Seeing the sites in Italy: old story; new recipe….
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's 285.
On a Saturday in May, the population increases by thousands of people, in full leather, riding Harley's.
It's the Flood Run.
The Flood Run is an annual event, commemorating the devastating flood of '65, when a group of bikers came to the little villages on the Mississippi, below Lake Pepin, to help sandbag the shore.
The small towns up and down the riverbanks were so appreciative that they offered free food and beer (it is Wisconsin, after all) in thanks.
The bikers have been back every year since – and every town has a 'beer tent' and barbecue for them….although, with all of the cops around these days, there may be some bottled water consumed, as well. And it's no longer free.
When I was young it would be 40 or 50 bikes.
A few years ago, when I was there, driving along the river was next to impossible: in the 8 mile stretch between Nelson and Pepin it was one continuous line of bikers (mainly Harley's) staggered (not quite side by side, but close) the entire way.
In little Nelson the bikes were parked liked sardines as far as one could see in both directions going out of town.
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 are make the most of nature, with gift shops, antique shops, ice cream stands and anything else to make a few dollars cropping up like dandelions (spring, and all that).
So no one gets left out, on another weekend in May, there 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.
Then it's cars and pick-up trucks that line the roads (no room on a bike for the goodies) 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 ugly so had it in their chicken shed blocking a window…or was it a Renoir?).
This is spring in the Midwest – when the frozen north finally thaws.
There may be some steaks on the barby….
We get a cut called a 'faux filet' – I have no idea why it's called that… I think it would be the equivalent of a sirloin, but use any steak suitable for your budget and for grilling. If you slice the steak, at an angle, even a tougher cut is delicious – and they usually have more flavor!
16oz (500gr) sirloin or top round (suitable for grilling)
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs olive oil
Combine ketchup, Worcestershire, vinegar, oil, garlic and oregano. Spoon on both sides if steak and allow to marinate for 15 – 30 minutes.
Cook steak on barbecue grill over direct heat for 5 – 9 minutes per side – or until done – 140F (60C) for rare. Use thumb test, meat thermometer or, as last resort, by slicing into center and looking. When done, remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice at an angle about 1/2 inch thick (1.25cm) and serve.
Is there anything better is summer than steak from the barbecue?