Seven years ago, I spent four months in Hong Kong. It wasn’t my first trip overseas, but it was my first time staying in the city for more than two weeks. It was then that I realized that I did not want to live in a city anymore. I lived in the suburbs of Hong Kong and even that was too crowded for me. Yes, it was convenient place filled with all sorts of amenities, but I would have traded the air conditioning for peace and quiet. A New Yorker I met once described Hong Kong as “New York on steroids” and I think that it’s an accurate description.
I’m sure my city friends will be annoyed at me for saying this: I think there is something dehumanizing about city life. The city eats away at my soul. It makes me wait in endless traffic, rush from one place to another, and buy $3.50 croissants and teas for breakfast without hesitation.
San Francisco is much slower than Hong Kong, but sometimes when I’m there I feel like I am disappearing into the masses, and the city is using my soul as its energy source. Perhaps I don’t have the same defenses I once had when I was young, or maybe Hong Kong broke me.
On the days that I’m home, I spend my time admiring the flowers and plants I help grow. I have been planting vegetables for the past five years and only started bringing flowers into the mix last year. Boy, it makes a huge difference!
The little fig trees I have aren’t flowering yet, so I too some dried figs to make a new recipe.
⅔ cup to 1 cup water
8 oz pack of dried figs, diced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- Put all ingredients in pot and gently boil for about 7 minutes on low heat. The filling is ready when it is a thick jam consistency.
⅓ cup shortening
⅔ cup maple sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cup flour
1 ¼ cup wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
A few dashes of salt
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- Cream shortening, sugar together until smooth. I didn’t do a good job on mine, so there were little specks of shortening!
- Add vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. If dough is dry, add a teaspoon of water one at a time until the dough sticks together.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll dough into a 14 x 14 inch square. Cut into four long pieces.
- Add filling to middle, then fold both sides to cover filling.
- Place bars seam side down, and bake for 14 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice.
Original recipe here.