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.

Best 5 Zucchini Bread Recipes

by in Recipes, June 18th, 2014

Zucchini BreadFrom grilling and roasting zucchini to mixing it in pastas and cold salads, there’s no shortage of ways to use up this seasonal classic, but perhaps the easiest among them is baking zucchini in a sweet bread. The beauty of zucchini bread is that once you bake a single loaf, the results double as breakfasts and desserts for days to come. Unlike banana bread, which requires overly ripe bananas, zucchini bread can be made with the produce at any stage, so it’s a go-to pick if you’re facing a surplus from a garden or a sale at the grocery store. Read on below to find Food Network’s top-five recipes for zucchini bread, and get a mix of creative and traditional picks.

5. Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread — You don’t have to be gluten-intolerant to enjoy this sweet loaf, laced with a trio of warm spices as well as a duo of olive oil and Greek yogurt for moisture.

4. Zucchini and Apple Bread — Made with crunchy walnuts for added texture, this easy-to-do recipe yields two loaves, making it a favorite for potlucks and bake sales.

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How to Build a Better Dog

by in Recipes, June 14th, 2014

Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade RelishKetchup, mustard, maybe some relish and sweet, saucy onions. These classic toppings surely get the job done when it comes to making an everyday hot dog, but for a next-level cookout, try dressing up your favorite franks with nontraditional fixings. On this morning’s episode of The Kitchen, Katie, Marcela and Jeff introduced their creative takes on hot dogs with their West Virginia-Style Hot Dog, Mexican-Style Hot Dog and Depression Dog with peppers, respectively. This summer, follow the co-hosts’ leads by experimenting with unexpected toppings; just stick with your favorite ingredients and try to choose flavors that you know complement one another. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite ways to build a better dog below, then browse Food Network Magazine’s roundup of 50 All-Purpose Condiments complete with must-see ideas for adding finishing touches to your grilled greats.

While Jeff’s Depression Dog from The Kitchen may have been deliciously simple, his Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade Relish (pictured above) is perhaps the ultimate in hot dog indulgence. He starts with beef franks and tops them with white onions and yellow mustard, plus homemade pickles and golden-brown french fries flavored with celery seed. Jeff recommends building the dogs, then letting them steam for a few minutes before serving.

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Restaurant Revisited: No Day at the Beach at Portu-Greek Cafe

by in Shows, June 11th, 2014

Restaurant: ImpossibleAfter running Portu-Greek Cafe in Hudson, Fla., for eight years, husband-and-wife owners Jordan and Anne Lindiakos were losing at least $4,000 every month, so they looked to Robert Irvine for help in a last-ditch effort to save their combination Portuguese and Greek eatery. While what Robert deemed the restaurant’s “very plain” decor and the largely microwaved menu were surely in need of an overhaul, the business’ management style was largely to blame for its failure. “We don’t make long-term decisions,” Jordan admitted, speaking of himself, his wife and his children, who work at Portu-Greek Cafe. It was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to not only transform the cuisine and decor at the restaurant, but also to improve Jordan’s leadership ability and help the family work better together. Read on below to hear from Anne and Jordan, and find out how their business is faring today.

“At this time, we have at least doubled sales,” Anne says, noting that Portu-Greek is “very busy.” Jordan admits, “The decor is beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, including ours.”

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Bobby Flay’s 10 Commandments of Grilling

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

Bobby's Perfect BurgerOn his all-new series Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics (Sundays at 11a|10c), grill master Bobby Flay is putting away his recipes for involved, complicated meals and focusing on those essential summertime favorites all of us should have in our arsenals. Each week he’ll break down the how-tos for various authentic plates and share his secrets for turning out the most-authentic true barbecue, which are largely dependent upon his grilling commandments. Read on below to learn Bobby’s 10 must-know pieces of advice for all things grilling, from juicy burgers and smoky barbecue sauce to entertaining tips and the ultimate pantry ingredients.

1. Direct/Indirect Heat: Set up your grill with two zones — one for direct heat, and the other for indirect heat. Use the direct heat to sear meats and veggies, and move them to the cool side to allow the food to finish grilling without overcooking.

2. Lid On or Off? That Is the Question! My rule of thumb is to leave the lid off for ingredients that cook quickly like shrimp and vegetables and put the lid on for longer-grilling items like poultry and steak, to use the grill like an oven and prevent burning or overcooking.

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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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