Off The Counter: A Summer Salad

I have this reputation as "the salad queen" that I haven't been living up to lately.  My obsession with kale (which I only like sautéed) may just be the reason.  While visiting family and friends back East, I was reminded of my once salad greatness.  When the first few people we visited asked if we were going to have one of "Debra's salads", I realized I needed to begin preparing them again.

Here's one that combines all my favorite summertime ingredients:  figs, tomatoes, peaches and fresh mozzarella.  Drizzled with honey and chives the salad takes on the fresh, sweet flavor of the season.  Ingredients and instructions below.


Figs, peaches, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, honey, chives, olive oil,  rice vinegar and sea salt.


This salad holds its pretty appearance best if prepared in individual bowls.

Cut the figs, peaches and tomatoes into generous slices.  Lightly salt the tomatoes prior to adding them to the rest of the fruit in the bowls.  Using your hands tear chunks of mozzarella into each bowl.  Drizzle all the ingredients with honey and lightly dress with olive oil and rice vinegar.  Top it off with chopped chives.


Do YOU have a favorite salad?  If so, do share.

Many, many thanks to LB for her Cambridge hives honey!


And The Winner Of Michael Aram's Fig Leaf Collection Tray Is:

Congratulations, Brittany,  you are the winner of Michael Aram's Fig Leaf tray, coordinating plates and serving wear!   Please email your postal address to, so I can ship it all to you.

Many thanks to the folks at Madhouse for contributing to last week's reader giveaway and to all the blog followers who entered the contest.

[winner has two weeks from 11/18/13 to contact Cocoon Home blog via email to claim prize.  After that time another entry will be drawn]

Farewell, New England: 7 Things To Do Before We Go

Just three months ago,  my husband and I decided to  move to California.  We have since sold our house in Cambridge, purchased one in Lafayette, Ca. and readied our children for the big changes ahead.  Now it's just a matter of days before we leave the place we've called home for 12 years.  I am so grateful for all the experiences, all the friends and all the special spots that make this area such a great place to live.  Over the weekend, while we prepared for an upcoming yard sale, we sifted through years of photos, clothing and tchotchkes that reminded us of how we got here, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.  We're anxious, as our children are, to begin our next phase but there are a few things I need to do before we leave:

1. Walk the Arnold Arboretum.  I interned there as a young horticulturist, right before Alex and I headed off to SF to begin our life together.  Taking yet another walk there with our children before we return to California would be so symbolic.

2. Eat a fig and prosciutto pizza at Figs in Charlestown, where we lived soon after moving to Boston in 2000.  We had a great apartment in a building where many great times were shared with new friends, one of whom is no longer with us and missed terribly.  Would love to go to Charlestown again and pay tribute to a place and time where so much began for us.

3.  Cocktails on our roof deck.  One of my most favorite home renovation projects, and one that continues to delight us morning, day and night.

4.  Take the kids to one of our favorite parks, where all of Boston's transit can be seen, heard and felt.

5.  Take dip in Walden Pond.  A magical place all year round, but especially on warm summer days.

6. Tidal pool wade at Wingaersheek Beach.   The perfect New England beach for kids.

7.  Spend time with our East coast family and friends.  this one is on going until the day we leave...

Time is moving rather quickly, but I will mark our goodbyes by fulfilling each and every one of the above.  Thank you, Boston/Cambridge for being such an exciting place for all of us to experience.

We will be forever grateful and nostalgic.

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Off The Counter: Figs, Avocado, and Cantaloupe

Almost 16 years ago, I was introduced to this salad while working at a health food store in San Francisco.  It's an unlikely combination of figs, cantaloupe and avocados, that turns into a surprisingly satisfying summer treat.  Served on skewers as an appetizer, or tossed as a salad,  it’s sure to delight your palate.  Take a look at how this unusual fruity combo comes together.  Instructions and original recipe to follow.


cantaloupe, avocados, figs, mint leaves, chives, olive oil, rice vinegar, sugar and salt


Cube melon, slice avocados and cut the figs in half.  Finely chop the mint and chives and whisk along with the olive oil, vinegar, sugar and salt.  If you choose to skewer the fruits,  do so before adding the dressing.  In that case, add the ingredients to a bowl or platter and drizzle with the dressing before skewing.  Enjoy!!