arriving at Kalico Kitchen in Douglas, Mich., Robert Irvine realized that the negative tension and long-standing animosity between owner Catherine Wilt and her employees was as much of a problem at the restaurant as its dusty dining room and greasy kitchen. This over-30-year-old eatery was once making nearly $1 million in sales, but it recently acquired a $400,000 debt, something that Catherine learned when she returned after a four-year leave of absence. Over the course of two days and with a $10,000 budget, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team attempted to mend the strained relationships at Kalico Kitchen; plus, they gave the space a much-needed deep cleaning, design overhaul and updated menu with fresh, quality ingredients. FN Dish checked in with Kalico Kitchen, and a server, Laura — on Catherine’s behalf — shared how the restaurant is doing today.

“Business went from $200-$300 per day to $2,000-$3,000 per day,” Laura explained. Not long after reopening, Catherine “had made enough money to pay the mortgages to keep her from foreclosure.”

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Easy Frozen Cocktails — Weekend Cookout

by in Drinks, July 13th, 2013

Strawberry Orange DaiquiriThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread is rounded out by cool frozen cocktails.

No matter which main or side dishes you serve at your backyard barbecue, there’s just one required element on your menu this weekend: a cocktail. Straight-up and on-the-rocks sippers are surely simple classics, but when it’s particularly steamy outside, quench your thirst with a frosty frozen cocktail.

Made with just a handful of ingredients, Sandra’s Strawberry Orange Daiquiri (pictured above) is a five-star pick packed with fresh fruit. The secret to preparing Sandra’s cocktail is using orange-scented simple syrup to sweeten it, instead of simply adding sugar to the blender. She gently simmers sugar in an equal part of orange-scented water until the sugar is dissolved, then lets it cool before incorporating it into an icy whirl of strawberries, orange juice and rum.

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