The key to my man's heart, pesto.
In 2002, I was racing mountain bikes for Highroller Cyclery. Several of the team members and I had been planning to ride the Womble Trail from end to end: 37 miles through the Ouachita Mountains of central Arkansas.
On Mother's Day morning, we were all gathering our bikes, making sure there was air in the tires and extra tubes in our camelbacks, when this stranger showed up. He stepped out of his father's car, gave him a hug, and said, "Dad, I love you; I'll see you in a few days." I immediately noticed his piercing blue eyes, and sensitive demeanor. He was greeted with hugs by all his old teammates and introduced to me as, Ammen Jordan, a Spanish and photography teacher that has spent the last several years with a globe trotting high school. "He'll be joining us for the ride today."
"Hi, my name is Stephanie, I think I have room in my car if you would like to ride with me to the trail." As the trip went on, I was more and more enamored by this blue eyed man. It was a full day of hard riding on bench-cut trails beside limestone bluffs, up and down the technical rocky-hills, through the hard wood trees, and between wild blooming orchids and azaleas. We rode hard and fast. I think the only reason I was able to ride 37 miles of single-track was to impress. After the ride, we dropped Ammen off at his mother's house. He stepped out of the car with his left hand full of bike gear, and his hand right holding a bouquet of wild azaleas for his mother. As we were all parting ways, he called out to my dear friend Ira, "I’ll be back on May 31, I'll see you then."
"Well, that's an easy date to remember, that's my brother and sister's birthday!" I thought. I had a lot of work to do in the next 3 weeks, including become available and magnetic.
As I was cleaning my car from the muddy bike ride, I noticed a pair of shorts left in my car. "YEESSS! I have a reason to be in touch with him again. He left his shorts in my car!” Well, I did my duties, and in three weeks I was as available and magnetic as a girl can get. On June 2 (I wanted to give him a couple of days, not to look too desperate), I knew it was the day to re-introduce myself to Ammen Jordan. I was so nervous that I took off on a road bike ride just to calm my nerves. In my daydreaming state, I took several wrong turns and was completely lost. I rode for hours and came home completely exhausted.
"Perfect,” I thought to myself as I put away my bike, “I'll come across as totally calm when I knock on his door." So I cleaned myself off and drove over to his mother's house, knocked on the door, and found myself standing right in front of the blue eyes that had been calling me back.
"Hi." Said Ammen, his eyes shifting around as he tried to place me.
"Hi. I noticed you were in town and I wanted to return your bike shorts that you left in my car."
"Oh, thanks. Gosh, I've been in the house all day working on the computer. Want to go for a run?"
"Umm, yes, that sounds great! I need some exercise." (Oh crap, I'm exhausted, I just rode further than I've ever ridden in my life, and now he wants to run 10 miles.)
We stopped by my house to change clothes and so I could get some food. I was panicking on the inside, how will I ever keep up with him? My legs are totally shot!
We were eating leftover pizza my roommate and I had made the night before when Ammen said, "Do you know how to make pesto?"
"Well, you should learn."
And so I did. Now Ammen and I have a whole row of basil in our garden so, there is always pesto available.
This is a simple recipe that everyone should learn. It works, see!
Put it on pasta, crackers, toast, pizza or make a pesto, mozzarella & sliced tomato sandwich.
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ tsp sea salt
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts (or almonds, or walnuts)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Place the pine nuts, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times until mixture is coarsely ground. Add fresh basil leaves and while the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil. Continue to process until the pesto is your desired consistency.
While pesto is delicious and a food for lovers, it's also packed with nutrients. The green leafy herb, basil is an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a natural anti-oxidant that helps our body to fight infection and cell free-radical damage. Pesto is also a great way to experiment with eating raw foods. Nuts and garlic are two examples of foods are more nutritious for us when we eat them raw.