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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Category: "Entertaining with Love"

10 Simple & Helpful Tips for Entertaining

Marc J. Sievers

Edible Candied Flowers from my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

It is easy to take a simple get-together at home and turn it into an unforgettable evening—it is all in the details!  I am not talking about over-the-top details, or going to any great expense.  Entertaining at home can be transformed so easily with very simple yet thoughtful attention to seemingly small things that will result in a big impact and leave your guests raving about your soireé!  I have been hosting parties for friends, family, and clients for many years and here I have shared some of the most helpful (and simple!) tips and ideas that will make all the difference for your party and your guests.


10 Simple & Helpful Tips for Entertaining 

  • When hosting a cocktail party, buffet, or potluck choose one type of glass for all beverages, including water. I love using stemless flutes. They are elegant, add height to a table or buffet, and best of all fit into the dishwasher more easily than a traditional stemmed glass.

  • Keep a collection of paper cocktail napkins with different patterns, themes, and colors on hand. Not only are they useful for cocktails and finger foods but will help further the theme or color scheme of your soirée!

  • Always use glass for cocktails and wine—it both tastes and looks better.

  • Have extra clean towels and a trash bin at the ready to quickly manage a spill or broken glass.If you don’t have a coat closet (or it's full!), set up a portable garment rolling rack in the foyer or bedroom for coats. Make sure to have plenty of wooden hangers at the ready.

  • When a guest brings a host(ess) gift open it immediately in front of them so they can see your appreciation. Also, have a spare vase for flowers, room in the refrigerator for chilled wines and champagne, a place for red wine in your wine rack, and extra trays or serving bowls for any food offerings.

  • Keep your pantry stocked with glass (not plastic!) bottles of both still and sparking waters to serve during sit down dinners and cocktail soirées.

  • Edible flowers are an easy way to garnish salads, desserts, and even cocktails and on-the-rocks drinks! Make sure to only use pesticide free varieties. They can be found at many grocery stores or ordered online.

  • When enjoying cocktails or dining al fresco, provide your guests with colorful blankets or pashminas to help keep them comfortable if there is a slight chill in the air. This a wonderful way to add color to your soirée and further evoke the theme of your menu, party, and occasion!

  • Use deli style and Chinese take-out container's to send guests home with leftovers. I like to make small labels that say "Thank You", "Come Back Soon", "Something Yummy Awaits You", and "Bon Appétit" to stick on each container. Little details make all the difference!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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Eggs Provençal

Marc J. Sievers

There is something so incredibly chic about enjoying a breakfast or brunch dish at dinner time—especially when having company over!  It takes people by surprise and with a sense of delight, transforming “just another dinner party” into a relaxed occasion.  With the menu change there’s usually a palpable mood-change—guests let their guard down and the dinner party goes from regular, to memorable.  The power of food always amazes me.

My Eggs Provençal is just the dish to change up your dinner party dynamic.  It is a flavorful combination of eggs, cream, cheese, and lots of fresh herbs.  I love to serve it with an arugula salad tossed in my French Bistro Vinaigrette, Roasted Savory Carrots, a crusty store-bought Baguette, and a dry Champagne or Rosé.

To enhance the chic-factor, I set my table with simple white plates, flatware, and linen napkins, scatter plenty of scentless white votive candles around the table, and use simple juice glasses filled with red or orange roses to add some drama!  Best of all, this elegant dinner comes together in well under an hour.  Happy cooking!


Eggs Provençal

Ingredients (serve 6)

  • Eggs – 12 extra-large

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Yellow Onion – 1 medium, ¼-inch diced

  • Kosher Salt – 2 teaspoons, divided

  • Black Pepper – 3 teaspoons, divided

  • Garlic – 6 cloves, finely minced

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Mozzarella Cheese– 1 cup, shredded

  • Rosemary – 2 tablespoons, fresh, finely minced

  • Thyme – 3 tablespoons, fresh, finely minced

  • Arugula – 3 cups, pre-washed

  • Parmesan Cheese – freshly grated, for garnish, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

Directions

  1. In a large bowl crack the eggs and whisk vigorously until the whites and yolks are completely incorporated and the mixture is a pale yellow. Set aside.

  2. In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once hot add onions and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper. Sauté for 7 to 9 minutes or until translucent and slightly tender. Next, add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the butter to the center of the pan and melt.

  3. Next, add the shredded mozzarella to the egg mixture, then add the rosemary, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Whisk vigorously to thoroughly mix and immediately pour into the center of the sauté pan.

  4. Gently stir the eggs, constantly scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a spatula. The mixture will slowly come together and begin to thicken. Remove from the heat after about 8 minutes, when the eggs are wet-looking and gooey, but no longer runny. Continue to gently stir off the heat for another minute.

  5. Next, transfer the eggs to the center of a serving platter. Garnish with arugula and big shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

  6. Serve immediately.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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A Creative Approach to Everyday Tablescapes

Marc J. Sievers

Designing tablescapes is something I have been doing for clients for years.  The word “tablescape” sometimes scares people as it conjures images of towering floral arrangements, polished gleaming silver, and layers of fine China.  While that specific image is certainly an option—glorious in its own right—the word tablescape also can refer to everyday tabletop design that have well thought out concepts and choices to help accentuate your personal style, décor, and theme of your soirée, while also showcasing your everyday dishes, glassware, flatware, linens, and other casual pieces you may have.

This May, in celebration for Mother’s Day, I was asked by WGN Chicago to showcase a Mother’s Day brunch extravaganza!  Since Spring is in full swing (most of the days!), I wanted to create a colorful table filled with flowers, texture, thoughtful touches, and an easy and elegant main dish, my Eggs Provençal from my cookbook Entertaining with Love.  In addition to shopping for the ingredients I needed to prepare brunch, I also relied on my local Trader Joe’s for the best overnight croissants (they are available in plain, almond, or chocolate!), another favorite local grocer for an edible and over-the-top gift basket, and stunning flowers, all budget-friendly!

While this tablescape, menu, and basket were each created on the theme of Mother’s Day, they would be equally as fabulous and impressive for a birthday celebration, dinner party, weeknight dinner, or any other celebration with which you want to make a statement—easily using everyday ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store!  Have fun entertaining!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

 

Watch the clip below to get a video tour.

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Vegetarian Chili

Marc J. Sievers

I love recipes that you can make in advance of entertaining that actually taste even better after it sits for a couple of days in the refrigerator and the flavors all blend together!  My Vegetarian Chili - dubbed “I Get a Kick Out of You Chili - is from my cookbook Entertaining with Love and is a perfect example of just that.  This hearty chili is packed with fresh vegetables, black beans, and meatless ground, making it as substantial as a traditional chili made with ground beef.  You can either make this dish entirely on the stovetop, or partly in a slow cooker, whichever method you decide the end result is the same – fabulously delicious!  Best of all, you can top this chili with sour cream, fresh parsley, tortilla chips, avocado wedges, or even charred fresh jalapeños, allowing your guests to be creative and make it their own!  

This recipe is from my cookbook Entertaining with Love.


Vegetarian Chili (serves 6)

Ingredients

  • Butter – 3 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Yellow Onion – 1 large, medium diced

  • Red Onion – 1 large, medium diced

  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes – 1 (28-ounce) can, crushed

  • Tomato Paste – 3 ounces

  • Garlic – 6 cloves, minced

  • Black Beans – 1 (15-ounce) can

  • Orange Bell Pepper – 1 large, medium diced

  • Red Bell Pepper – 1 large, medium diced

  • Hot Paprika – 1½ teaspoons

  • Cumin – ½ teaspoon

  • Crushed Red Pepper – 1 teaspoon

  • Cayenne Pepper – ¼ teaspoon

  • Chili Powder – 3 tablespoons

  • Kosher Salt – 2 teaspoon, divided

  • Black Pepper – 3 teaspoon, divided

  • Meatless Ground Beef – 12 ounces, Quorn® Grounds recommended

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Once hot, add the diced onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Then, add the bell peppers and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

  2. Add the beef grounds and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes.

  3. In a small glass bowl combine all of the remaining spices: Chili Powder, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Hot Paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of black pepper.

  4. Thoroughly drain the black beans and add to the onions and peppers. Add the can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes. Stir all together. Bring to a gentle simmer, and then reduce the heat to low.

  5. Add the combined spices and the tomato paste. Stir to mix thoroughly.

  6. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to simmer/low. At this point you can transfer the contents to a slow cooker and set to low heat. On the stove, keep covered and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. In the slow cooker set to low heat cook for 3 hours.

  7. Serve hot.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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Panko Brioche French Toast

Marc J. Sievers

Growing up, classic French Toast was my breakfast of choice.  My Nan always obliged and not only did she make it for me but for the rest of her grandchildren.  Her recipe was simple yet full of flavor.  I decided to turn up the flavor and add a crunchy and crispy outer layer with panko!  It browns beautifully with the butter and adds that extra sumptuousness that makes breakfast worth getting out of bed.

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