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.

Restaurant Revisited: Rohrer’s Tavern

by in Shows, November 28th, 2012

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleAt Rohrer’s Tavern in North Bend, Ohio, Robert Irvine found an outdated eatery with an unadorned dining space and basic-at-best food to match. Lisa Kendall is the owner of this decades-old restaurant, and she needed Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to help Rohrer’s avoid a looming closure. We checked in with Lisa a few months after the transformation to see how her restaurant is doing now.

After the renovation, Rohrer’s saw year-over-year growth of $20,000 for the month of September. Lisa explains that while the restaurant used to attract only local customers, it is now “pulling people from other neighborhoods” as well.

“Everyone loves the new look and for the most part loves the menu,” she says. Rohrer’s is still serving most of the menu items that Robert created for them, and they’ve added a few of their previously popular dishes to their list of offerings.

Since Robert left, the kitchen staff has been held “accountable for everything,” Lisa explains. She now challenges them when they tell her that something cannot be done, and says she has “made it clear that I am not just the owner. I am the boss and manager.” She adds, “Criticism is still something that no one in the kitchen likes, but I do it as constructively as possible.”

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Have You Visited the Next Iron Chef Online Headquarters?

by in Shows, November 27th, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: RedemptionWeek after week, you come to FN Dish to get the latest scoop on The Next Iron Chef, read exclusive exit interviews from eliminated rivals, caption sneak-peek images, cast your vote in Rival Recipe cook-offs and more. But did you know that there’s an entire Next Iron Chef online headquarters dedicated to this season’s chefs and the judges? That’s right — we’ve created an all-access Next Iron Chef guide at FoodNetwork.com/NIC where you can discover never-before-seen images, one-on-one video interviews with rivals and insider information from Food Network’s culinary team, and even cast your vote in the Next Iron Chef Fan Vote.

If you haven’t been there to check it out yet, we invite you to take a look around to see what’s there.

Photos
Interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the rivals and judges on set? Then you’ll want to flip through this revealing slideshow. Want to see what went down each week? Check out the photo galleries below for a roundup of the top, most-memorable moments from every episode.

Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4

Have you voted for your favorite rival chef?

Cheesy Mexican Lasagna — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 26th, 2012

Poblano and Corn LasagnaAfter a long weekend of enjoying Turkey Day leftovers, you’ve by now had your fill of all things mashed, stuffed and sweet. For a taste of something different, look to Marcela Valladolid’s Corn and Poblano Lasagna (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine, a big-batch recipe that is sure to please even those lingering family members still visiting after the holiday.

Marcela puts a Mexican spin on an Italian classic by using garlic-laced poblano chile peppers as the base of her dish. She purées golden corn with a splash of cream and fresh thyme, and this mixture will serve as the sauce layered between the charred peppers, sautéed zucchini and Mexican Oaxaca cheese. If you can’t find Oaxaca cheese, substitute creamy mozzarella instead — it will work just as well. The beauty of this dish is that it’s made with no-boil noodles, so the sheets of lasagna don’t need to be cooked before going into the oven. After baking for only one hour, this comforting lasagna becomes golden brown and deliciously rich. Be sure to let it rest for about 15 minutes before enjoying so the gooey melted cheese doesn’t ooze uncontrollably when you cut into it.

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VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Sandwich Showdown — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, November 24th, 2012

Chef Greenspan vs. Chef Guarnaschelli - Rival RecipesIt’s never easy for a rival to hear Alton say, “You will not be The Next Iron Chef,” but for Chef Eric Greenspan last Sunday, his elimination was particularly challenging, given that he disagreed with the panel’s reasoning behind it. He told us in this exclusive exit interview that he has “tons of respect for all the judges on the show,” but ultimately maintains that “my dish was well-balanced and the flavors spoke to what I find delicious based on past experience and my own palette. I know I wasn’t outcooked.”

In this week’s installment of Rival Recipes, we’re giving Chef Greenspan a final chance to redeem himself in another showdown, this time against Chef Alex Guarnaschelli with one of his all-time favorite culinary subjects: the sandwich.

Not surprising since he is the grilled cheese guru, Chef Eric has chosen to bring The Champ, a next-level grilled cheese sandwich, to the battle while Chef Alex is featuring a Croque Madam Sandwich, a French-inspired ham and cheese sandwich. Both between-bread creations boast layers of rich, buttery cheese, but Chef Eric’s is built on dark raisin bread with an apricot-caper spread while Chef Alex’s comes together on thick-cut sourdough and is topped with a fried egg.

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Cringe-Worthy — The Next Iron Chef Caption It

by in Shows, November 23rd, 2012

Judge Simon MajumdarSometimes on The Next Iron Chef, rivals manage to execute their dishes as flawlessly as they intend to and leave the judges simply speechless on account of the beauty, sophistication and downright deliciousness of their offerings. Other times, however, chefs’ plans are foiled and for one reason or another, they present the panel with plates that leave them astounded — and not in a good way.

The above image is a sneak-peek shot from Sunday’s brand-new episode, and let’s just say that Simon Majumdar wouldn’t be making that face if the dish he was judging was everything it was supposed to be. It’s revealed in this exclusive video preview that something goes wrong — very wrong — when the remaining seven chefs attempt to give everyday canned foods a second life outside of the can. What do you think had to have happened for a Redemption rival to serve the judges so distressing a bite? Who do you think is responsible for leaving Simon in a whole-body wince?

Write your best captions

Eating on the Run: Foods to Fuel Your Black Friday

by in Recipes, November 22nd, 2012

Trail Mix With Honey-Oatmeal ClustersIt’s early. It’s cold. It’s dark. And yet, instead of being snuggled in bed sleeping off last night’s Turkey Day feast, you’re outside shivering, wedged in the back of a 400-person-deep line just waiting for the doors of your favorite superstore to open. With all of the shopping you’re sure to do on Black Friday, you’re going to need a selection of munchies to last you through the day. We’re all about the Thanksgiving leftovers, but Black Friday isn’t the day to pack a triple-decker gravy-soaked turkey sandwich with a side of Grandma’s leftover pie for lunch. You need handy, easily portable eats and drinks that can hold their own as you race down aisle after aisle. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s favorite go-to bites that will surely keep you fueled and focused as you hunt down the best bargains of the season.

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Restaurant Revisited: Poco’s on the Boulevard

by in Shows, November 21st, 2012

Robert Irvine at Poco's on the BoulevardWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Poco’s on the Boulevard in Kansas City, Mo., he met owner Claudia Endicott and her sister, Danna Gutierrez, who were ready and anxious to receive Robert’s constructive criticism about their Latin restaurant. Since their mother passed away several months ago, Poco’s had been dishing out inconsistent food, and Claudia had struggled with earning the respect of her staff. Robert and the Restaurant: Impossible team spent two days revamping the dining room and overhauling the menu, and in the end, they helped return Poco’s to its former glory. We checked in with Claudia a few months after Robert left to see how the restaurant is doing today.

Since the renovation, diners have been pleased with the changes at Poco’s. The restaurant is once again making a profit, and sales have risen $20,000 from July to August.

Claudia appreciates the updated decor, including the new paint color and expanded bar, and says that it has been well received by customers. “The counter space makes it more comfortable to spend time at the bar,” she tells us. She especially like the photo of her mom, Poco’s founder, which was hung near the entrance. “I feel like she’s present when I see it,” Claudia says of the image.

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‘Twas the Night Before Turkey Day: Quick Pasta Recipes for Thanksgiving Eve

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 21st, 2012

Penne With Vodka Sauce
You’ve made it to the day before Thanksgiving, and by now you’re practically counting down the hours until T-Day, right? Even with all of the prep work that likely needs to be finished before tomorrow, the question of tonight’s dinner remains. While it may be tempting and admittedly easy to rely on pizza or takeout, if you’re planning on pulling off the ultimate Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, you can surely handle a no-fuss made-at-home dinner tonight, especially if that dinner is quick-cooking pasta.

One of the easiest meals to make in a hurry, pasta is endlessly versatile, and when you’re cooking for what’s possibly a houseful of extended family, simple, adaptable dinners are downright necessary. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite pasta recipes, each ready to enjoy in just 25 minutes or less.

Rich and comforting, Food Network Magazine’s Penne With Vodka Sauce (pictured above) is a top-rated pasta that’s packed with decadent ingredients. To prepare, sauté sweet shallots with fresh garlic and just a pinch of red pepper flakes, then add a splash of vodka, tomatoes and smooth heavy cream. Since the sauce will need to cook for at least 10 minutes after the vodka is added, the alcohol in it should cook off, and what will be left is a thick mixture just waiting to be tossed with noodles and nutty Parmesan cheese.

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Pre-Thanksgiving Salad and Soup — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 19th, 2012

Pomegranate Arugula Salad
You’re just days away from an indulgent feast full of mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams and casseroles, not to mention the sweeter side of the Thanksgiving spread, like pies, tarts and turnovers. This week, as you get ready for what’s sure to be a deliciously decadent eating extravaganza, keep your meals simpler and lighter, both in preparation and flavors. A classic, no-fail combo, soup-and-salad is easy to make with whatever ingredients you have in the refrigerator and can be suited to your family’s tastes. Check out one of Food Network’s favorite soup-and-salad pairs below, then tell us your ultimate matchup in the comments.

For a light salad that serves as a simple lunch or easy side dish, try Tyler’s top-rated no-cook Pomegranate, Arugula Salad (pictured above). Tossed with toasted walnuts and juicy pomegranate seeds, this is a go-to recipe that can be made in only five quick minutes. The secret to Tyler’s bright, refreshing salad is its sweet and tangy dressing, a fruity vinaigrette made with pomegranate molasses, zesty lemon juice and red wine vinegar.

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What’s Cooking on Thanksgiving Live!

by in Holidays, Shows, November 18th, 2012

Thanksgiving Live! ChefsWhat happens when nine Food Network stars come together in the kitchen around the holidays? If you guessed a whole lot of cooking, eating and drinking, then you are correct. This afternoon, Alex Guarnaschelli, Alton Brown, Aarón Sanchez, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Jeff Mauro, Rachael Ray, Ree Drummond and Sunny Anderson will gather in Food Network Kitchens for Thanksgiving Live!, Food Network’s annual call-in show, to answer all of your Turkey Day questions and cook up a holiday feast from start to finish. Want to see what’s on the menu this year? Take a peek at the recipes below, and be sure to catch the show from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Cocktails and Appetizers
Alton’s Concord Grape Royale
Aarón’s Hot Punch (Ponche)
Jeff’s Maple Perfect Manhattan
Sunny’s Fruity Limoncello Spritzer
Rachael’s Ginger Snap
Ree Drummond’s Holiday Bacon Appetizers
Aarón’s Sopes

Get all the recipes