Monday, October 5, 2015

Cresco, Iowa: Biking Friends and Ratatouille

After Doug handed in his PC on Friday, there were no tears as he fired up the Wildebeest who spent the day in IBM's parking lot. After a short panic (from Chris) over the air suspension system not working, Doug flipped a few buttons and, like magic, she rose up! Was it Chris' prayers or Doug's skill? Not sure, but we know that we are certainly going to need a little of both as we are ready to hit the road!

Our first stop was only 1 1/2 hours away from Rochester, but it was the RIGHT direction...SOUTH! Cresco, Iowa is the new home of our dear biking buddies, Dennis and Elaine.

 Since Elaine is the pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cresco, the Wildebeest enjoyed a "holy" parking spot next to their rig on the church lot.

We got an even better deal when we enjoyed the "spacious" and "warm" guest room during our first three nights "on the road". The bicycling quilt was handmade by Elaine...she is so multi-talented!

On Saturday, they had organized an Oktoberfest bike ride on the Prairie Farmer Bike Trail and a delicious Oktoberfest-themed meal afterwards. So wonderful to visit with dear biking buddies who came down for the ride from Rochester!

The age-old question: Do people bike because they love to eat, or do they eat because they love to bike? 

Regardless of the true answer, we enjoyed some wonderful food. Which brings me to the "bonus" part of this blog entry...You get the recipe for a classic harvest-time recipe!


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 small bay leaf
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into slivers
4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
Parmesan Cheese
Cooked Rice
  1. Over medium-low heat, add the oil to a large skillet with the onion, garlic, and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until the eggplant has softened. Stir in the zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, red wine vinegar and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the basil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve over rice.

After a wonderful ride, meal and visit with great friends, we shared our "till we meet again"...
"good byes" are too hard!

Spent Saturday evening photographing the beautiful stained glass windows and artwork at Immanuel Lutheran Church,

... capturing the beauty of the small town of Cresco.

.... and giving their beautiful poodle, Guinan, plenty of attention.

Thank you, Dennis and Elaine, for opening up your beautiful home to us...It is always a WONDERFUL treat to experience to the warmth and love of family and friends!

Until next time...Enjoy the daily adventures in your lives!

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