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.

The Great Food Truck Race: A Look Back

by in Shows, September 21st, 2012

The Great Food Truck Race
We’re just one week away from the finale of The Great Food Truck Race, and by now the three remaining food truck teams are cruising into new cities and dishing out orders like professionals. But of course that wasn’t always the case. It was only a few short weeks ago that the eight rookie teams stepped onto their trucks for the very first time and dealt with bump after bump in the road as they learned how to cook in a small space and how to drive an extra-large vehicle.

As you get ready for this Sunday’s brand-new episode in which Nonna’s Kitchenette, Pop-A-Waffle and Seoul Sausage cruise into Cleveland, take a look back at where our teams started. We’ve rounded up a collection of this season’s best, most shocking moments from all five of the previous cities. Check out these photos and relive the most memorable Truck Stop cooking challenges, Speed Bumps, eliminations and more from the teams’ cross-country road trip.

Which remaining food truck team is your favorite? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Red-Carpet Recipes: What to Eat and Drink While Watching the Emmys

by in Recipes, September 21st, 2012

Pomegranate Cosmos
This Sunday night marks one of television’s biggest nights of the year, as the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards air live from Los Angeles. Hollywood’s most popular TV stars will glam up their looks and strut their stuff on the red carpet before taking their seats to find out which actors and shows have achieved outstanding performances on the small screen in the past year.

Even though you may not be in L.A. to catch a glimpse of your favorite celebrities, you can still cheer them on from the comfort of your living room. Create a camera-free version of the red carpet at your house and host an Emmy-watching party with your friends, complete with a menu of award-winning eats and drinks inspired by your favorite shows. Check out Food Network’s star-studded spread below, then tell us what you’ll be munching on during the Emmys.

Kick off the celebration with a batch of Ina’s pretty-pink Pomegranate Cosmos (pictured above) as a nod to Girls, that show you love to hate. These five-minute cocktails are a girl’s best friend, made with a mixture of vodka, orange liqueur and fruity pomegranate and lime juices. Best of all, you don’t need a shaker to prepare them — just add the ingredients to a pitcher, refrigerate and pour into chilled glasses.

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POLL: Which Team’s Picnic Lunch Would You Pack?

by in Polls, Shows, September 20th, 2012

The Great Food Truck Race
Much like the Truck Stop challenge in the second Food Trucks episode that tasked the teams with embracing regional ingredients, last Sunday’s cooking challenge was a celebration of Nashville’s local cuisine. The remaining four food trucks had just $100 and 60 minutes to prepare a Southern-style picnic lunch for two people who know a thing or two about Tennessee comfort food: country music stars Joey and Rory Feek.

A few teams chose to prepare classic takes on tried-and-true dishes, while others let their culinary points of view shine in creative twists on original recipes. Take another peek at what Momma’s Grizzly Grub, Seoul Sausage, Pop-A-Waffle and Nonna’s Kitchenette served to Joey, Rory and Tyler, then tell us which of their plates you’d pack on a picnic.

VOTE: Which of these picnic lunches would you pack?

Best 5 Pumpkin Bread Recipes

by in Recipes, September 20th, 2012

pumpkin bread

The first day of fall is just days away, and with that comes the celebration of all things warm, spiced and comforting. What better way to kick off the season than with a loaf of soft, slightly sweet and deliciously fragrant pumpkin bread? We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top five pumpkin bread recipes, each a cinch to prepare and filled with classic autumn flavor.

5. Pumpkin Ginger Bread Pudding – The secret to Anne’s seasonal pudding is letting the bread sit for 15 minutes before baking so that it absorbs the spiced pumpkin custard and becomes soft and moist.

4. Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Rum Sauce – Use rustic French bread, creamy pumpkin and decadent whipped cream to make this sinfully sweet pudding, best served with a buttery rum-laced sauce.

Get the top three recipes

Restaurant Revisited: Michele’s

by in Shows, September 19th, 2012

Restaurant: Impossible
In Corry, Pa., Michele Sventek needed Robert Irvine’s help to give her restaurant, Michele’s, a new look and better food. Perhaps more importantly, she needed Robert to teach her the basics of running a restaurant since she had no experience in the culinary industry. In just two days, Robert gave Michele’s a much-needed overhaul and taught Michele how to best manage her staff and maintain food quality. We checked in with Michele to see how her restaurant is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.

Michele says that compared to last year, sales have increased “about 40 percent.” Robert wanted Michele’s to achieve $12,500 per month in sales, and Michele is happy to report that she “can see it happening as we progress.”

The new decor at Michele’s has been well received by customers. “Everyone likes the brightness of it, especially the wall between the dining area and the bar, the fireplace (people are excited for winter to see it working) and the mirrors,” Michele explains.

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A Celebration of Desserts at the 2012 Vendy Awards

by in Events, September 18th, 2012

2012 Vendy Awards

If you’ve ever been to New York City, then you know that there is no shortage of places to eat here. Michelin-starred, James Beard-awarded, see-and-be-seen hot spots? We have plenty. Hole-in-the-wall joints with just 20 chairs and one server? Yes, they’re here, too. One of New York City’s most-beloved eating traditions, however, takes place not inside a room or at a table, but rather behind the windows of the street carts and food trucks that line the streets of almost every neighborhood in the city.

Every summer New York comes together to celebrate the city’s best sidewalk vendors and street food of all kinds at the Vendy Awards, an afternoon food festival that brings together big-time vendors and newcomers alike to support The Street Vendor Project, “a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights.” Vendors set up shop then dish out signature plates to lines of hungry locals while entering their food in one category to win the Vendy Cup, People’s Taste Award or the title of Best Dessert, Rookie Vendor of the Year or Best Market Vendor. This year’s awards took place last weekend on Governors Island, and we were there to taste the very best bites.

Savory plates of deliciously salty and spicy Mexican tortas, all-American cheesesteaks, Asian-style noodles, meaty kebabs and more filled the outdoor space, but it was the sweeter treats, the sugary, creamy and chilled desserts that wowed us the most.

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Lentil Quinoa Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 17th, 2012

Quinoa and Bean Pilaf
Many vegetarians struggle to track down filling sources of protein, since it’s most often found in meat. But maintaining a meat-free diet doesn’t mean that you have to gulp protein shakes in order to get enough of this essential food group. Quinoa is a go-to grain that’s packed with protein and easy enough to make on a weeknight.

Melissa d’Arabian makes a five-star Lentil Quinoa Salad (pictured above) that works well as a hearty side dish or a brown bag-ready lunch option. After combining tender quinoa with smooth lentils, she tosses the mixture with green onions and fresh cilantro and dresses it with a light mustard vinaigrette. Watch this video to see how Melissa prepares this simple-to-make salad.

Similar to other healthful grains like bulgur, barley and farro, quinoa is a blank canvas that can be dressed up with your favorite ingredients. Check out more quinoa recipes below, and experiment with different combinations of vegetables, cheeses, crunchy nuts, simple dressings and more to find what your family likes best.

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The Great Food Truck Race Caption It: Staring Contest

by in Shows, September 14th, 2012

Nonna's Kitchenette on Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race

Come Sunday night, The Great Food Truck Race shifts into high gear as the final four food trucks cruise into Nashville, Tenn., more determined and confident than ever. There are only three weeks left in the competition, and Pop-A-Waffle, Nonna’s Kitchenette, Seoul Sausage and Momma’s Grizzly Grub must use everything they’ve learned so far to outsell their rival trucks if they want to make it out of Music City.

In the sneak-peek shot above from this weekend’s brand-new episode, it seems as though Nonna’s Kitchenette has lost some of its fire since their Truck Stop win last week. They’re no longer celebrating Randy the Razorback or reveling in their first-place earnings; instead, the New Jersey gals are sporting noticeably bleak stares, as they fixate on what’s immediately in front of them. On what are the ladies focused so intently? Are their blank expressions the result of seeing their next challenge or another crazy mystery ingredient?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what’s going on, we’re challenging you, Food Truck fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Which is your favorite food truck team so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Packing Lunchboxes for Picky Eaters — School Days

by in Recipes, September 14th, 2012

Ham Pinwheels
Food Network's Back-to-School HeadquartersSchool is officially in session, and just as kids may stomp their feet in protest all the way to the bus stop, so, too, might moms and dads as they face another daunting year of keeping their little learners full and healthy. As you think of the new school year and wonder how you’ll be able to do it all, look to Food Network’s Back-to-School Headquarters to help you make the grade. Each week in September FN Dish will share can-do weeknight meals, easy lunchbox picks, after-school snack strategies and more from our best collection of recipes and tips.

Earlier this week, Food Network hosted a Facebook chat with our very own Food Network Kitchens on all things back-to-school. Though questions ranged from how to fix healthy lunches to how to get out of a PB&J rut, more than a few of you asked for lunchbox picks for your decidedly picky eaters. So this week’s classroom lesson is all about feeding your fussiest eaters lunches that they’ll gobble up in no time.

The key to packing for picking eaters is variety. No kid — or grownup — wants to open his or her brown paper bag to find yet another turkey and cheese sandwich, cut in the same four squares, nestled next to another apple and juice box. If sandwiches are just about the only thing your little one will eat, try giving them made-over versions of their favorites in order to keep lunch interesting. Food Network Magazine’s Ham Pinwheels (pictured above) are five-minute sandwiches that feature deli ham and cream cheese rolled into a soft tortilla. Cut into easy-to-eat pinwheels, these wraps may offer the simple change in presentation that your child needs to be excited about new foods.

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