The two subjects in my title are completely unrelated, but I'm lazy and didn't want to write two smaller posts.
After doing some more research, I've decided to go with Express for my framework. It's another mvc framework more geared towards node than backbone.js is, with cool things like pre-built session support and multiple view engine choices. For my view engine I'm going with ejs. Jade seemed interesting, but I prefer working closer to the raw html.
So I've installed node and express locally and got it running on my mac. I committed and pushed to git, and then I needed to deploy to my EC2 server. So I ssh to the server and do a "git clone" and bam: Permission denied (publickey). Turns out I needed to enable agent-forwarding (thanks to this blog post). Philipp has a good description there, but basically I just needed to uncomment a couple lines from /etc/ssh_config on my mac.