March was Women’s History Month and while the culinary field still is quite male dominated, it’s a perfect time to highlight the wonderful women that put out some delicious recipes for us to enjoy. For our March Chef Spotlight blogging event, we recognized recipes created by our favorite women chefs and cooks! Thanks to all those that participated and read on to get some great meal ideas…
Martha Stewart’s Irish Beef Hand Pies
Lifestyle guru and businesswoman Martha Stewart was born Martha Kostyra, on August 3, 1941, in New Jersey. The second of six children, Stewart grew up in Nutley, New Jersey, a working-class community near New York City. She worked as a model from the age of 13, appearing in fashion shows as well as television and print advertisements. She attended Barnard College in Manhattan, where she earned a degree in European and architectural history in 1962. While at Barnard, she met Andy Stewart, a Yale law student, and the two married in 1961. Six years later, after the birth of their daughter, Alexis, Stewart went to work as a stockbroker for the boutique firm of Monness, Williams, and Sidel. She worked on Wall Street until 1972, when the family moved to Westport, Connecticut.
After the Stewarts restored the 19th century farmhouse they had bought, Martha decided to focus her energy on gourmet cooking, having trained herself from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She started a catering business in the late 1970s, and soon became known for her gourmet menus and unique, creative presentation. Within a decade, Martha Stewart, Inc., had grown into a $1 million business serving a number of corporate and celebrity clients. Stewart expanded into the world of publishing with her first book, Entertaining, which became a bestseller and was followed in quick succession by such publications as Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus, Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres, Martha Stewart’s Christmas, and Martha Stewart’s Wedding Planner.
Jennifer Iserloh has built a blooming culinary business with multi-media appeal. Her championing of healthy cooking prepared with care and her remarkable culinary training merit her in-demand status in television, print, and the internet. As the founder of her company, Skinny Chef Culinary Ventures, her work as a private chef included a clientele of high-profile professionals and internationally known celebrities.
After graduating with honors from the Institute of Culinary Education, (formerly Peter Kump’s) Jennifer was invited to intern with Chef Scott Bryan, chef owner of Veritas restaurant. While there, she met Tyler Florence of the Food Network. Serving again upon invitation, Jennifer interned on Tyler’s cookbook, Eat This Book, where she learned the essentials of food styling and photography. As a dedicated yoga-practioner for over eight years, Jennifer recently completed her 200-hour teacher’s training at the renowned Dharma Mittra Yoga Center in New York City.
Jennifer received her most formative culinary experience in her granny’s kitchen starting at age eight. Growing up in her grandmother’s house, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she learned in depth cooking techniques, how to use the freshest ingredients, the ups and downs of baking, and most of all, how to cook with love.
Amy shares with us an Ina Garten recipe for Baked Shrimp Scampi… Jenn shares with us Ina’s Butternut Squash Risotto and Brandie has dessert covered with Ina’s Brownie Pudding!
Here’s some bio information on Ina Garten:
Ina Rosenberg Garten is an American author and host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa. Known for creating fine cuisine foods with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and timesaving tips, she has been championed by Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey and Patricia Wells as an authority on cooking and home entertaining.
Garten had no formal training; she taught herself culinary techniques with the aid of French and New England cookbooks. Later, she relied on intuition and feedback from customers and friends to refine her recipes. She was mentored chiefly by Eli Zabar, of Eli’s Manhattan and Eli’s Breads fame, and domestic maven Stewart. Her culinary career began with her gourmet food store, Barefoot Contessa; Garten parlayed this success into a string of best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded convenience products, and a popular Food Network television show.
The consistent use of the original store name through Garten’s books, television show, and product line has led fans to refer to her as simply “the Barefoot Contessa”. — Wikipedia
Kathleen Flinn’s Provencal Tomato Spread
Flinn’s engaging account of her studies at famed French cooking school Le Cordon Bleu should strike a chord with anyone who has dreamed of leaving the rat race and following a passion for food. The main course, Flinn’s narrative of her trials and triumphs as she moves through the three levels of cuisine, is supplemented by plentiful helpings of drama, romance and near-tragedy in her personal life. Cassandra Campbell’s reading is superlative: her American accent for Flinn slides gracefully into French, French-accented English and various accents for other international students. Her voice also exactly captures Flinn’s shifting emotions, from fear and paralysis when facing the “Gray Chef” and resentment of selfish classmates, to pleasure when she wins praise for a well-prepared sauce and joy when she realizes she is starting to understand French better. Foodies and memoir fans will be enchanted. — Amazon
Giada De Laurentiis has become a household name. With an impressive background of culinary training and a unique personable charm, she is a globally revered celebrity chef who continues to prove her skill and accessibility not only with her expanding presence beyond Food Network, but also with the great success of her cookbooks, brand alliances, newly launched food products and recurring role on The Today Show. Giada’s career began on Food Network in 2002 when she was discovered by a network executive upon reading an article about her and the De Laurentiis family in FOOD & WINE magazine. Since then, Giada has earned an Emmy win for Outstanding Lifestyle Host and has become one of Food Network’s most recognizable faces. Her Emmy winning, daytime cooking show, Everyday Italian, features quick, healthy and satisfying Italian dishes. Her primetime show, Giada’s Weekend Getaways, debuted in January 2007 and follows Giada to popular destinations in and around the United States as she explores the cities’ most notable restaurants and activities. Giada can also be seen in Food Network specials, such as Giada in Paradise: Capri and Santorini, and as a judge on the highly popular series, The Next Food Network Star. — Food Network
Ellie Kreiger’s Balsamic Chicken with Baby SpinachCourtney shares with us a recipe from Ellie Kreiger- Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach.
Interested in learning more about Elllie? Read on:
A New York Times best-selling author, Ellie Krieger is a renowned registered dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications. Her extensive work in the media has earned her a loyal following and national recognition as a trusted health professional. As the host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite, Ellie demonstrates that cooking healthy food can be quick, easy and delicious even when life becomes busy and stressful. She also shares unique strategies for eating well in challenging situations such as the office, restaurants, and vacation while explaining the confusing nutritional and diet information currently on the market.
Ellie’s warmth and charisma have made her the go-to nutritionist in the media today, a success that can be attributed to her natural way of giving real advice about food without any of the gimmicks and crash diets that permeate today’s news. Ellie believes that, if given the tools and knowledge, anyone can have a healthy relationship with food and live a happy and healthy life.– Food Network
Rachel Ray’s Fennel Pepper Spaghetti
Growing up in a family steeped in culinary tradition, Rachael was exposed to a wide range of cooking techniques, from her maternal grandfather who grew and cooked everything his family of 12 ate, to her dad’s family, which embraced the food-rich traditions of Louisiana. The Ray family owned several restaurants on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, before relocating to upstate New York, where her mother worked as the food supervisor for a restaurant chain. “I was surrounded by all different styles of cooking and worked in the food service industry in just about every capacity you can imagine,” Rachael says.
By her early twenties, Rachael developed a hankering for city life and moved to New York where she landed at Macy’s, working first at the candy counter and then as manager of the Fresh Foods Department. She credits her two years there for giving her an education in gourmet foods. After Macy’s, Rachael helped open Agata & Valentina, the prestigious New York gourmet marketplace, where she was the store manager and buyer.
Despite the exciting lifestyle in the foodie circles of New York City, Rachael decided to move back to upstate New York to manage pubs and restaurants at the famed Sagamore Resort on Lake George. From there, she was recruited by Cowan & Lobel, a large gourmet market in Albany, to be their food buyer and eventually their “chef.”
As a way to increase grocery sales during the holidays, Rachael created a series of cooking classes, including a course promising to teach “30-Minute Mediterranean Meals,” which exploded in popularity. The CBS station in Albany-Schenectady, WRGB-TV, discovered Rachael and signed her on to do a weekly “30-Minute Meals” segment for the evening news. Nominated for two regional Emmys in its first year, the segment was a major success; a companion cookbook sold 10,000 copies locally during the holidays. With that, a franchise was born! — Food Network
Farmer was born in Medford, MA, to Mary Watson Merritt and John Franklin Farmer, an editor and printer. Although she was the oldest of four daughters, born in a family that highly valued education and that expected young Fannie to go to college, she suffered a paralytic stroke at the age of 16 while attending Medford High School.
At the age of 30, Farmer, now walking (but with a substantial limp that never left her), enrolled in the Boston Cooking School. Farmer trained at the school until 1889 during the height of the domestic science movement, learning what were then considered the most critical elements of the science, including nutrition and diet for the well, convalescent cookery, techniques of cleaning and sanitation, chemical analysis of food, techniques of cooking and baking, and household management. Farmer was considered one of the school’s top students.
Fannie published her most well-known work, The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, in 1896. Her cookbook introduced the concept of using standardized measuring spoons and cups, as well as level measurement.
Farmer provided scientific explanations of the chemical processes that occur in food during cooking, and also helped to standardize the system of measurements used in cooking in the USA. Before the Cookbook’s publication, other American recipes frequently called for amounts such as “a piece of butter the size of an egg” or “a teacup of milk.” Farmer’s systematic discussion of measurement — “A cupful is measured level … A tablespoonful is measured level. A teaspoonful is measured level.” — led to her being named “the mother of level measurements.”
Farmer left the Boston Cooking School in 1902 and created Mrs. Farmer’s School of Cookery. She began by teaching gentlewomen and housewives the rudiments of plain and fancy cooking, but her interests eventually led her to develop a complete work of diet and nutrition for the ill, titled Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent. Farmer understood perhaps better than anyone else at the time the value of appearance, taste, and presentation of sickroom food to ill and wasted people with poor appetites; she ranked these qualities over cost and nutritional value in importance. —Wikipedia