Monthly Archives: February 2013

Fluffy Puppies at Fort Funston


One of my photo-partners-in-crime Sabrina rented a Hasselblad to try her hand at photographing Bianca and Sorcha, her beautiful Samoyeds (a.k.a. the Fluffy Puppies), in medium film format. She invited me along for the shoot. I thought about taking my Yashica to also channel the medium format vibe, but then I realized I needed more film, so I took my trusty digital camera and captured them in 1s and 0s.

We went to Fort Funston during Golden Hour, which bathed everything in beautiful light.

The dogs recently turned 9, but they remain puppies at heart, always playful and rambunctious, not entirely aware of their stature, and quite the showstoppers with their gorgeous, fluffy fur.

Knowing the ocean was near, Bianca and Sorcha ran ahead of us and impatiently demanded we catch up.

Finally at the beach!

Let’s dig for buried treasure!

Time to test out the waters!

Then the sun set, and it was time to go.

Fort Funston is always a good time. Many thanks to Sabrina for letting me join her (and treating me to a delicious dinner afterwards!). I can’t wait to see her photos!

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Candied Citrus Peel

When we were first house-hunting over five years ago, my then-4-year-old daughter said that her must-have house requirement included a lemon tree. I’m not exactly sure why she wanted one so badly, but as luck would have it, we did in fact get a place that had a little Meyer lemon tree in the backyard. The tree was neglected, looked more like a bush than tree, but we gave it some TLC and this season our love for our little tree has come to fruition (ha!), as it produced a ridiculous amount of lemons. I gave away over 10 lbs. to friends. I then sold over 20 lbs. to Bi-Rite, but I’ll save those details for a future post. The tree still has a bunch of lemons on it.

I decided to try my hand making candied lemon peels. I also had a delicious cara cara orange from BiRite, so I saved the peel to also candy. I found a bunch of recipes online, all which varied slightly. I ended up picking and choosing what to follow as I realized that it isn’t an exact science. You basically boil the peels to remove the bitterness, then simmer them in a simple syrup solution, then leave ‘em out to dry.

Citrus:
1 orange
5 meyer lemons

Juice your fruit (save it for something yummy later), then use a paring knife to cut out the fleshy part and leave about 1/8″ thickness of pith. The pith is the white, bitter part of the fruit. Cut your peels to whatever shape you want. I cut rectangular strips for the orange, and random little triangles for the lemons. Boil the peels for 7 minutes, drain, and then repeat. This removes the bitterness. (I read that if you want to candy grapefruit, you are supposed to boil it something like 4 or 5 times because the pith is incredibly bitter.)

Next you are going to make simple syrup to simmer the peels in. Recipes differ in how much to use, but basically it’s a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. If you have fewer peels, then you don’t need as much syrup.

Simple Syrup:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar

Bring sugar and water to boil, add peels, bring back to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 min or until very tender (like you can easily stab it with a fork). Remove from heat, let cool for 10 min. Using a slotted spoon or a mesh skimmer, transfer peels to wire rack over baking tray to catch drips.

If you’re impatient like me, you can speed up the drying process by putting them in a 200 degree oven for about an hour. Otherwise it may take overnight for it to be ready.

Toss peels in sugar and see it sparkle!

They can be stored in an airtight container for a long time. I’ve read for months. I would definitely say at least 2-3 weeks. But they will be gobbled up long before that.

Don’t forget to save the citrusy simple syrup after you remove the peels. Along with the juice, you can use it for: lemonade, fizzy lemon spritzer, lemon drop cocktails, sweetening your tea.

Here are the recipes that I found helpful:

http://www.marthastewart.com/355599/candied-citrus-peel
http://bakingbites.com/2012/03/candied-lemon-peel/
http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-diy-cand-14891
http://candy.about.com/od/fruitcandy/r/candied_peel.htm

They are slightly time consuming, but not very hard. And you will definitely impress your friends when you serve them homemade candy.

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Waxflower, the understated little white flower

Waxflower, poetry by M. T. C. Cronin

There’s a fantastic flower stand on 16th St. and Market where I often get my flowers. Amazing bunched beauties can be scored between $5 and $7. Unheard of in the city!

Last week I picked up these cute waxflowers. I didn’t know what they were called at the time, but I was drawn by their sweet, tiny, almost artificial-like flowers. Their buds are burgundy and they have rosemary-like needles. They would have been perfect for Christmas! (But better late than never!)

I took them home and divided them among three containers: the main one in the living room, a tiny cordial glass holds a few sprigs on my kitchen window sill, and a reused jam jar sprouts a little bouquet in the bathroom. I added some fresh greens from the meyer lemon tree in the backyard for some extra interest.

Waxflower in vaseMy only qualm I have with these little guys is that I find their scent mildly repulsive. While not overpowering to a room, it’s definitely noticeable when you are next to them. I don’t know if it’s just me, because when I google “waxflower smells like…” I get only positive results of them smelling lovely. Am I the only one who thinks they smell like a cross between morning breath and the sidewalks of the mission?

If you ever come across these flowers, take a whiff and report back to me.

The full version of M.C.T. Cronin’s poem, Wax-Flower, can be found here.

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