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Archives for January 2014

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Super Bowl Boulevard is Open

If you know New York City, you know it’s got energy and excitement all its own but with the first Super Bowl in 42 years just four days away, the buzz is even more palpable. 

Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets has been transformed into a pedestrian-only thoroughfare, called Super Bowl Boulevard, where football fans who have registered, can join in the revelry which started on Wednesday.

Even though I love the parties and the commercials, I never got into American football. Learning 30-odd years ago that the football that I grew up watching in Jamaica, and playing recreationally, wasn’t the same game that’s played here made me lose interest, I think. But walking through midtown on Monday, I couldn’t dismiss the excitement in the air over the match up between two stellar teams – the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.

So despite the cold – it was in the 20s when I left yesterday morning and with the wind chill, it felt like 8 F — I grabbed my camera, bundled up as warmly as I could and headed out to Super Bowl Boulevard.

Though it wasn’t as windy as the previous day, I knew I should limit the time I left my fingers exposed so I switched the settings on my I set my camera to automatic and started snapping quickly, trying to get in as many shots as possible. I did fine for about 10 minutes, then the cold began to chill my fingers. Note to self: need to find thin and warm gloves.

At least I could move around or go into a store to get warm up. The crew that will be managing the Boulevard will be out in the open working 12-hour days. And the people who have to stand on line to register for all-access passes can’t move around or they’d lose their place. Still, it’s no fun when your fingers are so cold you can’t sense the shutter button. 

Are you ready for some football? 

Linking to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

Super Snacks for this Sunday’s Super Bowl

If you’re in Manhattan this week, it’s difficult to ignore the increased activity in the city as New York and New Jersey get ready to host this year’s Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Super Bowl was not on my mind as I walked through midtown yesterday but as I got to Bryant Park, I noticed trailers and work crews. At first, I thought they were preparing to shoot a movie or television show. But as I approached Broadway, I knew it had to be the Super Bowl.

Work crews had erected barricades which blocked off Broadway from 34th to 47th Streets, creating a pedestrian-only thoroughfare that I found out later goes by the temporary name, Super Bowl Boulevard. They had also started installing giant television screens and stages for performances.

The whipping up of the winds reminded me of the prediction that the temperature would dropped significantly from the morning’s balmy 40 degrees to the 20s. As I hurried to the subway, I thought about the weekend’s forecast and the thousands of football fans who’d be watching the game from these giant screens on Super Bowl Boulevard, those who’d be sitting in the uncovered stadium and the players who’d be playing outside.

If the predictions hold, it’ll be a cold weekend — the first time the Super Bowl will be played outdoors in a cold environment. So as I settled into my seat for the ride home, I began thinking about the kinds of snacks I’d prepare if I had to host a Super Bowl party.

Whether we get the snow and 20 degree temperatures is anyone’s guess. Either way, it’s still winter so my super snacks will be warming, filling, tasty and most importantly, can be all prepared ahead of time.

I’d keep a pot of chicken soup on a low flame and ladle it out as guests arrive. Then I’d have jerk chicken wings, ackee and saltfish bruschetta, Festival, spinach or vegetable cocktail patties, stewed peas (meatless), roast pork, coleslaw, and macaroni and cheese. For dessert, I’d make a fruit cake and ambrosia, and have lots of Red Stripe beer and rum punch on hand.

Jerk Chicken Wings
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds chicken wings
  2. ½ cup Jerk Rub
  3. 1 onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, minced (optional)
  5. 1 spring fresh thyme, minced
  6. 2 scallions, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix together the jerk rub, onion, pepper, thyme and scallions. Rub mixture thoroughly into the wings. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 350°F, cook covered for 1 hour or until done. Remove the cover and let wings bake another 15-20 minutes until it turns dark in color.
  3. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat it to 225° to 250°F. Place the wings on the grill and cook, covered, for about 1 hours, turning every 5 minutes. Wings will take on a very dark color and the juices run clear when they are pierced.
  4. Serve with Festival and coleslaw.
InsideJourneys http://insidejourneys.com/
What snacks are you making for Sunday’s Super Bowl?

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Ugli, the Fruit

With its lumpy peel and lopsided shape, the UGLI® is the ugly duckling of the citrus family. But don’t let appearances sway you. The ugli proves the adage: beauty is skin deep, ugly goes to the bone, or in this case, the core.

Peel back its yellow-green skin, which is soft and surprisingly easy to remove, and the ugli reveals several light pink pegs bursting with an unusual amount of sweet and slightly tangy juice and few, sometimes no seeds.

Ugli Fruit

Ugli

The ugli is a cross between the Seville orange (which gives it its dimpled skin), the grapefruit (from which it derives its color), and the tangerine (from which it gets its loose skin), was developed by Jamaican agronomists.

Called ugli because of its appearance, the fruit was found growing wild near Browns Town in the parish of St. Ann about 90 years ago. A commercial variety was later developed. Ugli is registered under trademark and is exported to the US, UK, Canada, Scandinavia and some Eastern European countries.

The ugli has 45 calories, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 70% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.  It can last up to 6 days unrefrigerated, and a week or more in the refrigerator.

If you’re in Jamaica during the citrus season (November/December to April/May), you should ask to try the ugli. It’s not as common as its forebears and because of that, is typically more expensive.

On the other hand, you might be lucky to meet someone who’s got a tree or two in their backyard. I hope you get to try it.

Ugli is perfect for sweet and savory recipes. I’ve used it mainly in juices and fruit salads but I’d love to try this Ugli Duckling from ugli.com

UGLI® Duckling
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Ingredients
  1. 4 - 4½ lb (1.8 - 2 kg) plump duck, fresh or thawed frozen
  2. A little salt
  3. 1 medium sized UGLI® tangelo
  4. 4 tbsp Cointreau
To garnish
  1. Small bunch watercress, washed and drained
  2. 6 - 8 potatoes
Instructions
  1. Prick the duck all over with a fork. Rub a little salt into the duck skin and place on a trivet in a roasting pan.
  2. Roast for 1½ - 1¾ hours at 375 deg F (180 deg C) without basting.
  3. Meanwhile cut the skin including the pith off the UGLI® tangelo.
  4. Carefully slice the fruit into slices and cut in half. Gently poach the fruit in Cointreau for 4-5 minutes then pour the remaining juice over the duck when cooked on the serving plate.
  5. Garnish with fruit slices, watercress and Duchess or mashed potatoes.
InsideJourneys http://insidejourneys.com/
How to join the #FoodieTuesday linkup –

  • Add the link to your foodie post in the link tool at the bottom of this post
  • Leave a comment.
  • As a courtesy, please include a link back to this post.
  • Tweet, G+, Like, etc., using the hashtag #FoodieTuesday

Gingerbread Houses, Jamaica

With so many Jamaican homeowners embracing modern design, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I see gingerbread houses, especially ones that seem relatively new. Gingerbread houses probably came to Jamaica around the turn of the century.

My friend and I spotted this gingerbread house in Trelawny. We had spotted some lovely green bananas and stopped to buy a bunch. The house was directly across the street from the farmer and the minute I saw it – it was such a delight to see – I forgot why we’d stopped in the first place.

After he cut the bunch we decided on, I asked the farmer who asked the resident who graciously allowed me to take a photo. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the owner and couldn’t tell me much about the house, like the year it was built, for example. We guessed it to be about 50 years old.

Gingerbread houses

Trelawny

Another day, another drive, this time in Westmoreland. I was surprised by the number of houses I saw that had gingerbread designs.

Similar in design as the one above, this sand-dashed house has sash windows, French doors, and detailing on the eaves. Sand dashing is a process that is used to retard fire in homes made from timber.

Residential Styles:

Similar style, Westmoreland

This eye-catching house sits on the side of a hill and at a bend in the road. We had to drive slowly on the way back so I wouldn’t miss it. We called but no one came to the door and a really high gate kept us out. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t get closer but I managed to put my camera on top of the gate, and extended the lens so I could get this shot.

Residential Styles, gingerbread house

Colorful house surrounded by tropical plants

A house like this, with its wooden shingled roof, is rarely seen these days. Wooden shingles are attractive to look at and keep the home cool but are the most expensive roofing material on the market. In addition, the shingles offer no protection from fires and are very labor intensive to install. Eventually, owners exchange them for corrugated zinc, which is less expensive.

Residential Styles

Victorian house with wooden shingles

Devon House and the shops on the property have some of the most beautiful gingerbread designs. When I took these photos last July, workers were replacing the wooden shingles on the shops in the background.

Gingerbread houses, Jamaica

Shops at Devon House

 

Linking to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.