"I've found my future wife on Twitter, Jazz. Holy shit! Look at her eyes!" I shrugged over to look at G's phone. This is a typical thing that happens between us. We find an attractive person and stake virtual claim to them. So far I have three future wives and two future husbands. I usually look at whatever particular piece of eye candy G is fawning over with an incredulous attitude. I think he has awful taste. He once told me that Laura Prepon is ugly. I guess his one redeemable quality is that he is attracted to me.
I leaned over to look at his iPad and there she was. I read the handle, "@MochaMomma." Her avatar was this picture of her looking straight at the camera with these piercing mythical eyes in a blue button up. Her hand is placed under chin and her smile says, "mmmmmhmmmm." I shrugged and thought, "I bet she knows she is fine as hell, too." A couple of weeks later a package arrived for G from "Mocha Momma." G was beyond excited to win a giveaway for a hat that still gets worn, but is kept because Mocha Momma gave it to him. Soon after G discovered Mocha Momma, I met Mocha Momma at Blogher. We became fast friends. This is the magic of the internet. Your partner can happen upon a striking picture and a giveaway without even realizing that you are being introduced to your gente. That was almost four years ago, I think.
One text to Kelly letting her know I was going to be in the area, and plans for a sleepover were made. I was in town to play the last bout of our team's roller derby season. [We lost. No, I don't want to talk about it.] I spent the night nursing my bruised derby ego and looked forward to brunch with Mocha Momma and The Cuban. Sunday morning I pulled up to a beautiful yet unassuming home in Springfield, Illinois. I grabbed my stuff and walked up to the open garage where a mustached sun-baked man was feverishly focused on a project. He looked up, wiped his hands off, and extended his hand to greet me. "Hi. You probably know me as The Cuban."
She isn't Mocha Momma to me anymore and he isn't The Cuban. They are now my friends, maybe even family. We spent Sunday laughing, watching hummingbirds, exploring, eating, cooking, and listening to great music. If you had the chance to be a silent observer you'd never know it was my first time in their home. There are so many social litmus tests for how well people will connect. Some take years to determine. In the case of Kinfolk, you just know.
Sunday we just knew.
Kelly and I abandoned The Cuban in the backyard to continue his puzzle of a deck project. Kelly showed me around her town and we, somehow, decided what we needed was BLT Pasta. Cooking for people is a deep act of love for me. Since it was Father's Day I thought it only fair that I make The Cuban a meal. Kelly was being treated, by proxy. We gathered the ingredients and returned home just in time for The Cuban to realize we'd been gone for over an hour. Puzzle deck projects can be distracting that way.
I've provided the recipe for the meal I cooked for the The Cuban for Father's Day. It is delicious. I recommend eating it with people you adore, preferably ones named Mocha Momma, The Cuban, and (if you are REALLY lucky) Uncle Mel.
The Cuban's BLT Pasta
This pasta is total comfort in a bowl. This recipe is designed to make the whole box of pasta (which serves 8 people). You'll need:
one box of linguine or fettuccine (your preference)
one half white or yellow onion
milk or half and half
parmesan, pecorino, and asiago cheese
10 slices of bacon (broiled and chopped)
2 cups of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups of fresh baby arugula
a drizzle of good olive oil
an egg for each person
italian parsley, garnish
This is a great dish because a little prep ahead of time makes this dish super easy. First, dice your sun dried tomatoes and set them aside. Also broil your bacon until it is crispy, chop, and set aside. Cook an over-easy egg for each person you are serving and place on a paper towel to rest while you prepare the sauce.
Start your pasta boiling in salted water before you begin your sauce.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- .5 cup of diced onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk or half and half, heated
- 1 cups of shredded Parmesan/Pecorino blend
- 1 cup shredded asiago
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a deep sauce pan melt butter.
Add in onions and gently sweat them until they are translucent.
Add garlic and gently stir until it is cooked through.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir together until the flour is cooked into a paste. Make sure that you don't overcook the flour. Any browning will change the color of your sauce.
After the paste has set up slowly whisk in your milk or half and half
Continue to rapidly whisk to insure no lumps in the sauce. Once the sauce thickens up, reduce the heat and whisk in the shredded cheese until smooth.
Add the nutmeg and freshly ground pepper to taste.
By now your pasta should be al dente. Strain your pasta and place it in a large mixing bowl with a drizzle of good olive oil. Toss in your chopped bacon, tomatoes, and arugula and mix together well. Pour your béchamel sauce over the top and toss together again. Make sure the ingredients are well distributed throughout.
Plate the food and top with the over-easy egg and a sprinkle of chopped italian parsley.