All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an online editor at FoodNetwork.com, covering top-tier show and talent packages and managing the FN Dish and Star Talk blogs. She grew up in a tight-knit Italian family in Michigan, where food was the focus of most conversations and it wasn't unusual to talk about the next day’s lunch and dinner menus while eating breakfast. Maria graduated from Barnard College in 2012 and currently lives in New York City. She likes her pasta cheesy, her eggs runny and her oysters briny.

Calling All Chocolate Lovers: How Do You Like Your Brownies? Vote Now

by in Polls, Shows, December 15th, 2016

Classic BrowniesMuch like chocolate chip cookies and ice cream flavors, brownies are personal. Beyond the myriad mix-ins available (nuts versus no nuts — the debate rages on), the very consistency of a chocolate brownie can provoke strong opinions. Do you like when the crumbly center is similar to that of cake, or do you prefer a chewy interior? Maybe you like something richly fudgy and nearly wet? We want to know which you like best. Cast your vote in the poll below to share your preferences.

Craving brownies? Learn the secrets to making the best brownies ever, like these Classic Brownies (pictured above) from Food Network Kitchen.

6 Ways to Warm Up with Flavored Hot Chocolate

by in Drinks, Recipes, December 15th, 2016

Gingerbread Hot ChocolateThe official first day of winter may be not be until next week, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t already felt plenty frosty outside. If the season’s chill has you cozying up under a blanket (or two) already, it’s probably high time to brew your first batch of hot cocoa. As you’re snuggling on the couch, reach for one of these six flavorful renditions of comforting cocoa to warm up from the inside out.

Flavor: Gingerbread

Not just for too-cute cookies, the seasonal flavor of gingerbread, featuring plenty of fragrant ground ginger, ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg, shines when paired with chocolate. This Gingerbread Hot Chocolate recipe gets two boosts of chocolate: one from cocoa powder and another from chopped milk chocolate.

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Coming Soon: A Big Appetite for Ginormous Food

by in Shows, December 12th, 2016

Ginormous FoodFootlong hot dogs, double cheeseburgers, deluxe pizzas — these are all large-sized foods, to be sure. But on the upcoming series Ginormous Food, host Josh Denny is set to introduce you to next-level-massive dishes that make all others seem downright puny.

Premiering Friday, Jan. 6 at 8|7c, Ginormous Food will go inside restaurants across the country, from Philly to Richmond to Nashville, to showcase the little-known but big and big-flavored bites they’re serving up. On each episode, fans can look forward to learning the ins and outs of these oversize spectaculars — like a bagel that tips the scales at 14 pounds and a Philly cheesesteak that’s layered with no less than 6 pounds of steak — and chatting with the restaurateurs about their menu items. These wow-worthy eats aren’t just impressively sized; they’re also full of unexpectedly bold tastes and textures. Josh will be on hand to see what it takes to put them together and will taste these hearty eats, in all their over-the-top glory, for himself.

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The Pioneer Woman’s 15-Minute Eggs Benedict — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 11th, 2016

Eggs BenedictWe’re approaching mid-December, which means that you’re likely knee-deep in all things holiday treats. Whether you’re making fudge to give, truffles to pass or cookies to simply eat by yourself (no judgment whatsoever — we may or may not be doing the same thing), you may be reaching your limit of sweets. When that time comes, look to a satisfying breakfast to kick off the day on a hearty, decidedly savory note. In this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, The Pioneer Woman puts a quick-fix spin on a morning classic: eggs Benedict. Her secret for simplicity is a blender hollandaise sauce, which she brightens up with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

For more wake-up-worthy breakfast ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Rise & Shine board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Eggs Benedict

2 Creamy, Melty New Ways to Do Fondue

by in Recipes, Shows, December 10th, 2016

Poblano and Corn Queso FundidoNope, you didn’t just step into the 1970s. We’re still here in 2016. But that doesn’t mean you can’t break out your retro fondue pot, because this old-school food trend makes an ideal party-time spread, especially during the holiday season. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts introduced two fondue recipes — one savory, one sweet — sure to wow your crowd with their hands-on dipping and eating potential. Read on below for top ideas from Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson, then check out more cozy, comforting recipes from today’s Winter Lodge episode.

For a new take on your appetizer buffet, try Marcela’s Poblano and Corn Queso Fundido, a richly decadent melted cheese mixture made smoky with the addition of charred poblano peppers. Sliced chorizo, bread cubes and chicken make ideal dippers, which you can wrap up in warm tortillas for a hearty start to your holiday meal.

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GAC and Dolly Parton Team Up to Host Smoky Mountains Rise Telethon in Support of the Tennessee Wildfire Relief Efforts

by in News, December 9th, 2016

GAC and Dolly Parton Team Up to Host Smoky Mountains Rise Telethon in Support of the Tennessee Wildfire Relief EffortsFollowing several weeks of raging wildfires that cost 14 lives and ravaged the area of Sevier County, Tennessee, and the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains, the town of Gatlinburg reopened its businesses this morning. But the devastating effects of the tragedy will be felt throughout the state for weeks and months to come.

Tennessee holds a special place in the hearts of us here at Food Network. Our parent company, Scripps Networks Interactive, calls Knoxville home, as does the team at Great American Country, which is also owned by Scripps Networks Interactive. Dolly Parton, too, is a Tennessee native with strong ties to the Great Smoky Mountains, and on Tuesday, Dec. 13, GAC will team up with her to host the Smoky Mountains Rise Telethon, which will air on GAC at 8 p.m. EST, to benefit the ongoing wildfire relief efforts.

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Watch Natalie and Dave Sideserf Make an Epic Santa Cake for Christmas

by in Holidays, Shows, December 9th, 2016

Christmastime is nearly here, and while Santa Claus is making his nice list, Natalie and Dave Sideserf, of Austin’s famed Sideserf Cake Studio, are decking the halls with an epic Santa Claus cake. You’ve seen holiday-themed cakes before, right? Well, this one isn’t like those. Natalie and Dave’s jolly creation brings Santa to life (in a snowy chimney, of course) with the utmost realism, and it’s all thanks to their unmatched creativity, attention to detail and steady hands. Click the play button on the video above to watch their process unfold.

On Texas Cake House, which will premiere back-to-back episodes starting at 9|8c on Monday, Jan. 9, this powerhouse couple will give fans an insider’s look at the world of extravagant-cake design. Not only will viewers see the ins and outs of Natalie’s creative process, from the drawing and design stages to the stacking, carving and decorating, but they can also expect all-access accounts of the real-life goings-on of the business, as this husband-wife duo run Sideserf Cakes.

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Double Chocolate Pudding Pie — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 4th, 2016

Double Chocolate Pudding PieThe holiday season is officially underway, and with it comes all manner of merry treats, most of them decidedly indulgent and full of all the sweet decadence you crave this time of year. But it turns out that it is possible to keep things light while enjoying the best of the dessert course. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, a time-tested pudding pie, delivers all the rich flavor and texture you know and love — with ingredients that are mostly healthful. The secret is using just a bit of butter in the crust and opting for low-fat milk to make the chocolate pudding filling.

For more holiday-worthy dessert ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake! board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

How to Make the Ultimate Cheese-and-Cracker Platter (Into an Edible House)

by in Entertaining, Recipes, Shows, December 3rd, 2016

Cheese and Cracker HouseAt holiday parties big and small, cheese-and-cracker platters are practically required. You can keep them simple with just some slices of your favorite cheddar and kid-friendly crackers, or you can dress them up, offering an array of fresh and funky cheeses and various trimmings. You can even ditch the platter notion altogether and instead opt for home construction when building your cheese-and-cracker setup, like the co-hosts of The Kitchen did on this morning’s all-new episode. With four walls, a stable roof and even pepperoni shingles, their Cheese-and-Cracker House is the ultimate in party-ready edible entertainment, sure to keep your guests chatting as they pick away at its exterior and interior.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Alice Waters’ New Book, Fanny in France

by in Contests, November 29th, 2016

It was just yesterday that we introduced you to Alice Waters’ latest publication — Fanny in France: Travel Adventures of a Chef’s Daughter, with Recipes — a part storybook, part cookbook that’s largely geared toward children. Waters, who has long been credited with establishing the farm-to-table effort at her beloved California eatery Chez Panisse, chatted with us and dished about all things French cuisine and cooking for children, including her memories of cooking with and for her own daughter, Fanny, the titular character in her book. From cover to cover, Fanny in France not only details Fanny’s explorations of a new world as she took in the best sights and tastes in France, but also provides more than 40 authentic French recipes.

“I wanted things that were very, very simple to make,” Waters said of the recipes included in the book. “I wanted to have the feeling that French cooking, at least what I experienced in the South of France, is very, very straightforward and simply dependent on the goodness of the ingredients, the ripeness and the aliveness of the foodstuffs.” You can find the recipe for her Croque-Monsieur (Grilled Cheese Sandwich), a French take on the ham-and-cheese mash-up we know and love, in our interview with Waters here, but to get all of the recipes from Fanny in France — for dishes such as Pommes Frites (Crispy Pan-Fried Potatoes) and Chocolate Soufflé — you’ll have to order a copy for yourself.

Or you can enter to win our giveaway. That’s right — we’re giving five lucky, randomly selected fans the chance to each receive one copy of Fanny in France. To be entered to win, all you have to do is tell us what was your favorite food to eat as a child.

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