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.

Exclusive: Father’s Day with Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, June 10th, 2014

Margaret and Geoffrey ZakarianGeoffrey Zakarian may be a co-host on The Kitchen, a no-nonsense Chopped judge, the chef and partner at New York’s The Lambs Club, and the culinary director of The Plaza hotel, but on Father’s Day, this famed Iron Chef revels in another title: Dad. Geoffrey’s a father to three young children, two daughters plus a newborn baby boy, which means this year’s holiday is sure to be extra special. Read on below to get an exclusive with Geoffrey and learn his family’s plans for Sunday’s celebration, and find out what dishes he enjoys cooking alongside his young sous chefs.

What kinds of Father’s Day traditions do you have now and did you have as a child?
Geoffrey Zakarian: Well, not surprisingly, all centered around food. Usually we tried to go to a Red Sox game at Fenway, and if not, we would watch and chow down on simply grilled hot dogs. Delicious!

How will you and your family celebrate this year?
GZ: We are all going to our family’s place in upstate New York. A large buffet will be developed over the weekend and it will be an eat-a-thon. Lots of rosé will be poured.

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15 Summer-Loving Ways to Enjoy Tomatoes

by in In Season, Recipes, June 7th, 2014

BruschettaAlong with longer days and warmer nights, late spring and early summer ushers in an abundance of ultra-fresh produce. From tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries to colorful squash and bell peppers, there’s no shortage of fruits and vegetables during these warm months, and one of the best, most-versatile items to enjoy is a bright, ripe tomato. Simple pastas and salads are classic picks for putting the tomato to work, but these juicy bites can go beyond the basics as well, as The Kitchen co-hosts showed off this morning with their takes on stuffed tomatoes. Read on below to get 15 ideas and recipes for taking tomatoes to the next level, and learn how to celebrate these beauties all summer long.

1. Perhaps the most-traditional use for tomatoes, a pasta-ready sauce is a must-have in every recipe arsenal. Master Alton’s Tomato Sauce recipe this summer, and keep coming back to it when you need a satisfying meal. He starts off by baking the tomatoes to add a subtle sweetness to the sauce, then processes them through a food mill to achieve a smooth texture.

2. Just like pasta sauce, salsa is also a no-fail way to put tomatoes to work. Instead of picking up jarred salsa, try Marcela’s speedy homemade version instead. Her Roasted Tomato Salsa is made with just a handful of ingredients, and it features a single serrano chile, which offers manageable heat.

3. Whether you need a last-minute potluck addition or an elegant appetizer, The Pioneer Woman’s party-perfect Bruschetta (pictured above) is a timeless favorite, made with colorful grape tomatoes and a splash of balsamic.

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Restaurant Revisited: Saving Grace at Grace’s Place Bagels and Deli

by in Shows, June 4th, 2014

Robert Irvine“We just got ourselves in way over our heads,” Grace Tutak said of her and her husband, Eddie, both owners of Grace’s Place Bagels and Deli. The financial ambiguity of the restaurant and the significant debt they’re facing had put a strain on their marriage, and they were in dire need of Robert Irvine‘s help. “Ed and Grace are both responsible for the failure of the restaurant,” Robert admitted, and together with his Restaurant: Impossible team, he overhauled Grace’s Place and attempted to repair Grace and Eddie’s relationship in order to give their business a second chance at success. Read on below to hear from Grace and find out how her eatery is doing today.

Sales at Grace’s Place have remained steady since the show, and Grace says that “the customers love the new decor.”

Customers were sorry to see some of their beloved dishes had been taken off the menu, so the list of offerings now features some of its original items, plus plates that Robert created. Still being featured are the French Dip, Muffalatta Sub, Fresh-Cut Fries, Cinnamon Bun Sundae and the Minestrone Chicken Matzo Ball Soup, according to Grace.

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Best 5 Macaroni Salad Recipes

by in Recipes, June 4th, 2014

Old-Fashioned Macaroni SaladFrom picnics and graduation parties to weekend cookouts and the upcoming Father’s Day holiday, summer’s all about leisurely get-togethers, and for those you need simple, tried-and-true dishes you’re sure will feed a crowd. Burgers, hot dogs and barbecue are go-to main dishes, but when the focus is on traditional sides, macaroni salad reigns supreme. This easy-to-fix favorite is a crowd-pleasing classic, and it can be prepared ahead of time and served when guests arrive. Check out Food Network’s top-five macaroni salad recipes below to find next-level renditions from Rachael, Guy, the Neelys and more Food Network chefs, then browse more side dish selections ideal for grilling season.

5. Bacon and Egg Macaroni Salad — Rachael starts with balsamic vinaigrette-topped macaroni and adds crisp bacon, hard-boiled eggs and pimentos for welcome texture and added flavor.

4. Macaroni Salad with Dill and Ham — Ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, this go-to picnic favorite features a classic ingredient combo — peas and ham — and the flavors are combined with a tangy mustard-sour cream topping.

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Bobby’s Going Back to Basics on All-New Barbecue Series

by in Shows, June 3rd, 2014

Bobby FlayNo matter Bobby Flay‘s urban roots, no one knows outdoor cooking quite like this Iron Chef. A famed master of meat with decades’ experience of smoking, charring and searing everything from thick-cut chops to true barbecue, Bobby’s the ultimate resource for all things grilled. Now, just in time for summer, Bobby’s sharing a one-stop guide to grilling on his all-new show, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics.

Tune in Sundays at 11a|10c beginning June 22 to get classic how-tos for conquering the grill, and learn step-by-step tips for making his essential dishes at home. What can fans expect from Bobby on his upcoming episodes? Easy, approachable recipes indicative of Bobby’s signature flavors, plus his must-know secrets to authentic barbecue that you’ll be referring to for summers to come.

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One-on-One with the Winner of the Cutthroat Kitchen Judges’ Battle

by in Shows, June 2nd, 2014

Geoffrey Zakarian and Antonia LofasoAfter nearly three seasons of doling out constructive critiques and eliminations on dozens of chefs, the Cutthroat Kitchen judges took their turns in the contest and battled each other in an epic three rounds of competition. Antonia Lofaso, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar faced the same kind of evilicious sabotages that host Alton Brown is notorious for auctioning off to other contestants, but the rivalries among the judges were fiercer, as each wanted to claim Cutthroat glory once and for all.

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, don’t read any further because FN Dish is about to break down the rounds and reveal the winner.

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“Best. Challenge. Ever.” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, June 1st, 2014

This week’s was a Cutthroat Kitchen episode like none other as host Alton Brown welcomed four of Cutthroat’s frequent judges into the kitchen — not to evaluate competitors’ dishes, but to be the battling chefs for the day. In true evilicious fashion, the sabotages didn’t stop just because the contestants were superstars Antonia Lofaso, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar; in fact, this episode saw some of the trickiest tests yet, and what resulted were three rounds of brutal mind games. While Alton’s After-Shows are known for revealing all to the once-sequestered judges, this week’s catch-up found Alton with the judges-turned-competitors, and together they shared plenty of laughs as they looked back at the good-natured challenges that had just taken place.

The infamous mini kitchen made an appearance in Round 1, and much of the group agreed with Simon when he deemed it the “Best. Challenge. Ever.” After being gifted that challenge, Jet admitted, “I was deathly afraid of it. I didn’t even know how to, like, navigate that thing.” Geoffrey ultimately found himself tasked with adapting to this tiny workspace, but, according to him, “It’s not as bad as it appears.” And it’s a good thing that Geoffrey didn’t seem to mind the sabotage, as Simon — jokingly — noted later: “The reason it only went for $1,500 is I think some of us agreed that we should give it to Geoffrey for no other reason than we wanted to see Geoffrey Zakarian — the Iron Chef — kneeling down, cooking in the kitchen.”

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Chatting with the First Eliminated Star Finalist

by , June 1st, 2014

Food Network StarDespite Food Network Star finalists’ highest hopes for success and their best attempts to at once craft top-quality dishes and present a winning personality on camera, week after week another rival will be sent home, unable to survive in the face of stardom. It’s up to judge-mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis to decide who should stay and whose journey has ended, and after every elimination, Star Talk will bring you the first interview with the ousted competitor.

If you haven’t yet watched the episode, don’t read any further. Star Talk is about to break down the ins and outs of the premiere and reveal the first finalist sent home.

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Katie Lee’s Strategies for Summer Entertaining, Plus Her Cookout Staples

by in Entertaining, Food Network Chef, May 31st, 2014

Katie LeeThis week marks the unofficial beginning of summer, and with that comes three months of hazy days, late-night swims and surely plenty of grilling. While burgers, hot dogs and barbecue are no-fail menu items, the classic preparations for these favorites can get tired year after year, and so this morning’s episode of The Kitchen was dedicated to go-to grilled recipes, seasonal how-tos and party ideas that deliver ideal results every time. Recently FN Dish caught up with Katie Lee, who dished on what it takes to pull off — and enjoy — a summertime soiree at home. Read her exclusive interview below to learn her take on the season’s must-haves, and get her ideas for make-ahead dishes plus tips on hosting a crowd.

What are some of your must-haves for summer cookouts?
Katie Lee: I like to make side dishes that I can do ahead of time that can be kept in the refrigerator and pulled out when it’s time for dinner. I always do some kind of grain salad, like a quinoa salad or a farro salad. Corn on the cob is a must. My summer cocktail of choice is an Aperol Spritz. A big bucket that you can fill with ice and all your drinks so that people can serve themselves. Reusable plastic wine glasses so that you’re not creating a lot of trash, but you also don’t have to worry about somebody breaking glass near the pool or outside.

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