Send Marc a message!

Use the quick form on the right to send Marc an email.

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Headshot-WIDE-Marc_Sievers.jpg

Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: 01

It's FIG-alicious!

Marc J. Sievers

Like many of you, I have been enjoying farmer's markets all summer!  This time of year Black Mission Figs are just about everywhere.  They have a very delicate texture, small crunchy seeds, a sweet-earthy flavor, and a vibrant pink-colored interior.   I recently wrote a recipe for BlendAbout.com highlighting these delicious figs in my Fig & Stilton Salad recipe.  The response was so great that I wanted to write two more recipes showcasing this beautiful fruit and very similar ingredients, showing you how layering ingredients in different ways can create a whole new dish!

Since I love rustic and earthy food I wanted to create a bruschetta with figs.  I started out with some of my favorite ingredients like baguette, basil, and Spanish onions.  After a few rounds of testing (and eating!), my recipe for Rustic Fig Bruschetta was finished!  It’s loaded with caramelized onions, garlic, Stilton, figs, and some other lip-smacking ingredients!

Next, I wanted to create a canapé that would be perfect for a summer cocktail soirée with champagne, of course!  Since the interior of a fig is so beautiful, I wanted to showcase both the color and texture.  I always keep my favorite black pepper water crackers on hand, and I knew instantly that I wanted to balance the slightly spicy cracker with a bit of sweetness and fresh flavors.  My Fresh Fig Canapé is both visually beautiful and flavorful, it’s sure to be a smash (darling) at your next gathering.

I hope my recipes for Fig & Stilton Salad, Rustic Fig Bruschetta, and Fresh Fig Canapé show you that it only takes a few fresh and quality ingredients to prepare beautiful, elegant, and simple dishes!  Next week I have some FABULOUS breakfast dishes to share with you!  How does Orange Custard French Toast and Orange Summer Pound Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze sound?!  See you in a week!  Sending love from my kitchen to yours!


Rustic Fig Bruschetta

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Spanish onion – 1 ½ cups, thinly sliced

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons, divided

  • Butter – 2 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon, granulated

  • Garlic – 4 cloves, roughly chopped

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Black Mission Figs – 5 medium, cut ¼-inch thick

  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

  • Demi baguette – cut in half length-wise

  • Basil – ¼ cup, freshly chopped

  • Stilton – 1/3 cup, crumbled

Directions

  1. Start by heating the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a 12-inch sauté pan set over medium-low heat.

  2. Add the onions, and cook for 20-22 minutes or until the onions are very tender and caramelized.

  3. Next, add the salt, pepper, sugar, and garlic and cook for an additional minute, being very careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  4. Preheat the broiler.

  5. Using the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, evenly butter each cut-side of the baguette. Place prepared baguette onto a baking sheet.

  6. Place under the broiler and cook until golden brown on top, about 2 to 4 minutes.

  7. Remove from the broiler and set aside.

  8. Lastly, layer each half of the baguette with the onion mixture, cut figs, and Stilton. Evenly drizzle with honey.

  9. Place under the broiler again, until the cheese is nicely melted, about 1 to 3 minutes. The edges of the bread can burn easily, so make sure to keep your eye on it.

  10. Lastly, remove from the broiler and top with fresh basil.

  11. Cut into large pieces and serve immediately.


Fresh Fig Canapé

Ingredients (serves 10 - three per person)

  • Black Mission Figs – 8 medium, cut ¼-inch thick

  • Stilton – ½ -inch sized crumbles, 30 total pieces

  • Basil – 30 small fresh leaves

  • Dark Chocolate – 1/3 cup, freshly grated

  • Black Pepper Water Crackers – 30 (plain water crackers will also work)

  • Black Pepper – for garnish, freshly cracked

  • Honey Comb – ½-inch sized pieces, 30 total (regular honey will also work)

Directions

  1. Simply layer each cracker with a slice of fig, a piece of Stilton, a piece of honey comb, a basil leaf, a small pinch of black pepper, and top with a sprinkling of dark chocolate.

  2. Arrange on a silver platter or flat board.

  3. Expand recipe as needed.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Summertime Couscous

Marc J. Sievers

When farmers markets are in full swing I love making recipes that really highlight in-season vegetables!  My Summertime Couscous is filled with tomatoes, peppers, Persian cucumbers, and roasted artichoke hearts.  Then everything is dressed (fabulously!) with olive oil and lots of lemon juice and zest.

It’s fresh, simple, and always a crowd-pleaser.  The best part, it can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.  Making it ahead of time actually helps all the flavors meld together, really flavoring everything perfectly!  Happy chopping!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Summertime Picnic for a complete tutorial:


Summertime Couscous

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Israeli Couscous – 8 ounces, cooked to package directions

  • Red Onion – ½ cup, finely diced

  • Orange Pepper – 1 medium, roughly chopped

  • Persian Cucumbers – 2 cups, roughly chopped

  • Grape Tomatoes – 1 cup, halved

  • Golden Raisins – ¾ cup

  • Pine Nuts – ½ cup, lightly toasted

  • Basil – ½ cup, fresh, roughly chopped

  • Dill – ¼ cup, fresh, minced

  • Lemon – 2 medium, zested and juiced

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Artichoke Hearts – 1 cup, canned or frozen (defrosted)

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

Directions

  1. While the couscous is still warm, add all of the ingredients and stir until well combined. Serve at room temperature.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Haricot Jaune with Garlic

Marc J. Sievers

For an updated version of haricot vert (green beans in French) with garlic, I chose to use haricot jaune (yellow beans in French) in my super-chic recipe for Haricot Jaune with Garlic.  I think these add just the right amount of sophistication to a classic dish without making it seem “too fussy”.  They also look so appetizing against a white platter covered in fresh green basil and parsley!  This recipe is just as good room temperature as it is right from the stove.  You can easily add your own twist to this dish with lemon zest, orange zest, or other fresh herbs.  Happy creating!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Summertime Picnic for a complete tutorial.


Haricot Jaune with Garlic

Ingredients (serves 3 - 4)

  • Haricots Jaunes (French string beans) – 12 ounces, fresh

  • Garlic – 4 cloves, minced

  • Shallots – ⅓ cup, finely minced

  • Parsley – ½ cup, fresh, roughly chopped

  • Basil – ¼ cup, fresh, roughly chopped

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1 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 haricot jaune for 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately strain the beans and plunge into the bowl of ice water. This is called “shocking” and will stop the cooking process and allow the beans to retain its vivid yellow color.

  3. Next, in a 12-inch sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes.

  4. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute.

  5. Add the beans, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly and heat the beans through.

  6. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Strawberry & Goat Cheese “Hero”

Marc J. Sievers

Goat-Cheese-and-Strawberry-Hero.png

Transforming one dish into something totally different is exactly how my Strawberry & Goat Cheeses “Hero” came about.  I was sitting at a chic little Chicago bistro waiting for the strawberry and goat cheese salad I ordered for lunch, while I simultaneously ate the ENTIRE bread basket that was filled with fresh baguette slices (and butter!).

After my salad arrived (and I ate that, too!) I thought I should take the best components of my salad and wrap them in a crusty baguette!  Plain and simple, no fuss, just fresh ingredients that all compliment one another.  This scrumptious “hero” will take your taste buds up, up, and away!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Summertime Picnic for a complete tutorial:


Strawberry & Goat Cheese “Hero”

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • Demi Baguette

  • Goat Cheese – 4 ounces, room temperature

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon

  • Strawberries – 1/2 cup, hulled and sliced

  • Balsamic Reduction – 2-3 tablespoons, store bought

  • Herbed Salad Mix – large handful (arugula may be substituted)

  • Basil – 1/3 cup, fresh, roughly chopped

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Honey- 1 tablespoon

Directions

  1. Start by slicing the baguette in half lengthwise.

  2. Next, drizzle each cut side with olive oil and honey.

  3. Then, spread evenly with goat cheese. Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper and lemon zest.

  4. Add the strawberries to one side and greens to the other.

  5. Drizzle evenly with balsamic reduction.

  6. Bring halves together and slice in half.

  7. Serve immediately or wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Fancy Schmancy Butter!

Marc J. Sievers

OK!  So let me start by giving you the true definition of what I call “Fancy Schmancy Butter”:

Compound butters (French: “Beurre composé”, pl. “Beurres composés”) are mixtures of butter and supplementary ingredients. Primarily, they are used to enhance flavor in various dishes, in a fashion similar to a sauce. [Wikipedia]

Now that we have all the formalities out of the way, doesn’t that just sound delicious?!  I have been making (and eating!) fancy schmancy butters for years.  They are all the rage is fabulous bistros and high-end eateries all of the world.  They can be made in a wide variety of flavors, textures and even colors and are as simple as chopping, dash-ing, and mixing!  Whether you are serving something savory or something sweet, my fancy schmancy butters are guaranteed to add a burst of flavor and a creaminess to anything you can dream up!

Three distinct flavors; endless serving possibilities!


Herbed Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Dill - 2 teaspoons, finely minced, fresh

  • Parsley - 2 teaspoons, finely minced, Italian flat leaf variety

  • Chives - 2 teaspoons, finely minced

  • Honey – 1 teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4½ -inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Tip: Pairs perfectly with roasted and steamed vegetables, grilled chicken and fish, pasta and toasted baguette.


Countryside Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Orange Zest – 1 tablespoon

  • Strawberry Preserves – 2 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4 1/2 inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Tip: Pairs perfectly with biscuits, french toast and pancakes.


Sweet Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Brown Sugar – 2 teaspoons

  • Milk Chocolate – 2 tablespoons, rough chopped

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4 1/2 inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Tip: Pairs perfectly with pancakes, croissants and warm baguette for an unexpected twist for dessert.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Marc J. Sievers

You can never have too many cookie recipes, right?!  I’ve never known anyone to turn down a freshly baked and hot from the oven cookie.  My White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies are sweet, crunchy and even a bit luxurious.  They are jammed packed with whole macadamia nuts, lots of white chocolate chunks, golden raisins and cherries!  Once you try a bite, you’ll be saying “hello lover” to this scrumptiously sinful and downright decadent recipe!  Grab your apron, put milk (or champagne!) on ice and let’s get started!

These cookies are the perfect offering during a sunset cocktail party with a Côtes du Rhône or flute of crisp Champagne. Of course, they are equally as good with a tall glass of cold milk!


White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Ingredients (makes 22 cookies)

  • White Chocolate – 11.5 ounces, roughly chopped

  • Sugar – 1 cup, granulated (white)

  • Light Brown Sugar – 1 cup, packed

  • Flour – 2 cups, all-purpose

  • Cocoa Powder – ⅔ cups plus 1 tablespoon, unsweetened

  • Vanilla – 3 teaspoons, pure extract

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

  • Butter – 2 sticks, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – 1¼ teaspoons

  • Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon

  • Dried Cherries – ¾ cup

  • Golden Raisins – ¾ cup

  • Macadamia Nuts – 1 cup, unsalted, whole

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Next, add the vanilla, then eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate.

  4. Sift the dry ingredients together.

  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated.

  6. With a large wooden spoon, gently fold in the chocolate, raisins, cherries and nuts until evenly distributed.

  7. Using a 1¾ inch metal scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Note: (only 6 cookies with fit per tray)

  8. With wet finger tips, slightly flatten the dough.

  9. Bake for 17 - 19 minutes, rotating once half way through.

  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat steps until all dough has been baked.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Truffle Butter Fettuccine – An Easy and Elegant Meal

Marc J. Sievers

If you have never experienced truffles or truffle butter, you are about to have a culinary adventure in your own kitchen!

Savory truffles like the one’s used in truffle butter are a rare and extremely expensive mushroom that is considered to be a delicacy due to its intense aroma and characteristic flavor. They have a firm texture and are most often shaved on top of food before serving, although they can also be used to infuse flavor into dishes, oils, and butters. 

Truffles are harvested in the wild using specially trained dogs or pigs that are familiar with the very particular scent.  Because of their very fragrant and unique flavor not everyone admires them as much as others (like me!).  Truffle butter can be found at larger grocery store chains in the cheese department, gourmet food stores, and even online.

My Truffle Butter Fettuccine combines just a few, simple key ingredients that help bring out the luscious and elegant aromatics of the truffle.  Best of all, it take just mere minutes to prepare making it perfect for weeknight dinners or dinner parties on Friday night!  Once you make my version experiment with the addition of other fresh vegetables like sautéed red peppers, yellow onions, and even lemon zest.  I always keep an “extra” in the refrigerator for melting and drizzling over popcorn, instantly transforming it into élégant pop-corn salé (elegant savory popcorn)!  Happy eating!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Truffle Butter Fettuccine for a complete tutorial:


Truffle Butter Fettuccine

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Fettuccine – 1 lb.

  • Truffle Butter – 3½ ounces

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon

  • Parsley – 1 cup, flat leaf, whole

  • Heirloom Grape Tomatoes – 2 cups, halved

  • Parmesan – ½ cup, freshly grated

  • Green Peas – ½ cup, fresh (or frozen)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.  Add fettuccine and cook according to package instructions for al dente.

  2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch sauté pan set over low heat, add the truffle butter and melt completely.  Then, add the tomatoes to the melted butter to heat through, about 5 minutes

  3. When the fettuccine has 30 seconds of cook time remaining, add the peas to the boiling water.  Drain the pasta and peas well.

  4. Immediately transfer the drained pasta into the sauté pan with the truffle butter and tomatoes.  Add sea salt, black pepper, Parmesan, and parsley.  Toss to coat evenly.

  5. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve hot.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Fresh Green Pea Hummus

Marc J. Sievers

Spring is here (I think)!  So many wonderful fruits and vegetables are in their prime this time of year, green peas being my number 1 favorite!  I love the earthy taste and “bite” they have when perfectly cooked or sautéed.  My recipe for Fresh Green Pea Hummus combines simple, fresh ingredients that create a delicious dip with crackers, a topping for tartines or a healthy spread for sandwiches.  The flavors are bursting at the seam (or should I say pod)!

Going “green” has never tasted so good!


Fresh Green Pea Hummus

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Red Onion – ½ cup, medium dice

  • Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Red Pepper Flakes – 1/8 teaspoon

  • Peas – 2 cups, fresh, uncooked

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Thyme – 1½ teaspoons, fresh

  • Hummus – 4 tablespoon, plain variety

  • Butter – 1 teaspoon, unsalted

  • Parmesan – for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Next, add the butter, peas, lemon zest and thyme. Continue cooking for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.

  4. Transfer sautéed mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

  5. Add the hummus and pulse 10 - 15 times, or until desired texture is achieved.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Roasted Garlic & Mascarpone Spread

Marc J. Sievers

Whenever I am having guests over for drinks or dinner, I always like to start off the soiree with a canapé or hors d’oeurve that will pair perfectly with wine, champagne and mixed drinks. My recipe for Roasted Garlic and Mascarpone Spread is everyone’s “new favorite”! After the garlic has been roasted, it takes on a sweeter flavor and the mascarpone adds the perfect amount of creaminess and tang. Not only is this perfect to serve at a party, it’s also fabulous as a spread on sandwiches or as part of a picnic! Enjoy!

Sweet and savory, this simple hors d’oeuvres will set the tone for a sophisticated soirée!


Roasted Garlic & Mascarpone Spread

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • Garlic – 12 heads, medium size

  • Olive Oil – ⅓ cup

  • Mascarpone – ¾ cup, room temperature

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Balsamic Vinegar – 1 cup

  • Sugar – 1 tablespoon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees F.

  2. Start by cutting ½ inch off the top of each head of garlic.

  3. Place each head of garlic in the well of a muffin pan. Drizzle evenly with olive oil, making sure to rub the olive oil into the tops of the garlic cloves.

  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Allow to come to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and reduce to ½ cup. About 15 minutes. Set aside.

  6. Remove the garlic from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

  7. Next, in a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, salt and pepper.

  8. Using your fingers, squeeze each clove of garlic out of its skin and into the mascarpone mixture.

  9. Gently mash the garlic with a fork and incorporate into the mascarpone mixture.

  10. Spread desired amount onto thin slices of baguette or crackers, drizzle with balsamic reduction and arrange on a serving platter.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Roquefort & Preserves Squares

Marc J. Sievers

The smell of puff pastry baking in the oven is what I would imagine patisserie-heaven would smell like.  Now, add Roquefort cheese and strawberry (or fig) preserves inside and you have a delicious, simple, and unexpected hors d’oeuvre to serve to your guests at your next soirée!

The beauty with my recipe for Roquefort & Preserves Squares is using frozen store-bought puff pastry, good quality store-bought or home-made preserves.  Also, you can assemble this a few hours in advance, leave it in the refrigerator, and bake it right before your guests arrive, et voilà!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Parisian Cocktail Party for a complete tutorial:


Roquefort & Preserves Squares

Ingredients (makes 12 squares)

  • Puff Pastry – 1 package (2 sheets), defrosted

  • Strawberry Preserves – ¾ cup

  • Roquefort – ¾ cup, crumbled

  • Egg – 1 whole, extra-large, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Begin by laying out one thawed sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface. Lightly roll into a 11-inch by 14-inchrectangle. Place it on the sheet pan.

  3. Spread the strawberry preserves onto the pastry, leaving a ½-inch border around the entire pastry.

  4. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese evenly on the preserves and within the border.

  5. Next, lightly roll the second piece of puff pastry into a 11-inch by 14-inch rectangle, as you did for the first. Then, brush the border of the first pastry with the egg wash. Lay the second pastry square directly on top of the first square, lining up the edges. Be careful not to stretch or pull the pastry out of shape.

  6. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash, and then cut five slits through the top layer of pastry, for steam to escape. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  7. Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn once mid-way through the baking time. Bake until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut into strips or squares. Serve warm or room-temperature.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Roasted Savory Carrots

Marc J. Sievers

Carrots get a rustic and chic makeover!

With Easter right around the corner, I’m sure many of you are in the midst of planning the menu!  While I still prepare many of my families traditional recipes, I am always looking to reinvent a classic, like carrots.  My recipe for Roasted Savory Carrots combines flavor like honey, basil, lemon and dark chocolate, what a combination!  Roasting the carrots also helps bring out the natural sweetness and earthy flavor.

Not only are these perfect for Easter or when hosting company, but they are a fabulous addition to any casual weeknight meal.  The steps are simple and the ingredients are found at your local grocery store, making this the perfect elevated home-cooked recipe!


Roasted Savory Carrots

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • Carrots – 2 pounds, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then in 2-inch pieces

  • Butter – 3 tablespoons, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Honey – 4 tablespoons

  • Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Basil – 3/4 cup, freshly chopped, divided

  • Lemon – 1 medium, zested

  • Dark Chocolate - 4 tablespoons, freshly shaved

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. On a sheet pan, toss the carrots, olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated.

  3. Place into the oven for 30 minutes, tossing once during the cooking process.

  4. In a large bowl combine the lemon zest, honey, butter and 1/2 cup of basil. Add the carrots and toss until evenly coated.

  5. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of basil. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Top 10 Kitchen Organizing Tips

Marc J. Sievers

Today, I decided to reorganize what was behind door 1, 2, 3 and beyond… my kitchen cabinets!  While most find this task to be daunting, I   find it to be very helpful and energizing.  For perfectly organized and well-stocked cabinets, follow my 10 simple tips:

My baking center in my own kitchen is organized with items I use most frequently in the front, while other items are towards the back.


Marc's Top 10 Tips!

  1. Arrange your kitchenware by frequency of use, with everyday dishes on an easy-to-reach lower shelf and special occasion pieces up above.

  2. Create a “cooking zone” around the stove, storing pots and pans as close to the range as possible. Keep spices, olive oil and cooking wines next to the stovetop.

  3. Organize your food pantry shelves by grouping in categories.

  4. Don’t load kitchen cabinet space with recipe books. Relocate them to a dedicated cookbook library someplace close by, like a window sill (away from the sink) or even a small bookcase tucked into the corner.

  5. Instead of storing flour, sugar, baking essentials and dry goods in their original packaging, use large, glass canning jars as storage containers. Not only are they functional, but they also add some rustic charm to your kitchen décor.

  6. Use decorative baskets to hold less-used items on top of your cabinets.

  7. Use decorative hooks on the inside of your cabinets for hanging aprons and dish towels.

  8. Prevent spills by housing spillable or sticky food items on an easy-to-clean lazy susan.

  9. Stow essential kitchen tools like wooden spoons, rasps, and spatulas in large utensil crocs on top of your kitchen counters. This will leave room for more delicate items in your kitchen draws.

  10. Once decluttered, empty space is extremely tempting to fill in with more “stuff”. Remember, every inch of your cabinet does not have to be filled!

Now… GO!  Good luck, and add your comments below to let me know how you do it!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Home-Style Rustic Tomato Sauce

Marc J. Sievers

It’s a cold and snowy day here in Chicago, which is the perfect weather to stay home and test recipes!  So many of my days are spent in the kitchen cooking and baking.  Because of the chill in the air, I am making my FAVORITE sauce, Home-Style Tuscan Tomato Sauce.

Using San Marzano tomato’s will really showcase the flavors of this dish.

I’m going to serve it over roasted baby brussels sprouts with big shavings of Parmesan cheese, perfect for a hearty but healthy dinner.  This particular sauce is bursting with fresh vegetables, basil and cinnamon, which adds a bit of “warmth” to the overall taste.  ENJOY!


Home-Style Rustic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients (makes 8 cups)

  • San Marzano Tomatoes – 3 (28-ounce) cans, crushed

  • Yellow Onion – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Red Onion – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Yellow Bell Pepper – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Red Bell Pepper – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Garlic – 6 cloves, minced

  • Kosher Salt – 2 teaspoons

  • Black Pepper – 2 teaspoons

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Cinnamon – ⅛ teaspoon

  • Basil – 2 cups, freshly chopped

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot.

  2. Add the onions, red and yellow bell peppers, salt, and black pepper to the hot pan and sauté over medium heat until translucent, or about 8 to 10 minutes.

  3. Next, add the garlic and cinnamon and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Stir in the tomatoes and basil and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Goat Cheese & Blueberry Canapés

Marc J. Sievers

With the Oscars just a few days away, I thought it very fitting to create a chic, yet simple (my favorite) hors d’oeuvre for the occasion!  Whenever I throw a cocktail party, I try to serve things that are flavorful and balanced, have elegance to them but never “too fussy”.  While my food tends to be more on the rustic-casual-chic side (say that 10 times fast!), I always want to elevate it within the flavor combinations.  My Goat Cheese & Blueberry Canapés will have you seeing stars, literally!

The addition of fresh thyme helps add a little savory flair!


Goat Cheese & Blueberry Canapés

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • Goat Cheese – 5 ounces

  • Blueberries – 30, fresh

  • Thyme – 30 pieces, for garnish

  • Edible Star Glitter – Wilton brand recommended

  • Honey Comb - 5 ounces

  • Black Pepper Crackers – 30

Directions

  1. Simply layer a cracker with goat cheese and honey comb. Top cracker with a blueberry, sprinkle with edible glitter and finish off with a fresh thyme garnish. Repeat steps until desired amount have been assembled.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Hey Mr. (or Mrs.) DJ, Turn It Up!

Marc J. Sievers

Yikes!  There is nothing worse than arriving to a friends house for dinner and its so quiet, you can hear crickets.  Wrong time?  Date?  Did someone's goldfish just go belly-up?  When my guests arrive, I want them to instantly feel welcomed and like the party is already started.  Nothing does that faster than the perfect music!  I have thousands of songs pre-loaded into my home's media center, but I constantly go back to my old favorites.  Here are my top tips in selecting the perfect playlist:


  • Create a playlist that will be appropriate to the time of day of your party, and to the theme of your food.

  • Daytime events at breakfast, brunch and lunch should be supported with cheery and happy music selections. A little French or Italian sidewalk café music can add some whimsy and frivolity while being easy on the ears.

  • For dinner, I love to play Frank Sinatra and other great artists from his genre. I always try to evoke a swanky and chic atmosphere for my guests.

  • Jazz it up with Horace Silver for dessert as your guests sip champagne or an after dinner aperitif, like The Ricky.

  • Select music that you have pre-screened. Nobody wants an unexpected word, phrase or chorus that may make you or your guests blush!

  • Play varied artists within the same music genre for a consistent theme across the board.


I'm constantly asked about the music choices I play when hosting a soiree.  It truly does depend on what theme, time of day and mood I am trying to achieve.  Here are just a few of my all-time favorite albums:

Its always a good sign when your guests are either singing along to the music you have selected or their feet are tap, tap, tapping away to the beat!  I hope my music selection tips really "turn up the beat" at your next party!  Now, let's dance!!

Print Friendly and PDF

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

Marc J. Sievers

Growing up on the east coast, I have always been fortunate enough to enjoy big, juicy and flavorful Maine blueberries when ever they were in season!  As a little boy, I remember going to blueberry fields and picking them fresh right from the towering bushes.  We would pick huge baskets full, and then turn them into homemade jam, pie's, blueberry syrup for ice cream, and my favorite blueberry pancakes!

While I can't (and won't!) say exactly how many blueberry pancakes I have eaten, I can honestly tell you they have never even come close to my Lemon Blueberry Pancakes!  The flavor combination of blueberries, honey and lemon are the perfect paring to start your breakfast or brunch off on a high note!  They are simple to prepare and ingredients are readily found at your local grocery.


Ingredients (serves 4 - 6)

  • Flour - 2 cups, all-purpose

  • Sugar - 1/4 cup

  • Baking Powder - 2 1/4 teaspoons

  • Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon

  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Honey - 3 tablespoons

  • Vanilla - 1 tablespoon, pure extract

  • Lemon - 1 medium, zested

  • Eggs - 2 extra-large

  • Buttermilk - 2 cups

  • Butter - 1 1/2 sticks, unsalted, divided

  • Blueberries - 1 1/2 cups, fresh

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

  2. Combine theflour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Then add the eggs, buttermilk, lemon zest, honey, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the dry ingredients and whisk together until the batter is smooth. Add blueberry and stir to incorporate. (Do not over mix, batter will be slightly lumpy)

  3. Next, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

  4. Using a ¼ measuring cup, scoop even amounts of the batter into the sauté pan (being careful to keep them from touching) and let each pancake cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

  5. (The top of the pancakes will form bubbles and that generally means they are ready to flip.)

  6. Place the cooked pancakes onto a sheet pan and transfer into the oven to ensure keep they stay warm while you cook the remaining pancakes.

  7. After each batch of pancakes carefully wipe out the sauté pan (it’s hot!) with a paper towel, add another 2 tablespoons of butter and continue the same process until all pancake batter is used.

Serve with warm maple syrup and enjoy!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

A Bubbly "Kiss"

Marc J. Sievers

No matter the occasion, champagne always makes an appearance at all of my parties, no matter the time of day!  Most of the time, I prefer to not add anything to take away from the delicate taste or it's elegant color.  My Champagne Kiss combines the flavors or true champagne with chocolate and strawberries, the perfect romantic combination!

Tip: Serve this elegant take on champagne with my Chocolate Pot de Crème for a truly decedent night!


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Champagne (your favorite) - 1 bottle

  • Dark Chocolate - 6 pieces, ½-inch

  • Strawberries - 6, ½-inch sliced

  • Cocoa Powder - ¼ cup

Directions

  1. Pour the cocoa powder onto a small plate. On another small plate pour just enough water to coat the bottom of the plate. Place the rim of a champagne flute into the water then directly into the cocoa powder to cover each rim.

  2. Do this with all the champagne flutes.

  3. Place a piece of chocolate in the bottom of each champagne flute and fill with champagne. Top with a slice of strawberry.

I hope my Champagne Kiss has you seeing hearts this Valentine's Day!  XO

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

A Chocolate Dream-Date!

Marc J. Sievers

A variety of chocolate confections for my Valentine!

A variety of chocolate confections for my Valentine!

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hosting a lunch for my dear friend Susan, who just happens to be a chocolatier!  She travels between Chicago, Seattle, and London (can you believe it!) soaking up everything to do with the art of chocolate.  I asked her to help me make some special handmade chocolates for my valentine Ryan, since this year we want our gifts to be hand-made for one another.

I searched for the perfect, romantic, and sweetest molds I could find.  I finally chose the Eiffel Tower and a simple heart.  Two iconic shapes that instantly make anything and everything seem more romantic!  I also wanted to dip some dried fruit, like apricots and candied orange, ginger and lemon peel into a variety of chocolates.  In the end we made over four pounds of various chocolate delights!  Once Susan and I got started it was addictive (and not just because we were eating every other little creation).  I had Parisian-themed music by Pink Martini (a favorite of mine for dinner parties) playing in the background, we sipped lavender tea with cream, and shared stories of our individual sources of inspiration.

A new take on chocolate dipped cherries. Simply add dried cherries to a milk chocolate bar or chocolate bark for a revamp of a classic!

A new take on chocolate dipped cherries. Simply add dried cherries to a milk chocolate bar or chocolate bark for a revamp of a classic!

The day ended with me walking with Susan to the train station while it was snowing (those amazingly huge snowflakes) like a fabulous scene in a movie!  Regardless of how perfectly (or not) my chocolates turned out, it was the experience and memories that made so special!

Though I love to use chocolate in my cooking, and have perfected a sinfully (or perhaps angelically) decadent Honey Lavender Truffle (page 181 in Entertaining with Love), there are advanced techniques with chocolate that I have found to be daunting.  Susan helped me to navigate some of those techniques, as well as provided reassuring advice along the way.  The experience was both fun an eye-opening.  There was no reason to be put off by my perception of chocolate being difficult to work with.  Lesson learned is that there is always something to learn, but you will never learn it unless you try!  Practice makes perfect (or at least increasingly edible), and you should have fun in the process!

Hand-dipped candied orange, lemon and ginger make for the perfect accompaniment after dinner with a glass of champagne!

Hand-dipped candied orange, lemon and ginger make for the perfect accompaniment after dinner with a glass of champagne!

Print Friendly and PDF

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 Flay—and 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!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF

Bobby Flay in My Kitchen!

Marc J. Sievers

...and the Best Home Cooks of Chicago are Marc and Ryan Sievers!

First, let me start by trying to express just how excited Ryan and I are to have competed on Food Network's Bobby's Dinner Battle and been chosen as the Best Home Cooks of Chicago by Bobby Flay!  It was a fantastically fun and enlightening adventure for us and the reward for our teamwork and dedication was spectacular!

Marc and Ryan in their Chicago kitchen, strategizing on a dinner party menu with a speakeasy theme for  Bobby's Dinner Battle: Battle Chicago  hosted by Bobby Flay on Food Network.

Marc and Ryan in their Chicago kitchen, strategizing on a dinner party menu with a speakeasy theme for Bobby's Dinner Battle: Battle Chicago hosted by Bobby Flay on Food Network.

As Ryan and I were reminiscing about the challenges and different stresses in the heat of the kitchen for Bobby's Dinner Battle I realized that, though there was a lot of action and drama, we have actually be through similar experiences when there weren't any cameras rolling (so far minus a celebrity chef and competitors!).

The winner's trophy at home in our (cleaned!) kitchen.

For Bobby's Dinner Battle we had to conceptualize a dinner party based on a theme, with a time constraint for shopping (with a budget), and get our food ready for the table, before our doorbell rang.  We had to impress.  This was no small feat to do with TV cameras chasing us around, but equally is no small feat in everyday life.  Just because most kitchen's don't have a red blinking clock counting down doesn't mean it doesn't sometimes feel like it's there, stressing you out before your dinner party guests arrive.

I host dinner parties and cocktail parties, both personal and for clients, on a weekly basis and I am constantly looking for ways to save time and reduce stress while keeping the experience elevated and a cut above the rest.  As a result I have definitely discovered some useful tips, tricks, and no-nonsense rules of entertaining that I live by!  Here are just a few of my "words of entertaining wisdom" I have up my sleeve (or in my apron pocket) to get your prepared for your next gathering!


  • Choose a theme! Having a theme for your party, and the food you serve, is essential. But, don’t go overboard! Try not to be too literal with your tablescapes. Add smaller details that will evoke your theme's sentiment. By keeping it simple (which is not the same thing as barren), it will always be chic and stylish!

  • Plan a fabulous menu! Choose your dishes to compliment the occasion or theme of your event and balance between starters, side dishes, and the main course. Serving a filling main course? Then prepare fewer and lighter complimentary side dishes. Planning a decedent dessert? Then less is more when it comes to extras like hearty breads or heavy starters.

  • Set your table the night before. One of the easiest tricks to save yourself stress on the day of your party is to have set your table the night before. You can take your time to make sure all of your details are in place, and you will have time to fix or work around any problems you might discover (like a torn tablecloth or wax-encrusted candle stick). This trick will leave you more time on the day of the party for other details, or to just relax.

  • Plan your serving dishes. Decide what serving dishes you are going to use before you even begin cooking. Use sticky notes to organize and help you remember which menu items are going to be placed in which serving dish. This is especially helpful for buffet-style food tables.

  • Bottoms up! My number one secret is to have a glass of champagne or white wine (red will stain your lips) before the start of the party as a toast to a job well-done and to relax a bit! Also, for the first hour or so I will be greeting and catching up with guests as they arrive and it's hard to hug and shake hands with a glass in my hand!


These simple words of entertaining wisdom just skim the surface of what I have included in my cookbook Entertaining with Love!  I promise by following these, and the other rules outlined in my book, you will be sure to have a well-organized and successful party that is fun and you actually enjoy!

Cheers!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

Print Friendly and PDF