Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Minutemen and Nonna

On Sunday, H and I went for a long walk on our favorite trail which is just a 15 minute drive from Cambridge out to Lexington. This trail is actually part of the Minuteman National Historic Park. Somehow, years ago, some wise person had the idea to preserve the old road that some of the key initial battles of the American Revolution took place on. And I'm so glad! This is one place in America where you can take a long walk into nature while at the same time tread on some pretty historic sites. And it doesn't hurt that it's gorgeous too. This park is by far one of my favorite places in New England so I'm excited to show you. Unfortunately I forgot my camera AGAIN but the Blackberry pictures are okay..not great but they will give you an idea.

H poses near a historic marker. There are great kiosk displays throughout the park describing what happened at that point or other interesting information.

The National Park Service is actually restoring this land to a working farm as it was during revolutionary times. I've heard rumors that a CSA will be formed from the produce grown here. How cool is that?!!

Old farmhouses dot the trail. Some are still occupied and have farm shares, some staffed, some pay on the honor system. But many are empty, either restored by the park service to their original state or waiting for restoration.

We didn't go far enough for me to take pictures this time but some of the renovated houses are open to the public so you can step inside a colonial house to see what it's like. It wasn't glamorous and it was dark even in daylight. The park service does several programs a year with rangers in period costume, some with working muskets!

The trail goes through several marshes. There are boardwalks. These are my favorite parts of the trail. During the hot summer months, stepping onto the boardwalk a few steps into the marsh, you'll notice 5-10 degree temperature drop..I've never quite understood why but it's really interesting to experience!

Wasn't Ben Franklin vegetarian at one point? I thought I read that somewhere..

Fields of gold..yup, busted. I'm a secret Sting fan...

I forgot the name of this flower..it's beautiful and in a few weeks, the marshes will be blooming with purple and pink. Unfortunately, it's an invasive non-native species. It's sort of like a big, blond beauty queen who beats up the other contestants (aka other plants) so she can win the competition..or so I'm told. I met someone recently who spent a summer pulling these weeds out of local marshes. For fun. Really.

There be lil' fishies in here too..and funny little crabs that move sideways..

In colonial times, these open spaces would have been hay fields.

Tiger lillies..my grandma would have loved this spot! They were her favorites and I'm kinda partial to them too. They will always remind me of summer.

Old stone walls run throughout the park. These must be close to 350 years old. That's "wicked" ancient for North America!

And finally, some pretty wild flowers for my special "somebodies"..my little sweeties at home...

Yes, I mean my goos. They love nibbling on clover blossoms and wildflowers. Could they get any cuter???

And finally, some food pictures. First, I have a confession to make. I'm a cookbook junkie (that's not the confession) and I'm a very shallow one. I judge a book by a cover. I blame it on my past life as a graphic designer but man, it steers me wrong. I almost completely missed Nonna's Italian Kitchen by Bryanna Clark Grogan because, well, it's got an ugly cover in my not so humble opinion. I know, I know..silly shallow thoughts! This should teach me a lesson because I have been missing out on the BEST VEGAN CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM EVER! Seriously, this stuff is so amazing. I know I raved about the Vegan Scoop, and it is truly a great book but the recipes call for stuff I don't usually have in the house, like Soy Creamer. I don't drink coffee so I just don't have the stuff in the house. Bryanna, however, makes her ice cream from stuff I do. Almond milk, agave, maple syrup, cocoa powder, cashew...check, check check. And this recipe tastes so good, has good texture and best of all, doesn't freeze rock solid. It's actually soft when I go to scoop some out of the container in the fridge! I added almond extract..Bryanna does say that adding alcohol to your mixture will keep the ice cream softer. Whatever the reason, I love this stuff! I added toasted almonds to the top. Think vegan gelato..that's the best way I can describe this stuff.

Her pizza dough recipe was easy to whip up. Used half for a swiss chard sicilian pie...

And the other half for a veggie pizza. Really good..low in fat too..what a plus (so I don't have to be!)..

And she solved my fennel dilemma with a delicious fennel orange salad (with a little focaccia from Whole Foods).

Have I learned my lesson about judging a cookbook by its cover? Sadly probably not (I'm such a sucker for packaging)..but I am definitely buying Nonna's Italian Kitchen since this copy was a just a loaner from the libary!


Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Your walk photos are lovely! What a terrific way to spend a day.

Of course, the food looks really good, too!

HayMarket8 said...

That looks like a really nice walk. Your stories and pictures make me miss New England. I grew up in Maine but have lived in Boston and Portsmouth as well. This is the type of year I am sad to live in the south...

Mihl said...

What a beautiful park! It could also be somewhere in Germany, the vegetation here looks so similar.
I know what you mean about food stuff! I an so used to making things from scratch that I am always a little bit dissapointed when recipes cal for processed foods (especially if they are not available here...).

Jes said...

Crazy about your grandfather's bean pot!

The goos are uber adorable with the wildflower nibbles!

Anonymous said...

Awesome walk! Is the pink flower mallo(w)? Must.get.ice.cream.maker. yum!

Spice Island Vegan said...

Definitely buy NONNA! It is well worth it. I have a signed cookbook (signed by Bryanna_and 've been using it a lot. I made risotto, farinata, lasagna, VEGAN TIRAMISU, crepes, etc. etc. I even met Bryanna when she had a 5-day vegan cooking school back in 2004. That's when I learned how to make seitan. She lives in a tiny island called Denman Island near Vancouver Island. Very nice place to live and it is unique, too! I had great memories of that cooking vacation with her. I'll do it again if she is willing to do it again. I have all of her 7 cookbooks.
wiki about rambutan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan
In Indonesia, we pick them ripe so may be better sweeter than the ones you tried.