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.

Beat the Heat: Best 5 No-Bake Recipes

by in Recipes, July 15th, 2014

Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich CakeNo matter if you’re hosting a weekend cookout or you simply have a sweets craving that needs curbing, you shouldn’t have to turn on your oven on already sticky, scorching days to turn out a winning dessert. In these dog days of summer, stick with no-bake treats that come together quickly and rely on the freezer instead of the oven. From chilled pies and ice cream on a stick to bite-size peanut butter treats, there’s no shortage of both kid-friendly and party-worthy ideas to help you cool off all season long. Read on below to get Food Network’s top-five beat-the-heat recipes from The Pioneer Woman, Tyler Florence, the Neelys and more chefs.

5. Chocolate-Banana Ice Cream Pie — Both kids and kids at heart will appreciate the tried-and-true flavor combination of chocolate and fresh bananas, here made into an easy-to-prepare pie with a vanilla wafer crust, a duo of ice creams in the center and a toasted coconut topping.

4. Ice Cream Freezer Pops — Perhaps the best part about The Pioneer Woman’s treats is that you don’t need fancy molds to make them; just fill throw-away paper cups with layers of candy and rich vanilla ice cream.

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A One-Stop Guide to Easy Summer Entertaining

by in Entertaining, July 12th, 2014

Easy Tabletop Ideas for Summer PartiesFrom afternoon pool parties to late nights spent gathered around the fire pit, summer’s all about alfresco entertaining. But between planning the menu, deciding how much food to purchase for your guests and setting the table — not to mention cooking the food — seasonal bashes can quickly become overwhelming for the host. Thanks to Food Network’s Grilling Central, however, and go-to entertaining resources like a party calculator, tabletop tips and crowd-pleasing recipes, you’ll be guaranteed to pull off effortless and enjoyable soirees all summer long.

The key to easy entertaining is preparedness, and whether you’re hosting a few relatives or the whole neighborhood, it’s best to have plans for the days ahead of the bash and for the gathering itself. Once you’ve picked out your recipes, it’s time to shop for them. How much food to buy depends on what you’ll be serving. Check out this easy-to-follow party calculator to learn what to expect in terms of how your guests will approach the food and drinks.

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Best 5 Brownie Recipes

by in Recipes, July 10th, 2014

Frozen Brownie SundaesGolden-brown pies with fresh, seasonal produce are some of summer’s top treats, but when a chocolate craving strikes, brownies are the ultimate way to satisfy that sweet tooth once and for all. Just like cookies, brownies are quick to prepare and easy to pack, which means that they’re a go-to pick for picnics and potlucks alike. Master a classic recipe, like Alton’s Cocoa Brownies listed below, then experiment with such sweet and salty additions as marshmallows, caramel and peanut butter. Read on below to get Food Network’s top-five traditional and creative brownie recipes from Bobby, Alton, Giada and more.

5. Cheesecake Brownies — Surprisingly light and simple to make, these moist brownies boast a buttermilk-laced batter and a smooth sweetened-cream cheese topping. Mix the two together to create an impressive swirled effect.

4. S’more Brownies — Turn the campfire favorite into an everyday treat by using classic s’more ingredients — graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows — to create layers of flavor in brownies.

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Simon Majumdar Reveals the Mind of a Cutthroat Kitchen Judge

by in Shows, July 9th, 2014

Alton Brown and Simon MajumdarFrom The Next Iron Chef to Iron Chef America, Simon Majumdar is no stranger to a judges’ table, but the difference between the evaluations on those shows and those on Cutthroat Kitchen is that with the latter, he isn’t aware of all that led to the chefs’ finished dishes. Round after evilicious round, Simon and the other judges are introduced to seemingly innocent plates, and they’re unaware of the oddball products and the perhaps inferior utensils and tools used to create them; it’s then up to Simon and the other judges to review chefs’ offerings as simply as the food they are, not as the results of sabotage. FN Dish checked in with Simon recently to chat about his experience judging on Cutthroat Kitchen, plus his memorable dishes from the show and the process of being hidden from the competition.

What are you most looking forward to as Cutthroat Kitchen continues to evolve into more seasons?
Simon Majumdar: Alton’s getting into his stride with it, so I think he loves the fact that it’s getting more and more evil .… There’s a lot more [that's] elaborate coming up. I mean there are fat suits, there are mini kitchens, there are – I mean it’s getting seriously crazy. I walk out of the studio sometimes to the trailer where they put us and I walk past the challenge producers — the ones who devise all this eviliciousness — and I have no idea what they’re doing. There are carpenters out there, bouncing table-tennis balls, I mean, and it’s basically becoming like Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and I think that’s what people love. Because I think people were worried at first; they were like, “It’s not a cooking show, and how can you eat that food?” but the thing is that some of the food is really good.

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What It’s Like to Be Friends with Bobby Flay, According to Michael Symon

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, July 6th, 2014

Bobby Flay and Michael SymonAs one of Bobby Flay’s first-ever special guests on his all-new series Beat Bobby Flay, Michael Symon was tasked with finding a rival that could outcook the host; after all, no one knows Bobby and his cooking style quite like his longtime colleagues. While Bobby and Michael work together, they’re also close friends and have been known to spend time together offscreen. FN Dish recently caught up with Michael on the set of Beat Bobby Flay to learn more about their friendship and to get an insider’s look at what the famed Iron Chef Flay is like off the clock.

Fans know that you and Bobby are great friends. How did your relationship start?
Michael Symon: Originally we met on my first Food Network show — in 1998 — with Wayne Harley Brachman. Wayne was Bobby’s pastry chef for, like, 15 years, so Bobby and I met then, and we’ve been friends ever since.

What are some things about Bobby that viewers might not know or see on TV.
MS: He’s a pretty quiet guy. [There’s] the personality they see on TV of Bobby — he’s very outgoing on television, obviously — but in real life he’s a pretty quiet guy. Pretty to himself, quiet guy. Very thoughtful guy — a great friend.

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Beyond Butter and Salt: Corn 5 Creative Ways

by in Recipes, July 5th, 2014

Sunny's Quick Corn and Pico SaladAlong with juicy tomatoes, tender zucchini and sweet blueberries, corn is among summer’s most-beloved produce, as it’s both easy to prepare and guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters at the dinner table. While the classic preparation of boiling corn and rolling it in a stick of butter is a tried-and-true favorite, this seasonal vegetable can be dressed up to take on next-level tastes with the help of a few can-do recipes. Read on below to get five fresh-corn-based how-tos — the top picks for putting this summer staple to work from each co-host of The Kitchen.

Sunny’s Quick Corn and Pico Salad (pictured above) is a no-cook side dish that takes mere minutes to put together. After starting with store-bought pico de gallo, Sunny adds fresh corn, fragrant cumin and refreshing lime juice to balance the flavors.

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Search of the Week: Fried Green Tomatoes

by in Recipes, July 2nd, 2014

Fried Green TomatoesWhen it comes to warm-weather produce, much is made of the importance of finding just-ripe fruits and vegetables for their natural sweetness and juicy insides. But that all changes when the spotlight is shined on one particular summer classic: fried green tomatoes. This Southern staple is best when made with firm, not-yet-ripe tomatoes — which are most often green — because they’re not packed with liquid yet. Traditional tomato sauce relies on ripe red tomatoes because they burst open with juices when cooked, but it’s those same juices that would render red tomatoes limp and the crumb coating soggy if they were fried.

As you peruse your gardens this summer or shop at farm stands and the supermarket, reach for green tomatoes and put them to work in the Neelys’ can-do recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes (pictured above). Ready to eat in only 30 minutes, this simple-to-make dish features slices of green tomato dunked in garlic powder-laced flour, a batter of milk and eggs, and finally panko with a pinch of cayenne for subtle heat. Fry them until they’re golden brown and crispy on the outside and serve a creamy, tangy buttermilk sauce alongside for deliciously easy dipping.

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Back for More Battles: Bobby Dishes on New Season of Beat Bobby Flay

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, July 1st, 2014

Bobby FlayJust two losses after nearly 10 battles — that winning record could be earned only by Bobby Flay, a famed Iron Chef and the master of the throwdown, who first challenged hopeful chefs to head-to-head competitions on Beat Bobby Flay last year. This summer, Bobby’s bringing his A-game yet again for an all-new season of Beat Bobby Flay (premiering July 31 at 10|9c), and with his reputation on the line, the stakes will be higher than ever. FN Dish caught up with Bobby recently and chatted about what he’s looking forward to in this upcoming batch of face-offs. Read on below for an exclusive interview, and find out Bobby’s most-memorable battles, plus his strategy for securing victory after victory.

What are you most looking forward to in Season 2?
Bobby Flay: Being pushed to the edge. I want it to be really challenging ’cause that’s what keeps my edge going.

What are some of your most-memorable moments from the first season?
BF: When I lost the taco [battle] — that was memorable. One of my favorite dishes I made was the meatloaf with the Korean-style kimchi in it, ’cause I’ve only made meatloaf a couple times in my life, really, and I’m not that big of a meatloaf fan. So when they said meatloaf, I was like, Oh, brother. But it actually turned out to be really tasty.

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