I’ll give you everything I am, all my broken heartbeats, until I know you’ll understand.And I will make sure to keep my distance, say I love you when you’re not listening. -Christina Perri
I was recently reminded of a beautiful friend. It’s strange that I would need to be reminded of him because there was once a time when it was only him.
We met while we were in university. At the time, I had just managed to piece my broken heart together and had sealed it with a label that read “permanently unavailable”. Soon enough though, our friendship went beyond the few classes we shared at school and we became inseparable. Slowly, he taught me that although certain things in life were permanent, most certainly, a broken heart was not one of them.
But still, something was amiss. There were always unspoken words that filled the space around us, thoughts left hanging in the air while we tended to things of lesser importance. Things like making bruschetta, tomato pie or tiramisu. He proudly taught me about the foods of his Italian heritage all the while knowing that his homosexuality had no acceptable place in it.
And so, that is how we passed our days. I didn’t have the courage to ask and he didn’t have the courage to come out. And although nothing was spoken, everything was understood.
I’m not sure what hurt more: that destiny could be so cruel to place all of my heart’s desires within reach and yet make them unattainable, or to watch him unnecessarily shame himself to silence. Either way, it hurt. And it was easiest left unspoken. Easiest left hanging in the air to be wafted away by the aroma of basil and simmering tomatoes.Eventually, I moved on and he moved away to the West Coast. I visited him once with my husband and he, true to his beautiful self, was such a gracious host to us. He joyously guessed that I was pregnant even before I was ready to tell anyone and later on when I lost my baby (more on that here and here), he called and spoke the most delicate words. Sadly, with time and distance, we faded to separate lives and all I have left are memories and a handful of recipes.
Pastry Crust (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
(Makes a thick crust for a 10 inch pan.)
- 113 g (1/2 cup) cold butter, cubed
- 170 g (1 1/4 cup) white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 66 g (1/4 cup) yogurt
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Break in the chilled butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal.
- Mix in the yogurt, then add 3 tbsp of water. Using your hands, start to form the dough, adding additional water as required to form a soft, non-sticky dough.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, large enough to cover the bottom of the tart pan and go up along the sides. Line the tart pan with the pastry and using a knife remove any overhanging dough.
Cherry Tomato Tart with Pesto and Ricotta
(For a 10 inch tart)
- about 200 g (1/2 cup) pesto
- 100 g ricotta cheese
- 100 g goat cheese or feta
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
- handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line the uncooked crust with pesto, as little or as much as you like. I use about 1/2 cup.
- Stir together ricotta and goat cheese (or feta). Spoon the cheese mixture over the pesto, covering the entire base.
- Add sliced cherry tomatoes.
- Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
- Serve warm with fresh basil.