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50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #4 Martha Stewart - Strip Steak w/ Chimichurri & Roasted Potato Wedges

In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
the "Gourmet" prompt...
4. Martha Stewart- Cooking as an ingredient of homemaking; homemaking as a craft; crafts as a competitive sport; the art of multimedia saturation—all this we blame on Martha.

Martha, Martha, Martha.  A person or an empire?  Perhaps both.  Some say that the Queen of Organization got her start back in 1961.  Babysitting and organizing birthday parties for Mickey and Meryl Mantle's four boys...and getting them to behave...was supposedly something that only Martha could do.  Martha's mother taught her to sew and cook.  She picked up the art of canning and preserving from visiting her grandparents.  Her father's love of gardening wore off on her.  And she graduated from Barnard with a double major in History and Architectural History.  She also modeled for a while.  She worked as a stockbroker for a few years before leaving that career and eventually starting a catering business from the basement of the Turkey Hill Road 1805 farmhouse that she and her (then) husband restored.  She was contacted to cater the party of a book release for her husband and impressed Crown Publishing's Alan Mirken, which led to her first book, Entertaining.  Entertaining became the first NY Times best-selling cookbook since Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Martha proceeded to write many more books, write for magazines, and even started to make television appearances in the decade that followed Entertaining.  In 1990, Martha Stewart Living was born...with Martha as editor-in-chief.  The May 1995 issue of New York Magazine declared her "the definitive American woman of our time".  Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia combined Martha's television, print, and merchandising ventures with her Martha Stewart brand into on giant company, of which she served as chairwoman, president, and CEO with her business partner Sharon Patrick serving as Chief Operations Officer.

Jump forward to 2003 and Martha's indictment for securites fraud, obstruction of justice, and other counts.  She was released from prison in March 2005...and we all remember her hand-knitted shawl made by a friend she made "inside"...and began to work hard on making a comeback.  Many thought that her prison sentence would be the end of Martha, but in true Martha form...she pushed ahead with her head held tall and is now going stronger than ever.  It's rumored that she is difficult to work with.  But, what headstrong woman is not?  She knows what she wants and she doesn't accept less.  While at times I find her riding high on that horse of hers, I still admire her.  I think she's funny.  I think she's talented.  I think she's oh-so-crafty. I think she's earned her place in Gourmet's 50 Women Game-Changers.  Plus, how many times have you heard ..."well, I'm no Martha Stewart, but..."  Whether you choose to love her or hate her, her legacy is set in stone.

I am a sucker for pretty much any of her magazines.  I subscribe to Everyday Food, Whole Living, and occasionally Martha Stewart Living.  I also get her Organizing Tip of the Day in my email box.  I never fail to find something that I want to cook, bake, craft, or do when it comes to Martha.

worth further exploration: The Martha Blog, Martha Stewart (the website)
Strip Steak with Chimichurri and Roasted Potato Wedges
adapted from Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home
serves 4

for the Roasted Potato Wedges:

3 (~2 lb.) russet potatoes
1 Tbs. minced garlic, or more to taste
olive oil
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper

for Chimichurri:
½ c. minced red onion
⅓ c. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbs. minced garlic
⅓ c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
2½ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

for Steak:
2 New York strip steaks (each ~1 lb. & 1" thick)*
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
Roasted Potato Wedges:  Preheat oven to 450° F.  Cut each potato lengthwise into 12 wedges.  Toss them with garlic and some olive oil (~3 Tbs.) on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Spread in an even layer.  Roast until browned and crisp on bottom, ~25 minutes.  Flip with a spatula and continue roasting until browned on that side, anywhere from 15-10 minutes (watch carefully so they don't burn).

Chimichurri:  Mix everything in a bowl and let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Steak:  Pat steaks dry with paper towels then season both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat a large cat-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add steaks without crowding.  Cook ~4 minutes on the first side until a browned crust has formed and then flip and continue cooking ~2 minutes more for medium rare.  If your steaks are thinner or if you like your meat done to a different temperature, you'll need to adjust times accordingly.  *If you can't find 1#,1" thick steaks, then just get what you can and again adjust cooking time.
Transfer Steaks to cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.  Slice think (against the grain) and divide among plates. Divide the roasted potatoes among plates, as well. Pass the chimichurri and spoon it on top.  I love a bit spoonful with each slice- so pungent!  It's also great on the potato wedges.
Martha Stewart (d.o.b: 8/3/41)

"My new motto is: When you're through changing, you're through."  ~Martha Stewart

Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?
*source: Wiki
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