One of the things I love most about France, and have the hardest time truly grasping, is the French ability to slow down and enjoy life.
I'm always in a hurry (I think it goes hand in glove with my unique time management skills).
Oh, I'm capable of relaxing, enjoying a leisurely lunch, going for long strolls on sunny beaches…. As long as all of my chores are done, work completed in advance and everything is all neat and tidy.
But to get to that point I hurry.
I'm constantly assessing how long whatever it is I'm doing will take.
Sometimes it's just to alleviate the boredom: When I mow the field I time the first cut, then try to calculate how many more cuts to figure out how quickly I can finish. (It normally takes me between 4 and 5 hours.)
More often, it's because I'm trying to do too much.
I have 300 photos to process. It takes me 30 seconds per photo, which is 150 minutes. I have to be able to squeeze out 30 minutes per day for 5 days to get it done. But I need it done in 4 days, so I need to shave 10 seconds of off each photo.
It's possible that I could get more done if I didn't spend so much time figuring out how long it will take and how to do it faster…
Or, I could just convince myself not to try to do so much all the time
6oz ground beef (170 gr mince)
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup large couscous
15oz (450gr) whole, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup beef stock
1/3 cup chopped, dry-cured Greek olives
3oz (90gr) crumbled feta
1 tbs capers
2 – 3 nicely shaped bell peppers
Put a large pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil. Cut peppers in half the long way (try to find the best flat sides before cutting so that they will lay nicely) and remove stem end and seeds. When water is boiling drop peppers in and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and put into a baking dish that will just hold them.
Finely chop onion; mince garlic. Heat oil and spices in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add beef and sauté until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks. Drain tomatoes, reserving juices. Chop tomatoes and add to pan. Add reserved juice, herbs, couscous, wine and stock to skillet. Stir well, turn heat to low, cover and simmer until couscous is done, about 10 minutes stirring frequently and adding more wine or stock if needed. When couscous is tender, add olives, feta and capers.
Spoon mixture into the pepper halves, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400F (200C).
I know I could get more done if my browser / host didn't freeze up mid-post……