Grilled Duck Breasts with Raspberry

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 quart blackberries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Ten 6-ounce boneless Pekin duck breast halves, with skin
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

In a medium saucepan, boil the vinegar over high heat until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add the blackberries and cook, stirring very gently, until they are just softened, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the blackberries to a bowl. Boil the liquid over high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 3 minutes. Carefully pour the accumulated juices from the blackberries into the saucepan and boil for about 30 seconds longer. Season the reduction with salt and pepper and pour it over the softened blackberries.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a crosshatch pattern. In a small bowl, mix the ancho powder with the coriander, cumin and mustard powder. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and rub the spice mixture into the skin. Grill the duck breasts skin side down over moderate heat until lightly charred and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the breasts and cook for about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare meat. Transfer the duck to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.

The blackberry sauce can be refrigerated overnight; reheat gently before serving. The spice-rubbed duck breasts can be refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature before grilling.

Burrata with Peaches and Tomatoes

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large tomatoes cut into pieces
2 large peaches cut into pieces
6 ounces burrata cheese cut into pieces
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

To make the balsamic reduction, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until reduced to about half of the original amount, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes and peaches on a platter or plate.

Top with burrata cheese chunks and basil.

Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad and serve.

Blueberry Muffins

These are the famous Jordan Marsh department store muffins.

1/2 cup (8 tablespoon/4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) blueberries, fresh preferred
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar, for topping

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin; or line the tin with papers, and grease the papers.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating well after each addition.

Beat in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.

Add the flour alternately with the milk, beating gently just to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries. Add the mashed and whole berries to the batter, stirring just to combine and distribute.
Scoop the batter by the heaping 1/4-cupful into the prepared muffin pan; a muffin scoop works well here.

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar atop each muffin, if desired. It’s traditional — go for it!

Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes, until they’re light golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven, loosen their edges from the pan, and after about 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Can you use coarse white sparkling sugar instead of granulated sugar on top of the muffins? Sure; but they won’t be “true” Jordan Marsh muffins.

If you use frozen berries, don’t crush any of them. Rinse several times in cold water, then pat dry with paper towels before using; this will help prevent the muffins from baking up blue-green.

Room-temperature butter is easier to work with than ice-cold butter when preparing muffin batter. If possible, remove butter from the fridge an hour or so before starting the recipe.