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.

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VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Pineapple Showdown — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, November 10th, 2012

Chef Mendelsohn vs. Chef Mehta - Rival RecipesOn last week’s episode of The Next Iron Chef, rival chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Tim Love went head-to-head in the Secret Ingredient Showdown. They battled it out with pineapple, otherwise known as “the death fruit,” according to Alton, since it’s ousted all past Next Iron Chef finalists who’ve tried to feature this sweet, juicy fruit in a savory dish. Both chefs tempted fate by cooking decidedly savory dishes, and in the end, this cursed ingredient got the better of Chef Love. Chef Mendelsohn, however, claimed victory over his rival — and pineapple — with a savory seafood dish with pineapple and sweet and sour sauce.

This week’s Rival Recipe matchup forces Chef Mendelsohn to once again bring his pineapple A-game, this time in a showdown against Chef Jehangir Mehta. Both rivals boast standout recipes for pineapple-focused fruit salads: Chef Mendelsohn a colorful Fresh Fruit Salad with red and green grapes, bright pineapple and fragrant mint, and Chef Mehta a refreshing Orange-Marcona Almond Salad With Pineapple Granita featuring juicy oranges, crunchy almonds and pineapple juice.

Now it’s time for you, Next Iron Chef fans, to channel your inner Simon Majumdar, Donatella Arpaia and Iron Chef Zakarian and judge which fruit salad reigns supreme. Would you prefer the classic combination of fruit featured in Chef Mendelsohn’s dish, or do you like the different textures that are offered in Chef Mehta’s offering? The vote is in your hands. Tell us whose pineapple salad gets your pick.

VOTE NOW

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Welcome to The Next Iron Chef: Redemption Kitchen Set

by in Shows, November 9th, 2012

The Next Iron Chef Kitchen SetMore like a culinary amphitheater than an everyday cook space, the Next Iron Chef Kitchen Stadium is, of course, not just a kitchen. Featuring multiple stovetops, a slew of ovens, an ice cream maker and more, the set can accommodate several chefs at a time and is stocked with oddball and classic ingredients alike that allow the rivals to cook up Iron Chef-worthy dishes.

You’ve seen Next Iron Chef finalists sprint from stove to pantry to freezer in a flash and grab exactly what they need, but have you ever wondered what’s on and in those wall-to-wall shelves, deep refrigerators and freezers? We were curious about what it takes to outfit the Next Iron Chef kitchen, so we checked in with Food Network’s culinary team, the group responsible for stocking it with its tricked-out appliances, top-notch cooking gadgets and Secret Ingredients. Read on below to get a behind-the-scenes look at Kitchen Stadium and find out how the culinary department prepared for the fifth season of The Next Iron Chef.

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Calling All Future Stars: Attend a Food Network Star Season 9 Open Casting

by in Community, Shows, November 7th, 2012

Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown

If you’ve ever found yourself watching an episode of Food Network Star and thinking “I can do that,” now is your chance to show us what you’re made of. We’re currently casting Season 9 of this all-star show and looking for those with top-notch culinary know-how, an infectious television-worthy personality and the willingness to compete in the ultimate multi-month job interview. Think you have what it takes to impress Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Alton Brown and top Food Network executives? If so, submit an online application and either attend an open casting call in one of the four cities below or send in a brief home video in which you strut your best culinary stuff.

Check out this all-in-one guide to Food Network Star casting to find more details on how to apply, rules and eligiability requirements and answers to common questions.

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Fall-Fresh Yams: Not Just for Thanksgiving — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 5th, 2012

Baked Yams With Saffron AioliWith Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, you’re surely seeing yams pop up on supermarket shelves and an influx of recipes featuring these bright-orange beauties. But while they’re perhaps most often enjoyed at holiday feasts, yams’ season to shine lasts throughout autumn, and they’re easy enough to prepare that they can be enjoyed with everyday dinners. Serve these yam side dishes with your favorite fall-inspired suppers to create a seasonal spread and round out your meal in a flash.

Food Network Magazine dresses up warm yams by topping them with a cool, creamy sauce in their Baked Yams With Saffron Aioli. An aioli is a fancy name for a mixture of mayonnaise and garlic, and this recipe’s aioli comes together not with from-scratch mayo, made with egg yolks and vinegar, so you can be sure it’s going to be extra-rich and comforting. For subtle orange-yellow color and a bit of sweetness, add just a pinch of crushed saffron threads to the aioli, and mix in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add a light, refreshing taste.

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VOTE: An Iron Chef Thanksgiving Cook-Off — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, November 3rd, 2012

Iron Chef Rival Recipes: Dressing vs. StuffingLast week, FN Dish introduced Rival Recipes, a weekly series that pits Next Iron Chef rivals, judges and standing Iron Chefs against one another in themed battles to find out whose recipe reigns supreme. In our first installment, Iron Chef Marc Forgione went head-to-head with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian in an Italian Dish Showdown. In the end, Chef Zakarian’s pasta with bolognese bested Chef Forgione’s gnocchi with brown butter, but only by a few dozen votes. Didn’t get a chance to vote last week? There’s still time to pick a plate.

This week’s mashup features Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon, and they’re leaving behind Italian classics and focusing on Thanksgiving favorites. With Turkey Day just a few weeks away, everyone wants to know: dressing or stuffing — which side pairs better with the bird? The chefs themselves are divided on the issue. Chef Flay is bringing an earthy, smoky Sourdough, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Dressing to the battle, while Iron Chef Symon opts for Cornbread Stuffing made moist and luxuriously rich thanks to heavy cream.

The vote is in your hands — are you a loyal stuffing lover or do you prefer the simplicity of dressing? When it comes to bread, does crusty sourdough strike your fancy or will you reach for golden, crumbly corn bread? Vote below.

VOTE NOW

Election Day Eats: A Cross-Country Food Tour of the USA

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 3rd, 2012

Baja Fish Tacos
No matter which side of the political landscape you fall on, there’s one thing that will receive likely everyone’s vote of approval on Election Day: the food scene in America. The United States is a mecca for culinary tastes and traditions, and whether you’re in the Deep South, the heart of the Midwest or the southernmost point of the United States, you’re sure to find cities with classic regional foods all their own. Before you cast your vote on Tuesday, taste some of the best bites this country has to offer with our cross-country tour of cities’ and regions’ favorite foods and flavors.

Start your eating adventure out west and dig into a plate of California-cool tacos, like these Baja Fish Tacos (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. They come together in just 20 quick minutes, thanks to quick-cooking halibut. The secret to this top-rated recipe is the tangy-sweet slaw that’s added right before serving. It’s made with red cabbage, creamy mayonnaise, zesty lime juice and a bit of honey, and serves as a refreshing complement to the deep-fried fish.

Moving into the Midwest, the food becomes heartier and a tad starchier. In Chicago, it’s pizza that reigns supreme, with the Windy City being famous for its deep-dish pies, many boasting more crust than toppings. Robert Irvine stays true to the classic preparation in his Deep-Dish Pizza, making a from-scratch crust and finishing it with a hearty sausage-laced tomato sauce and creamy mozzarella cheese.

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Chef Estes Makes the Final 10 — The Next Iron Chef Caption It

by in Shows, November 2nd, 2012

For Duskie Estes, the opportunity to compete on The Next Iron Chef didn’t come easily. While the other nine rivals will face their first challenge during Sunday night’s premiere, Chef Estes has already battled — and won — two cook-offs on the Road to Redemption, an online-only Web series that pitted four chefs against each other in a three-round competition. Ultimately, Chefs Madison Cowan, Robert Treviño and Lee Anne Wong fell, but Chef Estes proved herself worthy of Kitchen Stadium glory with winnings in Battle Coconut and Battle Pineapple, and she earned the right to join the cast of The Next Iron Chef.

In this sneak-peek shot from the Next Iron Chef premiere, Chef Estes is seen with a no-nonsense glare and blank expression as she eyes fellow competitor Chef Elizabeth Falkner. Has a twist in the competition caused these chefs to take the spirit of friendly competition too far? Will Chef Estes be able to maintain her focus in the face of week-one stress?

Before you tune in to the Next Iron Chef: Redemption premiere this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what has these ladies locked in a staring contest, we’re challenging you, Next Iron Chef fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this eye-to-eye moment in the comments below.

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Scary-Simple Tricks and Treats for Last-Minute Halloween Parties

by in Entertaining, Holidays, October 30th, 2012

Monster Cupcakes
With Halloween just hours away, you’re likely feeling prepared for this spooky-sweet holiday by now. Candy and costumes? Check, check. Trick-or-treat plans? Made them. Extra candy? Of course. But then your child comes home from school and announces that he’s volunteered to bring in treats for his classroom Halloween party tomorrow. What do you do? Instead of relying on your secret stash of candy bars to save the day, try preparing easy, kid-friendly sweet treats that will wow your child and surely be the talk of the elementary school.

To start, follow Sandra Lee’s lead and embrace the magic that is Semi-Homemade Cooking. Her Monster Cupcakes come together in just 20 quick minutes, thanks to pre-made unfrosted cupcakes. The secret to working with store-bought goodies is putting your own signature spin on them. These cupcakes, for example, become extra special and look downright homemade once you — or your kids — decorate them. Sandra opts for green-tinted frosting and colorful candies to create simple, silly monsters.

Keep reading for more last-minute ideas

Huevos “Ranch”eros — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, October 29th, 2012

Huevos When you’ve run through your repertoire of supper staples and want to add something new to the mix of weeknight meals, try thinking beyond dinner recipes and incorporating breakfast favorites into your routine instead. Offering just as hearty a meal as more traditional dinners, eggs can be dressed up beyond their everyday scrambles and be turned into satisfying dishes in a flash.

In their recipe for Huevos “Ranch”eros (pictured above), Food Network Magazine takes humble fried eggs to the next delicious level by preparing a rich tomato-bean mixture to serve with them. The secret ingredient in this combination is the chipotles in adobo sauce — they pack a hefty punch of flavor, a bit of heat and plenty of traditional Southwestern taste. Serve the eggs atop a scoop of beans and finish with slices of creamy, cool avocado and a sprinkle of Cotija cheese. As a crispy-crunchy side dish, deep-fry a batch of corn tortillas and finish them with a dusting of dry ranch dressing mix.

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Duff Goldman’s Halloween Candy for Grownups

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, October 27th, 2012

Duff Goldman
With the pint-sized costumes and hours of trick-or-treating that all but define Halloween, it can seem as though this spooky-sweet holiday is just for kids. But youngsters aren’t the only ones who can enjoy Halloween and especially the buckets of candy that come with it. Sure, store-bought miniature candy bars may be the treat of choice handed out to Batman, clowns and princess look-alikes on Wednesday night, but you don’t have to settle for individually wrapped peanut butter cups when feeding adults. For grown-up Halloween goodies, try making your own chocolate truffles with help from dessert extraordinaire Chef Duff Goldman, owner of Charm City Cakes bakeries in Maryland and California and the star of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes and Sugar High.

In partnership with Godiva, Duff recently launched Cake Truffles, a line of candy truffles inspired by classic desserts, and we caught up with him to get the secret to candy making for beginners and to find out his favorite truffle from the decadent collection.

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