Is there a support group out there for people who are addicted to cookbooks?

I kid you not when I tell you that my current cookbook count is at 89 books, and is showing no signs of slowing. The collection has long since outgrown the bookshelves I bought especially for it two years ago. Now the books spill over onto the couch, windowsills, and night table. Yes, I read cookbooks in bed, like normal people read novels and magazines.

The point of this confession, though, is to say this: When I came home on Friday with some magnificent blackberries and figs, not a single one of the 89 cookbooks on my shelf had a recipe for the salad I was envisioning. So I concocted it myself. I take all the credit.

The combination of blackberries and figs might be unexpected, but boy, did it work. The addition of basil in the vinaigrette was a wonderful touch, too. If you can get a hold of some seasonal blackberries and figs, please try this salad. And, if you own anywhere near as many cookbooks as I do, please offer your support by commenting on this post. Your words will be a comfort to my addicted soul.

Blackberry Fig Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4; 15 minutes prep

1 head of green or red leaf lettuce
4 figs
16 blackberries, cleaned and dried
a handful of pecans, toasted
goat cheese, optional
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 leaves of basil (more if they are small)
1/4 teaspoon salt
some black pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, chopped

Clean and dry the greens and then set them aside in a large bowl. 

In a mini blender, combine the olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, pepper, sugar, and garlic. Blend till smooth. (You can use a jar instead. The texture will be a bit less smooth and you'll want to crush the garlic and chop the basil.) 

Immediately before serving, toss the greens with the dressing. Put 1/4 of the greens on each of four plates. Arrange the blackberries, figs, and pecans on top of the greens. Crumble on some goat cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.