Have you ever been completely blind-sided by a memory? One minute, you’re going about your business, living your life, when *BAM*! It hits you. It isn’t monumental, just a piece of everyday life from many moons ago that was of no consequence. Until you moved to another country many miles away from that life. For me, it was remembering the drive home from work when we lived in St. Paul. Brad and I used to ride together because we were working at the same school. We’d sit in traffic for a long time, but I loved looking out the window at the Twin Cities’ very different skylines. St. Paul’s quaint and modest buildings followed by Minneapolis’ impressive, modern sky-scrapers. I will always love that drive. And I will always miss it.
Memories like this hit me hard this time of year. Usually I would be anxiously awaiting the first snow in Minnesota. Here in Tokyo, I am happy if the temperature finally goes below 60 degrees F! Yes, I am aware that my current situation may seem like a dream for many, but for me, I like it cold at the appropriate times of year!
Just as memories from Minnesota hit me here in Tokyo, I am sure pieces of my life here will haunt me. When we do decide to leave, I can imagine missing the bright red and orange leaves on the Japanese Maple Trees, the ancient beauty that almost any building or sign can have with the addition of kanji or hiragana. And of course there is the food. I will certainly miss walking into the grocery store and knowing exactly which season it is based on what is stocked in the produce section.
Figs are one of the things I’ve been seeing a lot of the past few weeks. Never really being exposed to figs in Minnesota makes them very special for me each autumn. Not only are figs a eye candy, they are also a tasty and healthy treat when in season. Fig Newtons? No, they don’t do justice to fresh figs and their flavor, so don’t even try comparing them.
Maybe one day I’ll find myself sitting somewhere in the states reminiscing about the days when I could find figs. Who knows?
Caramelizing the cut side of the figs allows them to retain their freshness while giving a warm, dessert-worthy quality. In only 5 minutes, you can have a plate of beautiful figs with ooey, gooey caramel perfect for a dinner party or a quick sweet-tooth satisfier.
6-8 fresh figs, halved the long way
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 T water
In a small non-stick skillet, add the sugar and water. Bring to a low simmer and add the figs, cut side down. Allow them to cook over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes or until the caramel has thickened slightly. Carefully transfer the figs to a serving platter and serve immediately. Side of vanilla ice-cream optional but probably a good idea.