Artist of the Month: Martha McAndrew

Artist of Month

Martha McAndrew is shown with a portrait she did of her father, Eugene McAndrew, who served in the U.S. Army during World War I.

Martha McAndrew of Clarks Green has been selected as the August Artist of the Month at Dunmore Activity Hub.

She  has been painting for 10 years and began studying art formally in 2011 with Al Ondush, who serves as an inspiration for her.

She began painting after she retired in 2002 as administrator of the Primary Health Center in Scranton at the age of 75.

Martha then served on the board of directors of the Center until she resigned this year at 85 years of age. She is extremely proud that the Center has provided 875,000 medical and dental services since it was begun 40 years ago, in 1978.

Her featured painting this month is a portrait of her father, Eugene McAndrew, who served in the U.S. Army during World War I. Martha chose to use a photo of her father taken in 1918 at an Army camp in Jacksonville, Fla., for the Hometown Heroes Project in Dunmore.

“Then I decided to paint the picture in order to honor my dad in my home,” she explains. Mr. McAndrew died in the year 2000 at the age of 94, having always loved the USA and its flag.

As in this painting, Martha finds a lot of her painting ideas “from life.”

“I paint a great variety of subjects–animals, landscapes, ultra modern buildings, Victorian mansions, anti-gun posters, Christmas, Easter and birthday cards, still lifes and cathedrals,” she says.

She finds the painting class at Dunmore Activity Hub “very relaxed and friendly.”

“Jill Swersie, our instructor, is very helpful and makes fine suggestions to each of us on her work. Her hints are very positive and helpful,” she notes

Martha points out, “There is something for everyone at the Hub. The variety of classes and activities is quite amazing. Allison Boga, the director, runs a very organized,–yet very friendly–‘ship’.”

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Getting to Know Author Bill Ciccotti

Bill CiccottiNote: The following Amazon Author Interview Series on former Dunmorean Bill Ciccotti was posted on July 3, 2018.

By J.D. Phillippi

I have gotten to know some other writers over the last couple years.  To break up the sound of my own voice on this blog, I thought I’d ask them to answer a few simple questions about their most recent work and how they create.

This month is an author I met in a professional setting. I just finished doing the audiobook narration for Bill Ciccotti. The book is The Dead Never Sleep – The Long Walk II.  It is available at Audible.com.

Bill is a fairly prolific author, with titles covering adventures in Key West, the Old West, World War II and more.  He struck me as an interesting addition to the series.

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I am not a retired Navy SEAL, but do have an overactive imagination and a lifetime full of wild adventures that may have been embellished (slightly?) in my books. I did lose my job, but found another. As well as a love for writing.

Q: And now introduce your book.

A: This book is based on a factual trip and an altercation in Canada. My best friend Brian (AKA Ryan) and I have had some wild times and more than a few road trips, including Cuba. The Ukrainian Club 9 theme has been used in all my Key West books. It started as a light side note but morphed into a book of its own. To Russia Without Love is the story of two friends who have been hounded over the years by the Russian mob, all over a bar fight in Canada. After death attempts and destruction of my boat and Ryan’s home, we decided to head to Russia after those tattoo thugs and finish this once and for all.

51F4Qt5P8fL._SX342_Q: Why did you write this book?

A: Why write the book? Because I love writing and I have a funny story-telling ability. The driving force in writing, for me, is to put all these wild stories down before they are forgotten. Also, I hope to share these adventures with others and put a smile on their faces as they read my books or listen to he great audio production. My inspiration is my life. I have had a lifelong friend in Brian and our adventures in craziness have fueled my imagination with the raw basis of these great tales.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

A: The greatest challenge was spelling. Thank God for spell checking! I have a vivid imagination. And great memories of a wonderful life, so all of this makes writing easy for me.

Q: What do you hope your readers get from your book?  

A: I hope my readers get a smile out of my books and audios. Laughter is underrated.

Q: What are you proudest of about your book?  

A: I am proudest about being able to read my works several times and still laugh at what I have come up with. I have written many books–some I am not so proud of, but as I wrote more, I improved greatly and smile a lot more.

Q:. Other writers and some readers are fascinated by the writing process.  Please describe yours.

A: My writing process is to first come up with an idea. Then figure a story line. Then concentrate on each individual part of the story presented in each chapter. One small section or step at a time. Rewrite often. Reread it often. Switch out parts you don’t like; add inspiration from life experiences. Change the names of your friends if they are characters. But not enough that people who know them won’t recognize who you are talking about. Never delete anything. Save it all in files on your computer for later possible use. Maybe that same book or a future one.

Q:  Who or what inspires you?

A: My inspiration is my life and friends. I have led a wild life and have a handful of true friends. Ryan is Brian, my best friend for over 50 years. Use reality, then embellish the hell out of it.

Q: Are there any more books coming?

A: Many more books are in the future. Several have been completed, and a few being worked on as we speak. The ideas never stop. Think wild. Normal is overrated. My books are available on Kindle, Paperback, and Audio Book format at Amazon.com.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: August 2018

Cheryl's Cuisine

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Vice President and General Manager Kim Scarpone, Jason Lonigro, general manager of Emeril’s Chop House, and Sands Casino Executive Chef Victor Bock, pose for a photo during the recent Food and Wine Festival at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Thousands of guests packed the 9th Annual Food and Wine Festival at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem over the three-day event. The Grand Tasting offered signature dishes from the Lehigh Valley’s best restaurants in addition to wines from around the globe.     

Menu items and restaurants included:  Beef Carpaccio , 1774 Grille & Tap; Chicken Makhani, Cumin Basmati Rice and Chana Masala , Aman’s Bistro; Cake, Truffle and Cookies, Amy’s Creative Cakes;  Cheesecakes and assorted Kiffles, Aunt Wendy’s Kiffles; Mini Cheese Ravioli and Limoncello Cream Puff, Buddy V’s Ristorante; Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Banh Mi, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milkshake, Burgers by Emeril;  Chocolate Fountain and Truffles, Chocolate Works; Seared Duck and House-Made Olive Oil Gelato, The Dime.

One of the event’s presentation featured Casino Executive Chef Victor Bock  along with Kim Scarpone, Vice President of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Pennsylvania, and Jason Lonigro, general manager of Emeril’s Chophouse.    Lonigro, a native of Louisiana, offered a history of “Punch”, noting that at one time it was a drink of the “upper crust” and included something strong (rum), sweet (sugar), weak (water), sour (citrus) and spices (nutmeg, etc. from the East India Company).

Do you know what the Number One Alcohol consumed in the world is?   Sake’, according to Ms. Scarpone, due to its pure spirit and refinement. Both Scarpone and Lonigro addressed pairing alcohol with dishes.  

Let’s start with Lonigro’s recipe for Mississippi Punch, a favorite among restaurant-goers:

Mississippi Punch:

oleo-saccharum3/4 cup superfine sugar
Peels of 7 lemons
16 oz. black tea
16 oz. bourbon
1 cup dark rum
1 cup cognac
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
24 oz. water
Nutmeg
Champagne

Prepare an oleo saccharum by combining the sugar and lemon peels in a large bowl. After being tossed, place into a mason jar or vacuum seal and let sit for 24 hours.

Combine this oleo saccharum and black tea, and make sure that any remaining sugar is fully dissolved reserving the lemon peels as garnish. To the bowl, add the tea mixture, lemon juice, cognac, bourbon, rum and water and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or so. Add a block of ice to chill, and continue to add smaller pieces of ice for desired dilution.

Garnish with lemon wheels or reserved lemon peels and freshly grated nutmeg. Ladle into cups and lightly top each glass with champagne.

***

Chef Victor Bock’s Lamb Shoulder Ragout: 

1 lb. lamb shoulder, boneless, cut to 3/4″ cubes
Kosher salt/pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. rosemary, minced
1/2  cup red wine
4 cups diced tomatoes, (San Marzano with juice)
Chicken Stock  (add as needed to allow lamb to become tender
1 1/2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
1 Tbsp. mint, minced
Cornstarch (to thicken, if needed)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a thick bottom sauce pot, heat oil.  Add seasoned lamb cubes. Sear on all sides until golden brown and caramelized.  Add shallots, garlic. Saute’ until tender. Add rosemary, red wine. Reduce by half and add tomatoes with juice.  Reduce heat ad simmer until tender. Remove from heat and stir in mint and parsley.

***

ricottaHomemade Ricotta Cheese:

2 gallons whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
2 tsp. salt
6 oz. fresh lemon juice

  Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine mesh) cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.  

Slowly bring milk, cream and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.   Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

Pour mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour.  After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered. It will keep in refrigerator 2 days.

***

Duck Fat Fries:

3-4 quarts duck fat
3-4 russet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ sticks
Sea salt
Black Pepper
Truffle oil (optional)

Melt and heat duck fat in  fryer to 325 degrees. Cook potato sticks in small batches for 5-7 minutes. Remove to napkin to drain. Increase heat on fryer to 375 degrees. Return par-cooked potatoes to fryer. Cook for approximately 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove on to napkin and immediately sprinkle with sea salt, milled black pepper and perhaps truffle oil.  Serve immediately.

***

Steak and Foie Gras Empanadas:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. sirloin steak (small dice)
1/4 cup onion, minced
classic-terrine-of-foie-gras2 tsp. garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. green chilis (canned, minced)
1/2 lime, zested
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
3 oz. foie gras (medium dice)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 puff pastry sheets
Egg wash, to seal

In saute’ pan over high heat, heat oil and sear steak pieces. Add onions, garlic and cook until tender. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Lay out puff pastry (4×4″ squares) take large spoon and scoop meat/foie gras mixture into puff pastry. Brush with egg wash and seal. Trim edges. Fry in duck fat fryer until golden brown. Serve with Corn-Chorizo-Avocado Salsa.

***

Corn Avocado Chorizo Salsa:

cornSalsa:
2 sweet corn (cooked and cut off cob)
6 oz. chorizo (small dice)
1 jalapeno pepper, optional
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Adjust seasoning. Serve with Crema.

Crema:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Adjust seasoning.

Councilman Hayes: “There is No Place Like Dunmore”

Councilman Michael HayesBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore Councilman Michael Hayes, now in his second term, strongly believes there is no community like the one he serves.

“I’ve lived in Dunmore my whole life,” he said. “I was born and raised on Foote Street. I live on Rigg Street now. There is no town like Dunmore. I would not want to live anywhere else in the world.

“We always pull together as a community here. Dunmore is a great place to raise a family. There is no better place.

“We have the best service departments. We have the best DPW, fire department and police departments.

“There is a great community feeling here. We are thriving as a borough. We got ourselves completely over the stagnation from a few years back.

“When someone from Dunmore needs something, this whole town pulls together. You can see that with the turnout whenever there is a benefit or a charitable function.”

Son of Peggy Nardozzi Dee, R.N., and the late William Hayes, the Dunmore Councilman is a graduate of Penn State University where he received a B.S. in political science. Hayes, 38, is co-owner/operator of Dunmore’s famous Nardozzi’s Pizza.

Married to the former Virginia Capo, the couple has one daughter, Bella, 6, a first grade student at Dunmore Elementary Center.

Hayes talked about some of the future goals in the borough as a Dunmore Councilman.

“Well, first we want to increase public safety. We want to make sure the town is environmentally safe by monitoring water, air and soil.

“We want to expand on programs for the youth such as the summer recreation programs which currently serve over 300 children. We want to continue renovating and fixing our borough parks.

“We want to continue bringing businesses to Dunmore such as two recent ones, the Case Quattro Winery and the Spruce Time Mead and Cider Works.”

Hayes talked about the borough’s biggest accomplishments since he became a Councilman.

“The biggest accomplishment has to be the borough becoming fiscally sound. And this happened through very savy financial management.

“Borough Council was especially fortunate to have people like Mike McHale. With his finance and accounting background, he helped the borough in the past decade become financially responsible and stable.

“McHale is a financial brain. The topic of the town a few years back was the borough filing for bankruptcy. That never needed to happen. Now the town is fiscally in a great position. So that is a huge accomplishment achieved in the past decade.

“Another nice thing going on in the borough are the home town hero banners. Vito Ruggerio, of the Dunmore Borough clerical office, and his staff are doing a great job distributing them. There were 300 banners hung in the first round and it will soon expand even more.”

Hayes said his mom, a state inspector in the health care system, is currently battling Lupus. He said the community has also shown strong support for his mom.

“This is a great town to live in and to serve,” he said. “There is no place like Dunmore. Everyone knows each other here. We are all out to help each other. That’s a fact. The community rallies behind its residents all the time.”