Wingin’ It for Super Bowl Liii: Chef Husbands Talks the Perfect Wing

Wingin’ It for Super Bowl Liii: Chef Husbands Talks the Perfect Wing

There is no shortage of Super Bowl parties going on in Chelsea this weekend, but if one wants their party to score high, they better know how to prepare a proper chicken wing.

Chef/Pitmaster Andy Husbands of The Smoke Shop (located in Assembly Row in Somerville) said that if hosts think getting a good wing on the table for the Super Bowl is as easy as popping them in a hot oven, they would be flapping wrong.

In fact, he said, the key to a good Super Bowl spread is preparation and thinking ahead.

“Wings are so subjective,” he said. “Do you like the small ones or the big roaster wings? I go for the big roasting ones. You want the big, roaster wings. I’d also advise everyone to go early. Don’t go to the store to buy your wings on Saturday. They’ll all be sold out and you’ll get stuck with the small wings…Most everything you serve for the Super Bowl except for ribs can be done on Saturday. That makes it so much easier. You want it to be enough food for everybody, but you want it to be easy for you too. You don’t want to be in the kitchen saucing wings when the Pats are scoring.”

Husbands said the centerpiece of a Super Bowl spread always has to be the wings, so getting them right is important.

Husbands suggests doing what is called a confit.

“You want the best wings, and even though it’s a bit complicated, I would look up how to confit wings,” he said.

When he pulls it off, Husbands said he starts by seasoning the raw wings the day before with salt and other flavorings. Many make the mistake, he said, of putting the sauce – whether buffalo or teriyaki sauce – on before cooking the wings. One should not do that, he said.

“That will hamper the wings,” he said. “Sugars burn quickly, and you don’t want that burnt taste on the wings.”

Once seasoned, Husbands coats the wings in oil and chicken or goose fat. Then they go into a 205-degree oven until cooked. Then, take them out, let them cool and remove the fat. The next day, before the big game, take them out of the refrigerator and use the fat from the previous day on a sheet pan. Put the wings in the fat and cook them in an oven at 350 degrees until crispy.

“They become crispy and rich and then you apply the sauce, whether Frank’s Red Hot or Szechuan – whatever you want,” he said. “That’s a fun way to do it.”

There are, of course, other ways to wing it for the big game.

Home frying, however, is not something Husbands recommends. Most people don’t have the right equipment and it uses a ton of fat for just one dish.

Cooking them in the oven after seasoning is another option, but it has to be on low heat. A common mistake, he said, is putting the wings in the oven raw at a high temperature to get them crispy. However, that leads to a dry and bony wing – perhaps even raw.

“You want to put them on very low heat and continuously turning them gets them crispy on the outside and keeps them juicy on the inside,” he said. “After they’re cooked (150 degree temperature inside), you can crank up the oven to 450 degrees and flash them in until really crispy. Then you sauce them up. That way you get them fully cooked and crispy. No one wants raw chicken.”

Yet another way goes to the die-hards, who will take the opportunity to do some arctic grilling. Husbands said the cold weather won’t stop him from grilling wings and smoking ribs for his Super Bowl party.

“I’m absolutely going to be outside,” he said. “My neighbors all know me well. They don’t look at me like I’m crazy. It’s more like they want to know if they can have some. It’s a passion and if you know it love it you want to do it all the time in any weather. I have a Traeger grill and a Big Green Egg grill and they work in all types of weather. I might use both of them this time.”

Beyond the meat of the matter, though, Husbands has some good ideas for buffet style options.

One of those ideas is a chili bar. He usually cooks a pot of chili and leaves it on low in the Crock Pot, setting up a chili fixin’s salad bar next to it.

“What’s cool about chili is you can keep it in the Crock Pot, keep it hot and put out a bunch of toppings – like crushed Fritos, crushed tortilla chips, scallions, sour cream and anything else you like,” he said. “People can come back and forth to that during the entire game.”

At halftime, he rolls out a hot dog bar too.

Either grilled or boiled, he selects quality hot dogs and two different kinds of buns. From there, the sky is the limit on the kinds of toppings one can offer to guests. Husbands suggests kimchee, several different types of mustard, cheese sauce, unique pickle relishes and even his own favorite, sriracha ketchup.

“Guests can have fun making their own hot dog,” he said. “You can wheel that out at halftime for something new. All of it can be prepared ahead of time too.”

For the beer lovers, Husbands suggests not going all lawnmower and not going all high-brow either. In his ice chest, he said he offers everything from Miller High Life to Trillium Brewery.

“It’s important to have something for everyone,” he said. “I don’t want to push my passion for craft beer on someone who wants a High Life. A High Life can be just as enjoyable as a craft beer.”

Super Bowl LIII official coverage starts at 6 p.m. on CBS. Andy Husbands is an award-winning chef and pitmaster at The Smoke House, which has locations in Assembly Row, the Seaport and Cambridge. Just this year he closed down his long-time South End restaurants Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel – which were neighborhood staples for decades.

Read More

City Looks to Residents to Name, Define Neighborhoods

City Looks to Residents to Name, Define Neighborhoods

Ask 100 people where the Mill Hill neighborhood separates from the Mill Creek neighborhood and one would probably get 100 different answers.

Neighborhoods in Chelsea have been loosely defined for decades, with some not even named at all, but now Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney is looking to residents of Chelsea to define the City’s neighborhoods more precisely.

“It came up because City Planner Karl Allen has been working on a project by the Produce Center and he kept calling it West Chelsea,” she said. “Every time he did that, people would laugh at it. It brought up the question as to what do you call that area. It was the same thing for the Walnut Street Synagogue area. Then you have people talking about Prattville. We decided to try to figure out what you call the various neighborhoods of Chelsea.”

That started with a query of the Chel-Yea group last month, and during that event and with online follow ups, Graney said she got very impassioned responses.

People, she said, took it very seriously.

“Several people said everything was just Chelsea, but others had strong opinions about Admiral’s Hill and Prattville,” she said. “It has solicited a lot of interested conversations.”

Graney has produced a map with suggested boundaries and names. So far, they have included Prattville, Mayor’s Row, Chelsea High, Addison-Orange, Soldiers’ Home/Powderhorn Hill, Cary Square, Mill Creek, Mill Hill, Spencer Avenue, Eastern Ave Industrial Area, Box District, Bellingham Hill, Salt Piles, Waterfront, Downtown (including Chelsea Square and Bellingham Square), Williams School, Carter Park, Mystic Mall, Produce District and Admiral’s Hill.

It was difficult, she said, to find the real boundaries of the Soldiers’ Home neighborhood versus Cary Square, she said, and many said the Spencer Avenue area should be called Upper Broadway. Mill Creek, on the other hand, has been confused in some ways with the Parkway Plaza.

She said the exercise is one that moves beyond the fun of talking about it, and moving towards making it a place.

“The legacy of the fire in the Mystic Mall area sort of upended most boundaries there,” she said. “People are uncomfortable with the area beyond Carter Park and Chelsea High area. If it doesn’t have a name, it becomes this no man’s land. Naming a place has a power to it. I’m hoping people in these areas claim that power in that naming.”

Graney said they will continue to take input on the neighborhood boundaries, and will likely present something to the community in the near future.

Read More

Chelsea Seniors Push for Outdoor Graduation This Year

Chelsea Seniors Push for Outdoor Graduation This Year

The great outdoors is a great place for graduation, and a large group of Chelsea seniors are pushing to get their big day under the blue skies once again.

Manuel Teshe and Senior Class President Jocelyn Poste have been campaigning with a large group of their classmates to get their graduation ceremony outside. Graduation has been in the gym for several years, but prior to that it was always outside. Now, the students are looking to overcome several obstacles to get the graduation on the new turf Stadium.

“We understand we have to protect the field for future classes, but we really want to have this ceremony outside,” he said, noting that they have started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the effort. “This is a beautiful new field and we want to be able to use it. We won’t stop until we get the Stadium.”

Supt. Mary Bourque reported that the School Committee has approved the move outside, but getting on the turf field is something they are trying to work out with the company. There are some steps to take, she said, to preserve the warranty if graduation is held on the field in the first year after construction.

“We are very proud to have the School Committee vote to support the students request to have graduation outside,” she said. “The location is still to be determined though. It is going to be outside, but we still are all working together on the Stadium piece.”

School Committeeman Julio Hernandez said he supports the seniors, and recalls that his class tried to also get graduation outside, but to no avail. He said he encouraged students to work with the School Committee and the City Council, which they have been doing.

“These students are really fighting to have their big day outside at the Stadium and I support them 100 percent,” he said. “My graduation was inside and I didn’t get to bring two of my siblings because I didn’t have enough tickets. The graduation is one of the biggest days for the students and their families. My class wasn’t successful in getting it outside, like many other classes. I would love to see it outside again, and I hope they are successful.”

For the students, the primary reason to go outside is so that entire families can see the ceremony.

In recent years, as classes have swelled in numbers, many family members have to sit in the cafeteria to watch on closed circuit TV – or they aren’t able to come in at all.

Even a lucrative black market has sprung up over the years where kids auction off extra graduation tickets for as much as $200. One student last year allegedly made fake tickets and sold them to families in need, who were out of luck on the big day, Teshe said.

“I always knew graduation was inside, but didn’t think much about it,” said SairaCarreto. “Last year as a junior I volunteered to help and it really hit me when I saw the mothers, aunts and siblings of graduates waiting to get in. People were being sent into the auditorium and there were no tickets. Many of these kids are the first to graduate in their families. A lot of them have come from other countries and it’s a big point of pride for their family to come see them graduate. Not having the luxury to share that moment is not fair. We don’t want that to happen to our class and we believe the Stadium is the solution.”

Marcela Castillo said they don’t want to settle, and they will push for the Stadium.

“Many people don’t have the best view of Chelsea High students and we don’t deserve that,” she said. “Current and future students should get the best graduation possible. It’s a really important day in our lives. We feel that adults in our school have settled for less and we don’t feel it’s right. We’re going to push for the field.”

Bourque said they continue to work with the students and may have a solution in the coming weeks. That is all up to the warranty on the new field, but there is optimism in the situation, she said.

The fundraising page is on GoFundMe and is listed under Chelsea High School Graduation. Donations to help the cause can be made there.

Read More

Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest Winners, Opening Reception September 14

Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest Winners, Opening Reception September 14

An exhibit of contemporary photographs celebrating life in Chelsea will be on display starting Friday, September 14, at Gallery 456. The opening reception takes place that evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at 456 Broadway, Chelsea.

The featured images are large scale reproductions of the winners of the Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest. Amateur and professional photographers participated with a dozen winners selected by a formal judging panel. The People’s Choice Award decided through online voting by more than 500 votes by people in the community.

The contest was presented by Chelsea Prospers, the City of Chelsea’s initiative for vitality in the downtown, and the facebook group Chelsea MA Photography Club coordinated by photographer and former City Councilor Matt Frank.

The judging panel included Darlene DeVita, an award-winning fine art photographer; Matt Frank, a former City Councilor and photographer who initiated the Chelsea MA Photography Club; State Representative Roselee Vincent, a champion for the arts and former member of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development;  Sury Chavez, a local painter whose decorative murals and “Welcome to Chelsea” signs can be seen in  key locations throughout the city; Marianne Ramos, a self-taught “outsider artist” and long-time Chelsea resident who serves as Program Coordinator for the Chelsea Senior Center; and Alex Train, artist and Assistant Director of the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Chelsea.

All of the winning images, submitted digitally, have been reproduced in high-quality, large format canvas prints. These framed works will remain on display on Broadway until mid to late October. At the conclusion of the exhibit the winners will take home their framed prints.

Gallery 456 is a storefront gallery so it is always open. The entire exhibit can be viewed from the sidewalk.

Exhibited Works

  • Best in Show

Sunrise Over the Cemetery by Aaron Kraemer

  • Local Business

From Chelsea to Boston by Isaac Subillaga

Happy Your-Day! by Teri Weidner

Soldiers Home by Deb Cronin

  • People of Chelsea

Maggie and William by Katy Rogers

Hero by Deb Cronin

Come Together by Katy Rogers

  • Community

Chelsea Community Gardening by Katy Rogers

Morning at the Community Rail by Aaron Kraemer

Diversity: Chelsea’s Middle Name by Teri Weidner

  • Chelsea, Past and Present

Sunrise Over the Cemetery by Aaron Kraemer

Chelsea Winter Storm by Joe Makarski

Abandonment Issues by Isaac Subillaga

  • People’s Choice

My Green Monstah by Deb Cronin

Read More

Day Center on Broadway Making Strides, Ready for Next Step

Day Center on Broadway Making Strides, Ready for Next Step

The Chelsea Day Center in the Light of Christ Church on Broadway has been a haven for those who had nowhere to go during the day, the folks that formerly hung out all day in Bellingham Square, and though it hasn’t been perfect City officials believe there is still a great need for the Center.

One wouldn’t get an argument from those who attend the Center.

“I came here to get away from the stress outside, and I have no stress here,” said Ovidio Ortiz, who has been coming for one year since the Day Center opened. “Shelters in Boston are very far and they have too much violence and drugs. Here, they don’t have that. This beats a shelter. There aren’t any problems inside and I wish they had it Saturday and Sunday too. Outside on the street people are fighting and drinking and doing drugs. Not here. I’m safe here and I can rest. We need this here.”

He was but one of about 20 people who were at the Day Center last Friday, Aug. 10. The Center is open Monday through Friday from the morning until 1 p.m. Those who attend can get food, three times a week they can take a shower, and they have access to medical care and a host of recovery services.

At the heart of it all has been Pastor Ruben Rodriguez and Pastor Ricardo Valle – who shepherds the Light of Christ Church.

Rodriguez has worked with the street population in Chelsea for years, and made a commitment to shepherd the Day Center for a year until it was up and running. On Aug. 20, he will move on to new things, and CAPIC will begin managing the Center with Valle and his volunteers.

“It’s been a great run, but it’s also been humbling,” he said. “There are pros and cons to it. We have had problems outside, and we’re working on that. What’s going on inside, people have gotten a lot from it. There’s been 6,000 meals served, hundreds of showers and hours and hours of rest for people who had nowhere to rest that was safe. We’ve had hundreds resourced to programs.

“The best part about this place though is a lot of the people doing the work are the people who come here,” he continued. “They have taken ownership of this place. That’s very good for them. They respect it. I hope they continue to respect it and build this community when I leave and CAPIC takes over.”

Pastor Valle said little by little they are making progress.

“When they come the first time, it’s really new to them and they aren’t sure about it,” he said. “But soon they come and it’s a home to them. The people who do really good, we give them work to do. When you start something like this, people will be against it and people will be for it. You do what you can to help. We pray about it, but the City agrees we need this place.”

And that is the case.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said there is still good work going on at the Day Center. While the functions inside have been exemplary in helping people have a safe place and access to resources, there have been some problems outside after the Center closes. It has been a sore spot with neighbors, but Ambrosino said he believes they can solve that issue with CAPIC.

“The City still feels it is of very great need to have and overall we think it has been helpful, providing food and shelter and resources for a population we’re really trying to reach and engage,” he said. “There’s been some hiccups there with people loitering outside. We think based on our discussions, some actions we’re taking with the pastor and CAPIC will address these things. CAPIC will begin to be more engaged in the operation Aug. 20.”

Rodriguez said he is very proud of the work they have done, and is excited to get back to working directly with those on the streets – a calling he is very passionate about.

“You always are surprised who shows up here,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. I want people to know we tried to know we tried to make it the best way we could. I think it was a success. I hope as it goes on these people in the community that need this help are blessed.”

Read More

Chelsea Officials Endorse Pressley Ayanna Pressley

Chelsea Officials Endorse Pressley Ayanna Pressley

Six Chelsea city officials endorsed Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley’s candidacy for U.S. Congress at a campaign event last Thursday night at the Mystic Brewery.

City Councillors Damali Vidot, Jamir Rodriguez, and Enio Lopez and School Committee members Lucia Henriquez, Kelly Garcia, and Julio Hernandez each praised Pressley in separate speeches stating their endorsement.

Vidot, who has been a force in Chelsea politics since being elected as a councillor-at-large in her first run for citywide office, said she embraced Pressley’s candidacy from the beginning.

“From the moment I found out Ayanna was running, I was on board,” said Vidot. “The reason I’m supporting her is because I follow politics very closely and I have seen the work she’s done on the Boston City Council advocating for families and for girls. The way she has been able to lead, so authentically and gracefully and not allow anything to interfere with the work she has been able to get accomplished, it’s just magical for me.”

Vidot said people in Chelsea are enthusiastic about Pressley and welcome her positive energy. “The people are loving her. They love her message. She’s real. There’s a whole different energy. We have such a diverse group of people that are supporting her.”

The endorsement event followed a second campaign reception earlier that drew a large crowd at Tu Casa Restaurant on Broadway. Saritin Rizzuto organized the gathering and was pleased with the sizable turnout of supporters.

“My friend, your advocate, and our candidate for the Seventh District congressional seat ,” said Rizzuto in an enthusiastic introduction of Pressley.

Pressley thanked her many supporters at Tu Casa.

“As I look out at all of you, I’m overwhelmed – and my heart is so full,” said Pressley. “Chelsea from the very beginning – you have been so very good to me.”

Pressley is challenging incumbent Michael Capuano in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary in the Seventh Congressional District.

Read More

Shark Week is Back

Shark Week is Back

Ocean animals don’t always draw national attention, but once every year, they become a media sensation. That time of the year is back. First aired on July 17, 1988, Shark Week returned to Discovery Channel this week to celebrate its 30-year anniversary.

The 10-show lineup launched with a bang on Sunday, starring the week’s host Shaquille O’Neal and UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey, among others. O’Neal made headlines, when a small shark entered the former NBA star’s protective cage, forcing him to get pulled out of the water.

Shark Week will have featured 26 shows in all, when the two-hour special of Naked and Afraid of Sharks run on Sunday, July 29.

But as visibility of white sharks have seemingly increased in recent years, one must wonder if sharks are as great a threat as Shark Week makes them out to be.

“Shark Week has gotten much better in terms of their science content around [sharks], but as is common to most media and TV, their promotions of it often still promotes the idea of sharks as being dangerous or a threat,” said Tony LaCasse, of the New England Aquarium. “We play on the fear aspect that most people have of large predators.”

People should still be careful around sharks, but the likelihood of a fatal shark attack is fairly uncommon, LaCasse said. In fact, the last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts happened in 1936; the last non-fatal shark attack was in 2014, when two kayakers safely escaped a great white shark that bit their boats.

His biggest tip on cautionary measures against sharks? “If you’re swimming in the outer cape, and you see a seal in the water, get out of the water,” LaCasse said. “That’s going to minimize the chance that you have an accident.”

LaCasse said New England has always been home to a small population of white sharks, but with seals under the protection of the U.S. federal law, population of seals, the preferred prey of white sharks, have increased drastically in areas including Chatham and Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

“Over time, all those white sharks [Massachusetts has] that were dispersed throughout New England are concentrating around the elbow of Cape Cod because that’s where their food is,” LaCasse said of the increased visibility of the white sharks.

“If you’re going to the outer cape, the thing that hurts most people are other people,” LaCasse said.

This won’t be the only time this summer will feature sharks on air, as The Meg will be released in theaters on August 10. The film is based on Steve Alten’s 1997 science-fiction novel, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror.

The film features Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson and Ruby Rose. Despite the name’s similarity, The Meg is unrelated to the 2004 horror Megalodon or the Megashark franchise.

Read More

Is This Really America?

Is This Really America?

The national disgrace that is occurring at our southern border is something that we never could have imagined happening in the United States of America.

The images of children separated from their parents and locked behind chain link fences evokes the worst horrors of the 20th century —  the concentration camps and gulags to which millions of people were consigned by the very worst dictatorial regimes.

For almost 250 years, America has been not merely a place, but an ideal for the proposition that all men are created equally and that every person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In less than a few days’ time however, the principles that Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers so eloquently, yet simply, put into words in the Declaration of Independence have been destroyed.

The justification for what, by any standards of decency, amounts to an inhumane policy resembles a classic case of reductio ad absurdum.

The New York Times columnist David Brooks (who is a conservative writer) put it this way in his analysis of the language that is being used when they talk about the situation:

“This is what George Orwell noticed about the authoritarian brutalists: They don’t use words to illuminate the complexity of reality; they use words to eradicate the complexity of reality.”

If we say nothing then basically we are telling these families and their children that they are getting what they deserve. If separating people into metal cages is okay, then what does that say about our society and ourselves.

Read More

Residency Ordinance for Police, Fire Hires Holds Firm at Council

Residency Ordinance for Police, Fire Hires Holds Firm at Council

A last ditch effort by Councillor Roy Avellaneda to reverse the new police and fire residency ordinance successfully passed by Councillor Giovanni Recupero failed on Monday night, June 4, in a close vote.

It represented seven years of twists and turns for Recupero’s number one issue and one that has been before the Council in several forms about a dozen times.

On Monday, the victory came in a narrow defeat of Avellaneda’s proposal, 5-6, which allowed the proposal to become the new law.

Those voting to keep the residency ordinance were Councillors Damali Vidot, Enio Lopez, Bob Bishop, Luis Tejada, Joe Perlatonda and Recupero – a one vote margin of victory.

Those voting to reconsider and repeal the ordinance were Councillors Yamir Rodriguez, Calvin Brown, Avellaneda, Leo Robinson and Judith Garcia.

“This is a good thing,” said Recupero. “It’s something the citizens of Chelsea wanted and I’ve fought for it for seven years solid. Now the councillors wanted it too. I think it’s good for the City and for the people. The police and fire can live in the neighborhood and understand the people and the people can understand them and respect them. The young men and women of the city will relate to them because they live in the same community.”

The matter will apply to anyone hired in the Police or Fire Department after July 31, 2018. It will require them to live in Chelsea for five years after starting on the job. After five years, they can move out of the city if they choose.

The negative came in that to get the measure, it had to become a collective bargaining issue. That meant that the entire Police and Fire Departments would get a raise in order to include the new condition in their contracts. Even those for whom the measure doesn’t apply will get additional pay to accept the new condition.

“Hey, it’s good for those on the department too,” said Recupero. “They’re all going to get a raise, but we’re going to get new officers that want to live in Chelsea.”

Councillor Leo Robinson said he was against the measure because of the cost. He said he was once in favor of residency, but that changed when he learned about the collective bargaining costs.

“The bottom line is you have 40 police living in the city and 26 firefighters right now,” he said. “ When we have to go and negotiate with the union that means 110 police and 96 firefighters get raises. That’s $200,000 we’ll have to give them. I think it’s foolish to do. They think it’s a great thing. You have Bob Bishop voting against the budget because he says it out of control and then he votes for this without knowing what it costs.”

Read More

New and Improved Chelsea Art Walk Ready to Premiere This Weekend

New and Improved Chelsea Art Walk Ready to Premiere This Weekend

The Chelsea Art Walk has re-booted and will host multiple events this summer under the Art Walk banner instead of having one big day, said coordinator Joe Greene.

The first event this year will take place this Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, from noon-6 p.m.

The first event will be titled ‘Playing in the Garden’ and will be focused at the Chelsea Community Garden, 130 Ellsworth St., and will also feature a Pop Up Art Show at the Pearl Street Gallery, 100 Pearl St. – which is only a few blocks from the Garden. (open between 2-6 p.m.)

“Instead of having everything on one weekend, we have decided to spread it out,” Greene said. “A lot of our members work the event. So, the 20 or 30 working the garden wouldn’t get to see the play and the people at the music show can’t go to the gallery. It also takes the pressure off having to get everything done at once.”

Greene said they have a manager who has been hired to coordinate the re-booted event, Angelina McCoy and two new folks at the Garden helping too – the Gaspar family.

Meanwhile, Dan Cortez will be coordinating the music and theatrical event, which will be titled Fiesta Verano and will take place later, on June 23.

“We did things all at once for eight or nine years and it worked great, but it was really difficult,” Greene said. “If someone worked at the event, they missed all of it. So, we have repositioned it.”

Read More