Archives for posts with tag: photography

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to bake. It was only a matter of time before my love of baked sweets met my love of still life painting! I’ve wanted to paint pretty cakes for a long time, and I finally got around to baking up a batch of beautiful red velvet cupcakes with the intention of making adorable still life paintings with them.



Here are my first two cupcake paintings! They are currently available here and here. Check out my other paintings for sale at my Etsy shop, ArtworkbyBob!



I’m contemplating what I should bake next… maybe a pumpkin pie? Or a layer cake? Decisions, decisions…


I found myself in the reptile house at the San Diego Zoo a few days ago, which is a part of the zoo that I don’t usually venture into. I might have to make visiting the snakes and lizards more of a priority from now on, however, because they were a lot of fun to photograph. Here are just a few pics from that day.







Two jaguar cubs, one male and one female, were born to mother Nindiri on April 26, 2012. They were allowed to go outside for the first time a little over a week ago:

Awwwwww… I know. So cute. I love these guys. But we also need a few pics of Mom:

From looking at my previous cooking posts, you might get the impression that I subsist off of bonbons and sugar-coated peanut butter balls. I really don’t. In fact, my diet consists mostly of vegetables, fruit, nuts and yogurt. I don’t eat meat, or eggs, or cheese. You probably think this sounds horrible. It’s not. To prove it, I dare you to try this recipe for Moroccan cauliflower. It might just make you want to go veggie! (and if not, you can always just eat it as a side dish for your bloody, T-bone steak.)

Moroccan cauliflower

Moroccan cauliflower

This recipe began, as it often does, with someone else’s recipe. Originally, this dish came from Paula Wolfert’s amazing book, The Food of Morocco.

Not only is this book filled with delicious veggie recipes, it has tons of beautiful photographs (and a description of how to make Moroccan pot brownies. You can try that for dessert!)

Here is the recipe with my modifications:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cauliflower, divided into florets

2 tsp. sugar

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tsp sweet paprika + 1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. kosher salt

4 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tsp. lemon zest


1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cauliflower and sugar, cover with a tight-fitting lid and head for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, uncovered, until the moisture in the pan has evaporated and the cauliflower is slightly browned.

pan frying the cauliflower

pan frying the cauliflower

2. Add tomatoes and paprika. continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

3. Crush cumin seeds, garlic and salt in a mortar (yes, I do it this way. I’m sure the food police will not arrest you if you use a mini food processor or something.) Add to the skillet and cook, uncovered until the moisure is evaporated (20 minutes)

grind the cumin before adding the garlic and salt

grind the cumin before adding the garlic and salt

4. Stir in lemon zest and parsley. Devour with your face.

My version is different from the original (it’s called “Marak of Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Olives” in the book) in a few ways. First off, The original recipe called for “2 ripe or canned tomatoes, peeled, halved, seeded, chopped, and drained.” That seems like a lot of steps. Using canned tomatoes would cut down on some of the work (have you ever tried to peel a ripe, fresh tomato? Bitch, please.) Canned tomatoes still pose a problem, however, because you only need two. So you’re going to open an entire can of whole tomatoes and only use two? Now, really. Who does that? My rule for tomatoes is to use the whole can, always. None of this save-half-for-later bullshit. Throw it all in there!



Second is the paprika. The original just called for two teaspoons of sweet paprika. I replaced one of those with smoked paprika because I love that smoky flavor. It goes really well with cumin. If you don’t have smoked paprika, a drop or two of liquid smoke would probably do the trick. If you don’t have liquid smoke either, then I just don’t know how to help you. Sorry.

A few other things: I skipped the lemon juice Wolfert calls for and just use zest instead because that’s what I like. (I use a microplane grater to zest lemons.) She also calls for preserved lemon. Do you keep preserved lemons around? No. Neither do I. Notice the original title of this dish mentioned olives. I’m not that into olives. There is also a mysterious last step that involves letting the cauliflower sit for 30 minutes after cooking (yeah. right.)

Now, about those pot brownies…

moroccan brownies

Moroccan brownies! Like the hat?

Okay, so they’re not actually brownies. I’ve never tried this (no, really) but here’s what it says:

Place 1 pound of Smen (Cooked and Salted Butter) in a casserole with plenty of water and about 3 cups stalks, seeds, and leaves of kif (Cannabis). Bring to a boil let it simmer for 2 hours, then carefully strain it into a large, deep roasting pan. Then, throw away the stalks, seeds, and leaves and let the butter cool and rise to the top in the refrigerator overnight. Then place the butter in the casserole with 1 pound chopped dates, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon aniseed, 1/2 cup dark, heavy honey, and 1/2 cup each ground almonds and walnuts (these proportions are from The Hashish Cookbook). Then cook all this together until it gets very thick, bubbly and brown. Add some orange flower water and ras el hanout to taste. Pack the majoun in clean jars.

*eat with care! enjoy and play fun music for hours of fun!

There you go: a healthy, vegan veggie dish and a mind-altering dessert — a complete meal! My job here is done.

Another week, another trip to the San Diego Zoo (the best zoo in the world, according to Newt Gringrich).

When I visit the zoo, one of my first stops is often to see the bears. They are several different kinds:

This is the Andean Bear. He like to pace back and forth in his enclosure a lot, but when he settles down it’s hard to imagine that he could possibly be dangerous. He looks just like a lazy dog.

andean bear at the san diego zoo

andean bear at the san diego zoo

There are also two grizzly bears. They’re brothers named Scout and Montana. I’ve seen them wrestle before, which was amazing. They can move very quickly when they feel like it. Today, Scout and Montana were in a much more mellow kind of mood.

grizzly bear at the san diego zoo

grizzly bear at the san diego zoo

Scout and Montana, grizzly bear brothers at the San Diego Zoo

Scout and Montana, grizzly bear brothers at the San Diego Zoo

And, of course, there is my favorite bear. The sloth bear, Kenny. Kenny is my favorite because he is basically a dog. If you yell his name he’ll come out to see what’s going on. If you yell his name and run back and forth in front of his enclosure, he will actually run along with you. He’ll even sit up sometimes if I jump up and down long enough.

Kenny the sloth bear at the San Diego Zoo

Kenny the sloth bear at the San Diego Zoo

Kenny the sloth bear at the San Diego Zoo

Kenny the sloth bear at the San Diego Zoo

I go to the San Diego Zoo pretty much every week, usually on Wednesdays. I used to go hoping to make some quality animal sketches to impress my friends and confound my enemies. Alas, drawing animals from life is actually very hard. So I adjusted my goals, and now I go to the zoo hoping for some amazing animal photos. This also happens to be pretty difficult, but being patient and going to the zoo often does certainly help.

I think the best way to experience the zoo is to not try to see everything, especially if I want to get some good pictures. Instead, I try to find an animal that seems active, or may be getting fed soon, and I stick around. I find that I enjoy the zoo the most not by catching a glimpse and a quick snapshot of a lot of animals, but by taking my time to observe and photograph just a few. I spent a lot of time with these tigers, for instance. I almost never get decent photos of these guys, but a combination of luck and perseverance resulted in a few pics that I was pretty happy with.

Tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Tiger at the San Diego Zoo

There are some that are just so beautiful they don’t need an introduction. This is my beloved Hasselblad whom I affectionately refer to as Blad. I adopted Blad from the Adorama in New York a little over a year ago. He’s been the darling of my camera collection ever since.

Blad is beautiful and amazing, but he is a little old. Everything works beautifully except for a small light leak which is sometimes visible on the left side of the photographs. It can be a problem. Sometimes, however, that little light leak can result in interesting effects.