About Me

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Paramus, New Jersey, United States
No, this in not a blog about gardening in any way, but a journal of my journey to become a professional landscape painting artist. For years, I’ve given my paintings as wedding gifts without thinking of profiting in some way from it. I worked for 18 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC as a computer programmer. I have been a painter since 1990, coincidentally, when I started working at the Met. I watched Bob Ross do his thing on Channel 13 in New York and decided I could do this, too. I have no formal training. I incorporate Bob's wet-on-wet technique for sky and water. My subject matter is covered bridges, lighthouses, fishing village scenes, barns, etc. Maine, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Nova Scotia and Spain are some of the places I have painted. My style is detailed and sometimes people think a photo of the painting is an actual photo of the scene. I hope to continue and grow in this medium. I also like to cook & dance. I am also a committed Christian. I am taking commissions - painting your landscapes style photos or your vacation home. Prices on request. contact me - Jackmck@juno.com my website is www.artofjackmckenzie.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recipes for the feeding of a Starving Artist - Butternut Squash Risotto

One of my favorite foods is butternut squash ANYTHING. This recipe looks marvelous! Saw this in The Record (a North Jersey newspaper) from a book "Cook This Now" by Melissa Clark and fell in love. I'm posting the recipe and the link. The article is a worthwhile read.

In “Cook This Now,” Melissa Clark suggests shredding the butternut squash, making it melt into the risotto. I wanted a different texture, so cut it into small cubes.
½ pound peeled butternut squash
About 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
2 rosemary branches
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped salted pistachios
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

In a food processor fitted with a fine grating attachment, shred the squash (Or use a box grater, but it will be harder to do. You could also just cut it into small cubes; it won’t dissolve into a sauce but will be differently pleasing.)

In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Melt the butter in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed, wide pot over medium heat. Add the leek slices and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook it until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice, squash, rosemary and salt. Stir until most of the grains of rice appear semi-translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. This means they have absorbed some of the fat from the pan, which will help keep the grains separate from each other as they form their creamy sauce.

Pour the wine into the pan and let it cook off for about 2 minutes. Add a ladleful of stock (about ½ cup) and cook, stirring it constantly and making sure to scrape around the sides, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Continue adding stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring almost constantly until the risotto has turned creamy and thick, and the grains of rice are tender with a bit of bite, 25 to 30 minutes (you may not need all the stock). Pluck out the rosemary branches and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed. Garnish with the pistachios and optional cheese before serving.

Serves: 4 to 6


Quote: “Happy and successful cooking doesn't rely only on know-how; it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”
Georges Blanc, Ma Cuisine des Saisons

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