Artist of the Month: Bill Graziano

Artist Bill Graziano

Graziano is trying to continue his artwork at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This work in progress is called “The Artist.”

By Bill Graziano

After the Dunmore Senior Center had to close due to the pandemic, I found it necessary to seek other diversions to fill my time. It made me realize how much I missed the comaraderie of my fellow painters in Jill Swersie’s art class.

Having been a member of her class for over three years, its members have become like an extended family to me.

To fill the downtime, I began to work on overdue chores, such as downsizing basement storage. Upon completion of that task, I asked myself, “Now what can I do to fill the empty hours of confinement?” So, I decided to venture on a painting working from home.

I began by sketching my subject with chalk, then called upon my memory to aid me with all of Jill’s previous instructions. I have entitled it “The Artist,” and as you can see, it is still a work in progress.

The temporary closing of the Dunmore Senior Center has reminded me and fellow members how important its services are to the local seniors, and how it fulfills a void in our lives.

Hopefully, it will soon be able to open again!

Cheryl’s Cuisine: September 2020

Cheryl's cuisine

Summer vegetables on Cheryl’s kitchen counter challenge her creativity in preparing summer meals. This month we’re featuring zucchini on top shelf. Bottom shelf highlights perfect summer tomatoes and her husband’s Super Marconi Pole Beans.

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Right now,  I’m looking at zucchini on my kitchen counter.  Yes, I’ve made zucchini pizza, zucchini squares, zucchini pancakes, zucchini bread, etc., however, my husband is “tired” of the “same old, same old,” which prompted me to look for new, exciting ways to serve the summer vegetable. 

That is, if you consider zucchini “exciting”.  By itself, it’s definitely NOT.  It’s what you add to it that gives it flavor.  Here are some new, exciting ways to serve the vegetable, which grows prolifically in almost every garden:

 Zucchini & Tomato Gratin:

3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1/4  tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

Layer 1/2 of the zucchini and 1/2 of the tomatoes in a greased 8×8″ baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Layer the remaining zucchini and tomatoes over the Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  Drizzle with the olive oil.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake in 400 degree oven to 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.  Serves 4-6.

***

 Zucchini and Cheese Casserole:

3 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 cup grated or shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. Lawry’s seasoning
Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and put into a well-buttered 2- quart casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serves 6.

***

Zucchini and Linguine:

1 lb. linguine
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 tsp. basil 
Grated Cheese
2-3 medium zucchini 
1/3 tsp. oregano
2 cloves minced garlic

Cut zucchini into julienne strips.  Salt and let sit in a strainer about 1 hour.  Then drain zucchini on paper towels, which have been layered, until moist of moisture is gone.  Heat oil.  Saute’ zucchini, garlic and spices in oil.  Pour over drained, al dente linguine and toss.  Top with grated cheese.  Serves 4.

***

 Posh Squash:

2 lbs. zucchini, sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Cook squash in boiling water until tender.  Drain and cool.  Mash cooked squash.  Combine mayonnaise, cheese, onion and eggs.  Stir into mashed squash and pour into casserole dish.  For topping, combine melted butter and bread crumbs.  Spoon on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serves 4.

***

Oriental Zucchini Saute:

2 zucchini, sauteed in olive oil or butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 small minced onions, sauteed
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

After zucchini and onion have been sauteed , combine all other ingredients in microwave bowl. Heat a few minutes to blend flavors.  Pour over zucchini and serve.   Serves 4.

***

Zucchini with Sour Cream:

3 medium zucchini
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. grated cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Paprika
1 Tbsp. chopped chives
1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs
Additional grated cheese

Slice washed, unpeeled zucchini into thin rounds; simmer, covered, in a small amount of water for about 6-8 minutes, shaking pan frequently.  Drain.  Combine sour cream, butter, 2 Tbsp. grated cheese, salt, pepper and paprika; stir over low heat to melt cheese.  Remove from heat and mix in chives; toss lightly with zucchini.  Place in buttered flat baking dish; top with crumbs and sprinkle with additional cheese.  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes. 

NOTE: This can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, but increase baking time to 30 minutes.  Serves 6.

***

Zucchini Beef Skillet:

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
3 cups sliced zucchini
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup water
2 cups corn
2 Tbsp. chopped pimento
Chopped parsley

Saute’ beef, onion, and pepper in large skillet until browned.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Serves 4-6.

Artist of the Month: Mary K. White

Artist Mary White

Mary K. White is shown with her painting Fox vs Hawk, which evolved from a simple picture of a fox into something more complex.

By Mary K. White

You never know when something will touch you and inspire you to put it on canvas.  The Fox vs Hawk started out very differently. It was going to be a simple picture of a fox, but I found myself thinking of a family member who was fighting a severe illness and had a ferocious determination to never give up, to get well, and recover completely.  

As I thought more and more about this person, a simple painting of a fox turned into a battle between a fox and a hawk.

I started coming to the Activity Hub about 10 years ago to take an oil painting class.  It was a wonderful class taught by Jill Swersie.   

Jill started everyone with the basics.  She suggested brushes that are best for oils, but inexpensive. She recommended several oil colors I would need for a basic oil pallet and she told me to start with a canvas no smaller than 16 x 20 inches. 

Everyone in her class is working on their own painting, so Jill during a class sits with each student helping them and recommending ways the painting can be improved.

The  Dunmore Activity Hub offers more than art classes.  Alison Boga, the director, has scheduled classes that members have requested and enjoy.  I have taken  knitting classes (taught by Bonnie Strohl), meditation classes, and Tai Chi, among others.  While the center is closed during this pandemic, Alison has scheduled many online classes through Zoom, which I have also participated in. At the Dunmore Hub, there is a little something for everyone.