This week I bring what I would call a very composed dish to the table. I’ve been inspired by a week of interactions with people who live and breathe design and the finer things in life.
Last weekend I hosted a blogger brunch through my work with interior designer Brian Gluckstein. We all got together at the grand prize Oakville Showhome for the Princess Margaret Welcome Home Sweepstakes, one of Gluckstein’s latest designs.
The home is absolutely beautiful. It has a Georgian look on the outside, with a brick and limestone look. The roofs are flat. But the interior has a more modern sensibility. The whole place is influenced by the stately mature trees on the property. The natural edged tiles on the main level laid in a herringbone pattern are just gorgeous. The two-storey conservatory with a live tree growing inside is something that I would have in my forever home. One of the bloggers described the room to me as being all about “the decadence of natural light.” I couldn’t agree with her more.
I also learned a lot about kitchen design. Did you know that there’s such a thing as an “appliance garage”? This is a hidden cupboard with a fancy folding or sliding door that houses all of your small appliances at eye level. I loved this concept because you could choose to look at your appliances or not. And when you need them, they’re not in some low or high cupboard. I want one.
You can see photos of the home here.
Crispy Duck Breast and Roasted Grapes on Wheatberry Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette
2 duck breasts, fat scored
3/4 lb. blue grapes, on the stem
1 cup wheatberries
3 tbsp. dried currants
3 cups water
2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp. vegetable oil
For the vinaigrette:
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. rendered duck fat from cooking the duck breast
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the grapes (leave on the stem) in a parchment-lined pan. Bake until the juices flow, about 30 minutes.
Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over low heat. Season the duck breast with salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towel. Add the duck breast, fat side down, and cook over low heat until the skin becomes crispy and most of the fat has rendered out (about 30 minutes). Flip the duck breast over to brown the other side. Remove from heat and rest the meat.
Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Season with salt. Add the wheatberries and cook until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain.
Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Toss with the cooked wheatberries, currants and arugula. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad between plates. Slice the duck breast. Place on top of the salad. Add a sprig of roasted grapes to each plate and serve.