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Friday, September 24, 2010

Hurry Up and Slow Down

I have been thinking lately that the one thing that I hate above almost all else in life is being in a hurry. I really hate being rushed. I hate not having time to linger over a cup of coffee in a café. I hate riding my bike like a maniac across town because I’m late for something (riding fast because I love riding fast is OK). I hate not having enough time to savor the moment because I think that I have to be somewhere else that is somehow more important. I always say that if you’re in a hurry it means that you just planned poorly. I try not to plan poorly.

Hurried car drivers are the bane of my existence here in Valencia. Someday I will totally lose my shit and kill a driver for nearly killing me. Just the other day some capullo on a really big motor scooter almost cut me in half as I was pedaling through a crosswalk. I detoured, humped a couple of blocks up the road, and caught him as he was stopped at a traffic light. I stopped next to him and knocked on his helmet to get his attention (sort of an asshole thing to do I’ll admit). I asked him where he was going in such a hurry. Was he delivering a transplant organ? Was he a fireman racing to save lives?

The mere fact of being in an automobile seems to make people in a hurry. Even though cars are supposed to be such a great way to get around quickly they don’t seem quick enough for most drivers. Riding a bike doesn’t turn me into a raging asshole so perhaps the lesson here is to just stay out of cars. I remember back when I had a car what really drove me crazy was looking for a parking spot—not a problem on a bike, of course. Being in a hurry really is at odds with Mediterranean life. They should make you leave your car 50 kilometers from the coast.

It may seem ironic to write about pressure cookers while raging against people being in a hurry but I like my pressure cooker for many reasons and not just because it’s fast. Among other things, the energy efficiency is remarkable. I have begun to use it more and more. Before I primarily used my pressure cooker for making beans as it cuts the cooking time down from several hours to 22-24 minutes. Now I am using it for meats. I browned a chicken in the pot the other day. I removed the browned pieces and removed the skin. In the same oil I sautéed carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and freshly grated tomatoes. Grated tomatoes are something you see in a lot of Mediterranean cooking and a process I had never seen before. You simply chop the tomato in half, squeeze out the seeds, and grate it over a cheese grater and discard the skin. They use this grated tomato, along with chopped onion and garlic, sautéing it in olive oil to make sofrito (sofregit in Valenciano), a simple sauce which forms the base of many dishes.

I added a cup of red wine to the vegetables and when this cooked down a bit I added the chicken pieces. When most of the fluid had evaporated I added about two cups of water and put the lid on the pressure cooker. For seasoning I added pimentón (Spanish paprika), bay leaves, and a bit of cumin. I cooked this at medium pressure for 12 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. "I stopped next to him and knocked on his helmet to get his attention (sort of an asshole thing to do I’ll admit). I asked him where he was going in such a hurry. Was he delivering a transplant organ? Was he a fireman racing to save lives?"...so great!!!same thing happened to me this summer in my car, small fender bender and I got out and did the exact same thing, of course I was transporting precious material, my daughter!!!

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