Friday, August 9, 2013

Writer's Schedule Interrupted

It’s been a wild and crazy four months for this writer--months of regional travel, weddings and funerals, and hoards of long-lost friends all descended on me and my quiet little life in the country. 

Writing has taken a backseat to living since I last put keystroke to blog, and so it should be.  Right? 

No, not really.    

The problem is this.  Writers need to move the printed word.  It’s what they do and who they are.  Composing clears the mind, and in doing so keeps the writer sane. 

Without a schedule that allows for this, ideas overwhelm, emotions get mucked, and outlets backup.  Writers simply need to work. 

So with this in mind, I am back in the saddle.  There’s been weeks of research and trend-watching in order to and bring me back up to speed.  There’s been months of reorganization and record-keeping, as online writing platforms reworked their systems so much that changes forced their writers into opting out.  (Me, included.)

I’ve culled and moved and updated and rewrote many old articles over the past 90 days, and all at a time of unprecedented rain and flooding in my area of Florida.  There’s nothing like unending torrents and waterlogged fields to keep a writer indoors and trudging towards a goal.

The grey skies have lifted this week, I’m very happy to say.   

It’s heaven to see the sun.

- Sanne Collins
   From the Ranch in Florida

Soup for a Rainy Day – Mushroom Leek Soup with Parsley Dumplings

Soup - Ingredients
    2 cups water
    3-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    3/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
    1 pound Baby Bella (crimini) mushrooms, sliced
    1-1/2 cups chopped onion
    3 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 large)
    1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    Sea salt
    3-Tbsp Dry Sherry
    8 cups Light Vegetable Broth
    Pinch Cayenne pepper

Parsley Dumplings - Ingredients
    3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
    6 Tbsp butter at room temperature divided (3/4 stick)
    2 large eggs, room temperature
    1-cup all purpose flour, divided
    1 tsp Sea Salt
    ¼-cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
    ¾- cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
    Pinch of ground nutmeg

To Make Soup (soup can be made a day ahead)

Bring water and porcini mushrooms to boil in small saucepan.
Remove from heat, cover, and soak 20 minutes.
Move to a work surface and slice thinly.  Reserve cooking liquid.
Heat 2-Tbsp oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and stir for half a minute. 
Add crimini mushrooms, thyme and sea salt and sauté for about 10 or so minutes until mushrooms are browned.
Add Sherry and stir until Sherry is absorbed.  Set mushroom mixture aside.

Heat 1-1/2 Tbsp oil in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion; cook until translucent, stirring often.
Add leeks and reduce heat to medium.
Add sea salt and while stirring, sauté until vegetables are soft and golden. 

Bring broth to simmer in large pot over medium-high heat. Strain in the liquid reserved from the mushrooms making sure to leave all sediment behind.
Add all mushrooms, onion mixture, and cayenne.
Simmer 1 minute to heat.
Check seasonings to taste. 
Cool, cover, and chill.

To Make Parsley Dumplings (can be made a day ahead)

Puree cottage cheese in mini processor until smooth.
Using a mixer, beat 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter and room temperature eggs in medium bowl.
Add cottage cheese, ½-cup flour, 1-tsp sea salt, and nutmeg and beat on low just to blend.
Stir in ½- cup flour, cheese, and parsley.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil.
Using teaspoon, scoop piece of dough about size of cherry.
Holding spoon just above boiling water, use second spoon to push dough into water.
Working quickly, repeat about 10 more times.
When dumplings rise to surface, simmer until cooked through, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer dumplings to large plate using a slotted spoon.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Cover and refrigerate.

To Serve   

Melt 3-Tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Working in 2 batches, add dumplings to skillet and brown.  Turn to brown on all sides.
Bring soup to simmer.
Serve in wide, shallow bowls.
Divide dumplings into bowls.
Divide soup broth among bowl.

What’s Been Keeping Me Busy Lately

Love Those Wide Open Spaces is a blog designed to follow my daily life as a freelance writer and rancher.  It’s a life full of constant change and a wide scope of interests.

Freelance writing, by its definition, requires the ability to write on a variety of subjects, to juggle many assignments during the times of plenty, and to fill the void when checks are slow.   That said, I’m always writing.

Much of my work is done for others such as corporations, websites, or articles penned under another’s name.  I’ve sold the rights to these works, so they can’t be shared. 

However, many of my projects are available under my own name and can be read right here on the web.    

You can click on either the site or the story below to see them.

Check out what’s been keeping me busy lately!

Rural Florida Living 

Famous Floridian Friday - Stepin Fetchit, the Original Black Movie Star 
NW Florida Office of FWC Seeks Volunteers for their Bear Management Program  
Florida Outdoors - What You Can See in August 
The Ozello Trail - Let's Do Some Driving! 
Florida Outdoors: What You Can See in July 
Mosquitoes in Florida
Florida Outdoors - What You Can See in June
Florida's Honeymoon Island State Park - Unspoiled Gulf Coast Barrier Island Beach
The Florida Folk Festival Returns to White Springs
Florida Outdoors - What You Can See in May 
Florida Outdoors _ What You Can See in April 
The Florida Wild or Osceola Turkey - Found Nowhere in the World but Florida  

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