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.

Who Cooks Stuffed Shells in a Seashell? — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, October 25th, 2015

It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen loves a solid swap-out; from inferior ingredients taking the place of quality pantry picks to professional-grade utensils being traded for oddball replacements, chefs have been forced to work and cook with all manner of second-rate products. And on tonight’s brand-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown proved his eviliciousness once again when he auctioned off a sabotage that forced one chef to do all of the mixing and cooking needed for stuffed shells in what else but seashells.

Before competitors could start bidding, though, the Cutthroat culinary crew had to make sure that such a feat was even possible; after all, it’s not every day that you boil noodles in a shell, right? In the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages, food stylist Abel Gonzalez attempted the sabotage, with surprising results. “I’m going to go [with] low heat,” Abel said as he gingerly placed a water-filled conch shell atop the stove. “I’m worried about them cracking.” As he began making his tomato-garlic sauce in a smaller shell, he noted the sound of cracking shells, but that didn’t stop him from proceeding. “They’re holding up,” he said. After a bit of careful mixing and a light-handed assembly, Abel baked the filled pasta shells inside the sauce shell, and what resulted was just what he was looking for. “It smells great. The cheese is oozing. Mmm. Pretty tasty,” he said after just one bite.

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Banana Bread with Two Times the Chocolate — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, October 25th, 2015

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Chocolate GlazeOn its own banana bread can be a bit of an indulgence, especially when you compare a buttered slice for breakfast against your usual morning bowl of cereal. But this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week goes even further by introducing chocolate to the classic loaf in two decadent ways. Not only are there semisweet chips baked right into the cinnamon-laced bread, featured in Food Network Magazine, but the finished product is also blanketed in a smooth, silky glaze of cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar.

For more sweet-tooth-satisfying recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake! board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Glaze from Food Network Magazine

Here’s What to Do with Extra Apple Cider Doughnuts

by in Recipes, Shows, October 24th, 2015

Sunny's Apple Cider Doughnut Bread PuddingYou went apple picking this weekend, and not only did you score a bushel of fresh-from-the-orchard apples, but you also grabbed a gallon of cider and a dozen cider doughnuts. After polishing off a few doughnuts on the car ride home — and a few more before and after dinner that night — what’s left to do with the extras? Enter The Kitchen. On this morning’s all-new episode, Sunny Anderson and Katie Lee introduced two brand-new ways to put leftover doughnuts to work; both ways are easy and guaranteed to please your sweet-tooth cravings.

Just when you think that everyday bread pudding can’t get any more indulgent, Sunny’s Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding raises the stakes with a custard laced with pumpkin pie spice — and a base of doughnuts, of course. If you don’t have apple cider doughnuts on hand, pumpkin spice doughnuts or even the plain variety will work, Sunny notes. She bakes doughnut pieces with the spiced custard, chewy dried cranberries and chopped pecans for texture, then serves the bubbly mixture while it’s still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for added richness.

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Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Breakfast Break-In at Theresa’s Restaurant

by in Shows, October 22nd, 2015

Restaurant: Impossible AmbushThough Miriam had invited Robert Irvine to her friend Jodi Boucher’s Bradenton, Fla., restaurant, Theresa’s Restaurant, Jodi did not know that he was on his way, which set the scene for an all-new Restaurant: Impossible Ambush. When Robert and his team surprised Jodi, they found abounding employee issues and a drab dining room, though perhaps paramount to those problems was Jodi’s weak leadership. It was up to Robert to help her drop her micromanaging ways if she was to enjoy a second chance at success at Theresa’s Restaurant. Read on below for the first interview with Jodi to find out how her business is faring today.

“Weekday sales have doubled and weekend sales have tripled” since Robert and his team left Theresa’s Restaurant, according to Jodi. “This has been amazing for business,” she says. And she adds that locals have been quick to chat about the restaurant’s updated interior and new design. “The customers are absolutely shocked at the transformation. The fresh new look has everyone in the town talking about us. Very modern but not too much,” she notes.

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Spring Break in Miami: Buy Your Tickets Now for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, October 22nd, 2015

Spring Break in Miami: Buy Your Tickets Now for the South Beach Wine & Food FestivalThe Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival may have ended just days ago (we’re still recovering from the pizza, burgers, meat parade and brunch), but preparations are already well underway in Florida for the 15th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which kicks off in Miami on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 28. This five-day celebration of all things eats and drinks brings your favorite Food Network stars together with top-notch chefs from across the country for late-night bashes, walk-around tastings, live demos and intimate dinners alike.

This winter, plan ahead to beat the chill and head down south to get your fill of A-list food and drinks while meeting and mingling with Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, Trisha Yearwood and more. They’ll be on hand at events like Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach, Amstel Light Burger Bash, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, as well as two days of grand tastings and demos. Click here to learn more about the events and buy your tickets now.

Not able to travel for the Festival? You’re in luck, because FN Dish will be bringing you insider coverage from all of the marquee events. Read on below to find out which events our editors will be covering, and relive last year’s top moments with a look back at the highlights.

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QUIZ: What’s Your Sabotage Spending Strategy in Cutthroat Kitchen?

by in Shows, October 21st, 2015

You’ve made it into the Cutthroat Kitchen arena and the battle is about to begin. Have you considered how you’re going to play the game? While the objective may be simple enough — cook the challenge dish and spend as little money as possible — being successful is anything but easy, thanks to those tricky sabotages. Are you set to spend all of your $25,000 in order to avoid all kinds of diabolical unfoldings, or is it more important to you to hold onto your money and navigate the waters of eviliciousness one sabotage at a time? Take the quiz below to find out how you’d approach the auction.

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Guy’s Cheesy Roasted Acorn Squash — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, October 19th, 2015

Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers and Goat CheeseNo matter what in-season veggie you happen to have on hand, chances are that after just a quick roast in the oven, it will have turned oh-so-sweet — and seasonal squash is no exception. Butternut, acorn, spaghetti and delicata squashes are all overflowing at farmers market stands and in supermarket aisles alike this time of year, and while you can indeed simply roast them and enjoy them as is, in all their tender glory, dressing them up a bit with bold, fresh flavors will transform them even more.

In his recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers and Goat Cheese, Guy Fieri precooks the squash for a few minutes in the oven before filling it with a hearty, savory stuffing that’s easy to make yet endlessly impressive. He opts for a mixture of cremini mushrooms, fresh cabbage and colorful bell peppers for heft and texture, plus a few cloves of garlic for over-the-top taste. Follow Guy’s lead and top the filling mixture with goat cheese and roasted acorn seeds before baking; the tangy crumbles of cheese deliver the richness you crave, while the acorn seeds promise a welcome salty, crunchy bite.

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Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Robert Irvine’s New Book, Fit Fuel

by in Books, Contests, Food Network Chef, October 19th, 2015

Fit Fuel: A Chef's Guide to Eating Well, Getting Fit, and Living Your Best LifeAs committed as Robert Irvine is to executing top-notch dishes in the kitchen and giving struggling restaurateurs a second chance at success on Restaurant: Impossible Ambush (premiering Thursday, Oct. 22 at 9|8c), he’s also a fierce fitness guru, dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. In his brand-new book, Fit Fuel: A Chef’s Guide to Eating Well, Getting Fit, and Living Your Best Life, Robert breaks down the ins and outs of what it takes to “fuel your life”: just a handful of “principles,” including “Eat real food” and “Believe you can change.”

Part cookbook, part pep talk and part handy exercise manual, Robert’s brand-new publication doesn’t just talk the talk of what it takes to get in shape, but it also walks the walk as Robert personally demonstrates how to complete some of the best moves, and explains the whys and hows behind them. And with his recipes for every meal of the day — even dessert — Robert proves that the journey to fitness success doesn’t have to mean boring, bland meals. Think satisfying fare like Sesame Shrimp Chopped Salad, Roast Chicken, Vegetables & Parsnip Puree and A Better Carrot Cake.

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One Chef’s Bumpy Ride to the Winner’s Circle — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 18th, 2015

The road to Cutthroat Kitchen glory is hardly ever a straightforward one, since the name of the game, of course, is eviliciousness. But some competitors, whether because of their rivals’ determination, their own bidding strategy or perhaps just sheer bad (good?) luck, end up saddled with a particularly diabolical lot of challenges each and every round. Chef Michael was one such contestant; on tonight’s brand-new episode, he endured several especially trying sabotages that challenged not only his mental prowess in the face of culinary disruptions but also his physical competency.

In Round 1, Chef Michael no sooner started the fish sandwich battle than he found himself seated in a three-person rowboat — and a tipsy one at that. With every movement, the boat rocked from side to side, throwing his prep work off balance. “I like that,” Susan Feniger, the guest judge of the day, told host Alton Brown with a smile during the After-Show. Unfortunately for Chef Michael, the challenges only worsened as the day went on, as Round 2’s chili test again saddled him with an inferior situation: this time seated atop a bucking horse ride. It “really didn’t have anything to do with food,” Alton told Susan. “It was just painful and horrible to watch.” But not matter the bumpy ride, Chef Michael kept his cowboy hat held high and proclaimed from the horse, “Yee-haw!”

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Knock-You-Naked Brownies — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, October 18th, 2015

Knock-You-Naked BrowniesWith a name that will surely stop you in your tracks — and perhaps knock you naked — this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is for the most-serious sweet tooths out there. The Pioneer Woman’s top-rated dessert features a pecan-studded chocolate cake base and topping, but it’s the filling that’s especially indulgent: layers of gooey caramel and semisweet chocolate chips. For added ease in the kitchen, follow Ree Drummond’s lead and opt for boxed cake mix to keep this recipe fuss-free.

For more decadent inspiration, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Knock-You-Naked Brownies