I have over a half dozen recipes typed out and ready to post, but I haven't felt like I had anything to write about- diary-wise- until today. Now I feel like I have all too much stuff to write about, but allow me to go back a little more than a week ago...
Around noon on a Tuesday I get a phone call from my best friends. He suggests I sit down and then tells me that his father had passed away. I've been fortunate to have lost very few people in my life- a great aunt who died of cancer, my grandmother to Alzheimers, and an uncle to cancer. All three had terminal illness that allowed me to come to terms with their mortality months- or even years- before they passed. That's not to say that it was easy, but I've never gone to bed one evening thinking all was well and woken up the next to a loss. My friend's dad was young- just 52. Nobody could argue that he was in the best health, but I don't think anybody expected him to die. I've known him since I was five or six years old. I remember playing Nintendo with my friend and him. The original Nintendo. He was my present age when I first met him. I remember playing Monopoly with his new family when he remarried, and I remember him getting pissed at me for always trying to cash in my smaller bills for hundreds and five-hundreds. I remember the German Chocolate Cake he made for my friend's 16th birthday, and I can't count the number of times I was hanging out with my friend when he called to see how his son was doing.
The funeral was yesterday. It was nice. He was cremated and buried in my friend's mom's family's ranch cemetery. Everybody thought it was what he would've wanted, and I agree. It was very nice, and I couldn't help but cry. I spoke at the funeral as someone who didn't know him terribly well, but know his son better than almost anyone. I love that family like I love my own. My friend's blessed with many good friends who accompanied him to the funeral. I'm grateful for their presence, and I know he was, too. One of them, one of the goofiest people I know, missed the back three loops of his belt. I noticed it while my friend's sister was speaking about her dad, and I couldn't help but laugh. Apparently someone tied his tie four or five years ago and he hasn't retied it since. He's a perfect friend to take to a funeral. Also, I need to give a shout-out to my girlfriend for coming with us. She's truly amazing; comforted my friend, comforted me, help drive, and is just all around fantastic.
I'll let that be the transition to something much happier. I was grabbing a drink with my roommate today at the Flying Saucer when we got a call from a mutual friend to tell us he just got engaged. I won't be able to do justice to this milestone tonight- maybe not ever- but he's a lucky guy: his fiancee is brilliant, incredibly pretty, and suites him ridiculously well. He's always done a good job picking girlfriends, but this one is special, and I'm so happy for them.
Anyway, in terms of meals... apparently this sauce has been floating around the internet for years, always getting excellent reviews for being so simple and so delicious. I tried it and everyone's right. It may be the best pasta sauce I've every had. Make it. Make it now! I found the recipe here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/01/tomato-sauce-with-butter-and-onions/.
Oh, and at the funeral (always a good segway), one of my friends suggested I check out the new Justin Timberlake album, The 20/20 Experience. I'm listening to it now; it's incredible.
Best Pasta Sauce I've Ever Had
28 oz can San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes
5 tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 medium Onion cut in Half
Salt to Taste
Heat Tomatoes with Butter and Onion and bring to a simmer. So about the Onion--- cut it in half and drop it in the sauce cut-side down. Do not do anything else with it. Stir frequently and crush Tomatoes as they cook. If you have an immersion blender, feel free to use it to get a smoother texture. If you do not, mash to your heart's content or enjoy a chunkier, yet still delicious sauce. After 45 minutes, remove the Onion.* I served the sauce over Central Market's Organic Gemelli Pasta and added shredded Parmesan Cheese.
*Unlike most cooking n00bs, pro rampers would not throw away the Onion. Rather, they would cut it and serve it on bread. I ate the entire Onion for breakfast the next morning. That was probably a little too much Onion, but boy oh boy was it good!