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.

QUIZ: How Food Network Stars Celebrate the Holidays

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 16th, 2012

Sandra Lee

When it comes to decking the halls, you can be sure that your favorite Food Network stars have no-fail recipes, easy entertaining tips and party-ready menus to help you host your best holiday ever. But have you ever wondered how these chefs celebrate the season when they’re away from the cameras? Among them, which are known for an infectious Christmas spirit, and who prefers to spend a casual holiday enjoying non-traditional eats and drinks? Do they like to curl up in front of the fireplace with their families, or are they drawn to the hustle and bustle of the season? We recently caught up with Paula Deen, Sunny Anderson, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and more Food Network favorites to find out the answers to these questions and more, and what they told us may surprise you.

Test Your Knowledge: How FN Stars Celebrate the Holidays

Think you know how the chefs celebrate the holidays? Take this quiz to find out, and learn about their plans for this season, memories of holidays past, ultimate Christmas menus and more bits of seasonal trivia.
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Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto to Judge Miss Universe Pageant

by in Food Network Chef, December 16th, 2012

Iron Chef Masaharu MorimotoNo stranger to competitions, Masaharu Morimoto is one of the Chairman’s longest-standing Iron Chefs and a seasoned veteran of Kitchen Stadium, with more than 35 Iron Chef America battles under his belt. On Wednesday night, however, the tables will turn for this king of Japanese cuisine as he trades in his chef’s jacket and takes his place at the judges’ table of the Miss Universe Pageant.

The Iron Chef will join 16 other famous judges including musician CeeLo Green and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino to oversee this annual pageant. As 89 contestants from around the world come together to compete in several rounds like a question-and-answer segment and evening gown presentation, it will be up to Iron Chef Morimoto and his fellow judges to determine who has proven herself worthy of the crown and the yearlong title of Miss Universe.

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VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Strip Steak Showdown — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, December 15th, 2012

A Next Iron Chef Strip Steak Showdown - Rival RecipesLast Sunday night, the first part of the Next Iron Chef rivals’ road to redemption came to an end when they moved from their home base of sunny Los Angeles to Las Vegas to begin the second half of the competition. For Chef Nate Appleman, this transition proved to be a moment of mini redemption, as in Season 2 he was sent home just one episode prior to the chefs traveling to Tokyo, while for others the change of scenery was nothing remarkable, just another city in which to cook. “Regardless of the setting, I’ll do what is good food and what is my style,” Chef Jehangir Mehta said.

This week’s installment of Rival Recipes celebrates this shift in the season with a play on one part of Sin City in particular: the Strip. In Las Vegas, the Strip is known to be a bustling, tourist-heavy area packed with hotels, casinos and entertainment venues of all kinds. But in the culinary world, the strip is understood to be a marbled slab of beef that is deliciously tender and juicy. Chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Tim Love, two rivals who didn’t make the cut to travel to Vegas, have brought their best beef to the battle and are prepared to face off in a strip steak showdown with a New York in Cast Iron and New York Strip Steak With Serrano Lime Butter, respectively.

VOTE NOW

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Captain Brown — The Next Iron Chef Caption It

by in Shows, December 14th, 2012

Alton BrownOn last Sunday’s episode of The Next Iron Chef, the remaining rivals packed up their knife kits and flew east to Sin City after five weeks of challenges and showdowns in Los Angeles. For the chefs, the move to Las Vegas proved to be a turning point in the competition, a sign that they are one step closer to claiming the only title that matters.

For Alton Brown, however, the move to Vegas was an opportunity to dabble in matchmaking — ingredient matchmaking, that is. With an altar of savory delicacies and sweet confections, he created a series of odd pairs like squid and marshmallows, chicken livers and peppermint candies, and bone marrow and fruit candies, which forced the rivals to think beyond the ordinary and create harmonious marriages out of culinary confusion.

Looking ahead to this week’s episode and the sneak-peek image above, it may seem as though Alton is once again experimenting with something new: flying. It turns out, however, that he is a frequent flier, and not just in the passenger sense. For more than 10 years, he’s been operating his own private airplane and only relies on commercial flights when there’s no other option.

Write your best captions

How to Build Your Own Gingerbread House

by in Holidays, December 14th, 2012

Gingerbread HouseWith the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in full swing, it can be tempting to take shortcuts for the sake of simplicity. This year, we’re all about doing whatever it takes to make this holiday your easiest, best one yet, but when it comes to building your own gingerbread house, you can skip the store-bought, pre-assembled kit and create your own one from scratch in flash. Believe it not, the gingerbread house pictured above comes together in just 1 hour and 30 minutes thanks to a fuss-free recipe with clear, step-by-step instructions. Learn the basics of making gingerbread houses below, assemble and decorate this simple, seasonal structure with your family, then post a picture of the finished product to Food Network’s Facebook timeline.

Chill Out
The beauty of this gingerbread dough in particular is that it can be made entirely in one bowl. After creating a stiff mixture of wet and dry ingredients, however, it’s important that the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least a half-hour. This will make it less tacky and far easier for you to roll out.

Measure twice, cut once

Ree Drummond’s Favorite Christmas Cookies — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 13th, 2012

Ree Drummond's Favorite Christmas Cookies
12 Days of CookiesIt’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from your favorite Food Network chefs.

Kids — and kids at heart — will appreciate the bright color and seasonal whimsy of these decorated star-shaped bites. Although the Pioneer Woman’s recipe is similar to that of traditional sugar cookies, it boasts one secret ingredient: grated citrus zest, either orange or lemon. Just a half teaspoon of this refreshing flavor is all it takes to transform Ree’s cookies into light, scented treats. Before baking, Ree tops cutout dough with a brush of colored egg-yolk glaze, and later finishes the cooled cookies with snow-white powdered-sugar icing.

Get Ree’s Favorite Christmas Cookies recipe and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and holiday baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

Show us your best cookie creations

Jamie Deen’s Old-Fashioned Ginger Crinkle Cookies — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 12th, 2012

Jamie Deen's Old-Fashioned Ginger Crinkle Cookies
12 Days of CookiesIt’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from your favorite Food Network chefs.

Crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, Jamie’s turbinado sugar-topped cookies are made with molasses and a blend of seasonal spices like ground ginger, cloves, allspice and cinnamon to guarantee that they turn out as wonderfully fragrant as they do deliciously sweet. This top-rated recipe can be made entirely in one bowl, and since the cookies only need to bake for 9 to 11 minutes, they’re a go-to pick for a last-minute dessert. If you’ve never baked with turbinado sugar before, know that you should be able to find it at most grocery stores; it’s a kind of raw cane sugar that’s crystallized and off-white in color.

Get Jamie’s Old-Fashioned Ginger Crinkle Cookies recipe and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and holiday baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

Get recipes for past cookies

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Coconut Balls — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 11th, 2012

Alton Brown's Chocolate Coconut Balls
12 Days of CookiesIt’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from your favorite Food Network chefs.

If you’re a novice baker or simply don’t have the time or energy to heat the oven and bake up cookies, Alton’s chocolate-coconut candies are a holiday treat to savor. These no-cook beauties are made with only six ingredients, and it takes just minutes to press the deliciously rich, sweet combination of crunchy macadamia nuts, shredded coconut and thick condensed milk into balls. The rest of the time it takes to finish the candies is largely hands-off; just wait for the balls to set, either quickly in the refrigerator or more slowly at room temperature, then dunk the clusters in a glossy pool of melted semisweet chocolate and let them dry before digging in.

Get Alton’s Coconut Balls recipe and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and holiday baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

Host your best cookie swap yet

Breakfast for Dinner in 25 Minutes — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 10th, 2012

Hash-Brown EggsBetween countless hours spent holiday shopping, gift-wrapping, at after-school holiday concerts and fulfilling other seasonal time commitments, it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day and that there’s simply no time for a sit-down family dinner. On hectic weeknights, during the holiday season or not, look to easy, go-to recipes to rescue your mealtime. Breakfast staples are some of the quickest meals to make in a flash, and you can be sure that the novelty of enjoying early morning favorites at dinnertime will win over even your pickiest eaters.

A 15-minute recipe made with only six ingredients, Food Network Magazine‘s Hash-Brown Eggs (pictured above) is an all-in-one-dish with Mexican-inspired flavor. To prepare, sauté grated potatoes and onions with butter until they’re crispy and deliciously golden brown, then top with Cheddar cheese and two eggs and bake just until the eggs have set. Finish the platter with a dollop of salsa to complete this go-to meal in a flash.

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Geoffrey Zakarian’s Vanilla Crescents — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 10th, 2012

Geoffrey Zakarian's Vanilla Crescents
12 Days of CookiesIt’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from your favorite Food Network chefs.

Just because this recipe was created by an Iron Chef doesn’t mean it’s going to involve oddball ingredients or a crazy-difficult cooking process. In fact, these light, vanilla-scented cookies are made with just eight ingredients, and you don’t even need a cookie cutter to shape them. After mixing together flour, butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla, roll the cookies into a long log and chill before cutting and rolling the dough into two-bite crescents. If you’re a first-time crescent-shaper or are baking with little ones who are, don’t worry if your moons look more like stars, spaceships or the sun — they’ll surely be deliciously sweet anyway.

Get Geoffrey’s Vanilla Crescents recipe and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and holiday baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

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