Dunmorean of the Month: Geoffrey Pizzuto

Geoffrey PizzutoBy Steve Svetovich

The Lackawanna Blind Association was fortunate to have Geoffrey Pizutto, a junior at Scranton Prep, to help build a sign as part of his Eagle Scout project.

The Scranton Prep junior, as part of his project, built a sign in front of the property in downtown Scranton.

He designed the sign which was approved by the Blind Assiciation and Boy Scout Troop 66, Dunmore.

To complete the project, Geoffrey had to raise money through local businesses who donated material items and money.

Once materials were purchased, he went about assembling the signs. The hard working junior used genuine power tools, some which he needed to learn how to operate.

After the sign was built, he and the helpers managed landscaping and other needed duties.

Eagle Scout projectThe sign was built at the Lackawanna Blind Association in downtown Scranton across from  the Lackawanna County Courthouse.

Son of Geoffrey and Rose Pizzuto, the Scranton Prep honor student is a Scout with Troop 66 of Dunmore. He is a member of the Scranton Prep wrestling team and Mock Trial team.

An accomplished jazz pianist, he performed at the Scranton Jazz Festival for the past two years.

“The Blind Association was looking for someone to help out,” said Geoffrey. “I looked at this as an opportunity and I jumped on it.”

Geoffrey has a 3.8 grade point average at Scranton Prep. His best subjects are Latin and Math. But he said his favorite thing to do is play the piano.

“I see it as something I can be doing in the future,” he said.

Geoffrey, well rounded as a student, learned piano from the retired Ray Cramer, Dalton, a classical pianist, and Bill Carter, Clarks Summit, a jazz pianist.

He talked more about his Eagle Scout project.

“I planned it in June, started the work in August and finished in September. I planted myself with the help of other scouts and my parents. It was a big collaborative effort that took three months.

“It felt great to get it done. It felt great to help the community and the Blind Association. There is still a lot left to do to obtain the Eagle Scout rank.

“Being a part of the Boy Scouts has been fantastic for me. I met two of my best friends through the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts helped me develop leadership and survivor skills. Joining the Boy Scouts is one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Dominic Pace is the leader of Scout Troop 66, Dunmore. “He is a great guy,” Geoffrey said. “I learned a lot from him.”

Jazz pianistGeoffrey performed at the Jazz Camp Crenscenda this past summer as part of the Scranton Jazz Festival.

“My dream is to attend the University of Pennsylvania if I get accepted there. If not, I may go to my mom’s alma mater, Villanova University. I am not sure what I will major in, but I would like to take music as a minor. I may eventually want to go to law school, but would like to always continue with music and see where it takes me.

“Scranton Prep is a great school. I am happy to have the opportunity to go there. I have great classes. There are excellent extra curricular activities. Scranton Prep was a great choice for me.”

Geoffrey, polite and well spoken, credits his parents and others for helping him with the Eagle Scout project. He also credits friends Robert Troy and Bryan Wozniak, his uncle Mark Darbienzo and family friend Ruben Guarneros.

Guarneros is a carpenter who oversaw the project.

“Everybody played a huge part in it,” he said.


Allied’s Annual Breakfast with Santa

Allied Santa breakfast

The Allied Volunteers hosted their annual Breakfast With Santa in the Graff Community Room, Luger Building, at Allied Services.

Children and adults enjoyed a full breakfast with Christmas music. Each child received a coloring book with crayons, a goody bag and personal picture time with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Young volunteers seated in front are Elizabeth Gomez and Zack Kubilis.  In the second row, seated from left are: Santa’s Elf Helper (Tracy Adomiak, Allied Volunteers president); Mrs. Claus (Shirley Lepthien); Sue Edstrom; Santa (Mark McDade), and Rosalie Warner.

Standing, same order: Volunteers Fay King, Phyllis Sileo, Bob McDonough, Nancy Connolly, Sue Dungould, Bob Zelno, Bill Tonti, Shirley Lewis and Barbara Smith.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: January 2019

wp-logo-generalBy Cheryl Radkiewicz

I’ve had Wolfgang Puck’s Pressure Oven for a few years and this holiday it saved my life. Yes, I’m being dramatic, however, it saved my holiday dinner parties. I don’t know about you, but even though there are only two of us in the household, one stove/oven is not enough.  We have two refrigerator/freezers and one large chest freezer. That’s how much I cook.

This year’s dilemma involved cooking a ham, turkey and all the fixings for out-of-town grandchildren.  I had an 11 lb. turkey and I didn’t want to get up at 5:30 a.m. to prep everything for a noon dinner. Puck’s oven to the rescue.  I made the turkey in less than one, yes, one hour in the pressure oven. It was perfect.

Cheryl's Cuisine - Wolfgang Puck ovenI had used the oven often in the past for mostly side dishes, but two Christmas’ ago, we had unexpected family pop in right before I  began starting to fix a quiet dinner for two.

Knowing my roast wasn’t large enough to serve the gang, I opted to delay starting dinner until they departed.  Once they did, the question was: How can I get this prime rib “slow roasted” before my husband starves to death?

Puck’s pressure oven to the rescue. In no time at all it was finished.  This genius invention combines a pressure cooker and an oven, also bakes and broils. It comes complete with its own baking rack, broil rack insert, drip/baking pan, roasting pan, crumb tray and rack removal tool.  More recent models also include a rotisserie rod. The oven, smaller than my microwave, measures 19″ long x 13″ deep x 12″ high and has a permanent spot on my kitchen counter.  

It’s also great in summer when you don’t want to turn your oven on and heat up the entire kitchen.

Here are a few of Wolfgang Puck’s quick dinner recipes he’s included with the oven:  

Honey Garlic Chicken:

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs  (I always choose the thighs)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and set function to BAKE.  Place all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and stir to combine.  Roll chicken in the mixture, making sure to coat thoroughly on all sides.  Place chicken in the roasting pan and place in oven in bottom position. Pour 1/2 cup water into drip pan with broil rack inserted.

NOTE: This will create the steam. Set the Vent Release Valve to SEAL and lower Sealing Lever to the SEAL position. Set the times to 25 minutes.  When time is up, turn Vent Release Valve to VENT and wait for all air to escape.

After vented slowly, raise Sealing Lever and press Door Release Button to open Door.  Check to see that internal temperature of chicken has reached 165 degrees F. Remove from oven and serve hot. Makes 4 servings.


Wolfgang’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese:

8 oz. dried elbow macaroni
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 white onion
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne
10 oz. aged sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup fresh brioche or challah bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente.  Drain and spread on lightly oiled baking pan. Meanwhile, in separate pot, melt 3 Tbsp. of the butter and whisk in flour.

Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Add milk, onion and bay leaf. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Remove onion and bay leaf.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F. and set function to BAKE. Set rack in middle of oven. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 3/4 of the Cheddar and all of the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne and fold in the macaroni.  Transfer to a lightly buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining Cheddar. Melt remaining butter in a saute’ pan over medium-low heat. Add bread crumbs and parsley and toss well.

Spread over macaroni. Put casserole in oven and set Vent Release Valve to SEAL and lower the Sealing Lever to the SEAL position.  Set timer to 25 minutes. Bake until casserole is bubbling and bread crumbs are golden brown. Turn Vent Release Valve to VENT and wait for all air to escape. After vented, slowly raise Sealing Lever and press Door Release Button to open the door.

Remove from oven and let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.


Simple Cream Biscuits:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
Additional cream and sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  and set function to BAKE.  Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil.  In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients by hand until a dough forms.  You do not need to be gently with this biscuit dough as it does not toughen.  

Use a small ice cream scoop to drop biscuits onto the sheet pan. Pat down tops with fingers and brush each biscuit with a little cream, if you like.  Pour 1/2 cup water into drip pan with broil rack inserted. (This will create the steam). Then place in bottom position. Sprinkle tops with a little more sugar, if you like, then place sheet pan in oven.  

Set the Vent Release Valve to SEAL and lower Sealing Lever to the SEAL position. Set timer to 15 minutes. When time is up turn the Vent Release Valve to VENT and wait for all air to escape. After vented slowly raise Sealing Lever and press Door Release Button to open the door.  

Cooking is complete when time is up or when golden brown and puffed. Remove biscuits and serve hot. Makes 8 biscuits.


Broccoli and Cheese Casserole:

1 bag (16 oz. size) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 can  (10.75 oz.) cream of broccoli soup
1 cup whole milk
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 sleeve butter-flavored crackers, coarsely crumbled

Preheat oven to 375 F. and set function to BAKE.  Press broccoli into roasting pan in an even layer.  In mixing bowl, stir together the soup, milk, Cheddar, Parmesan, pepper and onion.  Pour this mixture over broccoli and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle crackers evenly over the top and place pan in the oven on the rack in the bottom position.  

Set the Vent Release Valve to SEAL and lower Sealing Lever to the SEAL position. Set times to 40 minutes. Bake until bubbly and browned, 35-40 minutes. When time is up, turn the Vent Release Valve to VENT and wait for all air to escape.  

After vented slowly, raise Sealing Lever and press Door Release Button to open the door. Remove from oven and leave to rest on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.


Marian Getz, cookbook author, has collaborated with Puck and published a cookbook especially for his pressure oven. If you ever get the oven, get the book, I did.  It’s packed full of great recipes with beautifully colored photos of each dish. Here’s one of her favorites using the oven:

Buffalo Chicken Dip:

2 cups leftover chicken or turkey, diced
2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup bottled ranch or blue cheese Dressing
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup bottled buffalo wing sauce
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Crackers, for serving

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients except panko and crackers. Apply non-stick spray to the roasting pan,  add the mixing bowl contents, then scatter the panko evenly over the top. Place the pan on the rack in the lower position then close the door.  

Set the Vent Release Valve to SEAL, lower the Sealing Lever to the SEAL position and set the timer. Set the oven to 350 F. and function to BAKE.  Cook for 25 minutes or until brown and bubbly. When cooking is complete, turn the Vent Release Valve to VENT and wait for all air to escape.

Once vented, slowly raise the Sealing Lever  and press the Door Release Button to open the door. Remove, garnish as desired, and serve with crackers. Makes 6 servings.

Commissioners Reunite at Final Meeting

Former Commissioners (1)

Two former Lackawanna County Commissioners attended the final Commissioners Meeting on Dec. 19 at the Administration Building, 200 Adams Avenue.  Former Commissioner Robert W. Pettinato, inside left, and former Commissioner Mike Washo, inside right, offered stories from their days in office and the impact it had on both their careers and the community.

Shown from left: Commissioners Jerry Notarianni, Pettinato, Laureen Cummings, Washo, and Patrick M. O’Malley.