Ride with the 40

Since my first forays into the blogging world at the age of 14—back when the most important thing in my life was whether or not that cute boy in class liked me or if the Lakers won so that my dad would let me attend our teenage versions of Studio 54—I very rarely strayed from writing about my own personal memories, gripes, musings… & most recently food obsessions. This post, however, is about something much more substantial and infinitely more meaningful.

Ride with the 40, a cross-country motorcycle ride originating in 2009, is a living and moving memorial aimed at honoring the heroic actions of the passengers on United Flight No. 93. The trip will complete the route that the original flight was scheduled to take on September 11, 2001 from Newark Liberty International Airport to San Francisco International Airport.

The first RW40 was conceived and executed in 2009 by Ken Nacke and others who lost loved ones on Flight 93. Starting with six core riders, they were later joined by hundreds of motorcyclists, raising over $125,000 for the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The Ride continues to expand its scope in 2010 and 2011. On each of the eight legs of the 3,250-mile ride, 40 registered motorcyclists will ride in the name of one of the 40 heroes of Flight 93. With the help of a documentary team, expanded site and mobile apps, the nation will follow their efforts.

The fundraising goal for RW40 2010 is $1 million. The Families of Flight 93 (FOF93), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, are working in coordination with the National Park Service to help build the memorial, renew the historic landscape, and promote a deeper understanding of the events of September 11. Dedication of the Memorial is scheduled to take place on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001.

They are currently only $5k short of their goal. If you would like to donate to this impressive and admiral event, please visit www.RideWithThe40.org. You can also find further information on ways to donate, volunteer and even participate as a rider on their Fact Sheet.

The initial test ride will be happening in a few short days. If you’d like to follow the event’s two test dummies on their cross-county trip, visit their blog here.

Maraming salamat for any help you guys can give. ♥

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hungry? make some pasta.

It’s almost time for lunch, so why not a post about food.

I tried this dish a few weeks ago based solely on the fact that I happened to have zucchini, mushrooms and basil on hand. It was simple, light and most of all delicious.

Zucchini & mushroom pasta with white wine, lemon and basil sauce

I’ve never been very good at exact measurements when it comes to cooking but here’s a list of the ingredients I used. If you want to recreate this dish, you’ll have to try and do it from your own tastes. I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to go to the market so I used whatever I had in my kitchen (save the white wine which I bought from a store a block from my apartment).

Ingredients:
Olive oil (I use extra virgin)
Yellow onion (if I had shallots that night, I would have used them instead)
Garlic
Portobello mushrooms
Zucchini
Basil
Lemon juice
White wine (dry: I ended up using one that had a nuttier flavoring which I think paired well with the zucchini & mushrooms)
Parmesean
Pasta (your choice)

I started by cooking the pasta separately and removing it as soon as it was al dente. Once the pasta was cooked I drained it and ran cold water over it to keep it from sticking.

To prep for the sauce, I sliced the zucchini into thin rounds (you can do it julienned if you prefer), sliced the onion into thin rings, thinly sliced the mushrooms, and minced the garlic (thin is obviously the trend here). I then heated some olive oil in a wok (mainly because I like cooking in a wok, but a large skillet is probably the most conventional) over medium heat and added the onion and garlic until the garlic was slightly browned and the onion was limp.

Once the garlic and onion were cooked to my liking, I added the mushrooms and sautéed (maybe about 2-3 minutes), then added the zucchini until it was softened (about 5 minutes). While the zucchini was cooking I cut the basil (about 2 or so handfuls) into chiffonade (you can also do this during prep work… I just forgot). After the zucchini had softened enough, I added the white wine (about 1 cup), basil, and lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons) to the pan and let the wine reduce until the sauce had thickened a bit. Once the sauce was at a good consistency (again, this is going to depend on a person’s preference), I added about 1/4 cup of parmesan and let cook for about 2 minutes (you know it’s ready when the cheese has melted and the sauce is a bit thicker).

I then added the pasta, tossed, plated and garnished with some basil. ♥

I’m also always a fan of having a glass of the wine you used in your sauce (which is why I never buy “cooking” wines) hence the wine glass in the picture.

Sorry that I suck at giving measurements but if you guys try it, let me know how it turns out!

And now that I’m thoroughly hungry… off to grub!

Conjecture: Colons & the Revitalization of the Pinky Finger

As a frequent user of the colon in all of my daily writing—general work, texts, twitters, emails and blog posts—I found this article both amusing & fascinating. It’s funny: I never realized that the colon was once on the decline.

“It is sad to think people are no longer learning how to use the colon…” muses grammarian Lynne Truss in Eats, Shoots and Leaves, “not least because, in this supreme QWERTY keyboard era, the little finger of the human right hand, deprived of its traditional function, may eventually dwindle and drop off from disuse.”

In “Colonoscopy: It’s Time to Check Your Colons“, writer Conor J. Dillon lists the standard textbook usages of the colon: the lister (the one I’m employing now), the talker, the natural extension and the juxtaposer. He then goes on to describe and name the new colon: the jumper (Oh my! I just used the natural extension).

For grammarians, it’s a dependent clause + colon + just about anything, incorporating any and all elements of the other four colons, yet differing crucially in that its pre-colon segment is always a dependent clause.

(Yikes.)

For everyone else: its usefulness lies in that it lifts you up and into a sentence you never thought you’d be reading by giving you a compact little nugget of information prior to the colon and leaving you on the hook for whatever comes thereafter, often rambling on until the reader has exhausted his/her theoretical lung capacity and can continue to read no longer.

(Breathe.)

See how fast that goes? The jumper colon is a paragraphical Red Bull, a rocket-launch of a punctuator, the Usain Bolt of literature. It’s punchy as hell. To believers of short first sentences–Hemingway?–it couldn’t get any better. To believers of long-winded sentences that leave you gasping and slightly confused–Faulkner?–it also couldn’t get any better. By itself this colon is neither a period nor a non-period… or rather it is a period and it is also a non-period. You choose.

He then goes on to theorize the reasons for this colon renaissance in which he credits emoticons as well as “compression typing” via twitter, texting and the like.

So for all my grammar lovers, literary buffs, writer friends or for those who are just bored & enjoy a good article: read it. If anything, it makes you aware of how many times a day that little pinky on your right hand gets a work out.

Trust me: it’s probably a lot.

toxic.

I’ve gotten myself addicted to a remix of Britney Spears’ Toxic. It’s eerily beautiful and the singer, Yael Naim, has a quality about her voice that’s just so damn sexy. It’s pretty much the hottest song I’ve heard in quite a while. I can’t imagine anyone not getting all hot & bothered after listening to it.

There’s also a dubstep version of her cover which is just as good though it’s more dance floor and the other is more bedroom, lol—

I might just have to dust off the ol’ freakumdress tonight. Damn.

an interesting curiosity.

I was talking to my wise-beyond-her-years, little sister today and she brought up a very good point : there is a big difference between curiosity and actual interest.

I’ve been single now for over two years. For those who don’t know, prior to those two years I was in a long and loving 7-year relationship with my high school sweetheart. We parted ways for several reasons that I would rather keep private, but one thing is for sure, he was my first and only boyfriend in the 24+ years I’ve been living and breathing in this world.

Now that I’ve actually experienced what it’s like to “date” I can say with a certainty that though it’s not as bad as some say, it’s definitely not a walk in the park. I never really thought about the whys and whats that make single life (especially in a large city) so complicated and messy until she brought up the simple idea that a lot of people confuse their curiosity for real interest.

I’ve been in so many situations where I was really “just curious” and not so much interested in pursuing something other than a few meet-ups and then a “see-ya-later” with this guy or that guy or whomever. And then I’ve had about a handful of scenarios in which I played the other role and unfortunately, that other role can really suck.

But that’s just it. I don’t think most people realize when all they’re pursuing is a curiosity and that the person on the other side just might be mistaking that curiosity for a genuine interest in something more… more what? Stable… real… not-just-sex?

Who knows?

I do think, however that when there’s an honest (& balanced) interest on both sides, the complications should fade and the stupid and bothersome rules of dating that I try to avoid like waiting for the right time to call… or not asking someone out… or having to play aloof would be completely unnecessary. I’d also hope that this situation would result in a natural relationship in which that irksome “conversation” would never have to occur.

Ugh… “The Conversation”. It’s so irksome, I don’t even want to blog about it.

Goodnight folks. See you when the sun comes up.

Food[ie].

I’ve recently become addicted to Apartment Therapy‘s sister blog called The Kitchn. The website not only posts great recipes, but also decorative ideas for holidays, quick meals for the busy nine-to-fiver, and new product suggestions to not only make cooking easier but also—for those who enjoy the pure aesthetic of food—products to pretty-up your meals before you devour them. It also takes questions from the website’s community forums and posts them on the blog to collect answers from its readers.

I recently tried their recipe for a homemade thin crust pizza. I’ve made pizza in the past but usually via the stove top as I’ve never found a recipe that didn’t tout the benefits of using a pizza stone (I still plan on buying one eventually but until I’m making pizzas on the daily, I can’t justify the purchase). This recipe did call for a pizza stone, but I thought what the heck, it’s thin… it can’t be that bad if I don’t use one. I was right! The pizza turned out pretty well.

The recipe called for the following ingredients :

3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Unfortunately, I didn’t have all-purpose flour so I used bread flour instead and sifted it a few times before using it for the dough. I also minced 1 clove of garlic and added it to the mix. For sauce I kept it simple—one tablespoon of melted butter with another minced clove of garlic and spread onto the dough before baking. I baked the dough with the sauce at 500ºF for 5 minutes then took out the pizza turned it and added sliced tomatoes and basil then mozzarella, asiago and parmesan cheeses. Another 5 minutes and voilà, pizza done. I took it out, left it on a rack to cool for another 5 minutes (longest of my life) before digging in. It was delicious.

I also cooked my tried and true chicken marsala recipe over the weekend. Ang sarap naman din! I got the original recipe from AllRecipes.com a long, long time ago and since then I’ve tweeked it to make it a little less caloric.

The original recipe is as follows :

1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup cooking sherry

I used bread flour again since I didn’t have all-purpose on hand and it was far too hot to go outside. I also got rid of the butter and used 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil as opposed to 4. I doubled the mushrooms and added 2 cups of marsala wine and 1 cup of cooking sherry so that I would have extra sauce for the pasta. Once the chicken was finished, I removed it from the pan and added a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. I usually also sauté green beans and shallots for a side dish but I was a bit lazy. Still, it turned out pretty well.

And soon I need to buy a blender. I’d like to make pesto this week.

Oh how I love summertime cooking.