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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: From My Kitchen To Yours

Watch: Roasted Fruit Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Marc J. Sievers

My Roasted Fruit Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette is a fantastic combination of incredible flavors and textures and happens to come together without any real effort - my favorite kind of recipe!  Roasting fruit intensifies their flavor and is enhanced even more with my incredibly simple rosemary-infused vinaigrette.  This is one my favorite dishes from my cookbook Table for Two!  It can be served as an entree for lunch or dinner for two, or shared as a salad course for a larger group (I love double-duty recipes!).  A friend recently served the warm fruit with vanilla bean ice cream and said it was a huge hit - who knew?!

Series 5, Episode 3: Roasted Fruit Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette


Roasted Fruit with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a salad course)

Components

  • French Feta – 5 ounces, crumbled

  • Spring Mix Greens – 3 ounces

  • Pecans – ¾ cup, whole halves

Rosemary Vinaigrette

  • Olive Oil – ¼ cup

  • Honey – ¼ cup

  • Rosemary – 1 sprig, fresh, about 4 inches

  • Whole Black Peppercorns – ¾ teaspoon

  • Balsamic Vinegar – 1 tablespoon

Roasted Fruit

  • Green Grapes – 1 cup, seedless

  • Red Grapes – 1 cup, seedless

  • Black Plums – 2, cut into quarters, pit removed

  • Peaches – 2, cut into sixths, pit removed

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

Rosemary Vinaigrette

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, add the olive oil, honey, rosemary, and black peppercorns.

  2. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat, cover, and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

  3. Next, place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Strain the warm mixture, making sure to reserve the peppercorns and rosemary in the sieve.

  4. Lastly, whisk in the balsamic vinegar until full incorporated. Set aside.

Roasted Fruit

  1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Place all of the fruit onto a half sheet pan. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  3. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until the fruit just begins to release their juices. During the last 3 minutes, add the pecan halves to the fruit to toast.

Assembly

  1. Arrange the greens onto a platter or a serving bowl. Evenly distribute the warm fruit, pecans, and crumbled Feta. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

  2. Serve warm.

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Watch: Stuffed Croissants with Spinach

Marc J. Sievers

I am just so excited to share with you the first webisdoe of my newest series on YouTube of From My Kitchen To Yours: Table for Two edition!  When I started planning out recipes I wanted to film from my new cookbook, I really wanted to show you how truly easy and elegant my idea of cooking and entertaining for you and your +1 can be.  To launch the new series, I knew my Stuffed Croissants with Spinach would be the perfect recipe!  Not only can you serve these as part of a breakfast or brunch, they are also fabulous with a salad for lunch, or even as a first course for dinner.  Not to mention, the "filling" doubles as a creamy and luxurious spinach dip!

Series 5, Episode 1: Stuffed Croissants with Spinach


Stuffed Croissants with Spinach

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • Plain Croissants – 2, store-bought

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Shallot – 1 small, finely minced

  • Garlic – 1 clove, finely minced

  • Spinach – 1 bag (5 ounces), rough-chopped, reserve 2 whole leaves for garnish

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly grated

  • Gruyère Cheese – 4 tablespoons, freshly grated, divided

  • Mascarpone – 2 tablespoons

  • Parmesan Cheese – 2 tablespoons, freshly grated (Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended)

  • Egg Wash – 1 extra-large egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice each croissant horizontally along the outside curve, but not cutting all the way through—you want to make a “pocket” for the filling to nestle into. Set aside.

  3. In a 10-inch sauté pan set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and butter. Once hot, add the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes just until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.

  4. Next, add the chopped spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the spinach is wilted and tender.

  5. With a spatula, transfer the hot spinach to a small bowl and add the parmesan, mascarpone, and 2 tablespoons of Gruyère. Stir until the mascarpone is melted.

  6. Next, spoon the mixture evenly into the “pocket” created in each croissant.

  7. Brush the outside of each croissant with egg wash, place a spinach leaf on top of each croissant and brush again with the egg wash. Then, evenly sprinkle each croissant with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Gruyère.

  8. Place onto the prepared sheet pan and bake for 7-9 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the spinach leaf is crisp. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Idea:  This recipe can also be served as a hot spinach dip!  Instead of stuffing the spinach mixture into a croissant, put it in a heat-proof serving bowl alongside a selection of pita chips, tortilla chips, black pepper crackers, or even crisp carrot sticks.

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Will You Be My +1!

Marc J. Sievers

A few weeks ago on my Instagram feed I announced I had a new series of From My Kitchen To Yours launching soon on YouTube.  I am so excited to share with you that the first webisode will air Tuesday April 11th!  This five-part series is focused on some of my favorite recipes from my newest cookbook Table for Two and highlights some chic and flavorful ideas on cooking and entertaining for you and your +1.  Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to ensure you are one of the first to see my latest webisode.  I hope you have as much fun watching the new series as I had filming it!

Cheers,

 
 
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Sparkling Raspberry Sorbet

Marc J. Sievers

It is no secret I love to entertain at home!  From menu planning, to setting the table, or spending time in my kitchen, I will find any excuse to throw a soirée!  While I certainly have a few tricks up my sleeve to ensure my guests are always having a fabulous time, my #1 tip is to never make everything yourself.  I like to choose two or three different dishes to prepare, then rely on favorite store-bought brands, bakeries, and gourmet markets to round out my menu.  It’s the simplest way to ensure that I have fun at my own parties!

They say the dessert is what people always remember from any party.  A really good dessert is always something I like to pay special attention to.  Whether I am making it myself or heading to one of my neighborhood bakeries, I make sure to always have something that will WOW! everyone – myself included!  That is exactly what my Sparking Raspberry Sorbet will do at your next party—it will bring that perfect WOW! factor.  This particular dessert relies on simple components; really good Champagne, really good store-bought Raspberry Sorbet, and the most flavorful homemade Four Berry Sauce.

Besides being a perfectly elegant dessert for any occasion, it is one of the easiest desserts to assemble.  Once you make the Four Berry Sauce (which uses frozen berries and can be stored in the refrigerator), it all comes together in just a few minutes!  I love to serve this in a small coupe, small bowl, or even in a martini glass.  Bottoms (and spoons!) up!


Four Berry Sauce

Ingredients (makes 1 ½ cups)

  • Frozen Berry Medley – 1 pound (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, & blueberries)

  • Raspberry Preserves – 2 tablespoons

  • Raspberry Liqueur – 1 tablespoon, Chambord preferred

  • Lemon Zest – 1 teaspoon

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the frozen berries, preserves, liqueur, and lemon zest.

  2. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the berries have released their juices and are very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

  3. Place a fine mesh sieve over a glass bowl. Transfer the mixture into the sieve.

  4. Using the back of a wooden spoon press the mixture through the sieve.

  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

To Serve: Layer this luscious berry sauce in a small coupe with a single scoop of raspberry sorbet and ¼ cup of very dry, chilled Champagne.  It is a perfect dessert for a grown-up celebration, very elegant presentation, and just an all around fabulous surprise for your guests.  

Tip: If you don’t have raspberry preserves, you can substitute strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry.  The pectin in the preserves is what will thicken the berry sauce slightly.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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Small But Mighty Kitchen!

Marc J. Sievers

My kitchen is my workshop, my office, and my playground!  I spend a great deal of time in my kitchen recipe testing for my new book (coming later this year!) and my blog La Vie Piquant, and of course creating all kinds of dishes and desserts for cocktail and dinner parties.  I have put a lot of thought and love into my kitchen, to make it both functional and inspirational.

Recently, I had a few renovations done to further improve the look and feel of my small but mighty kitchen!  In fact, I’m so excited about the updates that I kicked off Series 4 of From My Kitchen to Yours with a webisode dedicated to giving you a tour of my mighty little kitchen and some of the thinking and purpose behind my design choices.  This is my real kitchen in my apartment in Chicago.  No studio or sets involved!  This is where I do all my creative development for my books, blog, and professional services.  Watch the webisode below, and here I include a few more ideas and detail that didn’t make it into the webisode.

While I didn’t outline each and every detail of my new kitchen, I think that ones that I highlighted are really ideas and concepts that can work in any kitchen, regardless of the size.  When you spend as much time in the kitchen as I do, having a space that is as customized to fit your needs is essential.  The kitchen, for me, has never been a place for the latest trendy things—it is a place that artfully combines the functional and the beautiful.  Timeless tools, like a food mill for example, will always have a place in my kitchen, along with cozy details that reflect my tastes and personality.  (Did you catch the photograph above the doorframe?  That’s my Nan’s kitchen where I first learned to cook.)

Here are some of the highlights I mentioned in my webisode, as well as some additional design ideas:

Under-Cabinet Lighting

This small details adds instant warmth to any kitchen.  It also offers a lovely glow during dinner parties, particularly if your kitchen can be seen or is open to the dining room.  I opted for LED lighting that simply plugs into any standard wall outlet—no electrician needed!

Peg Board

My board is the “work horse” of my small kitchen.  Not only do I store some of my most-used kitchen equipment, but it also holds items that are either bulky or hard to store.  For me, having things out in the open reminds that I have them (and to use them!).

Refrigerator

Even though my refrigerator is just a standard size and design, I have customized it to suit my needs.  I changed the function of the crisper draws by removing them completely and lining the base with a rubberized mat to store bottles of Champagne, white wine, and other bottles.  Now, instead of fresh produce disappearing into a drawer to be forgotten, all of my fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits are stored in line-of-sight on the shelves, making it easier to “shop” my own refrigerator. 

That works only because I also organized all the other “stuff” that shares the shelves with my produce, grouping bottles of condiments and other items in clear refrigerator-safe plastic bins.  This saves me from the unwieldy mess that can happen with refrigerator shelves, and the dreaded “lost bottles” or “mystery cheese” that are only ever found again then they break, stink, or you move.

No Microwave

My microwave was positioned directly over my stovetop and was what I stared at all day when in the kitchen cooking—it drove me CRAZY!  So, I had it removed and installed a decorative (but functional) glass shelf in its place.  First, that got the hulking beast of a thing out of my face, and opened up the space.  It also allowed me to free up my limited counter space from the myriad little things that seem to multiply, like salts, pepper, oil, etc.  Now, I store things I use almost every day when cooking:  Salts, pepper mills, a timer, Cognac, and more.  I replaced the microwave with a much smaller model and moved it to the top of the cabinets.  This works for me since I don’t use my microwave very often.  I drilled a small hole in the top of the cabinet to feed the power cord through and plugged it in to the existing power source inside the upper cabinet where the old unit was plugged into.  One the best visual and functional changes to the kitchen.

Baking Center

I purposely segmented my kitchen into areas for different types of cooking:  Savory and sweet.  It also helps when Ryan and I are in the kitchen together.  A planned space is a harmonious space!  My baking center is where I store all of the baking accoutrements, ingredients, pans, and flat sheets of parchment paper.  I store all of my chocolate-based ingredients and nuts and dried fruits in small plastic bins.  This allows me to pull down the bin and riffle through it looking for exactly what I need without making a mess of the entire cabinet every time.

Wall Mounted Knife & Spice Rack

Because counter space is limited and a true commodity in my kitchen, I try to keep as much off the countertops as possible!  I mounted a magnetic knife strip to the wall, opting to get rid of a clunky knife block.  I also did the same with spice racks.  Even my utensil crocs are taller, narrow, and have a small footprint.

Upper Cabinet Storage

Since my cabinets do not go all the way to the ceiling, I have utilized that precious space for storing glass jars with dried grains, beans, large appliances (like a small microwave, convection oven, Champagne/party tub, etc.), and bottles sparkling and still water.

All Food, No Dishes

Only one cabinet has mugs and everyday drinking glasses in it, otherwise I made a conscious choice to store only food and equipment for preparing food in the kitchen.  That way the kitchen is fully functional as the place for food prep and cooking, and the dining room is fully functional with all of the dishes and glassware at the ready in the cabinets and buffet that are located right near the dining table.  At first, it felt like I was breaking some sort of kitchen rule.  But, once I realized that it was functionally awkward to do it any other way, it just made sense and works so well.

Décor Updates

I had the countertops replaced with a light quartz and changed the wall color from a dark chocolate brown to a lighter French gray.  I kept the blond cabinets as the wood tone softens the space while keeping it airy.  My signature color is orange (have you noticed around here?!) and so I chose to paint the peg board orange and let the color peek through the utensils, pans, and equipment.  It gives a lively energy and really makes the peg board a fun focal point that’s part of the ambiance and design of the kitchen.  But, I didn’t use the orange any other place.  In small spaces it is easy to overdo it.  And on that note, I removed many of the decorative bobbles I used to have on the walls.  Over time it started to feel a bit cluttered and became a bit heavy.  With the new lighter French gray, I decided to pair everything down to what is most meaningful to me.  The uncluttered look helps when I get whipped up into a frenzy in the kitchen and don’t feel overwhelmed.

Lastly, I had the tile floors redone to match the wood floors in the rest of the apartment.  The darker floors actually soften the space and make it warmer without making it feel smaller.  In fact, by having the wood of the apartment extend into the kitchen it actually feels more cohesive and connected, and even a bit larger.  It is amazing how updating just a few square feet of space can have such a dramatic effect.

Over-Head Lighting

I mentioned the under-counter, but I also updated the lights in the ceiling with “daylight” toned LED lights and put them on dimmers.  When I really need bright light in the kitchen I can crank them up and see what I need to see, without additional heat.

Little Adjustments

My kitchen, like everyone else’s, has its quirks.  One of which is no dedicated ventilation.  So, I bought a tower fan that hides just outside the kitchen.  When I’m baking or using all the burners at once, it slides over and circulates the air wonderfully.  A little addition that has made an enormous difference.

I also have a very shallow sink (the dishwasher is below it) with no possibility of a sprayer.  So, I found a fabulous Italian spring-mounted faucet with a sprayer built in!  And lastly, I softened the door frame (which has no door) with an asymmetrical curtain, which can be drawn to close off the space visually if I ever want to during a dinner party.

I hope these design ideas and tips that I’ve developed for my kitchen are useful and you find some inspiration for taking a fresh approach with your own space.  I’m always curious and trying to innovate, so if you have your own ideas please share them in a comment below!

Happy kitchening!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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In My Absence…

Marc J. Sievers

You may have noticed that I have been a little “absent” online as of late.  (Yes, there is a bit of a gap from my last post in April until now.)  Fear not!  I have not succumbed to writer’s block, or worse, a cooking block!  Over the past few months I have been working hard in my super-secret fab-lab-ulous new-ventures laboratory with my friend and collaborator Linda Marie Clark on creating a very special line of fine art paper products called Watermarc – Art & Appetite.  We launched the watermarcdesigns.com web site and online store on June 9, and celebrated the debut of Watermarc at Williams-Sonoma Lincoln Park here in Chicago on June 25!



Linda Marie Clark and Marc J. Sievers at a farmer's market in Chicago's Gold Coast.

I am so very excited to share with you the fruits of our efforts to create Watermarc.  Linda is a fabulous artist and photographer.  It is her watercolors that bring to life the collections we created for Watermarc.  I supply perfected savvy recipes and entertaining expertise, and together our contributions create beautiful, useful, collectable, and unique products.

“Watermarc” is, of course, a play on the word “watermark”, but for us “water” represents Linda’s watercolors, “marc” represents my culinary and entertaining expertise, and together “watermarc” is a reference to ink and paint on paper.  Visit the Watermarc website (watermarcdesigns.com) and learn more about what we created and how we did it.  Explore the five collections of products we launched just a month ago!

In addition to the debut of Watermarc and its  catalogue of products, I have also been hard at work freshening up my own web site and streamlining things here at marcsievers.com.  It was time for a fresh look that I could use to really highlight the images associated with my blog posts.  As has been said, we eat with our eyes, and I wanted a web site that better showcases the delicious recipes and know-how I put together for you.

As you can see, I have accomplished just that!  The new marcsievers.com design includes my new branding, as well as a refreshed identity for my blog—La Vie Piquant.  My evolution over the last four years has been one of finding my voice in a way that is true to me, but also useful and engaging for my readers and viewers.  La Vie Piquant is the perfect expression of my approach to life, food, style, design, love, and more.

Piquant – pi·quant /ˈpēkənt,-känt/ adjective:  Pleasantly stimulating or exciting to the mind.



Think spicy, intriguing, stimulating, interesting, fascinating, colorful, exciting, lively—these are all attributes I could use to describe food, experiences, recipes, ingredients, style, fashion, design, love, and more.  I want to experience and explore the piquant things in life.  And so Marc’s Weekly is now La Vie Piquantthe spicy life!

I have moved over all of my posts, all the way back to the start of my online sharing in October 2012!  The new format is stunning and is also mobile phone-friendly, another important step in the evolution of my blog.  Just like you, I’m constantly on the go and do a lot of my web surfing on my iPhone.  Now, my web site and La Vie Piquant render beautifully in a mobile browser.  Of course, the best experience is on a large screen so you can soak up the vivid images with each post, but I don’t lug a big monitor around with me, and I suspect you don't either.


In addition to all this updated goodness, I have also revamped my line-up for From My Kitchen to Yours.  New webisodes will be posted on my YouTube channel in the coming months, and my new blog format gives me a great way to integrate all of the media I produce into one rich and complete experience for you without having to jump from site to site.


Welcome to the fresh, updated, and exciting new marcsievers.com and La Vie Piquant (you can always jump to my blog directly by way of laviepiquant.com).  Sign up to receive my email announcements and don’t miss any of the fabulous new ideas, recipes, tips, and know-how I have queued up to share with you here on my new web site.  In the coming weeks I will be adding services like private wedding registry planning, themed at-home cooking tutorials, entertaining tutorials, and a scrumptious curated fine foods line (all handmade by moi!).

This has been a wonderful and exciting journey getting to this point, and I’m so energized by this new format and the capability to connect with you in a richer and more vibrant way.  I want to hear from you!  Add your thoughts via the comment box below, and click on the share button and spread the word!  I would not have been able to do all of this if it weren’t for you, so help me to keep it going!

Eat well, laugh often, and share the love!

 
 
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