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As Seen on Food Network! Creamed Spinach & Chicago Sliders

La Vie Piquant

La vie piquant—the spicy life!  Everyday is filled with “piquant” moments that are pleasantly stimulation of exciting to the mind.  Whether it is in the form of food, style, design, love, entertaining, or any other inspiring idea or tangible object, “it” should be celebrated!  Here I will be sharing with you simple, beautiful, realistic, doable, and truly re-creatable recipes, entertaining ideas, and home décor pizzazz that will help you interject a little bit of “piquant” into your life – after all, we only live once.  Join me in living la vie piquant!

As Seen on Food Network! Creamed Spinach & Chicago Sliders

Marc J. Sievers

The winner's trophy in our (cleaned) kitchen! (We drank the Champagne that came in it...)

In January, Ryan and I were crowned the Best Home Cooks of Chicago on Bobby's Dinner Battle hosted by Bobby Flay on Food Network!  Being on national television I really wanted to push the boundaries of my culinary skills, so I decided to attempt creamed spinach -- something I have eaten many times in fabulous restaurants but never made at home.

Marc and Ryan competed on Food Network's Bobby's Dinner Battle: Battle Chicago hosted by Bobby Flay—and won the title of Best Home Cooks of Chicago!

Marc and Ryan competed on Food Network's Bobby's Dinner Battle: Battle Chicago hosted by Bobby Flayand won the title of Best Home Cooks of Chicago!

After a crazy whirlwind of four hours in the kitchen, I remember carrying the bowl of my Creamed Spinach over to the eagerly-waiting dinner guests (including Bobby Flay!) practically shaking from both excitement and nervousness!  It was a hit for all six guests that day.  Some even said it was the best creamed spinach they had ever had!

On the other end of the spectrum, we also attempted our version of sliders.  Let's just say they did not receive the same praise as my Creamed Spinach.  After the episode aired, I took the critique in stride and gave our sliders another try.  I remade the recipe into Chicago Sliders and cooked them to perfection, topped with my Fresh Thyme Mayo.


I stepped in front of the camera again, this time at From My Kitchen to Yours (my web series on YouTube) to share these recipes with you.  Happy cooking!


Creamed Spinach

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Spinach – 1 pound, fresh
  • Heavy Cream – 1½ cups
  • Butter – 4 tablespoons
  • Parmesan – ¾, freshly grated
  • Flour – ⅓ cup, all-purpose
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

  1. Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  In the meantime, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water.
  2. Once the water comes to a boil, cook the spinach for 30 to 45 seconds.  Immediately strain the spinach and plunge into the bowl of ice water.  This is called "shocking" and will stop the cooking process and allow the spinach to retain its vivid green color.
  3. Remove the spinach from the ice water and squeeze all the excess liquid from the spinach.  Place into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
  4. Next, cook the butter and flour in a medium sauce pan set over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper.  Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens, or about 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the parmesan.
  6. Transfer the white sauce into the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse 15 to 20 times or until desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Transfer back into a small sauce pan and gently re-heat before serving.

Chicago Sliders

Ingredients (makes 8 sliders)

  • Ground Beef – 1⅓ pounds, Organic, Grass Fed
  • Parsley – ¼ cup, freshly chopped
  • Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Olive Oil – ¼ cup
  • Gruyere – 1½ cups, freshly grated
  • Salt – ¾ teaspoon
  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked
  • Mini Pretzel Buns – 8, lightly toasted
  • Arugula – For garnish and topping

Directions

  1. Combine the beef, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley in a large bowl. Using (two) forks, gently fluff and mix the mixture until incorporated.
  2. Gently shape the meat into 8 small patties, being very careful not to compress the meat.
  3. Next, in a large skillet set over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil.
  4. Cook the sliders for 3 minutes on one side, then flip each one, top with cheese and cover the pan for an additional 3 minutes.  Covering the lid will ensure the cheese gets nicely melted!
  5. Serve will arugula, Fresh Thyme Mayo and pretzels buns for the ultimate Chicago Slider!

Fresh Thyme Mayo

Ingredients

  • Mayonnaise – ½ cup
  • Mustard – 1 tablespoon, whole grain
  • Thyme – 1 teaspoon, freshly minced
  • Lemon Juice – ½ lemon
  • Lemon Zest - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Black pepper – ½ teaspoon

Directions

  1. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until incorporated.
  2. Use on sliders, sandwiches, or for dipping artichokes.
  3. Enjoy!