A gathering of the tribe last night for a “salon” dinner. A night focused on food, talk and stories. For this month, my old friend Josh and his husband Brent were in town, taking advantage of “retiree” time and visiting the Bay Area. Now Josh and I have been friends, “sisters”, co-facilitators, both ran focus groups and volunteers for local programs for many years and all around were “those two are trouble together” for over 24 years.
Instead of a dinner out like in the past (the last visit we took them to Old Skool for a great meal), I suggested we eat here and invite some other friends we’ve known for years and just kick back old school style.
For the menu I wanted easy, solid and fun. Years ago Josh and I manned a mens social group called the Social Exchange Network as a way to gather men to get out of the city to camp, eat, remember, heal. This was during a time of great pain and change for us, when so many of our friends were dying or sick with AIDS. So the socials and SEN were an opportunity to “stop the madness” for a few days. We did everything from camping trips to Disney World to house parties.
Often for the weekend SEN events, I tended to do all the cooking (except for the junk food table which often held every sweet treat, salty, sugary snack that we ould pre-buy that would sit on a table for the whole weekend for those late-night munchies) while Josh would serve as the front man-cruise director for the social stuff. On those trips when an oven was available – our first night menu was frozen lasagna dinners with a green salad and garlic bread. As it was easiest meal to get prepared on the day of travel as people rolled in.
With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to recreate a home version, but that wasn’t the old school all day sauce version that I normally would make , which I know he loves. So Trisha Yearwood’s “Cowboy Lasagna” recipe came to mind. I originally tried the recipe back in a few months ago (that post is here) after seeing it on her cooking show to a great success. I recall saying that the mean-sauce was like “crack”, “one spoonful and you couldn’t stop tasting it”. To start the night I re-used another favorite starter; my adapted version of Roasted Carrot Hummus that I have mentioned back in my February post
When all was said and done – it was a win for sure. Two of our other friends Russel (Russell has know Josh almost as long) and David, brought a fresh baked apple pie (crust and all) incredibly infused with rosemary. Which paired perfectly to the lasagna meal.