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.

Culinary Quiz: How Well Would You Fare at Worst Cooks Boot Camp?

by in Shows, February 16th, 2013

Worst Cooks in AmericaIn this all-new sixth season of Worst Cooks in America, 14 culinary recruits are in for the kitchen Boot Camp of their lives, as Chefs Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence work to transform them into capable, confident cooks who can turn out winning meals with ease. But before one can be crowned the best of the worst of the kitchen, they’ll have to endure seven weeks of hands-on training covering even the most elementary culinary know-how.

For many watching the competition unfold at home, it’s easy to think that you’d fare far better than the recruits if tested with the same challenges of Boot Camp. But would you really succeed where others have fallen? FN Dish is giving you the opportunity to assess your critical culinary thinking and the extent of your cooking chops. Take the quiz below to find out how well you’d manage in the kitchen with Chefs Anne and Tyler.

Take the quiz now

Enter for a Chance to Win a Free Set of Obols, the Original Crispy Bowl

by in Contests, February 14th, 2013

Enter for a Chance to Win a Free ObolWhen it comes to enjoying a bowl of cereal, there are two kinds of people: those who like their morning meal to be crispy and crunchy, and those who prefer it extra moist and practically soggy, completely drenched with milk.

If you’re a proud member of the first group, someone who would rather resort to eating dried cereal straight from the box than sink into a bowl of breakfast mush, allow us to introduce you to your new morning mealtime best friend: the Obol, the Original Crispy Bowl. Thanks to the clever design of the Obol, which includes a raised partition separating an upper deck of sorts from a lower pool, your cereal and milk never have to touch. After filling the top portion with your cereal of choice (ours just happens to be anything with cinnamon) and the bottom with milk (skim, please), you can dunk in the milk just a spoonful of cereal at a time, essentially eliminating the need to hurry through breakfast so that the cereal stays crunchy.

Read official rules before entering

Anne’s Top 8 Lessons Learned as a Chef

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 13th, 2013

Anne BurrellAlthough she’s now a seasoned mentor on Chef Wanted and a no-nonsense team leader to some of the Worst Cooks in America, Chef Anne Burrell wasn’t always a food-television star. In fact, she began her career working in some of New York City’s top restaurants, where she climbed the culinary ladder to become a leading executive chef. Read on below to find the most important pieces of industry know-how she’s picked up along the way.

1. Being a chef can get very emotional from time to time. Remain cool under pressure.

2. Remember that you are a teacher and a leader.

3. You can’t avoid mistakes, but you can try to prevent them and learn how to not make them again.

4. Set long-term goals for yourself and review them regularly.

Read more

Best 5 Red Velvet Recipes for Valentine’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 13th, 2013

Red Velvet CheesecakeJust like flowers and perhaps a glass or two of champagne, chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a must. This year, however, instead of resorting to store-bought candies, try making simple red velvet desserts for you and your special someone to enjoy together. Boasting a subtle cocoa taste instead of an overpowering punch of chocolate flavor, red velvet treats pair naturally with smooth cream cheese frosting, and their distinct crimson color just can’t be beat when it comes to a red-themed holiday like Valentine’s. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five red velvet recipes below to help you prepare easy-to-love favorites that will have your sweetie swooning in no time.

5. Red Velvet Swirl Brownies — Before baking Sunny’s brownies, gently run a knife tip through the decadent layers of red velvet batter and sweetened cream cheese to achieve an attractive swirled topping.

4. Red Velvet-Cherry Cake Roll — The secret to executing this can-do cake is rolling it while it’s still supple and warm. After it’s cooled, unroll it and stuff with an almond-laced cream cheese frosting before gently rerolling the cake and serving.

Get the top three recipes

Chatting With the Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chefs Rob Evans and Jun Tanaka With Chopped Host Ted AllenIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the latest winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

Chatting With the Chopped Champions Runner-Up

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chopped Champions Grand FinaleIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the Chopped chefs.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who’s the runner-up

Team Bobby vs. Team Anne: Who Will Win Worst Cooks in America?

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne BurrellA brand-new season of Worst Cooks in America kicks off this Sunday, and just as the 14 culinary recruits are racing to become the best of the worst in the kitchen, team leaders Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell are facing off in a competition of their own. Each has just seven short weeks of Boot Camp to attempt to mentor the eventual winning recruit and claim lasting bragging rights over the other.

For Chef Anne, a victory this season would simply be another title in a long line of Worst Cooks successes, as she’s claimed consecutive Red Team wins for the past three years. At this stage of the game, she knows the tricks of the competition, has learned how best to instruct her contestants and is sure in her role as the team leader to beat. With only one season of Worst Cooks competition behind him, however, Chef Bobby Flay is still relatively new to what goes down in Boot Camp, but that won’t stop him from pulling out his top cooking and coaching chops this season. After a disappointing loss last year, he’s more determined than ever to finally take the Blue Team to victory and end Chef Anne’s winning streak once and for all.

Vote: Tell us which team will win

Geoffrey Zakarian’s Valentine’s Day Souffle

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, February 12th, 2013

Geoffrey ZakarianInstead of fighting the crowds of couples at hot spot restaurants on Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to an extra-special dinner and dessert at home on Thursday. Food Network’s one-stop Valentine’s Day destination has everything you need to plan a savory meal for two, while Chopped judge and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has the ultimate confection for an unforgettable supper — a showstopping dessert that’s by far more impressive looking than it is difficult to prepare, even for the most novice bakers among us.

FN Dish caught up with Geoffrey during a live cooking demonstration at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., and he shared his tried-and-true Flourless Raspberry Souffle recipe from his cookbook, Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table. He’s the first to admit that most people are “freaked out by souffles,” but he promises that there’s no reason to be. A master of souffles himself, Geoffrey first began making them in his earliest days as a chef at New York City’s Le Cirque restaurant. “That was my first job in the kitchen,” he told us. “I was a souffle chef.” There he’d prepare nearly 150 souffles every day, and he quickly picked up “all the tricks of the trade.”

Whether you’ve dabbled in from-scratch souffles before or are new to making them, Geoffrey explains that there are a few must-know secrets to pulling off this dessert successfully. Check out his top-five tips for baking up light, fluffy souffles every time, then read on to find his can-do recipe.

Geoffrey’s souffle tips and recipe

Spaghetti and No-Meat Balls — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 11th, 2013

Spaghetti and No-Meat BallsTofu often gets a bad culinary rap—and rightfully so. When eaten on its own, plain tofu can be quite boring and doesn’t taste like much of anything. When given an intense flavor boost in the form of bold sauces or complementary ingredients, however, it takes on rich, enjoyable flavors and becomes a go-to substitute for meat in countless traditionally beefy dishes, like meatloaf, meatballs and burgers.

In Food Network Magazine‘s recipe for Spaghetti and No-Meat Balls (pictured above), extra-firm tofu is incorporated into a mixture of garlic-laced mushrooms, sauteed onions and a pinch of red pepper flakes, which adds a hearty punch of flavor without a lot of fat. Together with breadcrumbs, the tofu binds the blend together so that it can be rolled into two-bite no-meat balls. A quick pan-fry turns the balls a deep golden-brown hue and gives them a slight crust on the outside. After simmering them in a light tomato-basil sauce, toss the nonmeatballs with your favorite kind of pasta for a family-friendly dinner than can be prepped in less than an hour.

Keep reading for more recipes

Tough Critics: Kid-Approved Recipes With Vegetables

by in Family, February 10th, 2013

Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot PiesNo matter whether your child is a wonderfully adventurous eater or has a notorious picky palate, convincing little ones to eat vegetables can be a challenge. After all, you want them to not just tolerate the green things but to enjoy them as well. Instead of “tricking” kids into eating vegetables by hiding them in purees, try simply incorporating them as they are into foods they already know and love. The idea is that over time, they’ll associate veggies with their favorite dishes and realize that they’re not so bad after all. Known kid-friendly picks like pot pies, not-too-spicy chili and pasta are easy vehicles for showcasing new vegetables without becoming overpowered by them. Try Food Network’s favorite kid-approved recipes below, then tell us in the comments: How do you encourage your kids to eat vegetables?

Giada transforms a comfort food favorite — the pot pie — into a kid-friendly staple simply by shrinking its size. Imagine a single big-batch pot pie. Now picture what a scoop of that on a plate looks like to a child. It’s not exactly appealing, even though the flavors are surely top-notch, right? The key to Giada’s top-rated recipe for Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies (pictured above) is making each pie small enough for kids to eat with their hands in just a few bites. If little ones see a piping-hot pile of vegetables taking up a large portion of their plate, chances are they’ll feel overwhelmed by what’s staring back at them. Thanks to their balance of fresh broccoli florets, tender chopped chicken and a creamy cheese sauce, Giada’s pot pies, however, aren’t intimidating to even the most stubborn veggie-refusers. Best of all, this recipe takes advantage of frozen store-bought pie crust so it’s a cinch for moms and dads to prepare on weeknights.

Keep reading for more recipes