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50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #13 Rachael Ray - Orange-Cashew Chicken

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...
13. Rachael Ray- She’s heee-eere. Your TV’s haunted by her, and, love or hate the woman, her always easy recipes have cured millions of their kitchen phobia.

It's true.  While I know of some people who really like her, I know my fair share of those who cringe at the mention of her name.  I don't have any issues with her.  Except the made up words.  I'll admit it.  Hearing evoo and yum-o and delish and stoup (especially stoup) used as words makes me shiver a little.  And not in a good way.  The bad thing is, I've probably used delish myself.  But only in writing.  Never out loud.  Anyhoo...her ability to bring home cooking to the masses and take away the intimidation factor is pretty impressive.  She seems approachable.  Her food looks good.  And the things I've tried of hers actually have been good.  She's got her own magazine.  She's got a ton of cookbooks (a few of which I own).  And yes, her fair share of television time.  Let us not forget she is even a brand name.  She doesn't claim to be anything that she is not.  I think she earned her spot in "the 50".  What do you think?

Check out her website.
Orange-Cashew Chicken
slightly adapted from Rachael Ray's Look + Cook
serves 4

3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, chopped bite-sized
freshly ground pepper
1 red bell pepper, ½" dice
1 onion,  ½" dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1" fresh gingerroot, peeled & finely chopped
¼ c. hoisin sauce
¼ c. orange marmalade
1 Tbs. hot sauce
2 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce
½ c. chicken stock
½ c. honey roasted cashews

hot, cooked rice (brown or white)
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Add 2 Tbs. of the oil to a large pan placed over high heat.  When the pan is very hot, add the meat, season it with salt and pepper, and stir-fry until golden brown, ~5 minutes.  Remove meat from the pan and reserve on a plate.  Add remaining tablespoon of oil, then add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger to the skillet and stir-fry for ~3 minutes, or until veggies have just begun to get tender, but are still a bit crisp.  In a small bowl, stir together the hoisin, orange marmalade, hot sauce, tamari, and chicken stock.  Return the chicken to the skillet and pour in the sauce.  Add cashews, toss to coat, and continue cooking until the sauce thickens up (though not much), ~1 minute.  Serve over hot rice and garnish with scallions.
Rachael Ray (August 25, 1968 - present)

"I got my job by a series of accidents. I guess, don't plan out your life too much and take any and every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how surprising the idea may be to you.. with the exception of the XXX industry, that is."  ~Rachael Ray

Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?
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*Saturdays with Rachael Ray at Taste and Tell