Sometimes you meet people in your life that just never seem to go away. Well, I mean the friendship evolves rather organically and naturally as the two people progress through various stages of life, even if those stages aren’t always in sync. The friendship waxes and wanes, fulfilling the needs of each, whether it is intensive therapy or months of distance. Then, just when one, or both, think not so highly or so often of the other, they magically seem to work it out, learning two of life’s greatest and hardest lessons: acceptance and forgiveness. And so the friendship evolves, persists, and lingers through the years as others come and go, as they each move away, have kids(or more kids), change jobs, go through relationship frustrations and before you realize it, there is no denying that as cliché as it sounds, the two are best friends.
Around 8 years or so ago, I met the person who would evolve this way to become my best friend. We met in the first month or two while attending an accelerated teaching credential program. I needed another English teacher to observe and she was the only one I even remotely knew. I asked her despite the fact that she made me uncomfortable. She was an exact opposite of me. She was outgoing, open and friendly, freely lavishing compliments on others as a way to strike up a conversation. I was quiet and reserved, preferring to sit back and watch rather than to engage. But I was desperate to get my assignment done, so I went to her classroom, observed her manners and ease with her students and thereafter, we were friends. We eventually completed our Master’s degree together and worked in the same school district.
Last year, I moved 3000 miles away from my hometown, left my teaching job, my beloved students, my family, and sometimes, hardest of all, my best friend. So, when my husband, in a fit of generosity and concern, offered to fly her out for a visit, I rushed to book her a plane ticket before any of us could change our minds.
A few short months later, there she was, walking through the airport with a goofy smile and a haphazardly packed suitcase (seriously who forgets to pack shorts when vacationing at the beach?), ready for fun, food, and some drunken adventures. We had our share of each, with some of our best meals being brought to the table in each other’s honor. I had ordered extra organics (‘cause man, together we can put away the veggies!) and somehow ended up with what seemed like pounds and pounds of spinach, (though it was probably more like two) with no clue what to do with it all. I was then schooled by the bestie on all the phenomenal ways to incorporate that mighty leaf into my diet. Her shining culinary moment during that week was an off-the-cuff Spinach Pesto which I have made and manipulated several times since. I’m pretty sure with this last attempt, I have achieved the most perfect pesto yet. Every now and then, when the world seems a little lonelier than usual, I can at least console myself by indulging in a heaping bowl of pasta, covered in pesto, and served with a side of friendship.
Bestie’s Spinach Basil Pesto
1/3 cup olive oil
8-10 cups Spinach
1 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor or blender, put half of the spinach, half the oil, all of the basil, and all of the garlic and blend until smooth. Add the remaining spinach and oil, processing until smooth. Add grated parmesan, process until the cheese is incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste (It is important to remember that parmesan is a rather salty cheese, so any salt should be added at the very end to avoid over-salting).
This will make about 1.5 to 2 cups of pesto which will generously coat one pound of pasta. Any left-ever pesto freezes nicely for up to 6 months in an airtight container.
This is truly a great way to get your kids to eat spinach – even if they don’t like it otherwise.