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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Butter

Pistachio Butter

Marc J. Sievers

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We all know about the wonders of butter, but have you ever tried making a compound butter? A quick search of your pantry is all it would take to find a few things to make a delicious butter that can elevate many of your favorite dishes! My Pistachio Butter only calls for four ingredients, but it packs serious and sophisticated flavor. It is perfect to toss with blanched or grilled vegetables or to spread on toast or muffins in the morning.  This is a recipe that adds instant flavor to even the simplest dishes, like sautéed green beans (add the zest of a lemon for a touch of brightness!).  You can also add it to fresh vegetables from your garden, grocery store, or farmers market!

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Ingredients (makes 10 tablespoons)

  • Whole Pistachios – ½ cup, shelled, unsalted

  • Butter – 8 tablespoons, unsalted, at room temperature, European-style preferred

  • Fleur de Sel – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked

 Directions

  1. In a small sauté pan set over medium heat, add the shelled pistachios and toast for 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted, tossing occasionally.  Transfer them to a cutting board and allow them to cool for 10 minutes.

  2. Once the pistachios are cooled, give them a rough chop.  Transfer the nuts to a small bowl, add in the remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix.

  3. Cut a strip of parchment paper 5-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.

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

Tip: This butter will keep perfectly fresh stored in the refrigerator or up to 1 week in an airtight container.  A fabulous last-minute addition to recipes where you want extra flavor.

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Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth

Marc J. Sievers

Last year, while Ryan and I were in Paris, we went to an absolutely fabulous and charming Basque restaurant called Beaurepaire.  We went with friends on our last night there.  The restaurant itself was a cozy little place very near to Notre-Dame, on the Left Bank situated at a quaint little cobblestone square along rue de la Bûcherie (one of the oldest streets in Paris).

A friend we were traveling with had suggested the restaurant after she visited it before on a prior trip.  The cuisine is of Northern Basque Country, which is actually in southern France, but is a region of blending cultures where the northern border of Spain and the southern border of France have melded over the centuries.  It is a rustic and earthy cuisine with all of the advantages and refinements brought out in a Parisian restaurant.

We sat at a country-style table and perused the menu, full of surprises, questions, and delights.  I noticed that they had an onion soup available and learned from the waitress that it was, in fact, vegetarian!  She was surprised that I was surprised and further explained that it was made with onions, water, cream, butter, and a little bit of salt and pepper.  C’est tout.

Because my French is non-existent, I asked her again just to make sure we both understood.  She replied emphatically in English, “Absolutely not!  Why would we ever use broth in our onion soup?”  Being a vegetarian, I hardly ever get to enjoy soup at most restaurants as it’s invariably made with some sort of beef or chicken broth (out of laziness, according to our hostess that evening). So, as my first course I elected the Northern Basque-inspired onion soup.

When it arrived I knew I was in for a treat.  The soup was light, rich, and very thin—it rather resembled a sipping broth—and had an aroma I can only describe as deliciously honest.  I knew exactly what was in it.  It was garnished with a few dashes of hot paprika, bit of fresh green herbs, and two pieces of baguette bread lightly toasted with delicious Gruyère cheese melted on top.  After my first sip I literally exclaimed it was the best soup I had ever had in my life.  It was a beautiful savory broth that was lightly flavored with onions and made perfectly luxurious with cream.  It was so incredible that I asked if I could cancel my main course and have an even bigger bowl instead, and of course with more bread!  She happily obliged. 

For almost a year I have talked about the Beaurepaire onion broth, telling anyone who will listen to me about the world’s greatest soup, just how absolutely fantastic it was, and how I was eager to get into the kitchen and try my hand at this delicious savory onion broth.  After a few rounds of testing, especially during the properly chilly winter weather we have been having in Chicago, I finally came up with my version:  Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth.

This is a very thin, but warmly rich, broth that is perfect for sipping at the beginning of a meal, enjoyed on a cold afternoon to warm up after a day of being outside (Après-ski, anyone?!), and especially when you are feeling a bit under the weather—it instantly warms your toes and makes you feel cozy.  I have found that the best serving size is between 5 to 6 ounces.  The flavors are light, well-rounded, and subtle.  Just as the Beaurepaire chef did, I finish my Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth with a dash of hot paprika and some finely minced flat leaf parsley.

You can serve this either in a teacup or mug so it can be sipped slowly and savored (the teacup adds a bit of fun when serving!).  In fact, as I’m writing, I am watching the snow fall on a fabulous and tranquil afternoon and I have a little cup right next to me to help stay warm!

Happy cooking!


Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth

 

Ingredients (makes about 7 cups)

  • Yellow Onions – 10 cups, sliced ¼-inch thick

  • Butter – 4 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Garlic – 5 cloves, thinly sliced

  • Sea Salt – 1 ¼ teaspoon

  • White Pepper – ¾ teaspoon

  • Water – 10 cups

  • Heavy Cream – ¾ cup

  • Hot Paprika – for garnish, optional

  • Flat Leaf Parsley – finely minced, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat, add the butter. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes until translucent and tender, stirring occasionally.

  2. Next, add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Then, remove from the heat.

  3. Using a slotted spoon and working in small batches, remove all of the onion and garlic pieces and place them into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently press to expel as much liquid as possible. Once all of the onions have been processed, return all of the liquid back into the pan.

  4. Stir in the heavy cream and gently reheat over low heat.

  5. Check for seasoning, and serve. Garnish with a few dashes of hot paprika and a little fresh parsley, if desired.

Tip: This broth can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Gently reheat over a low heat before serving.

Idea: Since this is really more of a sipping broth it is really meant to either start a meal, or be served as a goûter (afternoon snack) to help warm you up on a chilly afternoon or evening.  Of course, just the broth alone is a fabulous light lunch or dinner with a big green salad, baguette, and some cheeses—très chic!  It is equally as flavorful with or without the addition of garnishes. 

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Homemade Sweet Cream Butter

Marc J. Sievers

After an in-depth experience testing recipes in the kitchen honing in on just the right flavor, I am sometimes amazed at how the simplest of things can be just as good as the complex.  Take for example my Homemade Sweet Cream Butter.  It is one of the simplest of recipes, and at the same time one of the most delicious.  With the holidays ahead I am always looking for new ways to inject some savvy-flair when entertaining.  My Homemade Sweet Cream Butter is perfect for smearing on freshly baked bread during any meal!  It takes just minutes to make and adds a bit of “old-fashioned” warmth and love to any occasion.


Ingredients (makes 1 cup)

  • Heavy Cream – 2 ¼ cups, very cold

  • Sea Salt – 1/8 teaspoon

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add the heavy cream and sea salt.

  2. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and place a clean dish towel over the bowl.

  3. Gradually increase the mixer speed until you reach the highest setting.

  4. Whisk the cream for 10-12 minutes. It will first turn into whipped cream, then start separating into solid butter and buttermilk. Once it begins to separate, reduce the mixer speed to medium. The butter is ready once it forms a ball in and around the whisk.

  5. Remove the solid butter from the bowl and place in into a sieve. Under running cold water gently squeeze excess buttermilk from the butter.

  6. Place the butter into a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip. Pipe the butter into serving dishes and serve at room temperature. You can also store the butter in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.

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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!

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