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.

POLL: What’s Your Favorite Halloween Candy?

by in Holidays, Shows, October 25th, 2014

Halloween CandyThough you may not be dressing up for Halloween this year, with fright night less than a week away, there’s no reason you can’t indulge your cravings for all things tricks, treats and sweets. The Kitchen co-hosts kicked off their Halloween celebration this morning with a full hour dedicated to next-level jack-o’-lanterns, over-the-top party foods and new twists on classic candies. (Find all of the latest recipes here.)

When it comes to the candy stash at your house, FN Dish wants to know, what kinds of sweet treats do you most prefer? Do you reach for the reddest licorice you can find, or would you rather have gooey caramel covered in chocolate? Are you a fan of the crunch of nuts, or do you prefer a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bar? Cast your vote in the poll below to share your favorite Halloween candy.

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Best 5 Beef Casserole Recipes

by in Recipes, October 25th, 2014

Beef and Cheddar CasseroleWhile some meals require you to make multiple components, casseroles are all-in-one beauties that have starch, vegetable and protein elements built in, so they’re go-to timesavers on hectic weeknights. When you’re considering which ingredients to combine in your casserole, think about which flavors you know work well together, like those in classic pasta dishes, or in tacos, enchiladas and burritos — they’ll likely shine in a casserole as well. Check out Food Network’s best-five casseroles with family-friendly beef as the focus and find top tips from Trisha Yearwood, Sunny Anderson, Rachael Ray and more chefs.

5. Beef and Bean Taco Casserole — Think of this big-batch dinner as a platter of deconstructed tacos, with a base and topping of crunchy tortilla chips and a hearty filling of cumin-laced ground beef and pinto beans.

4. Gwen’s Old-Fashioned Potato-Beef Casserole — The key to Trisha’s easy recipe lies in the prep work for her tender potatoes and cheesy ground beef. Trisha explains, “If they are still hot when you assemble the casserole, the baking time can be greatly reduced or even eliminated; simply brown the crumb topping under the broiler for a couple of minutes.”

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Save Your Pumpkin Seeds: A Simple Roasting How-To

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 24th, 2014

How to Roast Pumpkin SeedsWith Halloween just one week away, you’re likely getting set to carve tricked-out jack-o’-lanterns in preparations for next Friday’s fright night. As you roll up your sleeves and scoop out the mushy innards of your pumpkin, keep an eye out for the seeds; these flat, tear-shaped bites are indeed edible, and when they’re roasted with seasoning, they turn into crunchy, savory bites ideal for seasonal snacking. Learn the basics of How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds below, then check out Food Network’s complete guide to master the easy technique.

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Alton Cooks the Superstar Sabotage Tournament: Steak

by in Recipes, Shows, October 23rd, 2014

At its most basic, a surf and turf dish includes one seafood and one land-based element, so on this week’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament Heat 3 battle, host Alton Brown stretched that definition to include inferior versions of those components when he auctioned off ingredient swaps that included canned tuna for surf and liver for turf. For fans watching at home, surf and turf most likely connotes a dinner of lobster and steak, and likely an elegant one at that, but when it comes to steak, it doesn’t have to be saved for a special occasion.

If you don’t often make steak at home, try Alton’s simplest-ever recipe as a go-to starting place. His Pan-Seared Rib Eye (pictured above) boasts more than 500 user reviews and a glowing 5-star rating. Best of all, since his foolproof technique suggests making the steak on the stove, there’s no grilling required, which means you can enjoy meaty flavors year-round.

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“You Have to Be Able to Play the Game” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 22nd, 2014

To survive — and thrive — on Cutthroat Kitchen, it’s not enough to be able to work quickly under pressure or to deliver a well-seasoned plate; chefs must be able to strategize their every move, budget their $25,000 bank account and bid productively with three rounds of competition in mind. Fans saw what happened when a contestant didn’t take that approach during tonight’s Heat 3 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. For Chef Johnny Iuzzini, it didn’t matter how much he spent during Rounds 1 and 2 so long as he advanced to Round 3, while Chef Eric Greenspan frugally saved his money for charity — until the last round, when Chef Johnny was forced to compete with only $100 and Chef Eric was armed with a full $25,000.

“Once you’re down to $100, you can’t fight back. It doesn’t matter how good you are,” Alton Brown revealed to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s latest After-Show. “This is a game, and you have to be able to play the game. And if you walk into a final round with a $100 bill in your hand, you’re going to have a really tough time winning regardless of how good you are.” Thanks to the force of his full funds behind him, Chef Eric was able to saddle Chef Johnny — a famed pastry chef — with a duo of sabotages during the lemon bar test, and that maneuver ultimately set up Chef Eric for the win. “Eric said it was just now even,” Alton told Simon of their Round 3 matchup.

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Spring Break in Miami: Tickets on Sale Now for the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, October 22nd, 2014

South Beach Wine & Food FestivalThough the chill of fall air might be welcome relief now after a stifling summer, come February you’ll have likely turned a cold shoulder to the frigid temperatures and be ready to warm up in the sun. Enter: The South Beach Wine & Food Festival. For four days, you can escape the slush and snow and join your favorite Food Network stars and chefs for a long weekend at the beach celebrating all things eats and drinks.

2015 will mark the 14th year of SOBEWFF, and this year’s events, running from Feb. 19 through Feb. 22 in Miami, are expected to be bigger than ever. Favorites like Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine and Anne Burrell will be on hand to host walk-around tastings, elegant sit-down dinners, late-night parties and interactive meals alike, all while mingling with fans and enjoying the flavors of Florida.

Tickets are on sale now — buy yours today to guarantee your spot at marquee events like Burger Bash, The Q, Medianoches & Mixology, and more. Here are some of the events where you can find your favorite chefs.

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Alton Brown, the Master of Eviliciousness, Dishes on Halloween

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 22nd, 2014

Alton BrownWhen it comes to dishing out culinary evils, no one does it quite like the host of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown. Now in its fifth season, Cutthroat is known for no-nonsense sabotages befalling even those contestants already in the thick of kitchen struggles, and on the recent Halloween-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the situation turned even scarier with ghostly challenges. FN Dish recently checked in with Alton to learn his candy must-have on Halloween, plus his best idea for next-level pumpkin carvings. Read on below to hear from the host in an exclusive interview, then catch Alton in costume on his Halloween After-Show.

What’s your favorite candy?
Alton Brown: Milk Duds

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Restaurants Revisited: The Gross, Grosser and Grossest

by in Shows, October 20th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleFrom creepy crawling insects in the kitchen to appliances overrun with mold and caked in grease, Robert Irvine has seen all manner of filth in eateries over the course of nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible missions. But no matter how off-putting and seemingly impossible to tackle a scene may be when Robert arrives, with the help of his team, he’s always able to resurrect the space and reopen the business as a shining, safe restaurant worthy of a second chance.

On tonight’s episode of Restaurant: Impossible, fans had the chance to look back at not just the dirty restaurants that have been featured on the show, but those simply too gross to forget, like Mama Lee’s, where a cockroach landed on Robert’s shoulder, and Smitty’s Restaurant, which required the aid of a professional exterminator.

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Trisha Yearwood Hosts a Down-Home Brunch — and Demos New Music

by in Events, Food Network Chef, October 20th, 2014

Trisha YearwoodBefore this weekend’s New York City Wine & Food Festival came to a close, fans flocked to Midtown Manhattan on Sunday afternoon for one final indulgent feast, this time a hearty Southern-style meal that only country superstar Trisha Yearwood could offer. Set in an elegantly adorned hotel ballroom, Trisha’s Down-Home Country Brunch offered classic Southern fixings, like grits, greens and fried catfish, a Bloody Mary bar complete with traditional toppings, and a musical surprise from the host that brought the sold-out crowd to its feet. FN Dish was on hand to take in the sights, sounds and tastes, and we caught up with Trisha to find out what the weekend brunch scene looks like at her house.

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The Sting of Elimination for a Judge — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 19th, 2014

It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from the sabotages taking place during competitions and forced to evaluate the dishes based solely on what’s in front of them — such a strategy guarantees the focus remains on the food at all times. But on tonight’s all-new Alton’s After-Show, judge Jet Tila revealed that after learning what one chef had endured in the name of sabotage, he felt a tinge of guilt — especially after his decision led to the contestant’s elimination.

“You feel so bad after the fact. Now I realize,” he admitted after Alton spoke of how Chef Alex had to use only kitchen tongs to cut her wrap ingredients. “I was dinging so badly on her just horrible knife cuts. They literally looked like she’s just tearing things apart. But now I get it.” Alton went on to explain that because the judges are blind to the sabotages, they’re forced to evaluate on “flavor, presentation and ‘does it remind me of the thing it’s supposed to remind me of.'” But he admitted, “It doesn’t mean they’re all equally weighted. The truth is is anybody’s who’s a chef is going to more heavily weight flavor above all.”

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