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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Canapé

Champagne Party - #BFF Style! for VRAI Magazine

Marc J. Sievers

Love is in the air at The Sievers!  Each year Ryan and I celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with a quiet home-cooked meal in an intimate vignette set up in our own home.  We typically watch a Disney movie (Cinderella is my all-time favorite!), enjoy a decedent dessert, and pop a bottle of really good wine.  We love being in love!  This year we are going to do something different by hosting a cocktail party to celebrating with our BFF’s.  It will be an evening filled with delicious nibbles, fabulous Champagne, and lots of laughter.  Not only will our soirée be memorable, it will be filled with completely store-bought items from my local grocery store.  This night will be about being with friends and not being in the kitchen (well, except to get more Champagne!).

A successful party is not measured by how many items you make from scratch, but rather how much laughter fills your home!  For my St. Valentine’s Day cocktail party I designed the evening around a completely over-the-top salty and sweet nibbles tray and glamorous rosé bubbles bar.  Let me walk you through the Champagne bar:


The Bubbles Bar

  1. Start by selecting your Champagne flutes. I like to use a different design for each guest to reflect their personality and to help them remember with flute is theirs. Use a tray—I chose silver—to set the flutes on. This will make even the simplest glassware feel more special, while also adding a bit of sophistication and sparkle to your bar area. A tray will also “contain” the flutes and help to visually organize your bar top and keep things from looking “strewn about all willy-nilly”—I use this professional entertaining phase all the time.

  2. Next, choose your favorite Champagne. I prefer a Brut Rosé which is flavorful, complex, and dry, making it both versatile with food and delicious by itself as an aperitif.

  3. I prefer to set out only one bottle of champagne at a time in a small ice-filled bucket. Opening a bottle of champagne has such a celebratory feel about it, so I like to do it in front of everyone. This also allows each bottle to stay as fresh as possible.

  4. Candles, candles, and more candles! I have a collection of candle holders that range in size. I love mixing them and using different heights to get a more dramatic feel.

  5. Paper cocktail napkins are the perfect way to help carry through a theme. I found the most “romantic” tray I had and used that to hold heart-themed napkins.

  6. Finally, I scatter crystals all around the flutes, Champagne chiller, and bar top. They really do add a depth of glamour, and they reflect the flames of the candles.


The Nibbles Tray

  1. Start by selecting your tray or platter. I love this silver spinning server for cocktail parties. It has many different sections which makes arranging food so simple. Guests can spin the tray for easy self-service regardless of where they are sitting on the sofa.

  2. Next, it’s time to shop! I went to my local grocery store and chose things that were different in texture, flavor, and color. For this party, I wanted to create a completely over-the-top selection of nibbles, while still trying to incorporate very recognizable St. Valentine’s Day-themed foods. I choose things that are salty, sweet, and savory. My go-to items are:

  • Gruyere

  • Freshly baked baguette

  • Strawberries

  • Chocolate Truffles

  • Salt & Pepper Potato Chips

  • Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar (for dipping)

      3.  Lastly, set out small plates and napkins.  A vase of scent-less flowers (as to not compete           with your food) finishes out the look.  Et voila—it’s party time!

Idea: If you don’t have a spinner server try using small bowls set atop a tray or just a large platter. 

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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.

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