Wed 24 Aug 2011
Sometimes I feel like I just can’t get a handle on my professional stuff – for lack of a better word. As a freelance writer working from home, there seems to be two kinds of weeks: One where I’m super motivated and I’m pitching numerous publications while working on big copywriting projects for US-based clients and others when I feel absolutely wracked with failure from not having enough or worse, any work.
Keeping myself motivated, especially during those weeks when I don’t get a single response from the half-dozen pitches I’ve sent, can be entirely overwhelming some days. It’s a real rollercoaster ride, the freelance lifestyle. When you sell a story and get a few bits of copywriting work, you feel productive and successful. The rest of the time you feel like you’re not doing enough and wonder if you’ll ever get consistent work. On those real dark days you think of things like retirement funds, health insurance and financial security – or the lack thereof!
Of course after doing this for many years I understand that there’s no other choice than to keep going (the other option of going back to a corporate job is NOT an option for me!) and I’m simply venting here. In the end I always get up and dust myself off and prepare for another day, another pitch, and possibly another rejection – but I keep going. At times I just wish I had more control over the situation.
The place where I feel most in control is the kitchen, believe it or not. When I’m cooking, I feel relaxed, happy and flexible. Even when I have a kitchen disaster (and believe me it still happens!) I feel OK and confident that I can move past it and save the dish.
I cook dinner for Mountaineering Man and myself 5 days a week, and I often look at Foodgawker or Tastespotting for ideas. I can look at a photo of a dish and immediately understand the basics on how it works; after merely perusing the recipe, I can easily formulate a plan in my mind on how I’ll approach the dish. I’ll scan the spice press and refrigerator and make any substitutions I need in my head. It’s almost like a blueprint forms in my mind and I can see how the ingredients will work together and estimate how long everything will need to cook and how Dish A and Dish B will come together at the same time so that everything is ready at once. I guess you could say that when it comes to cooking, the wheels in my head all turn the right way.
If only I could harness my cooking confidence and apply it to my professional life!? While it’s a struggle, it’s something I work on daily. It seems to be paying off – watch this space for an exciting work-related announcement very soon!
Cauliflower Pizza Crust (makes 2 large pizza crusts)
I recently read about the miracle that is a pizza crust made solely from cauliflower and decided to try it for myself. It’s perfect for those doing low-carb or gluten/wheat-free diets. Though I’d never made it before and made a couple of changes to the original recipe, it came out great. It’s not like regular pizza crust, it’s more like a fluffy, soft crust that needs a fork to eat. However, it tasted great and even MM – a carb lover – gave it the thumbs-up. Use whatever pizza toppings you like; I had some leftover BBQ sauce and pork, which I used for one (along with thinly-sliced potato and red onions) and then made a simple veggie pizza for the other one.
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
Cut the raw cauliflower florets off the head and place into a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is in tiny little pieces – almost like rice – but don’t over mix or else it’ll turn into a puree. Place the cauliflower bits into a large Tupperware and cover with a cloth; microwave for 8 minutes on medium-high setting, stirring at the halfway mark. Let cool for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, mozzarella, egg, garlic, basil, oregano and sea salt. It should be a thick consistency and a little sticky. Take half the mixture and press down on an oiled baking sheet (or one lined with a silicon baking sheet), forming the shape of a rectangle or circle or whatever you like. The crust should be thin, about 1/4 of an inch. Do the same with the remaining mixture.
Bake at 200 C degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 170 C and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown nicely. Add toppings and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!