Seasonality gets confused in the heat of Southern California, and summer tends to shamelessly bleed its way into both spring and fall. This year has been an especially slow fade into cooler climes, making it difficult to ease into the foods I associate with fall.
My nostalgia is craving roasted squashes, soups, and scarves. My body wants popsicles and watermelon. This fruit salad straddles middle ground, fulfilling my desire for fall flavor and my need to stay cool.
Read more, and get the Legends of the Fall Fruit Salad recipe, right here.
I’m not sure what made me want to give figs a second chance, but I’m really happy I did. I love the burst of light honey sweetness in fresh Turkish figs, but I also love the darker molasses-y taste of dried Black Mission figs. For me, both are really pretty and comforting.
Raw Coconut Fig Bars
For the nutty fig base, you’ll need:
1 casserole pan (I use an 8″x8″ The larger the pan the thinner the bars will be)
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup raw almonds
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbsp flaxseeds
½ cup dried mission figs (stems removed if present)
½ cup medjool dates (pitted)
½ tbsp water
½ tsp cinnamon
Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until the mixture sticks together when you press it between your fingers.
Line your pan with cling wrap, and pour the mixture into the casserole pan. Even it out with a rubber spatula. My mixture was a little over 1/4″ thick.
Put the pan into the freezer to set the base.
(Note: All said and done, this base is delicious by itself and serves as a really lovely, nutritious morning/afternoon snack bar. I’m topping mine with a coconut cashew cream and fresh figs, so if you’d like to try that out, read on!)
For the Coconut Cashew Cream, you’ll need:
½ cup unsalted cashews (soaked overnight in water)
½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla bean paste (I was out of it and another trip to the store was nnnnope) or vanilla extract
Fresh fig slices
Process cashews in your food processor for a few minutes.
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the coconut milk, heavy whipping cream, maple syrup and vanilla.
Let it whip up for a minute or two until it becomes smooth and creamy.
Add coconut flakes and pulse to combine.
Your walnut fig base should be nicely chilled, so pull it out of the freezer and top with the Coconut Cashew Cream.
Let it set in the freezer for 2 hours.
When you’re ready to eat, pull it out and let it soften for about 15 minutes. Then, decorate with fresh figs and slice into bars with a very sharp knife. I keep mine in the freezer for a cold snack.
The finished product looks a little like this, though my photography skills don’t do their pretty colors justice.
Bond is a breakfast man. Breakfast is a fresh start. It’s a comfort after attempting to sleep off a difficult mission. He loves the quiet moment of a book or a conversation over scrambled eggs, bacon and toast with a strong cup of coffee, but Q couldn’t be less appreciative of morning meals. In fact, he forgoes breakfast altogether more often than not, especially when he’s deeply focused on his work. When he does manage to forage for breakfast, it’s a decision based entirely on efficiency and convenience that usually results in a stale, cello-wrapped muffin or cereal bar, and while Bond laments that he may never instill in Q a real appreciation for the delicious act of having breakfast together, he does care for his health and frets a little over the exhaustion he watches deepen over days of late nights, early mornings, too much tea and not enough nutrition.
So he learns to make appealing, tasty and convenient snack bars. He wraps them and boxes them and puts them in the freezer of the break room kitchen with Q’s name next to the stack of frozen entrees. He makes other small things and places them within easy reach in the office. Slowly, they start disappearing. Bond watches Q’s energy level even out, watches the supply of stale emergency muffins remain untouched.
It takes until Q runs out of the carousel of homemade snacks for him to actually say thank you, but it pokes at that bruised, squishy spot in Bond even as he brushes it off with a comment about “an honest attempt to even out the human-to-caffeine ratio”. When Bond is gone for weeks at a time, Q finds he misses the tender, surprising, unspoken act of care.