It’s spring. I think.
There are two spring traditions that occur in my old home town: one old and one not so.
I grew up on the Mississippi River – no, not on a raft like Huck Finn, but in one of the many small towns on either side.
The one I grew up in, on the Wisconsin side (the other side being Minnesota), had a population of 287 when I was born.
Now it is 285.
But for one Saturday, each spring, the population increases by thousands ….
In full leather….
The small towns, all up and down the river, were so grateful they offered free food and beer (it is Wisconsin, after all) in thanks.
The bikers, their friends and offspring, have been back every year since – and every town has a ‘beer tent’ and barbecue for them….although, with all of the cops around now (not to mention the yuppie bikers wearing Gucci and toting Prada) there may be a bit of bottled water consumed, as well.
When I was young it would be 40 or 50 bikes.
Two years ago, the last time I was there for it, driving along the river was next to impossible: in one 8 mile stretch between towns, I faced, driving, one continuous line of bikers (mainly Harley’s) staggered (not quite side by side, but close) the entire way.
In the towns the bikes were parked liked sardines as far as one could see in both directions (river towns only have 2 directions….).
It has gotten to be quite the legitimate event, raising money for the Gillette Children’s Hospital, but, with all of these ‘boys and their toys’ it seems like more of an opportunity to see whose is biggest….
The run goes down the Wisconsin side of the river some 120 miles, then crosses over to return on the Minnesota side. It’s a beautiful drive at any time of year and the locals in the small towns make the most of it, with gift shops, antique shops, ice cream stands and anything else to make a few dollars cropping up like dandelions (spring, and all that).
The other big event, slightly less old is the “100 mile garage sale” (boot sale, rummage sale, whatever….one person’s junk is another’s treasure). Everyone on both sides of the river is invited to participate: put your
junk stuff on a table, slap a price tag on it and prepare to do some serious haggling.
For this it’s cars and pick-up trucks that line the roads (no room on a bike for the, er, treasures) as the folks from the ‘Cities’ (Minneapolis and St. Paul) drive down the river road in search of the undiscovered prizes (like the Van Gogh that the locals thought was so ugly they had it in their chicken shed blocking a window…or was it a Renoir?).
Here, in the Vendée we’re still struggling to get past the rain.
The grill is sitting on the covered walk.
On nice nights it gets used.
On other nights, we move back to the kitchen. This was meant to be grilled sausages with roasted peppers.
I can’t complain, though. It turned into a wonderful cross between a salad and a winter pasta. I’ll keep it! And share it with Ruth, for Presto Pasta Nights.
Check out Once Upon a Feast, on Friday, to get all the yummy pastas.
Warm Pasta Salad with Peppers and Sausage
1 1/4 cups bite-sized pasta
sausages, any flavor, 10 – 12oz (300gr)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs red wine
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs whole grain mustard
1/3 cup shredded cheese
2 tbs fresh marjoram leaves
Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain.
Slice pepper into long strips, then cut strips in half. Slice onion. Heat 2 tbs oil in large, nonstick skillet. Add onions, peppers and sauté for 10 minutes, until starting to get tender. Cut sausages into 1″ (2.5cm) lengths and add to skillet. Sauté until cooked through. In a small bowl whisk together the wine, Worcestershire, vinegar and mustard. When sausages are cooked and pasta is done and drained, add the wine mix to the skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine, then remove from heat. Add pasta and herbs, stir well. Put into a large pasta or salad bowl, sprinkle with cheese and serve.
This would go pretty well with a couple of beers, wouldn’t it?
Maybe I could sell it to some of those bikers – the ones with the long gray pony-tails…
And those are the guys….
Yes, yes, it’s another re-post…..it’s been a frazzled day….Not the recipe – that’s new…