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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

French Carrot Salad

Marc J. Sievers

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Carrot salad is something that can almost be considered a type of ‘street food’ in Paris. You often see it pre-packaged in many of the markets and it is a refreshing change from the typical (and sometimes boring) salads that we reach for during the summer. What I love about my version of French Carrot Salad is that it is simple and full of farmstand-fresh flavor, due to the crisp, grated carrots, flat-leaf Italian parsley and the creamy, luxe vinaigrette that brings it all together.

Don’t skip the step of shredding carrots yourself.  I like to use top carrots (carrots that still have the greens attached) because these tend to be the freshest available in the grocery store and have the best flavor.  While it may be appealing to save a few extra minutes and use pre-shredded carrots, who knows how long they have been in that bag!  Also, if you are at the farmer’s market or your grocery store and you happen to see tri-color carrots, those would be absolutely gorgeous to use for this salad. Perfect to bring along for a picnic!

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Ingredients (serves 6)

Salad

  • Carrots – 1 pound, peeled and finely shredded

  • Parsley – 1 cup of whole leaves, Italian flat-leaf variety

  • Chives – ⅓ cup, finely minced

Vinaigrette

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Honey – 1 teaspoon

  • Dijon Mustard – 1 ½ teaspoons

  • Crème Fraiche – 1 tablespoon

  • Lemon Juice – 2 tablespoons, freshly squeezed

  • Fleur de Sel – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

Salad

  1. In a large bowl add the carrots, whole parsley leaves and chives.  Set aside.

Vinaigrette & Assembly

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds.

  2. Pour the vinaigrette over the carrot mixture and toss. 

  3. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or platter, garnish with more salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

Tip: You can make the vinaigrette up to 3 days in advance and store in it the refrigerator in same jar you made it in.

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Parisian Fresh Flower and Garden Herb Arrangement

Marc J. Sievers

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Contrary to what you may think, having a burst of beautiful blooms on your table does not have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, constructing a high-impact arrangement only requires a trip to your local grocery store! I think it is fun to get creative when it comes to florals and I love the idea of mixing in some fresh herbs with the flowers. There is something so modern and chic about bringing in edible, garden elements as part of the centerpiece for a table setting. Here, I have mixed in some bright green sage leaves with mint and aromatic rosemary. I placed all of the herbs in small drinking glasses filled with water to keep them happy and maintain their color!

The star of this arrangement are peonies that are in their full glory. When you buy peonies at the market, you want to make sure that you buy blooms that are still tight, so as to allow them to open up slowly over the course of a few days. I nestled the peonies in the glasses with the herbs and added a few loose tulip heads in for good measure! For a little mood lighting, I lit a few unscented candles. I mean, doesn’t everyone look better with a little candlelight?

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Roasted Vine Tomato French Omelette

Marc J. Sievers

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You already know how much I love serving French omelettes as my house meal- the dish that I prepare for first-time guests to my home. Do you have a house meal? If not, you might want to consider a fabulous and simple French omelette. It is the perfect backdrop for an endless variety of delicious toppings, and they are not just for breakfast! My Roasted Vine Tomato French Omelette is not only gorgeous, it is also amazingly easy as a weekday dinner or makes for an impressive presentation served in multiples on a platter for entertaining. Roasting the tomatoes releases their full depth of earthy flavor and adds a splash of color that definitely lets your guests eat with their eyes first!

Want to learn more about French omelettes? Be sure to pre-order my new cookbook, Earthy & Elegant: French Omelettes!

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Roasted Vine Tomato French Omelette

Ingredients (makes 1 omelette, multiply recipe as needed)

Tomatoes

  • Vine Tomatoes – 1 stem (plus any that fall off the vine)

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Omelette

  • Eggs –  2, extra-large, at room temperature

  • Sea  Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Butter  – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Parmesan Cheese - 1 tablespoon, freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the stem of tomatoes onto a half sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  2. Roast for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are wilted but not bursting.  Set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, salt, and pepper until the yolks and whites are fully incorporated.

  4. Place a 10-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.   Allow the pan to get very hot, but not smoking.

  5. Add the butter and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the pan.  Once the butter is completely melted, the foam has subsided, pour the eggs into the center of the butter.

  6. Allow the eggs to sit for just a few seconds before you begin swirling the pan over the heat.

  7. Continue the swirling motion for roughly 20 to 25 seconds.  Once the eggs begin to set and there is just a little bit of wetness in the center, jerk the pan several times back and forth in order to fold the eggs onto itself. The finished omelette will end up in the far lip of the pan.

  8. Grasp the handle of the pan from underneath and rest the far lip of the pan  (where the omelette has formed) slightly off-center onto the bottom of a dinner plate.

  9. Gently turn the pan upside down over the plate.  The omelette will then drop into position.

  10. Garnish with the warm stem of tomatoes, parmesan cheese, more salt, black pepper and serve.

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An Easy Parisian Breakfast

Marc J. Sievers

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They say that breakfast is ‘the most important meal of the day’. But I also think it can be a perfect casual moment for entertaining, whether you are hosting out-of-town guests or doing an early-morning catch-up with friends! An easy Parisian breakfast is also a way to break out of the boring egg-and-toast routine and do something a little more chic and elevated during a long weekend or any day you have more time to slow down and enjoy the morning. All it takes is a quick trip to your favorite grocery store! Here, I have assembled a few things that are quintessentially Parisian: freshly baked croissants and country bread, ripe strawberries, a delicious berry jam, yogurt in individual ceramic jars and a black tea for a (very necessary) shot of caffeine! Arrange the components on some of your favorite serving platters or a beautiful wooden board for a delightfully French way to start your day, regardless of the season!

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Parmesan & Arugula Tartine

Marc J. Sievers

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There are few dishes more iconically French than the tartine. Think of a tartine as the chic, Parisian older sister of the open-faced sandwich. Simple and easy to make, tartines are a delicious combination of a few really good ingredients. My Parmesan & Arugula Tartine starts with a good crusty country bread that can be found in any bakery or grocery store. Start by toasting a thin slice of bread in a toaster until it is crisp and golden. Let it cool for a minute then schmear a little of my Vert Vinaigrette on top, add shavings of spicy Parmigiano-Reggiano, a few leaves of crisp arugula and finish with some fleur de sel and black pepper, et voilà! I like to serve this as chic little lunch or cut into pieces for an hors d’oeuvre (both with a glass of white wine!). However you serve this, make sure it is often!

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Eclectic Parisian Table Setting

Marc J. Sievers

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Regardless of where I am entertaining, whether at my home in Chicago, or while I am traveling, a beautiful table is always where I begin. When I was in Paris working on my new book, I invited some friends over and decided to set a table that was a little different than what I would normally do at home: something more eclectic and colorful that would be the perfect backdrop to a lively and fun evening! I began to build this table setting with some gorgeous pink hydrangeas (my favorite flower!) that I found at the market. Hydrangeas do not have a scent and I paired them with white unscented candles, so as to not have anything competing with the smell of the delicious food on the table!

When it comes to layering the table, now is the time to bring out some of those amazing and interesting pieces you have collected over the years but haven’t had a chance to use yet. The more colorful, the better! Instead of worrying about everything matching, think about a single color that you want to showcase, like I have done here with pink- the color is highlighted not only in the flowers, but on the placemats and on the small plates I have used in the setting. The only rule here is to have fun with the process and show off your favorite pieces!

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Vinaigrette Vert

Marc J. Sievers

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You have probably heard of ‘Green Goddess’ dressing from the 70’s!  My Vinaigrette Vert  (‘vert’ means ‘green’ in French) is a reimagining of that classic recipe with a version that is no less herbaceous, but with a modern more flavorful, lighter (and French) twist, using crème fraiche instead of mayonnaise or sour cream as a base.  I love the bounty of fresh herbs that go into this vinaigrette, and I have found that using a food processor cuts down on the time spent chopping all of those herbs significantly.  Why spend time chopping when you can be eating?  This is a fabulous and versatile recipe that should be a staple in your rotation, as it makes for a deliciously fresh way to dress a plate of greens, a perfect accompaniment for crudités or a spread on a tartine!

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Ingredients (makes 1 cup)

  • Crème Fraiche – ½ cup

  • Sherry Vinegar – 1 teaspoon

  • Dill – ½ cup, roughly chopped

  • Tarragon – ¼ cup, roughly chopped

  • Basil – ¼ cup, roughly chopped

  • Chives – 3 tablespoons, roughly chopped

  • Mint Leaves – 1 tablespoon, roughly chopped

  • Parsley – 1 cup, roughly chopped, Italian flat leaf variety

  • Garlic – 2 cloves, roughly chopped

  • Lemon Juice - 3 tablespoons, freshly squeezed

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Fleur de Sel – ½ teaspoon

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add all of the ingredients except the olive oil.

  2. Pulse a few times to combine the crème fraiche and fresh herbs.

  3. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil down the feed tube. 

  4. Transfer the dressing to a serving bowl and serve alongside a green salad.

Tip: You can also serve this vinaigrette as a dip for a vegetable crudité, use as a sauce on grilled or roasted vegetables and as a spread on tartines and sandwiches.

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Fresh Herb and Vegetable Table Garland Table Garland

Marc J. Sievers

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You know that I love flowers for entertaining, but there is something so earthy and elegant about a table garland made with fresh herbs and colorful vegetables! The markets in Paris are stocked full of fresh produce and it was the perfect inspiration for a table arrangement for a gathering of friends for the evening. The fact that everything can be bought from your favorite local grocery store or farm stand (or picked that day from your garden) makes this fabulous for an impromptu dinner party or just an innovative way to add some color to a regular weekday meal. This is so easy to arrange! I placed a small head of lettuce in a bowl with some water (to keep it crisp) and put some asparagus and herbs into simple water glasses. I rounded out the garland with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes in a basket and a beautiful head of radishes on a vintage silver tray. A show stopping baguette wreath was the finishing touch to bring a bit of Paris to the table!

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Parisian Kitchen Picnic

Marc J. Sievers

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Even when I am traveling, I always find time to entertain. When I was in Paris last month working on my new book, I invited some friends over for a casual kitchen picnic. After recipe testing all day long, cooking was not on the menu! I made things easy for myself and bought some gorgeous and deliciously French bites that I knew would be instant crowd-pleasers, like a couple of sweet and savory tarts, mini quiches, fresh fruit and super-luxe truffle potato chips. I wanted to make sure that I had a variety of flavors and textures on the table, but also kept in mind what would make it easy for my guests to help themselves throughout the evening. The best part? You can recreate this with items from your favorite grocery store! Most supermarkets have prepared food sections that offer a great selection of delicious picnic-ready components, like tarts, salads and olives. Pick up a few condiments, like fig preserves and dijon mustard, grab a fresh baguette, some fresh flowers and of course wine! Most definitely cannot forget the wine!

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Assembled Parisian Dessert

Marc J. Sievers

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Fabulous desserts do not always have to involve a long list of ingredients or an even longer list of steps to create. My Assembled Parisian Dessert comes together quickly, without sacrificing an ounce of what we love when we just want something delicious and sweet! It’s also a great way to show off any beautiful platters that you wish you used more often! The star of this recipe is fromage blanc, a soft creamy cheese from France.  It is low fat but still has a luxurious texture and delicate flavor, making it a perfect pairing for fresh strawberries and butter cookies. It is also fun to experiment with the fromage blanc; you can add fresh herbs for the summer or add cinnamon for a bit of warmth in the fall. It is an incredibly versatile French cheese and I know that once you give it a try, it will become a staple in your kitchen!

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Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Fromage Blanc - 8 ounces, at room temperature

  • Honey – 3 tablespoons

  • Fleur de Sel – ¼ teaspoon

  • Dark Chocolate - 2 ounces, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish, 72% Cacao recommended

  • Butter Cookies, for serving

  • Fresh Strawberries, for serving

  • Mint, for garnish 

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the fromage blanc, honey, Fleur de Sel and dark chocolate. 

  2. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle the top with more chopped chocolate and place it on a serving platter.  Serve with butter cookies, strawberries or even pound cake.  Garnish the platter with fresh mint.  Serve at room temperature.

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No-Cook Heirloom Tomato & Fresh Herb Salad

Marc J. Sievers

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Living in downtown Chicago, I don’t have the space to have a vegetable garden, but I am lucky enough to live around the corner from a fabulous farmer’s market.  It is my favorite place in the city to buy fresh produce, especially heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs.  My No-Cook Heirloom Tomato & Fresh Herb Salad is the perfect way to use up your bounty of beautiful, colorful tomatoes and to make sure none of your herbs go to waste.  Add this recipe to your rotation if you are looking for a make-ahead dish!  This salad can sit at room temperature for several hours, allowing all of the herbs to slowly infuse the olive oil.  I like to serve this with crusty bread to soak up every last drop of the oil since it is just bursting with so much flavor!

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Ingredients

  • Heirloom Tomatoes – 3 pounds, varying sizes and colors

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup, plus more for serving

  • Fleur de Sel – 1 ½ teaspoons, plus more for garnish

  • Black Pepper – 1 ½ teaspoons, freshly cracked, plus more for garnish

  • Basil – ½ cup

  • Parsley – ½ cup, whole leaves, Italian flat leaf variety

  • Mint – ½ cup, whole leaves

  • Dill – ½ cup, whole fronds

  • Chives – ½ cup, trimmed 1 ½ -inch lengths

  • Tarragon – ½ cup, whole leaves

Directions

  1. Cut the large tomatoes in thick slices, the medium ones in wedges and the smaller ones in half.

  2. Choose a large platter or shallow serving bowl and arrange the tomatoes so you have varying sizes and colors mixed together and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and black pepper.

  3. Next, scatter the tomatoes with all of the fresh herbs.  Drizzle with more olive oil and garnish with more Fleur de Sel and black pepper.

Tip: Not only is this a fabulous salad, I also love to toss it with freshly cooked pasta, red pepper flakes and ciliegine (small balls of fresh mozzarella) for an earthy dinner – perfect for weeknights and company, too!

Summer Tip: Whether you buy your tomatoes from the farmers market, farmstand or grocery store, I like to leave them in a warm sunny window for at least 4 hours before serving.  The sun will warm them up and help release the aromatics from the fresh herbs – a perfect summer treat!

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A Parisian Flower Arrangement with Tulips & Eucalyptus

Marc J. Sievers

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When I pick up my fresh flowers for the week, I love to mix them into interesting and modern arrangements that are simple, chic and completely unexpected. While in Paris working on my new book last month, I found these gorgeous, long-stemmed Dutch tulips and some fabulous eucalyptus branches at one of my favorite florists in the city, the incredibly stunning Adriane M Fleuriste in Saint-Germain-des-Près. You could easily find both of these at your local grocery store! Eucalyptus is a go-to of mine throughout the year, because I can get a voluminous, dramatic effect without spending a lot of money. Using the eucalyptus as a foundation, build the arrangement by placing the branches in a vase filled with warm water. There is no rhyme or reason for the placement of the branches, which is half of the fun (the more wild looking the better!). For the tulips, be sure to cut the stems on a diagonal, to allow the blooms to drink in as much water as possible. Then place the tulips around in the vase to complement the eucalyptus branches. Et voilà! A beautiful Grocery Store Flowers Made Fabulous arrangement, perfect for entertaining or for an earthy and elegant everyday moment just for you.

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Fines Herbes French Omelette

Marc J. Sievers

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One of my favorite dishes to make is a classic French omelette.  In fact, it has become my house meal, what I always serve to guests the first time they visit my home.  French omelettes are easy and really fabulous when they are made with just a handful of fresh ingredients.  My Fines Herbes French Omelette lets the fresh herbs shine while tucked inside a beautifully folded simple French omelette.  It’s the perfect quick weekday meal and a great way to make use of leftover herbs.  Don’t let the technique scare you!  Getting the fold just right does take some practice, but if you take your time (and remember it’s all in the wrist!), you will be whipping up these omelettes in no time.  And I really do mean ‘no time’.  This omelette only takes 30 seconds to cook!  Who doesn’t love a 30-second meal?

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Ingredients (makes 1 omelette, multiply recipe as needed)

  • Eggs –  2, extra-large, at room temperature

  • Sea  Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Dill  – ¾ teaspoon, finely minced

  • Tarragon - ¾ teaspoon, finely minced

  • Chives - ¾ teaspoon, finely minced

  • Parsley – ¾ teaspoon, finely minced, Italian flat leaf variety

  • Butter  – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, salt, pepper and fresh herbs until the yolks and whites are fully incorporated.

  2. Place a 10-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.   Allow the pan to get very hot, but not smoking.

  3. Add the butter and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the pan.  Once the butter is completely melted, the foam has subsided, pour the eggs into the center of the butter.

  4. Allow the eggs to sit for just a few seconds before you begin swirling the pan over the heat.

  5. Continue the swirling motion for roughly 20 to 25 seconds.  Once the eggs begin to set and there is just a little bit of wetness in the center, jerk the pan several times back and forth in order to fold the eggs onto itself.  The finished omelette will end up in the far lip of the pan.

  6. Grasp the handle of the pan from underneath and rest the far lip of the pan  (where the omelette has formed) slightly off-center onto the bottom of a dinner plate.

  7. Gently turn the pan upside down over the plate.  The omelette will then drop into position.

  8. Garnish with more salt, pepper and fresh herbs and serve.

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Honey with Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Marc J. Sievers

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Have you ever tried infused honey? Fresh herbs, spices and even dried flowers, can be used to give honey a whole new flavor profile. My Honey with Crushed Red Pepper Flakes is a quick and easy way to add a kick to cheeseboards, veggies and your favorite grilled cheese sandwich! All you need is a 16 ounce jar of honey (buy it already in a jar!) and about 1-2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you dare!). I find it easier to pour out a bit of the honey in order to make room for the pepper flakes and allow the flakes to incorporate freely with the honey in the jar. Use as much or as little of the pepper flakes as you like, close the jar and stir! To concentrate the flavor, allow the jar to sit at room temperature for at least 7 days, longer if you prefer a more intense infusion. I like to sit the jar in a sunny windowsill to maximize the spice of the pepper flakes even more!

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Triple Berry Flag Cake

Marc J. Sievers

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One of the things I love most about summer is that it comes with no shortage of opportunities to get together with family and friends al fresco. Another thing I love is being able to bring something delicious to share! Packed with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, my Triple Berry Flag Cake embodies the very essence of summer. Beautiful berries are everywhere and this cake allows you to use all of the berries from your garden or that you picked up at the farmer’s market or farm stand. While it looks complicated, this dessert is simply a classic “sheet cake” made from my Lemon Pound Cake and bursting with fresh strawberries and blueberries baked inside, a crème fraiche-infused buttercream and finished with a festive (and easy!) step-by-step iconic decoration of fresh blueberries and raspberries on the outside that will impress your guests all season long!

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Triple Berry Flag Cake

Ingredients (serves 20-25 people)

Cake

  •  Flour – 3 cups, all-purpose, plus more for preparing the pan

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Baking Powder – ½ teaspoon

  • Baking Soda – ½ teaspoon

  • Butter – 16 tablespoons (2 sticks), unsalted, at room temperature, plus more for preparing the pan

  • Sugar – 2 cups, granulated

  • Vanilla – 2 teaspoons, pure extract

  • Lemon – 2 large lemons, zested and juiced

  • Honey – ¼ cup, clover honey preferred

  • Eggs – 4 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Buttermilk – 1 cup, at room temperature

  • Blueberries – (1) half-pint

  • Strawberries – 1 pound, hulled, ¼-inch diced

Buttercream

  • Cream Cheese – 1 pound, at room temperature

  • Crème Fraiche – 8 ounces, at room temperature

  • Butter – 1 pound, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Vanilla – ½ teaspoon, pure extract

  • Confectioners Sugar – 1 pound, sifted

Cake Decoration

  • Blueberries – (2) half-pints

  • Raspberries – (3) half-pints

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a half sheet pan (18” x 13” x 1”).  Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper.  Butter the top of the parchment paper.  Lightly dust the entire pan with flour.  Set aside.

  2.  In large bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.

  3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.

  4.  Turn the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, and the eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate.

  5.  Next, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

  6.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Gently fold in the berries.

  7.  Transfer the batter into the prepared pan.  Tap the pan on a flat surface to release as many air bubbles as possible.

  8.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

  9.  Remove the pan from the oven, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Then, turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream & Assembly

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, crème fraiche, butter, salt and vanilla.  Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add the confectioner’s sugar.  Raise the speed to medium-low and mix until smooth.   

  2. Place the completely cooled cake onto a large serving platter or board. 

  3. Spread half of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Using a toothpick, outline the flag on the top of the cake. Fill the upper left third corner with blueberries. 

  4. Put the remaining buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes.  Place 2 rows of raspberries below the piped row to create a red stripe. Alternate rows of buttercream and raspberries until the flag is completed. Pipe small stars on top of the blueberries.

Tip: If you are brining this cake to a party, after the cake has cooled completely on the wire rack, simply place it back into the sheet pan, decorate it and then transport it and serve directly from the sheet pan.  This will ensure this show-stoping cake can be your signature summer pot-luck dessert all season long!

Trick: The sheet cake can be made up to two days in advance.  Once the cake has cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. 

Summer Tip: On a hot day you may have to periodically place the finished buttercream into the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes so it stays firm and easy to use while you decorate the cake. 

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Apple & Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Marc J. Sievers

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I admit that I have not always been a fan of coleslaw. More often than not, it can be tasteless and the runny texture leaves a lot to be desired. What I do love are interesting, complex flavors and my Apple & Blue Cheese Coleslaw (originally in my second book, Table for Two) is full of unexpected ingredients! Instead of tossing cabbage with just mayo and sour cream, I thought I would shake up the traditional recipe by adding a tangy blue cheese dressing, crisp granny smith apples, golden raisins, and lots of fresh herbs.  The result is a crowd-pleasing dish that has become a staple at client dinner parties as well as on my own table!

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Apple & Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Ingredients (serves 2)

Dressing

  • Mayonnaise – ¼ cup

  • Crème Fraîche – ¼ cup

  • Blue Cheese – 3½ ounces (Danish variety recommended)

  • Half & Half – 1 tablespoon

  • Garlic – 1 clove, crushed using a garlic press

  • Champagne Vinegar – 2 teaspoons

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon

 Slaw

  • Red Cabbage – 8 ounces, shredded

  • Golden Raisins – ¾ cup

  • Granny Smith Apple – 1 medium, ½-inch diced

  • Scallions – 2 tablespoons, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

  • Parsley – 2 tablespoons, fresh, finely minced (Italian flat leaf parsley recommended)

  • Basil – 1½ tablespoons, fresh, finely minced

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

Dressing

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a small bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse until well mixed, but still chunky.  Set aside.

Slaw

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a medium bowl.  Add the dressing and toss until everything is very well mixed.

  2. Serve immediately, or chilled.

Tip: This recipe is a perfect make-ahead option, as it actually tastes better the next day as it sits in the refrigerator allowing the flavors to meld and blend together.

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Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Marc J. Sievers

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Asparagus is typically thought of as a side dish, but there is no reason that this hearty veggie can’t take center stage, any day of the week! My Asparagus with Poached Eggs is a sophisticated meal for lunch, dinner or even brunch for a hungry crowd. Bright and beautiful, this recipe is perfect for spring and is one to keep in mind as you hit your local farmer’s market! The “sauce” uses Boursin cheese and when thinned down, it makes for a luxurious cream sauce.  I give it extra flavor with fresh herbs. I love to serve this with toasted brioche or baguette, a green salad with my French Bistro Vinaigrette and a crisp glass of white wine.

Perplexed by poaching eggs? Don’t be! For this recipe, I used this genius method by Justin Chapple from Food & Wine magazine. It’s quick, easy and you will be an expert egg poacher before you know it!

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Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Ingredients (serves 6)

 Poached Eggs

  •  Eggs – 12, extra large, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

Asparagus 

  • Asparagus – 1 pound, ends trimmed

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

Sauce

  • Boursin Cheese – 5.2 ounce package, Garlic & Fine Herbs variety recommended

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Dill – 1 ½ tablespoon, roughly chopped, fresh

  • Parsley – 2 tablespoon, roughly chopped, Italian flat leaf variety, plus more for garnish

  • Scallions – 2 tablespoons, thinly sliced, white and green parts

  • Heavy Cream – ½ cup, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Parmesan Cheese – 2 tablespoons, freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

Directions

 Asparagus & Poached Eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill each well of a standard muffin tin with 1 tablespoon of hot tap water.  Carefully crack an egg into each well.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

  2.  Place the trimmed asparagus onto a half sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.  Then add the tray of eggs and continue cooking for another 8 minutes, until the asparagus are tender and the eggs are set.

  Sauce & Assembly

  1. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients for the sauce, except for the Parmesan cheese.  Whisk until smooth.

  2.  Spread the sauce into an even layer on a large serving platter.

  3.  Once the asparagus and eggs are done, arrange the hot asparagus onto the serving platter. 

  4.  Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove each egg from the muffin tin and place on top of the asparagus.

  5.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and more salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Tip: I love having some smoked paprika or crushed red pepper flakes at the table. Guests can add a little extra flavor or heat!

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Deconstructed Mixed Flower Bouquets

Marc J. Sievers

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Next up in my Grocery Store Flowers Made Fabulous series, is how to deconstruct a mixed flower bouquet to create several beautiful, monochromatic arrangements. I am not a fan of the typical mixed flower bouquets that are available in grocery stores - I love the all of the vibrant colors, but I find that they are not as elegant. It is quick and easy to take one of these bouquets and create gorgeous, one-of-a-kind arrangements!

First, when you are looking at all of the bouquets in the store, make sure to select the biggest bundle of flowers that is available. This will yield the widest variety of blooms to work with. Once you get the flowers home, find a large workspace that will give you enough room to spread out and separate the blooms into single-color groupings.

After you have divided all of the the flowers into groups, use a pair of shears to cut each stem on the diagonal. This will allow the flower to drink up as much water as possible. Use your desired vessel as a guide for trimming the stems. I like to use small bistro glasses with a bit of warm water for these arrangements, as they are perfect for scattering the bouquets around the house or down the center of a table. Regardless of the season, fresh blooms always add that “little something” to brighten up the day!

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Salt & Pepper Potato Chips with Blue Cheese

Marc J. Sievers

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We have come to expect the traditional bowl of chips at a party. But let’s face it: that can get boring. You do not need to completely abandon the salty, crunchy deliciousness of potato chips, but you can make them a lot more interesting! My Salt & Pepper Potato Chips with Blue Cheese from my second cookbook, Table for Two, will immediately amp up the flavor factor at your next get-together and leave your guests wanting more! I love the addition of Stilton and the fresh zing of the lemon zest in this easy and elegant dish. For a party of two, this pairs perfectly with a glass of very dry champagne or bold red wine. Cheers!

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Salt & Pepper Potato Chips with Blue Cheese

Ingredients (serves 2, expand recipe as needed)

  • Salt & Pepper Potato Chips – 4 ounces, store-bought

  • Stilton Blue Cheese – 2 ounces, crumbled

  • Chives – 2 tablespoons, fresh, finely chopped

  • Lemon Zest – 1½ teaspoons

 Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2.  In an 8-inch cast iron skillet, or other oven-proof serving dish, add half of the potato chips.  Then evenly scatter over the chips 1 ounce of blue cheese, 1 tablespoon of chives, and ¾ teaspoon of lemon zest.

  3.  Add another layer of potato chips and the remaining blue cheese.

  4.  Place in the oven for 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

  5.  Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with the remaining chives and lemon zest.  Serve hot.

 Tip: Any brand of Salt & Pepper potato chips will work for this recipe.  Using a cast iron skillet allows this dish to go from oven to table, just remember to use a trivet to protect your tabletop.

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Dill Pickle Grilled Cheese

Marc J. Sievers

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Sometimes there is nothing that hits the spot better than a classic grilled cheese. You probably already have your go-to recipe, but my Dill Pickle Grilled Cheese has just a couple of extra ingredients that will kick lunchtime up a notch! The vinegary pickles cut through the richness of the cheese, while the dill adds so much flavor. 

And you do not need to use fancy, expensive bread! The bread I have used in this recipe is just classic white country sandwich bread.  I tested it with all kinds of artisan bread, whole wheat bread and even homemade bread but I really loved the simplicity of a childhood staple, like any simple white bread you ate growing up. For entertaining, you can serve this cut into small triangles as an hors d’oeuvre – people go crazy! 

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Dill Pickle Grilled Cheese

Ingredients (makes 1 sandwich, expand recipe as needed)

  • Bread – 2 slices, classic white sandwich bread

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Colby Jack Cheese – 2 ounces, freshly grated

  • Dill Pickle Chips – ½ cup, drained

  • Sea Salt – ⅛ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ⅛ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

  • Heat a panini press or a medium skillet over medium heat.  Place the bread on a cutting board and lightly brush the top of each slice with butter (don’t forget the corners!). Turn the slices over and pile one slice with ½ of the cheese, dill pickle chips, the remaining ½ of the cheese, salt and pepper.  Place the remaining slice of bread on top of the cheese and pickles, buttered side up.

  • Cook the sandwich on the panini press or in the pan for about 5 minutes total, flipping once if using a skillet, until nicely browned on the outside and melty and gooey on the inside.  Transfer the sandwich to the cutting board and let rest for 1 minute.  Serve hot!

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