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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

I enjoy using cheese as an ingredient in cooking, and its texture, flavor and color add another dimension to the finished dish. Cheese can be added in chunks, diced or even shredded to food at the beginning, middle or even end of cooking. You can fry, bake or broil cheese; add it as an ingredient to many of your favorite recipes; or make an incredible grilled cheese sandwich. Some of my hints for cooking with cheese are…

• Bring cheese to room temperature before use in cooking.

• When melting or blending cheese into a recipe, use a low temperature for a short period. Cheese is high in protein and prolonged cooking or cooking over high heat will cause the cheese to separate and result in a stringy, tough, somewhat rubbery product. When used in the oven, never exceed 375 F or the cheese will break down.

• Hard cheeses can tolerate higher temperatures than soft cheese because more of the protein has been broken down into small, less easily coagulated fragments.

• A double boiler keeps the heat moderate, thus avoiding a hard, stringy mess.

• Do not add cheese too soon during cooking; it may curdle or melt away to a stringy mess.

• To prevent cheeses such as Swiss types and mozzarella from becoming stringy during cooking, add a little wine or lemon juice before melting them.

• When stirring cheese, use a wooden spoon and never use a slotted spoon, which will become clogged with cheese.

• Cheese works well with sauces that have been thickened with flour or other starches. To avoid a lumpy cheese sauce, add a little flour, cornstarch or arrowroot at the start of the recipe (before adding the cheese). You can heat the cheese for an extended period and the sauce will remain smooth and creamy.

• Dice, shred or crumble cheese into dishes to hasten its melting time and ensure an even distribution throughout the dish. Grated cheese blends into sauces better than chunks or julienned pieces.

• When melting cheese on top of food, add it near the end of the cooking time. For a brown crispy layer of cheese, add it early in the cooking process.

• The rind of a Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is edible and adds an incredible flavor to soups, stews, gravies and even pasta. Toss the rind into the simmering food and cook until it softens. Remove, chop into small pieces and return the bits to the pot.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

From left, curator Jud Newborn, Pantheon Books publicist Kathryn Zuckerman, author Victoria Riskin, and Cinema Arts Centre Director Dylan Skolnick Photo by Ryan T. Perry/CAC

Author Victoria Riskin, daughter of Hollywood film icon Fay Wray and legendary screenwriter Robert Riskin, signed copies of her latest book, “Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir” at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington on Monday. The book signing was held at a reception following a screening of the original 1933 “King Kong.” The event was curated and produced by Jud Newborn.

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Photo from Gurwin Jewish

The Gurwin Family of Healthcare Services of Commack was named the 2019 Best of Long Island winner in four health and wellness categories: Rehabilitation Centers, Assisted Living, Health Aides and Adult Day Care. This is the third consecutive BOLI win for the Gurwin adult day care programs.

“We are very honored to have been voted by the Long Island community as the Best of Long Island in four of the main services we provide,” said Stuart B. Almer, Gurwin’s president and chief executive officer. “Our mantra at Gurwin is to care for each resident as if they were our own loved one. The BOLI awards recognize our exceptional programs and the skillful, compassionate care our staff provides, whether in Gurwin’s nursing and rehabilitation center, assisted living facility, in our Adult Day Care program or as part of our home care program.”

Commenting on the trifecta win for Adult Day Care, program Director Jeraldine Fedoriw said, “The BOLI award is a testament to the person-centered care our team provides for each of the 130 individuals who attend our Adult Day Health Program on a daily basis. Their concern and compassion is evident in the engaging activities they create to promote socialization, the personal and medical attention they provide, and the hot meals and nutritious snacks they prepare. We are grateful to be recognized by Long Islanders with the BOLI award for the third consecutive year for the work we do to help our program participants continue to live in the community.”

Sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union and published by Long Island Press, the annual BOLI awards recognize the top local businesses and organizations selected through a tally of more than one million votes cast by Long Islanders.

Estella Kennedy and Maddie Quigley are double cast as Ladahlord. Photo from Karen Van Houten

Simple Gifts Productions is proud to present “James and the Giant Peach” on April 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and April 13 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Finley Middle School, 20 Greenlawn Road, Huntington. Based on the Roald Dahl children’s book, and with a great score by one of Broadway’s best duos, Pasek & Paul, this musical is a great event for the whole family. Tickets are $18 adults and $15 children (10 or younger). To reserve tickets, call 561-9522 or visit www.simplegiftsproductions.com.

Lavendar

MEET LAVENDER!

This week’s shelter pet is Lavender, a 1½-year-old tabby cat patiently waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for a new adventure. She was brought to the shelter just as she was giving birth to 7 kittens. She went into a foster home with her babies so she could care for them until they were weaned.

Now it’s Lavender’s turn to be pampered! She loves to play, comes when called, sits on your lap, uses a scratching post and loves to be around children! She comes spayed, microchipped and up to date on all her vaccines.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Lavender and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Stuffed Artichokes

By Barbara Beltrami

If they had a beauty contest for vegetables, I think the artichoke would win. It’s such a pretty veggie, so flower-like and mysterious with its closed leaves and well-hidden heart deep in its center. Actually a member of the thistle family, it is more specifically known as a globe artichoke and unfortunately is as difficult to find as it is to prepare, but well worth the effort ultimately.

A good artichoke feels heavy, its leaves are tightly closed and squeak when you squeeze it. Because it is such a special veggie, it can be steamed and eaten with a simple lemon and butter sauce; on the other hand, because it has such an interesting construction, it lends itself beautifully to a breadcrumb, garlic and olive oil stuffing in between the leaves. Or when in Rome or not in Rome, do as the Romans do and braise it in white wine, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and season it with a generous sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Prepping and Steaming an Artichoke

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Juice of one whole lemon

4 globe artichokes

4 slices lemon

4 garlic cloves

1 fresh bay leaf

DIRECTIONS:

Fill a large bowl with cold water and lemon juice; as you prepare the artichokes as follows, place them in the lemon water to keep them from turning brown. With a kitchen scissor, cut off the thorny tips of the outer leaves. Using a serrated knife slice about 1 inch off the tip of the artichoke. Pull off any small leaves at the base near the stem. Cut off an inch or so at the bottom of the stem, and using a vegetable peeler, remove the tough outer skin.

Alternatively all but an inch or so of the stem can be removed and peeled and cooked separately. Gently prying the leaves open, run the artichoke under cold water. Set up a pot large pot with about 3 inches water and a steamer basket. Place the lemon, garlic and bay leaf in the water and bring it to a boil; stand the artichokes in the steamer basket, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until outer leaves can be easily pulled off. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature with melted butter or hollandaise sauce.

Eating an artichoke

Pull off a leaf; gripping it between your thumb and forefinger, dip it in butter or sauce.  Bite down on leaf and scrape away tender pulp with your front teeth. Discard leaf. Continue with each leaf until you get to the tender inner leaves with the purple tips; eat only the light-colored parts. With a spoon or knife, scrape out and discard the fuzzy inedible choke that covers the heart, which is the best part of all and well worth all that preliminary work. Cut the heart into quarters and dip it into the sauce. Enjoy.

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichokes

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup unflavored breadcrumbs

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl combine breadcrumbs, grated cheese, garlic, parsley, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper. With the heel of your hand, press down on artichokes to force leaves to separate and open a little. Divide breadcrumb mixture into 4 equal portions and stuff each artichoke between leaves and in central cavity; drizzle with remaining olive oil.

Wrap each artichoke in aluminum foil, place in baking dish and bake for 30 minutes; remove foil and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until browned and tender. Eat as in Eating an Artichoke but be sure to scrape away and discard fuzzy choke. Serve with rustic Italian bread and a tomato and mozzarella salad.

Michael Pawluk Photography

‘THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN’S SOULS’ — Thomas Paine

Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society will host a screening of TBR Media Productions’ Revolutionary War drama, “One Life to Give,” at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center, 739 Route 25A, Mount Sinai on April 8 at 7 p.m. Followed by a Q&A with Executive Producer Leah Dunaief. Free and open to all. Light refreshments will be served. Limited seating. Call 476-5742.

‘In my paintings, I attempt capture a strong sense of place and a distinct light source in hopes of creating an atmosphere that goes beyond the physical and into the emotional realm.’

  Celeste Mauro

By Irene Ruddock

Artist Celeste Mauro with ‘Regatta,’ acrylic/collage

Celeste Mauro, a Northport resident, has earned art degrees from Adelphi University and Parson’s School of Design. She has been an avid watercolorist for over 30 years, but that didn’t stop her from experimenting with collage and mixed media that have enhanced her work. Mauro was a member of The Firefly Artists Gallery in Northport. Two years ago, she and fellow local artist, Demerise Perricone, launched a new art gallery in Northport: Gallery Sixty Seven. I was able to catch up with this busy lady recently to talk about her art and her new adventure!   

What motivates you to start the creative process?

The patterns and motifs found in nature inspire me to create an image that evokes intuitive feelings or sentiments rather than a realistic painting.

You have been known for your work in watercolor. What is it about watercolor that attracts you?

The transparent quality of watercolor allows the work to have an inner glow, almost as though lit from behind. I enjoy working with acrylic paint and mediums that offer translucency. Plus they are the best adhesive for collage.

Can you explain what collage is and how it enhances your work in watercolor and acrylic?

The word “collage” is derived from the French verb “coller” that means to glue. As a watercolorist, texture had to be “implied” through the use of various techniques. Working with acrylic paint, I can create actual texture by affixing unusual papers or materials to the canvas or by working with various textural acrylic mediums and sometimes “found-object” printing.

I alternate media and layer paint or printing over collage … then collage over that. The free-form shapes of torn paper add a sense of abstraction; the brushwork adds detail and the printing adds an element of surprise.

I see on your website, www.celestemauro.com, that you have a category called Back Stories. Can you explain what that is?

Many people are curious as to how artwork is created. This section provides the step-by-step process, shown with photos, which takes the mystery out of the process.

What did you learn from being a member of The Firefly Artists Gallery that has helped you in setting up Gallery Sixty Seven?

That experience has proved to be invaluable! Any artist who steps outside the comfort zone of their studio and into the retail business of selling art has much to learn! Establishing a professional identity, framing, pricing, marketing, salesmanship, doing commissions, creating reproductions, understanding “sale-ability” and handling finances are some of the skills needed.

Can you tell us about your new adventure? 

Gallery Sixty Seven, located at 67 Main St. in Northport, is a gallery as well as studio space, which makes it unique. Now as the owner and a Northport resident, I especially love that people from the community feel free to drop by to observe art being created or to browse the works in the gallery. Gallery Sixty Seven has a strong “Northport” feel to it! As local artists, we are inspired by the natural beauty of local sites and our clients appreciate that.

How did you choose the artists for your new gallery?

As a small gallery, we can represent but a handful of artists. All of the artists in the gallery have a distinctive style that sets them apart and yet their different styles play beautifully off one another. As lifelong artists, they each have a body of work that exemplifies their unique personal perspective. I also look for professionalism and a cooperative spirit in each artist.

Do you offer workshops? 

Yes! The gallery is looking to expand its offering of workshops since they were so successful last year. The instructors are the gallery artists who are experienced art teachers; our limited studio space allows for lots of personal attention … a winning combination. Our website, www.gallerysixtyseven.com, will provide information about our artists workshops, etc.

What exhibits are coming up?

Currently, we are showcasing large-format paintings in our BIG Show, which runs through the end of April. One special feature of this show is that there are “thumbnail” photos of all the paintings hanging in residential settings. This helps people to visualize how the work might look in their home! Everyone is welcome to visit Gallery Sixty Seven anytime!

Photo by Elyse Sutton

Gap Inc. announced plans last week to close 230 of its namesake brand stores over the next two years as it works to restructure. Gap will close about 130 Gap stores, or more than half of the fleet slated for closure, in 2019.

Among those affected will be the Gap in Port Jefferson, located at 100 Arden Place, which will close on April 25 after 27 years in business.

The retailer will split into two publicly traded companies: Old Navy and a yet-to-be named company that will include the Gap brand, Banana Republic, Intermix and leisure labels Athleta and Hill City.

In a statement Gap said its remaining store fleet will be a “more appropriate foundation” for future growth.

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