All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an online editor at FoodNetwork.com, covering top-tier show and talent packages and managing the FN Dish and Star Talk blogs. She grew up in a tight-knit Italian family in Michigan, where food was the focus of most conversations and it wasn't unusual to talk about the next day’s lunch and dinner menus while eating breakfast. Maria graduated from Barnard College in 2012 and currently lives in New York City. She likes her pasta cheesy, her eggs runny and her oysters briny.

Because You Don’t Need an Excuse to Eat Chocolate: Best 6 Brownie Recipes

by in Recipes, May 14th, 2015

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled BrowniesWhile there are times when you’re cooking for an obvious purpose — tonight’s dinner, the potluck on Saturday, a holiday feast — other times (and perhaps the best times) it’s for pure indulgence. And that’s especially the case when chocolate is concerned. When it comes to treating yourself to a just-because dessert, look no further than these six best-ever brownie recipes from Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, The Pioneer Woman and more of your favorite Food Network chefs.

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
Leave it to an Iron Chef to create this sweet tooth-satisfying brownie masterpiece. Bobby makes his own peanut butter-laced caramel to swirl into his two-chocolate brownies. After building the brownies strategically — with a base batter, then dollops of caramel, then more batter, and finally the last of the caramel — he swirls the components together to achieve “a stealth peanut butter brownie.” It’s called that, according to Bobby, because “you can’t see the peanut butter, but you can taste it.”

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Star-a-Day: Michelle Karam

by , May 14th, 2015

Michelle KaramThere are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June...

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Restaurant Revisited: Bad JuJu at The JuJu Bag

by in Shows, May 13th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIt was a perfect storm of sorts at The JuJu Bag in New Orleans when Robert Irvine first arrived at this part cafe, part barber salon: inferior food coming out of an ill-equipped kitchen, wall-to-wall oddball decor not fit for a restaurant, and an owner who was resistant to change. With limited time to work, it was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team to not only convince owners Tommye Myrick and Phyllis Johnson that their business was in need of a serious overhaul, but also to transform a dining space and a working salon. Read on below to hear from Tommye, aka the Director of the business, to find out how The JuJu Bag is doing today.

“We have taken Robert’s suggestions,” Tommye says, adding that they’ve downsized their staff and changed their hours “to fit the needs of the community.”

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Star-a-Day: Matthew Grunwald

by , May 13th, 2015

Matthew GrunwaldThere are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June...

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QUIZ: Which Food Network Chef Is Your Spirit Animal?

by , May 12th, 2015

QUIZ: Which Food Network Chefs Is Your Spirit Animal?You watch their shows and cook their recipes. You may even fancy yourself a would-be friend of some of your favorite chefs. But have you ever wondered which among them is your kindred spirit in the kitchen and out? From Bobby Flay's signature use of ...

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Star-a-Day: Jay Ducote

by , May 12th, 2015

Jay DucoteThere are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June...

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Easy Spanish Tortilla — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 11th, 2015

Spanish TortillaIf your first thought upon reading the title of this post had anything to do with chips or taco shells, you’re not alone. Yes, tortillas come in corn and flour varieties, and they can be fried into crisp, dip-ready chips. But the tortilla pictured above isn’t a wrap or a chip at all. This tortilla — a traditional Spanish dish — is a savory baked pie, of sorts, with a base of hearty potatoes.

Featured in Food Network Magazine, this easy-to-make dish is ideal for both brunch and lunch. It features thinly sliced potatoes, which are first sauteed with onions so they turn out tender. Before baking, the potatoes are combined with beaten eggs, which helps to bind the spuds as they cook and ensures they can be sliced into even wedges upon serving. Since the tortilla moves from the stove to the oven within minutes, be sure to start the process in an ovenproof skillet — using just a single pan will help to build the flavors. For a welcome burst of freshness, serve the golden-brown tortilla with a simple but bold lemon-laced salad of fragrant parsley and sweet piquillo peppers.

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Star-a-Day: Emilia Cirker

by , May 11th, 2015

Emilia CirkerThere are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June...

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Meet Cutthroat Kitchen’s Newest Models — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, May 10th, 2015

Just when you think you’ve seen it all on Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown unveils a next-level sabotage that just may take the cake in terms of creativity — and downright hilariousness. During tonight’s Heat 4 of the Evilicious tournament, the Round 2 dish was veal Milanese, and in true Milanese style, fashion was the name of the game. Two chefs strutted their stuff and struck more than a few poses as they walked from one catwalk to another, donning culinary getups complete with all of their allowed cooking tools. For Chef Tregaye, who, along with Chef Yaku, was saddled with this sabotage, the fashion show was less of a challenge and more of an enjoyable time for dress-up. “This might be the funnest sabotage ever,” she said. And it appears that Alton and Simon Majumdar, the guest of the day, would likely agree after the two of them attempted this very sabotage as well.

“No, you look like a deranged Terminator,” Simon jokingly told Alton after the host showed off his runway moves. To show Alton how it’s done, the judge took the floor, ending his impromptu catwalk with a fierce “sizzle.”

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Cheesecake Flan — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, May 10th, 2015

Cheesecake FlanIt’s no secret that Food Network fans enjoy culinary mash-ups. From Meatloaf Lasagna to tiramisu a la banana pudding, savory and sweet creations are endlessly comforting, and this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is no exception. Boasting the classic cream cheese center of a cheesecake and the golden caramel base traditional of flan, this impressive dessert is made with only a handful of ingredients, including a can of sweetened condensed milk, which promises a rich texture. For a wow-worthy presentation, serve these crowd-pleasing treats in ramekins for individual servings.

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

Get the Recipe: Cheesecake Flan (pictured above)