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.

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.

Click here for dates

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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Alton’s Close-Up — The Next Iron Chef Caption It

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 25th, 2012

Alton Brown
After two hard-fought battles between Chefs Madison Cowan and Lee Anne Wong then Chefs Robert Treviño and Duskie Estes, the Next Iron Chef Road to Redemption wraps up tomorrow with a third and final Kitchen Stadium showdown, this time between victors Chefs Wong and Estes. The chef whose cuisine reigns supreme will join nine rival chefs in the journey to claim the ultimate culinary title on The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, premiering next Sunday, November 4 at 9pm/8c.

Until the battle begins, however, it seems as though the focus in Kitchen Stadium will be on Road to Redemption host and judge Alton Brown. In this sneak-peek shot from tomorrow’s finale, Alton turns the cameras on himself for a few moments of close-up face time before revealing the Secret Ingredient. Is he simply working on a blooper real, or is this one-man show part of the battle? Will we see the Road to Redemption‘s other judges, Simon Majumdar and Iron Chef Jose Garces, in similar frames?

Before you watch Chefs Wong and Estes face off for Kitchen Stadium glory, we’re challenging you, Next Iron Chef Road to Redemption fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Watch the final battle

Bobby and Giada Talk Food Network Star and First Days on TV

by in Events, Food Network Chef, October 25th, 2012

Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Julia Moskin
When Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis took the stage at New York City’s Times Center, it didn’t take long for these longtime friends and colleagues to start passing playful, well-meaning jabs to one another. The two joined Julia Moskin of The New York Times as part of a series of TimesTalks during the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and what followed was a lighthearted conversation about food, Food Network Star and their early days on the network. Never one to miss a beat, Bobby jokingly told the audience, “As you know, Giada invented Italian food,” while Food Network’s resident Italian superstar took the dig in stride before returning the favor to Bobby. She told the story of how he claimed on national television to have discovered a secret pasta-making strategy, when in fact it was she who deserved the credit.

In no time, their chat turned to the most-recent season of Food Network Star, in which Justin Warner, mentor Alton Brown’s Rebel With a Culinary Cause, scored the most votes from at-home viewers and was crowned Food Network’s newest star. Bobby and Giada, also mentors to teams of Star contenders, looked back on the season and agreed that while other contestants may have turned out better food, Justin “is a talented entertainer” and “has a real chance to make some noise” now that he has claimed the top prize.

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